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10.23.14

Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

Posted in News Roundup at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Container Security

    Hypervisors present a smaller attack surface than containers. This is somewhat mitigated in containers by using seccomp, selinux and restricting capabilities in order to reduce the number of kernel entry points that untrusted code can touch, but even so there is simply a greater quantity of privileged code available to untrusted apps in a container environment when compared to a hypervisor environment[1].

  • Currys/PC World (UK) Voids Warranty on Hardware If Buyer Installs GNU/Linux
  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux Is Catching Fire On The Desktop, But It’s Not Your Daddy’s GNU/Linux

      If we thought your Dad’s GNU/Linux desktop was a threat to Wintel, ChromeOS is Armageddon. It took a decade for Wintel to ship as many PCs as ChromeOS is shipping in one year and it’s still just starting out. Wintel’s huge installed base is only 6-8 years’ production… Further, it’s not just about price.

    • ARM vs. Intel: Why chipmakers want your Chromebook’s brains

      Case in point: Samsung’s new Chromebook 2, announced Friday, which has Intel’s Bay Trail M Celeron N2840—not one of Samsung’s own Exynos dual-core ARM chips. Earlier Chromebook 2 versions shipped with ARM processors and will continue to do so, but in a briefing with PCWorld, Samsung product manager David Ng said Chromebooks are quickly trending toward Intel components. “More than 50% of Chromebooks sold these days have Intel processors,” Ng said.

    • Chromebook Sales Jump 67 Percent In Last Three Months

      Sales of Chromebook computers have soared over the past few months as manufacturers and consumer begin to embrace the low-cost portable devices, new research has found.

    • Best Chromebooks 2014

      Whether it’s because of their very affordable prices or an aversion to Windows 8′s complexity, more and more shoppers are buying Chromebooks. There are some valid reasons to choose a Chromebook over a Windows machine, including a very intuitive interface (it’s largely browser based), a lack of upgrade headaches, and less worrying about malware. And while Chromebooks have limited offline capability, there’s a growing number of apps that work without a Wi-Fi connection.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 10.4 Tentatively Planned For Early December

        Emil Velikov, the new Mesa release manager, has issued a straw-man proposal to release Mesa 10.4 in early December.

        In sticking to the three month release cadence of Mesa, Emil is proposing the Mesa 10.4 feature freeze and release candidate for 14 November with new release candidates to come weekly until the official release. Emil is tentatively thinking about the Mesa 10.4 release for 5 December.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 14.10 XMir System Compositor Benchmarks

        With Ubuntu 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn” due for release today, here’s some benchmarks showing how the standard Unity 7 desktop on Ubuntu 14.10 is comparing to the still-experimental Unity System Compositor and using XMir for running traditional Linux OpenGL games.

        From a standard Intel Core i7 Haswell system with HD Graphics I ran benchmarks with the development snapshot of Ubuntu Utopic as of yesterday to see how well the stock Unity 7.3.1 environment is comparing to when it’s run with unity-system-compositor installed and using Mir support with XMir for running a variety of standard OpenGL benchmarks as well as some 2D X11 benchmarks.

      • What Linux Benchmarks Would You Like To See Next?

        At Phoronix.com and with the Phoronix Test Suite / OpenBenchmarking.org we’re always looking to cater to the interests of more parties and as such are interested to see what other benchmarks you’d like to see incorporated.

      • 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Linux Desktop Benchmarks

        In celebration of Ubuntu 14.10′s Utopic Unicorn release today, here’s some fresh benchmarks of one of the most requested topics: 2D/3D benchmarks of different desktop environments. In this article is a look at six of the popular desktop offerings found in Ubuntu 14.10.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment’s EFL 1.12 Alpha Has Evas GL-DRM Engine, OpenGL ES 1.1 Support

      The first alpha release for the 1.12 version of the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) was released this week.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Discover the Power of Konqueror

        Many Linux users have a set of applications – browser, file manager, image viewer – that they’re loyal to. In most cases, these applications correspond to the default setup of a Linux distribution. If you’re a KDE user, you’ve probably heard of Konqueror. It’s a powerful application that has been a part of KDE for years, but it’s often unfairly neglected in favor of newer apps. Did you know you can use Konqueror not only as a file manager, but also as a web browser, PDF viewer and document editor?

      • KDAB contributions to Qt 5.4: qmllint

        One type of bug I see very often comes down to syntax errors in QML and JavaScript files. Most of the time these errors are simple typos; however, they creep in, go unnoticed by continuous integration and sometimes reach production — especially on delayed loaded components.

      • KDE Connect feature brainstorming

        In a recent informal meeting of KDE users in Seattle, Andrew Lake from the KDE Visual Design Group gave me some ideas he had for KDE Connect. Since I think that we all have a different vision and different ideas that are possible to implement on top of KDE Connect, I decided to write this post asking for your ideas, in some kind of community brainstorming.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Development of Nautilus – Popovers, port to GAction and more

        In an application that already use GAction and a normal GMenu for everything is quite easy.

        But Nautilus is not using GAction neither GMenu for its menus. Not only that, Nautilus use GtkUIManager for managing the menus and GtkActions. And not only that, Nautilus merge parts of menus along all the code.

      • Cairo-Dock / GLX-Dock 3.4 is now available

        Cairo-Dock 3.4 is finally released! One year after the 3.3 version.

        Cairo-Dock is a pretty, fast and customizable desktop interface. You can see it as a good alternative/addition to Unity, Gnome-Shell, Xfce-panel, KDE-panel, etc.

      • Cairo-Dock 3.4 Shows A Lot Of Progress, Works Toward EGL/Wayland Support
      • Most Popular Linux Desktop Environment: GNOME Shell

        Even after settling on a Linux distribution to use, you still have to decide on a desktop environment. There are tons to choose from, and last week we asked you for your favorites. Then we looked at the five best Linux desktop environments. Now we’re back to highlight your favorite, 11,000 votes later.

      • AN EARLY VIEW OF GTK+ 3.16

        We’ve had long-standing feature requests to turn scrollbars into overlayed indicators, for touch systems. An implementation of this idea has been merged now. We show traditional scrollbars when a mouse is detected, otherwise we fade in narrow, translucent indicators. The indicators are rendered on top of the content and don’t take up extra space. When you move the pointer over the indicator, it turns into a full-width scrollbar that can be used as such.

      • perf.gnome.org – introduction

        My talk at GUADEC this year was titled Continuous Performance Testing on Actual Hardware, and covered a project that I’ve been spending some time on for the last 6 months or so. I tackled this project because of accumulated frustration that we weren’t making consistent progress on performance with GNOME. For one thing, the same problems seemed to recur. For another thing, we would get anecdotal reports of performance problems that were very hard to put a finger on. Was the problem specific to some particular piece of hardware? Was it a new problem? Was it an a problems that we have already addressed? I wrote some performance tests for gnome-shell a few years ago – but running them sporadically wasn’t that useful. Running a test once doesn’t tell you how fast something should be, just how fast it is at the moment. And if you run the tests again in 6 months, even if you remember what numbers you got last time, even if you still have the same development hardware, how can you possibly figure out what what change is responsible? There will have been thousands of changes to dozens of different software modules.

      • GTK+ Lands Experimental Backend For Mir Display Server

        GTK+ apps now run not only on X11 and Wayland under Linux with native support but the mainline GTK+ Git code now also supports running Ubuntu’s Mir Display Server. That’s right, there’s now mainline Mir support in GTK for the GNOME/GTK 3.16 release.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R4 Review: Refreshing Mandriva based KDE spin

        ROSA is a Russian company developing a variety of Linux-based solutions. Its flagship product, ROSA Desktop, is a Linux distribution featuring a highly customized KDE desktop and a number of modifications designed to enhance the user-friendliness of the working environment. The company also develops an “Enterprise Server” edition of ROSA which is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. On 9th October 2014, Ekaterina Lopukhova has announced the release of ROSA R4 “Desktop Fresh” edition, a desktop Linux distribution featuring a customized and user-friendly KDE 4.13.3 desktop: “The ROSA company is happy to present the long-awaited ROSA Desktop Fresh R4, the number 4 in the “R” lineup of the free ROSA distros with the KDE desktop as the main graphical environment. The distro presents a vast collection of games and emulators, as well as the Steam platform package along with standard suite of audio and video communications software, including the newest version of Skype. All modern video formats are supported. The distribution includes the fresh LibreOffice 4.3.1, the full TeX suite for true nerds, along with the best Linux desktop publishing, text editing and polygraphy WYSISYG software. The LAMP/C++/ development environments are waiting to be installed by true hackers.” The present version is supported for 2 years. ROSA was previously based on Mandriva but now independent like many of the formerly Mandriva based distros, e.g. PCLinuxOS, Mageia, OpenMandriva Lx (based on ROSA), to name a few. Mandriva in turn was based on Red Hat Linux and a lot of programs which work for Fedora or OpenSUSE, worked on ROSA as well.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Review: Scientific Linux 7.0 GNOME

        It has been a while since I have done a review (almost 3 months, in fact). It has been significantly longer since I have looked at Scientific Linux (over 3 years, in fact). Given that, I figured it might be worthwhile to make this review about Scientific Linux 7.0. I’m just glad that I did it before the time elapsed for something else to come up (around 3 minutes, in fact — OK, I just made that one up to match the other statements).

      • Up the revolution! The rise of Red Hat

        One of the IT industry’s quiet successes of the last 20 years has been Red Hat (some stories say it was named for the red caps favoured by 18th and 19th century revolutionaries). In 2012 the vendor reported revenues of $1B+ for the first time and this has increased to $1.5B+ in its most recent full financial year (ending Feb 2014). 26% of Red Hat’s revenue is generated in Europe and more than 20% its 7,000 employees are based in the EU, including those at its Bruno-based development in the Czech Republic.

      • OpenShift Enterprise By Red Hat Powers The FICO Analytic Cloud For Faster, More Versatile Delivery Of Automated Business Solutions

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that FICO, the predictive analytics and decision management software company, has built and rapidly scaled the FICO® Analytic Cloud on OpenShift Enterprise, Red Hat’s award-winning private platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering.

      • openSUSE, ROSA, and Red Hat

        Today in Linux news, Jamie Watson is back with a look at the “coming attractions” of Makulu, openSUSE, and Fedora. Lifehacker has the winner of their “best desktop” survey and there are public builds of upcoming Unreal Tournament available. IT-Director.com published an article on “The rise of Red Hat” and Red Hat’s Jackie Yeaney talks marketing with Advertising Age. Blogged reviews include Scientific Linux and ROSA R4 and Make Tech Easier discovers “the power of Konqueror.”

      • Fedora

        • Contributing to the Fedora Project

          Once of the many things I do for the Fedora Project is Tagging, it’s something any one can do and it’s a quick/easy way to give back to Fedora.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • How to spot the most talented innovators

      Back in 2002, one Dutch small business with just 38 employees took part in their first of several EU-funded research projects: developing new digital services for people on the move. That “small business” was TomTom: which since 2002 has grown to over 4000 employees in 37 countries, now a globally recognised brand leader.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Linux-based smart glasses keep it stylish

          Laforge is prepping a $399 beta version of its Linux-based Icis eyewear, as well as a $549 Bold model due in 2015 that adds a camera and higher resolution.

          Relatively few of the smart eyewear products now coming to market compete directly with Google Glass as a general-purpose consumer device. Most are vertical-market helmets for industrial or field service use (Vuzix M100), or are designed for specific activities such as skiing (Recon’s Snow 2) or motorcycle riding (Skully AR-1.) Laforge Optical’s Icis stands out from the pack with its consumer focus and its foundation in embedded Linux rather than the stripped-down Android stacks used by most smart eyewear.

        • 12 Must Have Android Apps

          While some Android apps are important, some truly are must have Android apps. I’ve learned to tell the difference. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been a very happy Android fan. Being a refugee from the iOS platform, I cannot express just how much more full-featured Android is when compared to my old iPhone.

        • Feeling Scammed After Anonabox? Android-Based Project Sierra Claims To Be The Real Deal

          In the wake of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s big reveal on government spying, there’s been a concerted effort by companies big and small to try and make our lives truly private. One seemingly promising solution was Anonabox, a little plug-and-play device that routes traffic through Tor to keep our online activities anonymous. Unfortunately, we were all misled on a number of levels, prompting Kickstarter to remove the project forever. Hot on its heels is Project Sierra, a network encryption device that’s supposedly the real deal.

        • Microsoft’s Garage project releases niche apps for Android
        • Keep your conversations private with these 10 super secure messaging apps

          How do you feel when you learn that someone has been watching, reading every incoming-outgoing message from your phone and computer? Quite freaked out, probably. Millions felt the same in June 2013 when ex-NSA computer geek Edward Snowden exposed the US Government’s snooping and logging activities.

        • Android Wear gets GPS support, offline music in first major update

          Google promised that it would consistently improve Android Wear with a number of updates, and now the first major update is here. Announced today in a blog post, the update unlocks some key fitness functionality. It now supports watches with built-in GPS sensors, providing new tools to track your distance and speed independent of your phone. Additionally, with the new software, you’ll be able to pair Bluetooth headphones, and offline music playback will also be enabled. And, of course, we’re sure the Android Wear team has squashed some bugs along the way.

        • Tiny Android SBC taps quad-core A31s SoC

          Boardcon launched a 92 x 65mm “Compact A31S” SBC that runs Android 4.2.2 on a quad-core Allwinner A31s SoC backed up with 2GB of soldered RAM and 4GB flash.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Top 3 open source alternatives to Google Analytics

      Let’s start off by taking a look at the open source application that rivals Google Analytics for functions: Piwik. Piwik does most of what Google Analytics does, and chances are it packs the features that you need.

      Those features include metrics on the number of visitors hitting your site, data on where they come from (both on the web and geographically), from what pages they leave your site, and the ability to track search engine referrals. Piwik also has a number of reports and you can customize the dashboard to view the metrics that you want to see.

      To make your life easier, Piwik integrates with over 65 content management, ecommerce, and online forum systems like WordPress, Magneto, Joomla!, and vBulletin using plugins. With anything else, you just need to add a tracking code to a page on your site.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Introducing the 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellows

        The Knight-Mozilla Fellowships bring together developers, technologists, civic hackers, and data crunchers to spend 10 months working on open source code with partner newsrooms around the world. The Fellowships are part of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. During their fellowship year, the Fellows collaborate with journalists to build the tools news organizations need to thrive on the open web.

      • Mozilla’s Webmaker App Could Spur Firefox OS App Developers

        Mozilla continues to push ahead with its Firefox OS mobile operating system, which is arriving on phones in many markets around the world. In fact, the company has aligned its whole strategy around the mobile platform. The OS is gaining enough traction that many observers see it as eventually being competitive with iOS and Android phones, but I’ve made the point that If Firefox OS is to be a resounding success, it’s going to need a very healthy ecosystem of apps to attract users. Apps count for a lot in the mobile game.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Announcing Apache™ CloudStack™ v4.4.1

      The Apache CloudStack project announced the immediate availability of Apache CloudStack v4.4.1, the latest version of the turnkey Open Source cloud computing software platform used for creating private-, public-, and hybrid cloud environments.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.1-RC3 Now Available

      The third RC build of the 10.1-RELEASE release cycle is now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, armv6, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • European Greens RFC: ‘Transparency implies use of open source’

      The Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament want to find out for once and for all if the use of free and open source software is essential for the democratic institution. The political group is asking for comments on a study linking the use of free software to the European Parliament’s principles of openness and right to information.

    • These 12 agencies embraced open source. Why?

      Why do government agencies turn to open source software? FutureGov has interviewed 12 senior officials to find out.

      Australia’s Chief Technology Officer, John Sheridan, has moved his country’s citizen-facing portal onto open source software, and is offering to help agencies migrate too. “Open source licence arrangements enable the development of some sort of public good, where people contribute or benefit from it,” he says.

      Other agencies clearly agree. Hong Kong’s Office of the GCIO is notably enthusiastic, with Victor Lam telling FutureGov that “We recognise the fact that it is the kind of technology [where] we need to be ahead of the curve”.

      What was their experience of migrating to open source, and how does it match with others?

    • Going Dutch: the Netherlands Shares UK’s Open Source Woes

      Not quite sure what that last bit means, but it’s nonetheless good to have news from other countries grappling with the same issues as those in the UK. The fact that similar problems are found elsewhere suggests that maybe more could be done for those seeking to introduce open source in central government to meet up and swap their experiences – both good and bad.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Why open data matters in education

        Rajan attends a school in a small village located around 140 kilometers from my hometown of Amritsar, India. Otherwise an active boy who is adept in handling numbers in the ledger book at his father’s convenience store and who loves playing flute, he falls into the depths of apathy and indifference the moment he enters his classroom. Rajan is not at fault for the abrupt change in his behavior at the school. He attends a school that has one teacher for all its students from classes starting from the first standard through the fifth standard, that has no proper infrastructure, a dilapidated library, and an obsolete teaching methodology.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Reading and Writing and Open Source

        Digital textbooks with open-licensed content — and sometimes even complete open source textbooks — are two publishing models that are starting to change the way students and teachers interact with subject material.

        The budget-busting prices of traditional printed textbooks and the ubiquity of mobile devices in schools have provided textbook authors and educational leaders with convincing reasons to give students an alternative. Textbook publishers are offering digital alternatives to traditional printed books with copyright protection against reproducing or altering their content.

      • Library hosts Open Access Week events to promote open source research

        An effort to increase immediate access to research results is in full swing at Cal State Fullerton through Open Access Week this week.

  • Programming

    • Build It! Must-Have Open Source Development Tools

      These days, there is big demand for strong web and application development skills in the job market. The good news is that there are many open source tools to help you with your web project or application, and given the costs of proprietary development environments, they can save you a lot of money. Here are many good examples of development tools and tutorials, with some unsung choices that you may not have considered.

Leftovers

  • Departing EU Digital Commissioner Warns Against ‘Analogue Europe’ Blocking Digital Innovation

    After talking about how Europe used to dominate in innovation, it’s since fallen behind both the US and Asia.

  • Facebook Files Lawsuit against Lawyers over ‘Fake’ Founder Claim

    The company this week filed charges against members of huge law firms Milberg LLP and DLA Piper for representing a man who previously claimed that he owns a major stake in Facebook. The social networking site simply stated in its complaint that those lawyers should have known better than support a ‘scam’ artist.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • BBC Accused of Rwandan Genocide Denial

      Rwanda’s parliament has accused the BBC of genocide denial, claiming their documentary film “Rwanda: The Untold Story” allegedly misinterpreted historical facts and distorted real states of affairs, BBC reported on Thursday.

    • Why the U.S. Drone War Could Last Forever

      The U.S. military’s combat mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to end this year, presumably closing the chapter there on 13 years of war. But the covert drone war in that country and neighboring Pakistan could continue long after most American troops return home, according to a White House spokesperson.

    • When only 4 per cent of those killed by US drone strikes are named members of al-Qaeda, it’s hard to trust American foreign policy

      John Kerry says all those fired at by drones in Pakistan are “confirmed terrorist targets” – but with 1,675 unnamed dead how do we know?

    • John Kerry says all those fired at by drones in Pakistan are “confirmed terrorist targets” – but with 1,675 unnamed dead how do we know?

      Responding to a question about drone strikes on BBC’s Hard Talk last year, US Secretary of State John Kerry laid out a clear message. “The only people we fire a drone at are confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level,” he said. “We don’t just fire a drone at somebody and think they’re a terrorist.”

      Earlier this month, the US completed its 400th drone strike in Pakistan, a significant milestone in the covert anti-terrorism programme that has been going since 2004 and has claimed 2379 lives, according to available figures.

    • Pakistan calls for ban on lethal autonomous weapons

      Pakistan has called for pre-emptive ban on the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS), known as killer robots that are capable of making their own combat decisions without human intervention, saying such devices would undermine world peace.

    • Blackwater Guards Found Guilty In 2007 Shootings In Iraq

      Four private security guards working for the Blackwater Worldwide firm who were charged in the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis have been found guilty by a federal jury.

      Nicholas Slatten was found guilty of first-degree murder, and three others — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — were found guilty of multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter.

    • Four Blackwater Guards Convicted of Killing 14 Unarmed Iraqis

      Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard were among the Blackwater guards riding in a convoy of armored vehicles through downtown Baghdad in September 2007 who abruptly began firing machine guns and throwing grenades at unarmed Iraqis in a busy traffic circle, killing 14 and wounding at least 17 others. During the trial, the men’s lawyers maintained they were responding to gunfire at Nisour Square and acted in self-defense, while the prosecution said the shootings were unprovoked. Jurors in Washington sided with the government, convicting Slatten of first-degree murder, a charge that carries a life sentence, and the three others of voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, and using military firearms while committing a felony, which means they each face a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison. All four men are military veterans.

    • ‘Killer robots’: Ex-GCHQ boss calls for drone controls

      Commercial drones could be invading the UK within 20 years, used by everyone from terrorists to burglars, an ex-GCHQ boss warns. It found the growing use of drones raises “significant safety, security and privacy concerns.”

      In a report released by the University of Birmingham Policy Commission, led by the former head of GCHQ Sir David Omand, it was found that the greater civil and military use of drones is inevitable.

    • Pentagon Says It Will Investigate Stray Arms Drop Over Syria

      The Pentagon says it will investigate a video released by the self-declared Islamic State showing its fighters purportedly rifling through crates of U.S. arms intended for Kurdish forces fighting the extremist group.

    • Ottawa shootings: a spectacular failure for Canadian intelligence

      Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, armed with a high-powered rifle, drove to Parliament Hill, left his car running, shot a ceremonial guard at the nearby National War Memorial, before heading to the seat of Canada’s democracy, where he was gunned down by the head of security for the building.

      In a room just a few metres from where the gunman fell, prime minister Stephen Harper was discussing how to respond to the increased threat of homegrown terrorism with members of his party. That response will be even more treacherous now.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP’s Misleading Oil Spill PR Campaign Is Now In Politico Magazine

      But Morrell’s Politico Magazine article was misleading. Wildlife in the region is still experiencing the consequences of the spill, according to a recent report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The NWF studied 14 species that have suffered effects from the spill, including the ongoing illness of bottlenose dolphins and a “dramatic increase” in sea turtle deaths. The report concluded that more needs to be done to speed up the region’s recovery. CBS reported of its findings: “No matter how much money is exchanged and what efforts are done, there remains no guarantee that the Gulf Coast regions will fully recover to pre-spill conditions.”

    • Officials propose making ‘South Florida’ 51st state

      A group of Southern Florida politicians are tired of being left out to sea when it comes to addressing climate change concerns for the southern part of the state.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Senator Leahy Blasts DEA For Impersonating Woman On Facebook

      Citing a case revealed by BuzzFeed News, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said it’s “appalling” that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent created a fake Facebook page using a real woman’s name and photos — without her knowledge.

    • NYPD Commissioner Bratton vows to push against Apple, Google smartphone encryption

      Bratton says the companies’ new operating systems, which can block law enforcement access, ‘does a terrible disservice to the public.’

    • NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton Latest To Complain About Phone Encryption

      That’s some mighty fine spin by Bratton. Something that will make a vast majority of the public’s data less susceptible to hackers’ attacks is a “disservice to the public” because in a very small number of cases, this encryption could hamper an investigation. Because some criminals might use this encryption, no one should be allowed to have it.

    • James Clapper’s Report On Progress Towards President’s Surveillance Reforms Mainly Explores Executive Branch Loopholes

      James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, has issued an interim report on the intelligence community’s minimal progress towards minimal compliance with the minimal reforms ordered by the administration last year in response to the Snowden leaks. Presidential Policy Directive 28 (PPD-28) was issued in January and Jame Clapper’s office is proud to announce that it’s still in the process of thinking about complying with the stuff the President asked them to do so many months ago.

      [...]

      The EFF asks if the NSA has ever used this reading to its own advantage. Certainly no answer is expected, but the agency has long been a fan of fluid terms and malleable definitions. Which brings us to the ultimate show of executive branch deference, albeit one that implies the administration will help the agency do the things it really wants to, Presidential Policy Directive or no.

    • Rep. Mike Rogers Now Claims Ed Snowden Should Be Charged With Murder, Because Someone Might Die

      Meanwhile, if doing things that might lead to more soldiers getting hurt or killed makes you guilty of murder, shouldn’t Rogers be talking about getting himself and other members of Congress charged with murder? After all, remember it was Congress that failed to equip soldiers with proper body armor.

    • Riding with the Stars: Passenger Privacy in the NYC Taxicab Dataset

      There has been a lot of online comment recently about a dataset released by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. It contains details about every taxi ride (yellow cabs) in New York in 2013, including the pickup and drop off times, locations, fare and tip amounts, as well as anonymized (hashed) versions of the taxi’s license and medallion numbers. It was obtained via a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request earlier this year and has been making waves in the hacker community ever since.

      The release of this data in this unalloyed format raises several privacy concerns. The most well-documented of these deals with the hash function used to “anonymize” the license and medallion numbers. A bit of lateral thinking from one civic hacker and the data was completely de-anonymized. This data can now be used to calculate, for example, any driver’s annual income. More disquieting, though, in my opinion, is the privacy risk to passengers. With only a small amount of auxiliary knowledge, using this dataset an attacker could identify where an individual went, how much they paid, weekly habits, etc. I will demonstrate how easy this is to do in the following section.

    • Handful of Virginia police agencies sharing seized phone data

      A newly publicized document shows that five local police departments in southeastern Virginia have been secretly and automatically sharing criminal suspects’ telephone metadata and compiling it into a large database for nearly two years.

    • Bluetooth-tracking beacon programs uncovered in LA, Chicago

      Marketers are using beacons to see who sees what in their ad networks.

    • Pro-Privacy Senator Wyden on Fighting the NSA From Inside the System

      The Democrat from Oregon, who has served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since 2001, thought he knew the nature of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities. As a committee member with a classified clearance, he received regular briefings to conduct oversight.

    • What Does the Return of the ‘Crypto Wars’ Mean for Bitcoin?

      The crypto wars have returned to the United States. Apple’s announcement of their intent to provide better encryption for their customers launched the latest battle. With this new, higher-level of encryption, iPhone users would allegedly be able to better secure their private communication data from law enforcement.

    • Q&A: Poitras on capturing history in a hotel room

      Imagine if Bob Woodward’s clandestine meetings in a Washington D.C. parking garage with Deep Throat had been documented — or, better yet, filmed by Woodward, himself.

      The analogy isn’t perfect, but that’s about the closest equivalent to Laura Poitras’ one-of-a-kind documentary “Citizenfour,” which captures former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden during his leak of NSA documents to Poitras (a documentarian and reporter) and journalist Glenn Greenwald.

    • Filming in fear: Edward Snowden as ‘Citizenfour’

      U.S. documentary maker Laura Poitras has found herself in many a risky situation in Iraq and Yemen. But she never felt in as much danger as when she was filming Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel while he prepared to blow the whistle on massive secret surveillance programs run by the U.S. government.

    • Germans use password managers more

      Almost a quarter of all internet users in Germany use password manager programmes to manage the access to computers or online services, according to a recent survey conducted by technology association Bitkom.

    • State and Local Cops Running Protection Racket for Federal ‘Partners’

      The drug war not only ushered in the era of state-federal task forces, it also turned on the funding spigot. Suddenly, state and local law enforcement agencies found themselves flush with cash flowing from federal grants to fight the War on Drugs. It also flung open the door to militarizing state and local police, as the feds began arming Mayberry with tanks, body armor and automatic weapons.

    • THURSDAY: Laura Poitras on Her New Edward Snowden Documentary, “CitizenFour”
    • VIDEO TIMELINE: NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s Revelations on Democracy Now!

      Scroll through our video timeline to see all of our coverage of whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the reporting he fueled that exposed the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance state. See our archive of interviews with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.

    • Untenable invasion of privacy

      Certain local police departments are stockpiling and sharing consumer cellphone data, including call logs and the contents of seized devices, under a program established nearly two years ago.

    • Why Was the NSA Chief Playing the Market?
    • Former NSA chief traded shares in commodities firms

      While he was running the National Security Agency, former director Keith Alexander owned and traded commodities firms linked to China and Russia, according to a report.

      A new report by Foreign Policy Magazine shows that Alexander’s financial disclosure forms show Alexander was involved in commodities trades that have been called an “opaque” by experts. The report, which cited forms first disclosed in Vice Magazine, noted that Alexander’s activity was cleared by ethics officials.

    • As the NSA scandal matures, outrage fizzles into business as usual

      It’s been 16 months since The Guardian published its first story on the National Security Agency’s bulk collection program, launching a series of reports that would introduce the public to cryptic terms like PRISM and Boundless Informant.

    • Why is Mark Udall — one of the Senate’s most powerful surveillance reformers — hurting for tech sector cash?

      Out in Colorado, Democrat Mark Udall, the state’s first-term U.S. senator, is finding himself financially outmatched by his Republican opponent: Rep. Cory Gardner raised some $1.3 million in the first half of this month, reports the Associated Press. Udall raised just more than half that. Udall has far less cash on hand than Gardner, too. Yet the race is quite close. Udall is polling at 43 percent to Gardner’s 46 percent, which just barely puts the Republican’s lead beyond the margin of error.

      And that presents an intriguing angle on the race for those of us who obsess over tech policy. Udall is known as one of Congress’s most vociferous advocates for reforming how government, and the National Security Agency in particular, conducts its surveillance programs. He has been for years. And changing how the NSA works is one of the technology world’s top priorities. So while Udall’s political future is up to Colorado’s voters, of course, how is it that Udall is hurting for cash when tech is one of the country’s wealthiest industries?

    • One Of The NSA’s Biggest Critics In The Senate May Lose His Seat

      In the past, we’ve noted how unfortunate it was that the Senator who fought strongest for our civil liberties in Congress, Russ Feingold, got voted out of office back in 2010 — in favor of a “Tea Party” candidate who has consistently voted in favor of the intelligence community since replacing Feingold. Since then, plenty of attention has gone to Senator Ron Wyden for picking up where Feingold left off, but with him on issues of civil liberties as it relates to the intelligence community has always been Senator Mark Udall — who has been perhaps even more vocal than Senator Wyden on these issues.

    • Can Mark Udall Win in Colorado? His Spartan-Like Get-Out-The-Vote, Ground Game Says YES!

      Mark Udall can win, but it`ll be a tough fight! I`m examining some of the sources this morning, and after a modicum of focused analysis, I believe Udall will be able to retain his senate seat. It`s a little scary when you see that Cory Gardner has a 3.8% lead over Mark Udall, according to the Real Clear Politics site (which averages the last 4 polls-those are stale bread after about 24 hours).

    • EU group: NSA’s ‘balance’ of security, privacy in surveillance sucks

      Three SURVEILLE teams of EU-funded experts studied NSA mass surveillance techniques for the purpose of a counter-terrorism investigation and basically found the surveillance ‘failed drastically in striking the correct balance between security and privacy.’

    • T-Mobile quietly hardens part of its U.S. cellular network against snooping

      Wireless carrier T-Mobile US has been quietly upgrading its network in a way that makes it harder for surveillance equipment to eavesdrop on calls and monitor texts, even on the company’s legacy system.

      [...]

      Tests by the Post in New York, Washington, and Boulder, Colorado showed that AT&T calls used the older A5/1 encryption, making them more vulnerable to interception by law enforcement officials or criminals with access to advanced surveillance technology. The tests were performed using a custom application called Darshak which was released at the Black Hat security conference in August.

    • Opinion: Transatlantic trust only goes so far

      John Kerry’s visit to Berlin 25 years after the Wall fell highlighted the crucial role transatlantic ties played earlier and can still play today. But to fulfill that promise, controversial issues can’t be glossed over.

      [...]

      In his remarks, Kerry – as has become almost customary for US officials since the NSA scandal – heaped plenty of praise on his German hosts. He extolled Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for their leadership not only in the Ukraine crisis and within NATO, but also for their role in all other major global issues mentioned above.

      To be sure, it is essential to keep the example of the successful and historic transatlantic cooperation that culminated in the fall of the Wall 25 years ago alive for a younger generation that did not experience it. And it is also important that the United States and Germany work together closely and responsibly on today’s global crises despite the still remaining underlying tensions over the fallout from the NSA scandal and disagreements over the transatlantic trade deal TTIP.

    • Congress Tells FBI There’s ‘Zero Chance’ Of Giving The Bureau Backdoor Access To Americans’ Cellphones
    • Congress: FBI Has “Zero Chance” Of Getting Encrypted Data

      FBI Director James B. Comey said the agency is not happy with Apple (AAPL) and Google’s (GOOG) new encryption on phones, and may have to go through legal routes to make sure the FBI can access criminals’ smartphones.

    • Police have a disconnect

      The NSA will still sweep up data en masse from every electronic platform, and law enforcement will still be able to get a warrant, provided they have probable cause, to search online records or request information from online companies.

    • Edward Snowden Receives Students for Liberty’s Highest Honor

      On Tuesday, Students for Liberty (SFL) announced its 2015 Alumnus of the Year Award will be given to former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

      According to a statement by SFL President and Cofounder Alexander McCobin, the organization has decided to honor Snowden for “initiating a global conversation on the balance of power between governments and peoples that has led to and continues to bring about meaningful reforms to intrusive, abusive, and unjust government surveillance programs.”

    • Why Outlawing Encryption Is Wrong

      In a chilling move toward an all-knowing police state, FBI Director James Comey is making the news rounds to equate data encryption with letting child pornographers, kidnappers, and terrorists roam unchecked. The assertion: Law enforcement will have no tools to catch bad guys if encryption works as designed. So all of a sudden other advances in law enforcement technology are trumped? Let’s get real.

  • Civil Rights

    • CIA Apparently ‘Impersonated’ Senate Staffers To Gain Access To Documents On Shared Drives

      The CIA is still fighting for creative control of its most anticipated 21st century work: the Torture Report. Long before it got involved in the ongoing redaction battle, it was spying on those putting the report together, namely Senators and Senate staffers. Hands were wrung, apologies were made and it was medically determined that Sen. Dianne Feinstein doesn’t have an ironic bone in her body.

    • White House Chief Of Staff Negotiating Redaction Of CIA Torture Report

      White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is personally negotiating how much of the Senate’s so-called torture report, a probe into the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, will be redacted, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

      McDonough’s leading role in the redaction discussion has raised eyebrows in the Senate, given that his position comes with a broad array of urgent responsibilities and that the Obama White House has a team of qualified national security advisers.

    • You Know Who Else Hates Everyone In Congress? Congress!

      Hating on Congress is basically a national past time here in the US. Other than a brief moment of probably misguided solidarity after September 11th, the public’s view towards Congress tends to be pretty negative, and it’s been getting worse lately. Here’s a historical look from Gallup at the public’s approval ratings of Congress.

    • Trial court allows police to use “Glomar” response to deny records requests

      In what appears to be an unprecedented decision, a New York trial court has allowed the New York Police Department (“NYPD”) to issue a “Glomar” response to a state open records request, meaning the government refuses to confirm or deny whether responsive records exist.

    • New York City Court Buys NYPD’s Claims Of ‘National Security,’ Grants It Power To ‘Glomar’ FOIL Requests

      A New York City court has given the NYPD one of the few things separating it from the “big boys” (CIA, FBI and NSA): the permission to issue “Glomar responses” (the infamous “we can neither confirm nor deny…”) to FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requests. Like the audacity of the department itself in pursuing this additional method of keeping the public separated from public documents, the decision is unprecedented.

    • The truth about torture is Obama never wants you to find it

      The cover-up of the CIA’s secret surveillance on the US Senate Intelligence Committee is only getting deeper. As the Huffington Post’s Ali Watkins and Ryan Grim reported on Tuesday afternoon, a still-classified Inspector General report alleges CIA officials “impersonated Senate staffers in order to gain access to Senate communications and drafts of the Intelligence Committee investigation” while Senate staffers were completing their now infamous – but still somehow unreleased – report on the CIA’s Bush-era torture program.

      You would think the White House might be aghast at such revelations, given that it’s the Senate Intelligence Committee’s job to oversee the CIA. But instead of worrying about the Constitution or legal violations, all the Obama administration seems to care about is saving CIA director John Brennan’s ass. There have already been multiple calls for Brennan to resign since he lied to the public about spying on the Senate. And now the White House seems intent on siding with the CIA director beyond all reason.

    • “Pay Any Price”

      No single review or interview can do justice to Pay Any Price, the new book by James Risen that is the antithesis of what routinely passes for journalism about the “war on terror.” Instead of evasive tunnel vision, the book offers big-picture acuity, focusing on realities that are pervasive and vastly destructive.

    • The feds’ ‘truthy’ new chill on free speech

      The government is worried about speech. Big deal. Speech is none of the government’s business.

    • The ‘Hacker Wars’ Documentary Does Hacktivism No Favors

      Weisman also errs in giving too much screen time to Weev, who speaks intelligently about hacktivism in some scenes, but his main function—as far as I can tell—is to celebrate the troll’s role in internet culture. That leaves Jeremy Hammond as the one true hacktivist out of the film’s central characters.

    • US focus on naming foreign hackers gets criticized

      Is Washington spending too much of its time trying to call out countries that carry out cyber attacks?

      That’s what one top industry official argued Wednesday at a conference hosted by the Atlantic Council.

      Dmitri Alperovitch, CTO of Crowdstrike, which is accredited by the National Security Agency to respond to cyber attacks, said Congress should put more of its focus on punishing foreign entities that carry out cyber attacks, even if the government can’t pinpoint exactly who ordered the attack.

    • On Malala, mainstream media and missing the point

      Malala Yousafzai is extraordinary. She is the embodiment of the determination, fearlessness and power possessed by thousands of children in Pakistan and across the Indian subcontinent who struggle for a fair education. After being singled out and shot in the head by the Taliban two years ago, the miracle of her full recovery garnered international attention and catapulted her into the spotlight. She has always been a fierce advocate for girls’ education — only now, she has a global platform.

      [...]

      Yes, the Taliban is seriously hindering opportunities for education and progress in many areas in Pakistan, but not any more than the American drones that are taking the lives of innocent men, women and children in the same areas. The incessant bombing of Pakistan by the U.S., supposedly an intervention that is meant to aid in the counterattack, has produced the same results. Here’s the difference: The Taliban is strongly and rightfully demonized by the entire world, while Obama’s well-funded drone program continues murdering innocent people, supported by our very own tax dollars.

      Yousafzai is a champion of women’s rights and education in Pakistan, but she is also an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy. How often do we hear about that?

    • Gaza and the Bi-Partisan War on Human Rights

      Israel’s seven weeks of attacks this summer on heavily populated civilian neighborhoods in Gaza has led to unprecedented concern among Americans who, while still broadly supportive of Israel, found the attacks to be disproportionate and unnecessary.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Italian Parliament Publishes Draft Internet Bill Of Rights

      There then follow 14 digital rights, including things like basic human rights; right to access the Net; Net neutrality; control of personal data online; protection against surveillance without the approval of a judge; right to online anonymity; and the right to be forgotten.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • International Copyright Policy Laundering and the Ongoing War on Access to Knowledge

        How is it possible that someone could face years in prison for sharing an academic paper online? How did we arrive at such extreme criminal punishments for accessing knowledge and information? Well, this has been long in the making. We got here because Big Content interests have dominated secretive, back-room copyright negotiations over several decades, resulting in laws that are increasingly restricting our speech, and our ability to comment, control, re-use, and access knowledge, culture, and the devices that we own.

      • U.S. Government Shuts Down Music Sharing Sites

        The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appear to be continuing with Operation in Our Sites. In recent days two large music sharing sites, RockDizFile.com and RockDizMusic.com, were taken offline. Their domain names are now pointing to a prominent seizure banner.

      • Copyright Maximalists And Lobbyists Insist ‘Criminal Elements’ Are A Part Of The Copyright Reform Effort

        George Mason University — which not too long ago put out an entire book about the need for copyright reform — apparently also wants to present “the other side.” It recently held a conference entitled “Common Ground: How Intellectual Property Unites Creators and Innovators.” You might assume that this would be along the lines of the point we’ve been making for years that content creators and entrepreneurs are really on the same side, creating new content and tools that better serve the public. But it was actually a conference that appears to have only invited copyright and patent maximalists, to talk about how oppressed both of them are by efforts to reform those two bodies of law away from the maximalist positions. It was a laugh riot, I’m sure.

      • Copyright Law Stifling Free Speech And Artistic Criticism

        Pacific Standard Magazine has a really great article by Noah Berlatsky, looking at how copyright is stifling artistic criticism. Much of it focuses on a recent paper by John Tehranian, whom we’ve written about before. The paper is called Dangerous Undertakings: Sacred Texts and Copyright’s Myth of Aesthetic Neutrality — and focuses on how aesthetic judgments about the value of works almost always applies in copyright cases, which is a bit dangerous when it comes to art, criticism and free speech. Berlatsky’s piece focuses on the famous case of The Wind Done Gone, the famous “unauthorized retelling” of Gone With The Wind from the perspective of another character. The lower court said it was infringing, and the appeals court overturned it — but both were based, at least in part, on aesthetics, rather than underlying legal issues…

10.22.14

Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

Posted in News Roundup at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Let’s Pay for Open Source with a Closed-Source Software Levy

    This column has often explored ways in which some of the key ideas underlying free software and open source are being applied in other fields. But that equivalence can flow in both directions: developments in fields outside the digital world may well have useful lessons for computing. A case in point is a fascinating post by James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a non-governmental organisation concerned with public health and other important issues.

    It is called “The value of an open source dividend”, and is a discussion of the problems the world of pharma faces because of the distorting effect of patents – problems it shares with the world of computing…

  • Free software hacker on open source telemetry project for OpenStack
  • Google Releases Open-Source Material Design Icon Pack

    Looking for a new set of icons? In an effort to spread the Material Design look, Google on Tuesday released a set of cool new icons that anyone can download for free. Need icons for your app, website, or just curious to see what they look like? You can head on over to Github and download the full package. There are 750 in total, and they’re protected under a CC-BY-SA Creative Commons license, which means you can use them for whatever you want.

  • Head of Open Source at Facebook opens up

    We have 200 active projects at Facebook, with 10 million lines of code. Many hundreds of engineers working on these, with over 100,000 followers and 20,000 forks.

  • Hey Apple, we’re gonna tailor Swift as open source – indie devs throw down gauntlet

    A group of independent developers have launched a project to develop a free, open source implementation of Apple’s Swift programming language.

    Dubbed Phoenix, the project is being developed under the auspices of Ind.ie, a group that claims to want to develop “consumer products that are beautiful, free, social, accessible, secure, and distributed” and that eschew business models based on “corporate surveillance.”

  • Phoenix Is Trying To Be An Open Version Of Apple’s Swift

    Apple unveiled the Swift programming language at this year’s WWDC event but sadly it’s still not clear whether Apple will “open up” the language to let it appear on non-Apple platforms. Swift is built atop LLVM and designed to be Apple’s successor to Objective-C in many regards while suppoorting C/Obj-C/Obj-C++ all within a single program. With non-Apple folks being interested in the language, it didn’t take long before an open-source project started up around it.

  • Four Simple Words to Remember on FOSS Forums

    The problem here is that this lack of civility, this absence of open-mindedness, and this departure from decent behavior scales in an enormous way in FOSS: from the new user warmed in the glow of their new-found FOSS enlightenment thinking their first distro is “the Holy Grail,” to some of those who got the ball rolling back in the day and are responsible for the world-altering digital movement in which we now find ourselves.

  • Events

    • The Share Economy is Dead, Long Live to the Share Economy!

      The so-called “shared economy” is just replacing the existing and often inefficient and/or ineffective intermediaries, with a new set of powerful intermediaries. While the companies backing all the share-central initiatives are somehow failing to see their true social potential, they introduced many people to the collaborative economy.

    • GStreamer 2014 Conference Videos Posted: Wayland, HTML5, 3D

      The GStreamer Conference 2014 took place last week in Düsseldorf alongside other Linux Foundation events. For those that missed out on being there in person, Ubicast has once again provided wonderful video recordings of each of the sessions.

  • Web Browsers

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Configuring FreeBSD as a FreeIPA client

      A recent thread on the freeipa-users mailing list highlighted one user’s experience with setting up FreeBSD as a FreeIPA client, complete with SSSD and Sudo integration. GNU+Linux systems have ipa-client-install, but the lack of an equivalent on FreeBSD means that much of the configuration must be done manually. There is a lot of room for error, and this user encountered several “gotchas” and caveats.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Automatic Feedback Directed Optimizer Merged Into GCC

      AutoFDO is the Automatic Feedback Directed Optimizer. AutoFDO relies on the Linux kernel’s perf framework for profiling with performance counters. AutoFDO interprets the perf output and attempts to use the FDO infrastructure to produce better optimized code generation. AutoFDO according to its Google engineers is said to be noticeably faster than traditional FDO for GCC.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Norway closes its open source resource centre

      Amundsen says the centre and its board were not notified in advance of the funding cut. The plan had not been mentioned in meetings with the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, he explains. “We’ve always told them to warn us in advance. So, their announcement came as a shock.”

      In its 2015 budget, the Norwegian government writes that its funding for Friprog had always been a start-up grant, and that the centre has had since 2007 to find alternative sources of income.

    • U.S. government releases open source gamification software

      The United States’ National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has made some of its internally-developed gamification software available for free on GitHub under the MIT free software license.

      Developers may find it useful as a tool for configuring a server to track “gamification” systems like points or badges against user accounts on apps or websites; at the very least, it offers interesting insight into how the NGA is using game design tenets in its training programs.

    • Munich’s return to proprietary desktop would cost millions

      The move to Linux and other open source solutions has helped the city save some 11 million euro over the past years, Reiter writes. He points to a 2012 report by the city’s IT department. Their cost comparison includes savings on proprietary licences for operating system and office productivity tools and on PC hardware.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Digital government, openness and open cloud — new cornerstones of democracy

      For us, an open cloud embraces a wide range of open source languages, databases and services. This is why we support thousands of open source technologies and open standards. Industry, open communities and government need to work together to develop the open source code and open standards needed to reach the goal of fluid interoperability.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open access platform to save the Odia Indian language

        In February 2014, the Government of India declared the South Asian language Odia as the 6th classical language of India which is one among 22 scheduled languages of India and has a literary heritage of more than 5,000 years. There are documents for more than 3,500 years, and the rest are undocumented oral histories. The native Odia speakers became hopeful of getting a lot of language related projects implemented to grow the lineage of this long literary heritage and see the language used and spoken globally, not just in literature but in computer and mobile games, interactive computer applications and in other digital media—and to reach the masses as a communicative language.

    • Open Hardware

      • Take Control With Open Source Hardware

        “Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.”

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US-Backed Ukraine Army Used Cluster Bombs Against Its Own People: Reports

      The Ukraine Army, backed by both the U.S. and NATO throughout its military campaign against rebel factions in eastern regions of the country over recent months, appears to have fired cluster munitions on the city of Donetsk earlier this month, according to a Human Rights Watch investigation and independent reporting by the New York Times.

    • Bowen’s friend was George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq

      Bowen’s friend was George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq, where his buddy George had launched a misguided and very costly war, as well as an effort to reconstruct that country’s fractured economy. The watchdog soon learned that Air Force transport planes had been airlifting whole pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills from the U.S. to Baghdad – totaling some $14 billion!

    • Send Books Not Drones: Malala Yousafzai On Nobel Win, Continuing Fight For Girls’ Education

      While confident beyond her years in front of a crowd Yousafzai’s journey began a long way from the city of brotherly (and sisterly) love’s massive convention center. She was born in 1997 in Mingora, a district in northwest Pakistan. Her father ran a local school and held the locally radical belief that girls should be educated too. Even though Malala’s mother is illiterate her father consults her before making any decisions. This has helped the eldest of their three children and only daughter feel emboldened. Of course, it helps that Malala is smart. She thrives in school and has always been motivated by competition with her classmates.

      [...]

      A drone attack may kill two or three terrorists but it will not kill terrorism. If the drones continue terrorism will spread.

    • Drones and domination

      Words like ‘precision’, ‘necessity’, ‘cure’ and ‘excision’ dominated the semantics of the drone project. The drones were operated from several oceans away, everyone knew, but some trust could be put in the American superpower’s ability to know of threats and to eliminate them from the hapless and diseased soil of its ally.

      [...]

      The bureau’s project, Naming the Dead, collects available data on the people killed by drone attacks (to the extent it is made available). As per these statistics, they say that of 2,379 people killed, only 704 have been named, and only 295 of the total named have been reported to be members of some armed group. Only 84 (4pc) have actually been identified as members of Al Qaeda. Furthermore, nearly 30pc of those killed by drone attacks were not linked to any militant group at all.

    • On Killing Trayvons

      A movement is coalescing around reforming police procedures and taking away their military weapons.

    • My Father Was Killed By A Computer, Says 7 Year Old Afghan Child

      As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.

    • ‘Cleansing the stock’ and other ways governments talk about human beings

      Those who kill for a living employ similar terms. Israeli military commanders described the massacre of 2,100 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians (including 500 children), in Gaza this summer as “mowing the lawn”. It’s not original. Seeking to justify Barack Obama’s drone war in Pakistan (which has so far killed 2,300 people, only 4% of whom have since been named as members of al-Qaida), Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser Bruce Riedel explained that “you’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.” The director of the CIA, John Brennan, claimed that with “surgical precision” his drones “eliminate the cancerous tumour called an al-Qaida terrorist while limiting damage to the tissue around it”. Those who operate the drones describe their victims as bug splats.

    • U.S. Jewish lawyer to Hamas goes on anti-Israel Twitter tirade
    • Terror Suspects’ Lawyer Stanley Cohen Rants Before Prison Sentence
    • Better A Hundred Palestinians Killed Than One Israeli Soldier

      For years now, Israel has been appearing in world media mainly as a country that occupies the Palestinian lands. Press photos of Israelis almost always show heavily armed and armored soldiers confronting protesting Palestinians, often children. Few of these pictures have had an immediate dramatic impact, but the cumulative, incremental effect should not have been underestimated.

    • Women Against War quilts target US drones

      Four six-by-six quilts are on display for the next month throughout the Capital District as part of an exhibit to make the general public aware of military drones and their civilian casualties.

      The quilt squares represent dozens of drone casualties, said Maureen Aumand with Women Against War, which is sponsoring the local exhibition currently in the concourse of Empire State Plaza. There are 144 squares in the quilts.

    • Violence kills a child every five minutes, says UN

      One child dies every five minutes as a result of violence, but only a minority die in war zones, according to a report by the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.

    • Being the ‘indispensable nation’ is killing American democracy

      President Barack Obama, scorned by his Republican critics as an “isolationist” who wants to “withdraw from the world,” is waging the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan, boasts of toppling the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, launches airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State and picks targets for drones to attack in as many as eight countries, while dispatching planes to the Russian border in reaction to its machinations in Ukraine, and a fleet to the South China Sea as the conflict over control of islands and waters escalates between China and its neighbors.

      [...]

      But endless war undermines the Constitution.

    • British drone operators could be breaking international law, says former GCHQ chief

      British military and intelligence personnel working at US Air Force bases on the controversial drones programme could be at risk of breaking international law, according to a new report from the former director of GCHQ.

      Washington’s “remotely piloted aircraft” (RPA) programme has killed terrorists and civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, drawing the condemnation of human rights organisations.

    • We Can’t Properly Debate Drone Casualties Without Knowing The Names of Those Killed

      The most important question to ask of the Global War on Terror should be the most simple to answer. Instead, it is a perennial shadow cast over US counter-terror operations since 9/11.

      We still don’t know, and still must ask: Who exactly is the enemy?

      [...]

      The Bureau found that fewer than 4 percent of the people killed by drone fire in Pakistan have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda. This doesn’t mean, to be sure, that only 4 percent of drone deaths were named members of al Qaeda. Rather, of the killed individuals identified using a variety of sources, only 4 percent matched with already named al Qaeda members. The Bureau spent more than a year looking into 2,379 deaths, using multiple sources including “both Pakistani government records leaked to the Bureau, and hundreds of open source reports in English, Pashtun, and Urdu.”

    • Afghanistan Déjà Vu?

      If we are to learn anything from the attempt to remake Iraq and promote democracy through methods that emphasize brute force, more war is not the answer for Afghanistan. It is time to put US intellectual and material resources into developing another way.

    • America’s Policy: War Now, Justifications Later

      In the counterterrorism realm, “imminence” is the magic word these days. The government need only utter it to hand itself a virtual license to kill.

      Understanding how language can be marshaled for controversial and even bloody purposes requires the ear of a linguist and the mind of a contracts lawyer.

      But the time to go back to school is now—with “imminence” seemingly exploding everywhere.

      In the past few years, the term has been invoked again and again in reference to the thousands targeted by the United States drone program. And it pops up just about every time the U.S. plans another drone attack or military commitment.

    • Analysts criticize US-led airstrikes against Iraqi troops

      According to a security source in Baghdad, an Iraqi General among with eight soldiers were killed on Sunday after an army patrol from the Baghdad Operations Command was targeted in a US bombing in Duwayliba, west of the capital.

    • US Seeks to Avoid Civilian Casualties During Drone Strikes: White House

      New statistics were released on October 16 by the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism, claiming that fewer than 4 percent of the victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan had been identified as members of Al Qaeda. A greater number of casualties were described as militants, but with little corroborating evidence.

    • Only 4% Of Drone Victims In Pakistan Named As al-Qaeda Members
    • Pakistan-US: Death From The Skies – Analysis

      The present series of drone attacks, which raised the death toll to 35 within a week, concentrated around areas where Pakistan is presently conducting the military Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched on June 15, 2014, in the aftermath of the attack on Karachi Airport on June 8-9, 2014. At least 33 persons, including all ten attackers, were killed in the Karachi attack. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has, according to Pakistan Army sources, thus far killed more than 1,200 terrorists and 86 soldiers (no independent verification of fatalities of identities of those killed is available, as media access to the areas of conflict if severely limited).

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Panetta clashed with CIA over memoir

      Former CIA director Leon Panetta clashed with the agency over the contents of his recently published memoir and allowed his publisher to begin editing and making copies of the book before he had received final approval from the CIA, according to former U.S. officials and others familiar with the project.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • A New Way to Silence Mumia Abu-Jamal

      This is not the first time there has been an attempt to silence Abu-Jamal. In 1994, NPR abruptly cancelled plans to air commentaries by him it had commissioned to air on All Things Considered.

      And the fact that Democracy Now! is covering this story now brings to mind what happened in 1997, when the show was set to begin airing a series of Abu-Jamal commentaries. The radio station at Philadelphia’s Temple University, KRTI, abruptly canceled its contract with Pacifica and Democracy Now! (Extra!Update, 4/97) right before the pieces were to air.

      In both cases, there were questions raised about what kinds of pressure were brought to bear on the media outlets. The controversy over NPR led lawmakers like Sen. Bob Dole to muse about the need for “closer oversight.” In the case of KRTI, there were suggestions that state funding could be at risk.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • A ‘Worthless and Whiny’ Attack on a Genuine Journalistic Hero

      Since the release of the film Kill the Messenger, there has been renewed focus on Webb’s story, which documented how CIA-linked drug traffickers were supplying US drug dealers with cheap cocaine that helped fuel the crack epidemic in the 1980s. For the Post, this means it’s time to argue once again that Webb got the story wrong.

    • Hardly an ennobling choice

      There are many like Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan whom the West chose to ignore

    • Understanding And Defeating Resurgent Fascism

      Usually, fascism is described as a form of authoritarian nationalism in which a dictator has complete power and violently suppresses opposition and criticism while emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and racism. (If you want to read a 14 point characterization of fascism, see Professor Lawrence Britt’s ‘Fascism Anyone?‘

    • Movie ‘The Hacker Wars’ proves we are under U.S. government surveillance

      Weisman’s new documentary, “The Hacker Wars,” is frightening and a must-see. Why? Because the movie makes clear that we Americans should be screaming at our government for trampling our rights. Aside from spying on us, they are punishing those who exercise their right to free speech. The U.S. Constitution is becoming a bad joke. The U.S. government is arresting people left and right for telling the truth.

      NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake makes a powerful statement in the film, “The United States has unchained from the constitution, this is an alien form of government.”

    • The CIA’s Role In Australia’s Coup: RIP Gough Whitlam

      Though you would never know it from reading The New York Times obit of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, who passed away yesterday at the age of 98, the CIA likely played a central role in the effective coup that removed Whitlam from office in 1975. In today’s post Snowden world, it wouldn’t shock anyone perhaps–but it’s important to remember that the spying, dishonesty, illegality and crimes perpetuated by the government’s intelligence agencies, usually at the behest of the White House, stretch back decades. Two key words are missing from the obit: Pine Gap.

    • Charging Snowden With…Murder? Really?

      So far the Justice Department has not charged Snowden with murder, or even hinted in that direction. Pursuing a murder count would raise the stakes significantly, both for the United States and, naturally, Snowden himself. It’s also totally unclear what basis, if any, Rogers may have for suggesting this. Who exactly is Snowden supposed to have killed, when, and where? If Rogers has any grounds—factual or legal—for this rather dramatic statement, he should make them clear.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • U.S. Control of ICANN Likely Ending

      Now, significant change is in the air. That contract expires in September, 2015. NTIA said in March that it may move ICANN to multinational stewardship. The details aren’t set yet, but needless to say, the matter is steeped in controversy. The group held a meeting, ICANN 51, last week in Los Angeles.

    • Bloomberg Host Calls Out Telecom CEO On Net Neutrality Stance

      Bloomberg TV co-host Cory Johnson called out the hypocrisy of activist telecommunications investor Jeff Pulver who misleadingly stoked fears that proponents of net neutrality advocate for regulations that would hamper telecommunications innovations in. Johnson pointed out that without an open internet, the CEO might have been unable to create his own business.

10.21.14

Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Contribute to an Enterprise Open Source Project?

    It would be difficult to find a better example of the former scenario than the OpenDaylight project. With a focus on software-defined networking and network functions virtualization, OpenDaylight launched in April 2013 as a collaborative open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation. Since then, it’s taken off like a rocket.

  • Events

    • Asia’s Largest Convention on Open Source is Back

      The much-awaited convention on open source technology, Open Source India, fondly known as OSI Days, is back and registration for passes has begun. The 11th edition of Open Source India will be held at the NIMHANS Convention Center, Bengaluru from 7th to 8th November, 2014.

    • A Seat at the Big Kids’ Table at Ohio LinuxFest

      Ohio LinuxFest isn’t just another excuse to travel. It’s a means for us to fulfill ourselves, and to get honest, tangible feedback for what we do and for what others are doing. It’s a place where ideas are sounded, bent, crumpled and turned until they either come out of the crucible perfect…or useless.

      That’s what our gatherings are about.

      They are about excitement and promise. They​ are about making sure the next generation has a real chance to put the first human footprint on Mars. They are a chance to insure they have the tools and the curiosity to take something apart and then make it better. This next generation will cure diabetes; they will make cancer an inconvenience and not a death sentence.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Juno is out, Debian (and Ubuntu Trusty ports) packages ready

      This is just a quick announce: Debian packages for Juno are out. In fact, they were ready the day of the release, on the 16th of October. I uploaded it all (to Experimental) the same day, literally a few hours after the final released was git tagged. But I had no time to announce it.

    • How OpenStack powers the research at CERN

      OpenStack has been in a production environment at CERN for more than a year. One of the people that has been key to implementing the OpenStack infrastructure is Tim Bell. He is responsible for the CERN IT Operating Systems and Infrastructure group which provides a set of services to CERN users from email, web, operating systems, and the Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud based on OpenStack.

    • Creating scalable, intelligent storage solutions with OpenStack

      Managing complexity and the sheer volume of storage requirements within the corporate environment today is one of the greatest challenges facing IT departments. The growth of business data and the insatiable demand for storage has been a catalyst for developing a new approach to enterprise storage in the cloud.

  • Funding

    • Mirantis Pulls Down Huge $100 Million Funding for OpenStack Efforts

      Mirantis, which has steadily remained a nimble player in the OpenStack cloud computing arena, has just nailed down a massive $100 million Series B funding round led by Insight Venture Partners. The financing is being billed as the largest Series B open source investment in history.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source baby robots – a moonshot project

      In his TEDx Talk Fabricating open-source baby robots, Oudeyer explains that scientists also use fabrication to build new knowledge of the world around us. Scientists build large scale aquariums to understand ocean behavior and construct large computer simulations to understand spiral galaxies.

    • Democracy And FLOSS

      How can you have transparency with non-Free software running the system when you can’t see the code? How can there be accountability with non-Free software when you can’t see the code? These things are about more than source code, but to really start being accountable and transparent, the code has to be trusted by everyone. Only opening the code can do that. Free Software is also about the rights of the user of the software. Non-Free software always restricts what a user can do with his own hardware and how a user uses the software on his hardware and the information therein. FLOSS acknowledges the ownership of the hardware and data. For real democracy, governments and citizens should use Free Software, FLOSS, Free/Libre Open Source Software. Nothing else will do.

    • Open Access/Content

      • 5 open access journals for open source enthusiasts

        The ever rising cost of academic journals is a major burden for researchers. Academic libraries cannot always keep up with increases in subscription fees causing libraries to drop journals from their collection. This makes it harder for students and professors to quickly and easily access the information they need. Inter-library loan requests are an option but they do take time. Even if it only takes a few days to fill an inter-library loan request, that is still time wasted for a researcher that has a deadline. While there is no single, quick fix to the problem with the academic journal prices, there is a movement applying the open source way to academic research in an attempt to solve the problem—the open access movement.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Facebook’s Hack Language Making Progress To Advance PHP

      Earlier this year Facebook launched the Hack language powered by their HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) and being based off PHP. Good progress is being made on enhancing the language with interest in the project continuing to grow inside and outside of Facebook.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Malayalam opentype specification – part 1

      This post is a promised followup from last November documenting intricacies of opentype specification for Indic languages, specifically for Malayalam. There is an initiative to document similar details in the IndicFontbook, this series might make its way into it. You need a Malayalam unicode font supporting traditional orthography to correctly display most of the examples described in this article, some can be obtained from here.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Mac Mini receives lower repair score than 2012 model after iFixit teardown

      THE IFIXIT TECHNICIANS have torn open the 2012 Apple Mac Mini and given it a lower repairability score than the previous generation of just six out of 10.

      The 2012 Mac Mini was awarded eight out of 10 by the iFixit handymen, but the updated model received two fewer points because the machine cannot have its RAM upgraded as the unit is soldered fast to the logic board inside.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • When ‘Washington Is Broken’ Isn’t the Story

      There’s no real reason to think that the US Surgeon General could do much to calm people’s irrational fears about Ebola. Nonetheless, the wall-to-wall coverage of Ebola on TV news has served as a reminder that the country does not currently have one, thanks to so-far successful efforts to block the nomination of Vivek Murthy. But explaining his nomination as a problem of “Washington dysfunction” misses the point.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Athens v Munich: why homelessness hits rich cities as hard as poor ones

      In Athens, it’s caused by an economy in crisis; in Munich, by an economy that’s booming. The result, though, is the same – a worsening homeless problem that doesn’t reflect a city’s wealth

      [...]

      Through seven years of deep recession, Greece’s GDP has sunk by a quarter. The official unemployment rate here is 27%, including 52% of under-25s. That means some 180,000 (probably many more) of Athens’ 670,000 residents – and maybe more than 1 million of the 4 million-odd people who live in the greater Athens urban area – are now without work.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Spending for ALEC Member Tillis Breaks All Records in NC Senate Race

      The Koch brothers’ new Super PAC, Freedom Partners Action Fund (FPAF) — launched this summer — has announced a huge new seven-figure ad buy attacking Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC). The ad buy makes the North Carolina Senate race between Hagan and Republican state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis all-time number one in outside spending, at $55.7 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

      Spending is on track to surpass $100 million, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Nearly $8 million was spent there (in party and non-party independent spending) just in the last week, according to the Campaign Finance Institute.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • How Edward Snowden Changed Journalism

      “Citizenfour,” the new documentary about Edward Snowden, by Laura Poitras, is, among other things, a work of journalism about journalism. It opens with quotations from correspondence between Poitras and a new source who identifies himself only as Citizenfour. This source turns out to be Snowden. Soon, Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, at the time a columnist for the Guardian, travel to Hong Kong to meet Snowden in a hotel room.

    • Apple May Want To Protect Your Phone Data From Snooping, But It’s Snarfing Up Your Local Desktop Searches

      So, Apple got plenty of kudos from security and privacy folks in deciding to encrypt mobile phone data, but over on the desktop side, apparently the message hasn’t quite gotten through. Instead, it appears that the latest Mac operation system has the company automatically sending all of your desktop searches back to Apple. These aren’t internet searches, but just what you’re searching for locally.

    • Apple’s Mac computers can automatically collect your location information

      Apple has begun automatically collecting the locations of users and the queries they type when searching for files with the newest Mac operating system, a function that has provoked backlash for a company that portrays itself as a leader on privacy.

    • Australian spookhaus busted for warrantless tap of own phones

      Australia’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (AIGIS) has found that the nation’s Australian Security and Intelligence Agency (ASIO) spied on itself in contravention of local laws.

    • FBI Wants To Know If Applicants Have Been Downloading Unauthorized Content

      Earlier this year, FBI Director James Comey suggested that the FBI might consider backing off its policy of refusing to hire anyone who has used marijuana in order to find competent computer folks who can deal with online crimes. After some backlash (and some support) for those statements, Comey quickly backed down, claiming it was all just a joke.

    • Everybody Knows FBI Director James Comey Is Wrong About Encryption, Even The FBI

      FBI Director James Comey is apparently a likable guy, but if he’s going to attack encryption, it might help if he actually understood it better than, say, the editorial board of the Washington Post, who recently argued against “backdoors” in technology, and for a magical “golden key” — as if the two were somehow different. We wrote a quick take on Comey’s Brooking’s talk last week, but the deeper you dive into his talk the more and more evident it is that he not only doesn’t quite understand the issues he’s talking about, but that he doesn’t even seem to understand when his own statements conflict with each other.

    • FBI Director Continues His Attack On Technology, Privacy And Encryption
    • New Zealand Police Raid Home Of Reporter Who Embarrassed Gov’t Officials & Was Working On Snowden Documents

      Over at The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher note that Hager was also working with them on some Snowden documents as they concerned what was happening in New Zealand. As you may recall, right before the election, Greenwald had used some Snowden documents to show that Prime Minister Key had lied about mass surveillance — leading Key to petulantly lash out with ad hominems at Greenwald, referring to him as a “loser.” Greenwald made it clear that they would likely be revealing more about New Zealand’s activities — and now wonders if that might be another reason why Hager was raided, once the government figured out who Greenwald was working with.

    • Police in Washington, DC Are Using the Secretive ‘Stingray’ Cell Phone Tracking Tool

      Back in 2003, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, DC was awarded a $260,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to purchase surveillance technology called Stingray — a contraption the size of a suitcase that simulates a cell phone tower and intercepts mobile phone calls and text messages.

    • Chinese government launches man-in-middle attack against iCloud

      GreatFire.org, a group that monitors censorship by the Chinese government’s national firewall system (often referred to as the “Great Firewall”), reports that China is using the system as part of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on users of Apple’s iCloud service within the country. The attacks come as Apple begins the official rollout of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on the Chinese mainland.

    • Who’s Lying About Whisper?

      The denials are strong, but 1 & 2 above can’t both be true. That means someone is lying, and based on what I’ve seen so far, and looking at who has what incentives, that someone is Whisper.

      The additional information about Whisper working with the Department of Defense, and likely the Chinese government, are also huge stories on their own.

    • RT interview about GCHQ

      Here is my recent inter­view on RT dis­cuss­ing the UK listen­ing post, GCHQ, its pros­ti­tu­tion to America’s NSA, and the fail­ure of oversight…

  • Civil Rights

    • FF Launches Updated Know Your Rights Guide

      If the police come knocking at your door, the constitution offers you some protection. But the constitution is just a piece of paper—if you don’t know how to assert your rights. And even if you do assert your rights…what happens next? That answer may seem complicated, but protecting yourself is simple if you know your rights.

    • Know Your Rights
    • Police Officer Blames Everyone Else But Police Officers For The Public’s General Distrust Of Law Enforcement

      The cop who always laid a few extra licks on an “uncooperative” arrestee still does so… only there’s a good chance the punches/baton swings/taser bursts have been captured on “tape.” The cop who always performed a little extracurricular searching during routine traffic stops continues to do so… only now he’s being served with civil rights lawsuits and the dashcam recording of his illegal efforts is splashed all over the news thanks to the plaintiff’s lawyer.

      If the public no longer implicitly trusts the police to be the “good guys,” the problem isn’t the public. It’s the cops who take money from citizens just because local laws say they can. It’s the multiple agencies who feel the only way to handle the drug problem is as violently as possible. It’s cops who shoot people’s pets, rather than allow the animals’ owners to restrain them. It’s officers who constantly “fear for their lives” endangering the lives of citizens around them with careless use of deadly force. This is what’s changed the public’s perception of law enforcement. Sure, some of it may be based on bad info and careless hyperbole, but a majority of the damage done to the reputation of law enforcement has been inflicted by the officers themselves.

    • Parents May Be Liable for What Their Kids Post on Facebook, Court Rules

      Parents can be held liable for what their kids post on Facebook , a Georgia appellate court ruled in a decision that lawyers said marked a legal precedent on the issue of parental responsibility over their children’s online activity.

      The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the parents of a seventh-grade student may be negligent for failing to get their son to delete a fake Facebook profile that allegedly defamed a female classmate.

    • Dangerous Rulings: Georgia Court Says Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook
    • Cops Won’t Help You: 7 Things I Saw as a Real Slasher Victim

      Maksim Gelman, noted crack addict and man-about-town, flipped out in February of 2011 and stabbed his stepfather to death over an argument about a Lexus. During the next 28 hours he would fatally stab two more people (a woman he had a crush on and her mom), kill a fourth by running him down with a car, and wound several more innocent New Yorkers via random stabbings.

      [...]

      We still weren’t moving. The cops told me it was because there were other officers on the tracks so they’d had to cut the power. But, again, none of them came near me to render first aid. The only guy who did was a passenger named Alfred Douglas. He stuck his bare hand on the biggest wound, on my head, and staunched the bleeding. Eventually, somebody gave him napkins. I’m not sure how much those helped, but I am sure Alfred saved my life.

    • How to Drive a Colleague to His Grave and Sleep Easy at Night

      Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s long-time CIA correspondent–he makes it clear to Grim that he doesn’t appreciate it when people refer to him as a “CIA stooge”–knows quite a bit more about drug-trafficking and Latin America, enough that he knows how to greet charges that CIA assets were running drugs–not with denial, but with a blithe shrug…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Google Continues To Try To Appease Hollywood, Though It Is Unlikely To Ever Be Enough

        But, here’s the thing: as we said when Google first came out with this report, it will never be enough for the legacy guys in Hollywood. That’s because they incorrectly blame Google for their own inability to adapt to the changing market. They blame their diminishing revenue on Google, and even as Google makes it harder and harder to find unauthorized content, that revenue isn’t going to come back… so they’ll still blame Google. But Google was never the problem. The legacy entertainment industry and its political supporters will continue to point to search results that don’t exist and search terms that are never used as some sort of “proof” because that’s what they do. Rather than adapt, they really just want Google to do things for them. And for whatever reason, Google is doing more and more… and it’s unlikely to ever please the likes of James Murdoch, because Google “not doing things” was never the real problem.

Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Windows is a weapon of (cyber) war

Land mine

Summary: Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web

So Microsoft spreads its lies in the media again and one of the lies we hear too often is that Microsoft obeys the law and Free software is “hacking” (they mean cracking) and a tool of “pirates” or whatever the bogeyman du jour may be. Well, actually, the very opposite is true. Criminals use Microsoft Windows to bombard sites (as they have been doing against several of my Web sites — including Techrights — for well over a month now) and if justice was to be upheld, Microsoft Windows would be banned by ISPs. Microsoft is claiming that it is upholding the law but actually, in reality, it breaks the law; it is not even a veiled action. It’s very blatant and a serious violation of several laws. This is a valid claim at many levels and today we’ll assemble some relevant new evidence and patiently connect it. This post is relatively long, but it covers a lot of ground, so please bear with us and keep reading.

“With its bogus takedown requests, Microsoft has turned DMCA into more of a joke. It also shows how hostile Microsoft has become towards FOSS.”Chris Pirillo, a longtime proponent of Microsoft with deep links to the company (not just his MVP title), has just had a video censored by Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft has once again issued a bogus takedown request against Google, as it did before (repeatedly). Microsoft is a criminal company because here too there is illegal action being taken by Microsoft. These bogus takedown requests, as per DMCA, are clearly a violation of the law. Microsoft does not want to obey the law (it sees itself as above the law or exempt from the law), so law itself probably isn’t much of a deterrent. Here is a new report from Wired. It is titled “Microsoft Serves Takedown Notices to Videos Not Infringing on Anything” and it says:

Microsoft’s never-ending war on software piracy caused some collateral damage this week. The victims? A handful of prominent YouTube video bloggers.

The bloggers—including LockerGnome founder Chris Pirillo and FrugalTech host Bruce Naylor—took to Twitter on Tuesday, with the hashtag #Microstopped, to complain that they had received erroneous copyright infringement notices for videos that were often several years old. The notices were filed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the U.S. law that seeks to control access to copyrighted material on the net.

The funny thing here here is that Pirillo is the target. How many people without the ability to protest publicly and loudly had the same thing done to them by Microsoft? We may never know. Censorship of evidence of censorship (e.g. channel bans) and other circular scenarios often kick in and become cynically applicable.

Pirillo would not sue Microsoft for breaking the law in this case because he is in Microsoft’s pocket, but will Google finally use the law against Microsoft? Enough is enough. Microsoft has done this to Google for years!

Microsoft’s censorship does not quite stop here. There is another new story which speaks about how Github will deal with takedown requests from now on. Remember that Microsoft censors GitHub this way, essentially damaging FOSS projects by altogether purging them.

GitHub explains its policy change as follows: “The first change is that from now on we will give you an opportunity, whenever possible, to modify your code before we take it down. Previously, when we blocked access to a Git repository, we had to disable the entire repository. This doesn’t make sense when the complaint is only directed at one file (or a few lines of code) in the repository, and the repository owner is perfectly happy to fix the problem.”

Mike Masnick said, “kudos to Github and its lawyers for recognizing that sometimes you have to let in a little legal risk for the good of the overall community.”

With its bogus takedown requests, Microsoft has turned DMCA into more of a joke. It also shows how hostile Microsoft has become towards FOSS.

Another new report from Wired says that “Conficker remains, six years later, the most widespread infection on the internet.” This report is titled “How Microsoft Appointed Itself Sheriff of the Internet” and it explains how in the midst of Internet chaos, caused by Microsoft Windows having back doors, Microsoft just decided to hijack a huge portion of the Internet, breaking it altogether (a lot of UNIX/Linux-based systems affected, including millions of services being down for days). This was an unbelievable and probably unprecedented abuse by Microsoft. A judge got bamboozled and Microsoft fooled the press into distracting from its serious abuses against No-IP. There ought to have been a massive lawsuit. As the author Robert McMillan explains: “For the past 15 years, Durrer has worked as the CEO of a small internet service provider called No-IP. Based on Reno, Nevada, the 16-person company offers a special kind of Domain Name System service, or DNS, for consumers and small businesses, letting them reliably connect to computers whose IP addresses happen to change from time to time. It’s used by geeks obsessed with online security, fretful parents monitoring nanny cams in their toddler’s bedrooms, and retailers who want remote access to their cash registers. But it’s also used by criminals as a way of maintaining malicious networks of hacked computers across the internet, even if the cops try to bring them down.”

It was actually Microsoft that took them down. Microsoft is a criminal company and it used its own abuses as an excuse to break other people’s network. Here we are talking about the company that cannot even patch its systems to stop zombie PCs (with back doors that enabled them becoming zombies). Here again we have Microsoft failing to patch Windows and instead breaking it:

Microsoft has withdrawn an update released this past Tuesday due to user reports of system reboots after installation.

The update released as described in Microsoft Security Advisory 2949927 added SHA-2 hash algorithm signing and verification for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. It was one of three proactive security feature updates released on Tuesday in addition to the eight patches of Windows and Office.

Microsoft makes it impossible to close the latest back door which it already told the NSA about, so people with Windows on their PC will be unable to boot or simply stay ‘infected’ with the latest back door. It’s all binary, so there is nothing they can do; they can’t even apply their own patch. As another source put it: “Microsoft has pulled one of the updates from its most recent Patch Tuesday release and recommends anyone who downloaded the fix should uninstall it.

“The update added support for the SHA-2 signing and verification functionality to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 machines with the intent of improving security over the more vulnerable SHA-1 hashing algorithm.”

Microsoft Windows is simply unfit for use. Techrights, for example, has been under DDOS attack for over a month now. We know the offending machines. They all are Microsoft Windows PCs that got hijacked (from many different countries). The total number of IP addresses banned in the latest DDOS purge (so far today) is nearly 2,000. That’s a lot of Microsoft Windows zombies (with over 1200 IPs banned in just half a day). When will this operating system be banned by ISPs for facilitating DDOS attacks? How many Web sites can withstand attacks from so many zombies PCs and for how long? This is indirectly Microsoft’s fault, not just the attacker’s (the botmaster’s) fault because Windows does what it was designed to do; it has back doors. It can be commandeered remotely. This is clearly incompatible with the Internet.

Free software does not have such issues, but distributions that make their source code freely available to anyone can at least be checked for back doors, perhaps with the exception of binary Red Hat distributions like RHEL, which may have some back doors since around the start of the millennium, i.e. the same time Microsoft Windows got them (reportedly 1999), based on an IDG report and one from Beta News that said at the time: “It appears that Microsoft Windows is not the only operating system on the market that has a backdoor for those users who know the magic words. While Red Hat officials downplayed its seriousness, a team at Internet Security Systems, Inc. reports the security hole allows an intruder to access and modify files on systems running the most recent version of Red Hat Linux.”

Speaking of Red Hat, we are saddened to see it taking a stance of silence on the whole systemd issue. Red Hat is very much complicit in it, but it refuses to say anything. In fact, criticism of systemd is now being treated almost as taboo in Debian mailing lists because systemd‘s creator has shrewdly personified the issue and made it political, eliminating any chance to have truly technical debates about systemd. Personally, I worry the most about the number of bugs it would introduce, opening the door for exploitation. It replaces too many mature components. Microsoft’s propaganda network 1105 Media keeps spreading negative articles about FOSS because of such feuds (the systemd fued), so we don’t wish to feed this fire right here. Well, at least not right now.

Incidentally, also on the subject of security, here is a good new article titled “Enough! Stop hyping every new security threat” (especially against FOSS).

The author explains that “now it has reached a fever pitch, with proactive marketing of individual exploits with supercool names — Shellshock, Heartbleed, Sandworm — some of which even have logos.”

“Logos for malware,” he asks, “Really?” Microsoft partners did the logo work to help demonise FOSS and stir up a debate about FOSS security as a whole (because of one single bug!). There have hardly been any stories (i.e. evidence) that the Bash bug and OpenSSL bug resulted in some disaster or meltdown.

The bottom line is, proprietary software such as Windows has back doors and causes stormy weather on the Web (DDOS attacks). It’s Microsoft Windows that should be taken down as part of takedown requests, not innocent videos, whole networks (like No-IP) and FOSS code (GitHub) that Microsoft maliciously and deceivingly (against the law) calls offending and tries to take down.

Microsoft ‘Loving’ GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

True quotes from Microsoft below, click to read in full.

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also “loves Linux”

THE CORPORATE media is not in the business of informing the public. To the mainstream media the public is not the client; corporate partners are the clients whereas audience (the public) is the product on sale. It was just so easy to be reminded of this trivial observation because Microsoft is a good example. It was so easy to see it since Monday morning when the media decided to herald all sorts of utterly absurd claims. But let’s go a little further back than 2 days and see just how Microsoft games the media and tries to fool the whole world, or merely to aggravate/rile up the opposition, which in itself can work magic, as long as journalists are willing to play along at risk to their reputation.

Earlier this month we wrote about the latest FOSS event that Microsoft had infiltrated, essentially stealing the show. The media only spoke about Microsoft; the event was supposed to be about something else. Days ago we also learned about Microsoft infiltrating All Things Open again, as it had done in previous years (we covered that at the time). Watch an eyewitness account from FOSS Force:

Actually, I enjoyed watching Microsoft’s spokesperson squirm while trying to make the case that “Microsoft is an open source company” before an audience that was politely not buying it. I also found it somewhat enlightening to watch an open core company show its true colors, revealing itself to be a proprietary firm merely riding the open source bandwagon. As for Oracle, developer level technical discussions on Java and MySQL can only be beneficial.

Microsoft will never get tired of lying; it probably aims for/targets low-hanging fruit, i.e. people who “want to believe” or Microsoft partners who really wish to think that Microsoft is now ethical. It’s a PR charade and it is utterly shameless. It’s a disservice to everyone except Microsoft; it’s an insult to truth.

Watch how Information Week, a Microsoft-friendly media site, smears FOSS these days and helps Microsoft’s EEE (Embrace, Extent, Distinguish) of Docker. This is utterly preposterous, but if repeated often enough it may end up fooling the gullible. This is perhaps the ultimate goal.

Around the same time we noticed Maria Deutscher writing this pro-Microsoft puff piece titled “Microsoft continues open source love affair with Apache Storm endorsement”. Here is the opening part:

Colorful Sonoran Desert StormMicrosoft Corp., the poster child of proprietary software, has developed a sudden appetite for open-source technologies. Barely three days after revealing plans to make future versions of Windows Server compatible with the Docker container engine, which currently only runs on Linux, the Redmond giant is rolling out support for Apache Storm for its Azure infrastructure-as-a-service platform.

No, Microsoft is trying to close down (or “contain”, to use the terminology of Docker) what’s open inside a closed/locked-down, proprietary environment with surveillance and back doors. That’s what’s happening. Non-technical journalists are easier to fool and they just blindly print whatever Microsoft says. Deutscher later wrote another pro-Microsoft puff piece. It is titled “Microsoft expands open source reach”, but lest we forget Steve Ballmer stating: “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Windows is proprietary. Microsoft just loves power and money, it does not love FOSS and it never will. It’s an anathema to Microsoft. But one can always count on Microsoft boosters to support the narrative that Microsoft now “loves” FOSS and “loves” GNU/Linux, which Microsoft merely wants contained (to contain Linux, like a farmer contains sheep for the imminent slaughter).

Several shallow reports, including some from Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Peter and Jordan Novet in Redmond, actually stated that Microsoft “loves Linux”, presumably quoting the liar in chief, Mr. Nadella (more of his lies we will cover in a separate post another day). IDG went as far as posting the click bait “Microsoft (hearts) Linux” and “Microsoft now loves Linux.” This is not journalism; it’s entertainment. Some of these entertainment-type headlines came from Microsoft-friendly news sites which were previously paid by Microsoft. The corporate media has seemingly turned to fiction, satire, clickbait etc. and much of it is known to be tied to Microsoft itself.

“Microsoft has been steadily making adjustments to its processes and preferences to become more open,” wrote one person from Redmond, “and to move more quickly to support technologies that could be of interest to its many customers, even when they’re not Microsoft-built.”

That’s done in order to bring them to Microsoft and make them locked in and spied on, by Microsoft and its special partner the NSA. Here we have the corporate media distorting reality, portraying the company that is threatening, blackmailing, suing and slinging mud at Linux as “loving” Linux. There is not even much of a potent attempt to challenge these claims. It’s like an abusive husband explaining to a court that he beats up his wife because he loves her. Any decent person would interrupt such nonsense and wouldn’t just let it go unchallenged.

Speaking of massive failure by the corporate press, see this new garbage from Kate Bevan at the British bankers’ media (Financial Times), suggesting that Microsoft should hijack Android:

Here’s a blue-sky suggestion for Mr Nadella: sit down with Jeff Bezos at Amazon to develop a good fork of Android. Microsoft has a compelling services offering but an almost non-existent platform for these services, despite the quality of the Lumia handsets. Amazon has compelling content with its Prime video but seems unable to get consumers to buy its Fire devices.

For smaller providers, a Microsoft-Amazon-style joint venture would be a great way to become part of an ecosystem out of Google’s reach. I suspect consumers would find that attractive. How about it, Satya and Jeff?

How low can the Financial Times stoop? This is not journalism, it’s Microsoft jingoism disguised as analysis. Sadly, today’s corporate media is full of such nonsense and in the next post we will show how the press likes to demonise FOSS over security matters while totally ignoring the issues with proprietary software having back doors ‘baked in’.

India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called ‘Charity’ to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

Posted in Bill Gates, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 9:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GlaxoSmithKline logo

Summary: Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not “charity”)

THE Gates Foundation is run and controlled by a rude and arrogant sociopath masquerading as a “philanthropist”. Based on the latest news [1, 2, 3], he doesn’t like his next-door neighbours in the US and does not obey the law (he is facing fines for it), so what chance is there that he will like some strangers in a place like Africa or India and and that he will ever obey African or Indian laws? He keeps getting richer every year, but much of the press (part of which he bribes) portrays him as a giver. Bribing politicians and newspapers is not “charity”, but when you pay the newspapers they might as well paint it as anything that suits them. Besides, it’s common to just call the “bribes” something like “campaign contributions” (among other euphemisms) to make it seem lawful, ethical, and acceptable.

Earlier this year a publication that had been bribed by Gates finally dared to criticise him for something. It mostly stopped doing that after he had bribed it, so this was the exception. But it was a flawed critique. It should already be broadly and widely understood that Gates uses ‘charity’ for tax-free investments in dubious work that requires, for example, high-risk clinical trials, casting it “charity”. Making it look like “charity” has the benefit of not having to operate like a standard business and be subjected to the same rules/laws. The Gates-bribed publication correctly pointed out that Gates was “boosting his fortune by another £9.6bn last year,” but it neglected to say he he avoids paying tax. Instead it focused on Microsoft and other companies. Here is a half-truth (or half lie): “Gates says he pays his personal taxes. Great.”

No, he doesn’t.

He puts it in a shell that helps him evade tax. A shame really that writers cannot see something so obvious…

The writer carries on: “But he made all that money from Microsoft which, like other tax-avoiding technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, uses sophisticated systems to shift paper profits around the planet and evade the designs of governments.”

This is another half-truth (or half lie). Gates actually makes a lot of his money not from Microsoft but from investment in very controversial companies that greatly harm society. We gave dozens of examples over the years.

The author continues: “Indeed, so extreme are its methods the company was used as a case study in a Senate investigation into US corporate tax avoidance, which found one example of offshoring profits through a tiny Puerto Rico office alone saved it $4m a day in taxes.”

What about the (mis)use of charity to evade tax? Well, a Gates-funded paper would not want to mention that. Here comes some shameless fawning: “Gates has every right to do what he wants with his wealth. It is to his credit he is giving away so much, persuading other billionaires to do the same and championing causes close to his heart – although as others have pointed out, even this is not immune to tax advantages. His determination to push vaccinations and prevent malaria is laudable. But if he wants to discuss development, preach about poverty and tell nations how to spend taxpayers’ money, he should put his own house in order first.”

What a complete hogwash. There are so many factual errors in this paragraph. It’s purely marketing garbage and those being lured to read the article are going to end up indoctrinated and brainwashed, as if Gates is some kind of “saint” and the “evils” are just some large corporations that people supposedly envy (and it should be noted that Gates remains deeply involved in the law-breaking Microsoft that’s as criminal an entity as ever before). Not only Microsoft dodges tax, Bill Gates does too. To make matters worse, he exploits poor people to make even more money whilst avoiding tax. Microsoft puts offshore billions of dollars to avoid tax and Gates dodges taxation by pretending that his business is a “charity”.

“The trial is years overdue and possible belated to the point where irreversible damage is done.”Just how much of a “charity” is the Gates Foundation? Well, today we’ll turn our attention to some recent news.

Some years ago we wrote about children dying in India after Gates had experimented on them. GlaxoSmitheKline was involved and remember that GlaxoSmitheKline is very much connected to Gates in numerous ways. Well, back in August in the corporate Indian media there was this article which said: “Earlier this month, taking a serious view of the death of seven tribal girls in the context of the observation studies, the Supreme Court asked the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to explain how permissions were given.

“The SC bench of justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda asked the Centre to produce relevant files that pertained to the grant of licence for trial of the HPV vaccine in India. The court also asked the Centre to appraise it of steps taken on the report of the parliamentary committee.”

Suffice to say, the Gates apologists are trying to paint this as the anti-vaccine movement with its claims of conspiracies to infect/sell. But the truth may be somewhere in between. What we saw in India was a clinical trial with low risk of litigation (for example in case a subject dies). As Andrew Powell from Wales pointed out in the comments: “‘A wise dog never poops on his own doorstep’. A man, known for his philanthropic and ethical character, finds it essential or preferable for his American company to guinea-pig his new drugs on people living on the other side of the world. What made him rule out testing it on Harvard Sophomores?”

This is like in the movie Constant Gardener, which is a very strong movie with a long-lasting impression to be left (based on my own experience and others’).

The corporate media us usually too shy to touch such a topic because of the anti-vaccine hysteria that’s often so irrational or taken out of context where concerns are more or less valid. Based on the article above, the “committee found that the objective behind the observation studies in India primarily was to collect and record data on the effect of the vaccines on the minor subjects.”

So, it was after all a clinical trial. Unbelievable. How can Gates and his corporate partners get away with it? The legal challenge/potential trial is years overdue and possibly belated to the point where irreversible damage is done. Here is what Activist Post wrote about this along with other sites like Natural Society:

Furthermore, though absent from most mainstream U.S. media outlets, the Economic Times of India published their report in August 2014, stating that young tribal girls were tested with HPV vaccines. This involved not a handful of children, but 16,000 individuals in Andhra Pradesh, India, where they were given the Gardasil vaccine.

KP Narayana Kumar reported that within a month of receiving the vaccine, many of the children fell ill, and by 2010, five of them had died. Another two children were reported to have died in Vadodara, Gujarat, where another 14,000 tribal children were vaccinated with another brand of the HPV vaccine, Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmitheKline (GSK), who incidentally, has been accused of dumping polio virus into a Belgium river.

Consent forms to administer the HPV vaccine were ‘illegally’ signed by wardens form youth hostels, showing that the Gates’ prey on the indigent without parents. For those who had parents, most were illiterate, and the true potential dangers of the vaccines were not explained to them.

SAMA, an organization in India which promotes women’s health discovered this insidiousness, and reported it, but only now will Gates and his cronies have to answer for their misdeeds. Approximately 120 girls reported epileptic seizures, severe stomach cramps, headaches, and mood swings, of those who did not die. Other girls receiving the Gardasil vaccine have experienced infertility.

To truly understand what Gates is doing here one can rent the movie The Constant Gardener (2005). It is tough to watch, but there is an educational angle/value to it. This whole thing is despicable and it helps show that Gates is above the law, internationally. He sort of “harvests” the world’s poorest people in his ruthlessly capitalistic aspiration to enhance his political power and increase his wealth. Expect Gates to pull some political strings to pull out of this court ‘nuisance’. The rich are above the law when they can typically just pay their way out. Remember that Gates was arrested as a teenager and freed on bail because his father was very affluent; this was not the last time that Gates got out of trouble with the law just because he was wealthy. It’s a systemic problem and a relatively poor country like India is unlikely to be potent enough to convict Gates. It did, however, find Microsoft guilty for tax evasion. That was over half a decade ago.

The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

Posted in Law, Patents at 7:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Patent trolls are in the news again and it’s rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past

THE relentless attempts to redefine “patent troll” — attempts which can be largely attributed to patent trolls themselves (and their lobbyists, such as Bill Gates’ and Nathan Myhrvold’s lobbyists) — were covered here in past years and we continue to see much of the same now that politicians are said to be going after “trolls” (an elusive ‘reform’ that will go almost nowhere). The remedy will most likely necessitate some kind of scope limitation; this scope should be a debate around patents, not the aggressor’s scope or scale. The world’s biggest trolls are often not characterised in the corporate press as “trolls” at all. It is a form of propaganda or a game of words that defames small players and glorifies larger players that engage in the very same behaviour.

As the troll-tracking Steph put it the other day, we cannot rely on politicians. “I’m on record many, many times agreeing that legislation is not the way to curb patent trolling,” she explained. “It’s right there in the name of the offender: “troll”. It may slow them down temporarily, but overall, anyone called a “troll” is going to come back swinging a few months or years later with a whole new set of workarounds. It’s impossible to stay fully head of them with laws.” Whereas by going after the patents themselves would help eliminate abuse, no matter if the abuser is as large as Microsoft or as small those many no-name trolls. Nathan Myhrvold (shown above) is already seeing his massive patent troll imploding (lots of layoffs) and litigation rates have gone down considerably just after the Alice ruling. It was about patent scope. According to those who pursue reform only targeting patent trolls, “It’s been reported in a few places that a recent Lex Machina report states that patent litigation is down 40% from last year. Of course, the patent trolls are trying to use these inaccurate reports to argue that the patent troll problem is essentially solved.”

This is untrue. The reality is, the Alice ruling seemingly weakened many of them. They were reliant on software patents, based on statistics acquired some years back. It shows that by pursuing changes around patent scope we can achieve many of the overall goals; it’s a domino effect.

In other interesting news, China is said to be turning into quite the hotbed of patent trolls and Glyn Moody writes: “The Chinese government’s move is part of a larger story that recapitulates America’s own evolution from a “pirate” nation that fuelled its industrial revolution by ignoring the law and appropriating Western Europe’s patented ideas, to one using the same legal instruments against European companies.”

Here we have yet another reason to narrow the scope of patents. Trolls are a symptom of a scope too broad and China can take advantage of it. Not only trolls are impeded by elimination of “abstract” patents (which include software patents); everything in the patent system (universally) is affected by that, irrespective of the size of the plaintiff.

10.20.14

Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

Posted in News Roundup at 6:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Samsung and Intel Stay Committed to Chromebooks

      Samsung has announced its new Chromebook 2, a good looking model that joins a slew of new Chromebooks arriving in the market. With the holiday season approaching, it’s looking like portable computers running Chrome OS and featuring very low price points will be very big sellers.

  • Server

    • The Companies That Support Linux: DataCentred

      Companies are increasingly turning to cloud services to build and deliver their applications, but those that want to use an open source cloud may find it more difficult to set up and maintain. Service-providers such as UK-based DataCentred can more efficiently set up an enterprise cloud using open source software, at scale.

  • Kernel Space

    • EXT4 In Linux 3.18 Has Clean-ups, Bug Fixes

      With Linux 3.18-rc1 having came one week early, the EXT4 file-system pull request didn’t end up landing until today. However, the EXT4 changes aren’t overly exciting for the 3.18 merge window.

    • Kernel prepatch 3.18-rc1
    • Linux Kernel Working Towards GNU11/C11 Compatibility

      For now it looks like the Linux kernel is going to explicitly declare itself as using the GNU89 dialect of the C89 standard but over time the code is being made to compile under C11.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA’s NVPTX Support For GCC Is Close To Being Merged

        The NVPTX back-end code for GCC that’s going to allow OpenACC 2.0 offloading support for NVIDIA GPUs with GCC is close to materializing within the mainline code-base.

      • LIBINPUT INTEGRATION IN KWIN/WAYLAND

        Today I pushed my outstanding branch to get libinput support into kwin_wayland. Libinput is a very important part for the work to get a full Wayland session in Plasma which means we reached a very important milestone. As the name suggests it allows us to process input events directly. KWin needs to forward the input events to the currently active application(s) and also interpret them before any other application gets them. E.g. if there is a global shortcut KWin should intercept it and not send it to an application.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • Ex-Microsoft man takes up arms for Red Hat’s open-cloud crusade

        So where does Red Hat turn? Microsoft – that’s where.

        Red Hat in September hired Harry Mower as senior director, developer programs and evangelism.

        Mower has been an evangelist and outreach manager for Microsoft since 2006, on media, telecoms and entertainment. His job, to expand uptake and adoption of Microsoft technologies.

      • Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst on the impact of cloud and mobile

        So I asked Whitehurst if the cloud had already won the war for IT infrastructure, but he gave me a more nuanced response than I expected: “I think there’s a new architecture combining computing and storage in an easily managed centralized data center,” he said. “Scaling out that architecture… That’s clearly winning.”

        “What’s less clear,” he continued, “is whether the traditional enterprise-owned-and-managed data center on premise will serve that, or will it be the public cloud or something in between? That’s still far from resolved.”

      • Red Hat Collaborates With SAP to Deploy Mobile Data Management Cartridge for SAP® SQL Anywhere on OpenShift
      • Cloudera and Red Hat Forge Big Data Alliance

        Cloudera, the leader in enterprise analytic data management powered by Apache Hadoop, and Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced an alliance to deliver joint enterprise software solutions including data integration and application development tools, and data platforms. By integrating a broad range of products and technologies, Cloudera and Red Hat will help customers harness the fast changing big data life cycle with open, secure and agile solutions.

      • Fedora

        • Rejuvenate your Fedora desktop with Moka

          Moka started as a single Linux desktop icon theme, but over time it has gradually evolved into an entire project & brand identity that provides quality designs to people. Moka is about personalization and its goal is to provide an assortment of style options to allow you to customize your experience.

    • Debian Family

      • Users/Developers Threatening Fork Of Debian GNU/Linux
      • “Fork Debian” Project Aims to Put Pressure on Debian Community and Systemd Adoption

        The Debian project decided to adopt systemd a while ago and ditch the upstart counterpart. The decision was very controversial and it’s still contested by some users. Now, a new proposition has been made, to fork Debian into something that doesn’t have systemd.

      • Debian 7.7 Is Out with Security Fixes

        The Debian project project has announced that Debian 7.7 “Wheezy” is now out and available for download. This is the regular maintenance update, but it packs quite a few important fixes.

      • Debian 7.7 Released With Various Bug-Fixes
      • Updated Debian 7: 7.7 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the seventh update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (codename “wheezy”). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available.

      • Derivatives

        • Elive Is an Interesting Debian-Based Distro with a Beautiful Enlightenment Desktop

          Elive, a Linux distribution based on Debian which uses the Enlightenment desktop environment to provide a unique user experience, has just reached version 2.3.9 Beta and it’s ready for testing.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UNITY PRIVACY INDICATOR 0.4 RELEASED WITH NEW PRIVACY SETTINGS

            For those not familiar with Privacy Indicator, this is an Ubuntu AppIndicator especially created for Unity, which allows you to control various privacy aspects.

            Until this release, the indicator could be used to enable / disable Dash online search results and Zeitgeist logging (and also clear the Zeitgeist log), clear recently used files (which show up in the Nautilus or Nemo “Recent” sidebar item for instance) and to show or hide your real name on the Unity panel.

          • V is for Vivid

            Release week! Already! I wouldn’t call Trusty ‘vintage’ just yet, but Utopic is poised to leap into the torrent stream. We’ve all managed to land our final touches to *buntu and are excited to bring the next wave of newness to users around the world. Glad to see the unicorn theme went down well, judging from the various desktops I see on G+.

            And so it’s time to open the vatic floodgates and invite your thoughts and contributions to our soon-to-be-opened iteration next. Our ventrous quest to put GNU as you love it on phones is bearing fruit, with final touches to the first image in a new era of convergence in computing. From tiny devices to personal computers of all shapes and sizes to the ventose vistas of cloud computing, our goal is to make a platform that is useful, versal and widely used.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Codename Announced: Vivid Vervet

            The development codename of an Ubuntu release takes the form “Adjective Animal”. Initially these weren’t in alphabetic order – until Dapper DRAKE (6.06).

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Is Codenamed After A Monkey: Vivid Vervet
          • Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet due in 2015

            Canonical plans to release Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn on Friday, October 25th. The following week work will begin on the next major update to the open source operating system.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Is Called Vivid Vervet
          • Happy Birthday Ubuntu!

            Today is Ubuntu’s ten year anniversary. Scott did a wonderful job summarizing many of those early years and his own experience, and while I won’t be as articulate as him, I wanted to share a few thoughts on my experience too.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-optimized IP core promises 4200 DMIPS

      Synopsis announced an “HS38″ version of its Linux-focused DesignWare ARC core IP with a new ARCv2 ISA and support for 2.2GHz, 4200 DMIPS speeds at 28nm.

      Synopsis acquired its Linux-optimized line of DesignWare ARC 32-bit RISC/DSP cores when it bought semiconductor IP vendor Virage Logic back in 2010 shortly after Virage acquired ARC International. Since then Synopsis has released several DesignWare ARC HS processor designs, most recently with the HS36.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • FOSS and the Fear Factor

    “Clickbait” is also the term Google+ blogger Alessandro Ebersol chose to describe the Bloomberg account.

    “I could not see the point the author was trying to make, except sensationalism and views,” he told Linux Girl.

    “The author is wrong,” Ebersol charged. “He should educate himself on the topic. The flaws are results of lack of funding, and too many corporations taking advantage of free software and giving nothing back.”

    Moreover, “I still believe that a piece of code that can be studied and checked by many is far more secure than a piece made by a few,” Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. chimed in.

    “All the rumors that FLOSS is as weak as proprietary software are only FUD — period,” he said. “It is even more sad when it comes from private companies that drink in the FLOSS fountain.”

  • Discourse

    Discourse is an open-source project, hosted at GitHub (see Resources), licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2. It is backed by Atwood’s company, which has the fantastic name of Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc., and it aims to profit through installing and supporting Discourse.

  • Events

    • We’re Hosting an OpenDaylight HackFest in Japan

      The OpenDaylight Project has quickly grown to become a global community, with more than 250 contributors working to advance open SDN and NFV from all corners of the world. This includes 11 ambassadors worldwide and OpenDaylight User Groups in six cities across three countries. We are excited to host our first OpenDaylight HackFest in Japan in less than two weeks, and the good news is that it’s free to attend.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Chief Architect of Cloudera on growth of Hadoop

      Doug Cutting is founder of numerous successful open source projects, including Lucene and Hadoop, and currently the chief architect at Cloudera and sits on the Board of the Apache Software Foundation.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Is Oracle’s Cloud Strategy Really Open, Or Are Doors Locking?

      Oracle recently made its Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Linux distribution generally available, and has been loudly beating the war drums on the OpenStack front. As I recently noted, It seems inevitable that there will soon be an OpenStack market shakeout soon, and big players like Oracle and HP may remain standing as that happens, especially in light of their experience supporting enterprise customers.

    • Free and Open Source Electronic Signature in Costa Rica

      The LibreOffice component designed by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) is similar to similar software enhancements currently used for electronic signatures in other countries.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Inherent Dishonesty Inside Open Source

        Then there is so-called ‘openwashing’ i.e. providing trace elements of open source somewhere on a business model so that a company can attest to and demonstrate its philanthropic side. Purists argue that there is a big difference between opening your data and making it available; the open source list of besmirching malpractice is a long one.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Following GCC, Clang Looks To Default To C11

      Earlier this month I wrote about GCC 5 looking to default to GNU11/C11 over GNU89 for its GCC 5 release. That change ended up landing in SVN so the GNU Compiler Collection is finally providing C11 support by default. Last week the LLVM/Clang developers began discussing a similar move.

    • October 2014 GNU Toolchain Update

      The optimization works more effectively with link time optimization enabled. The optimization is similar to the ICF optimization performed by the GOLD linker, but it works at a different level and it may find equivalences that GOLD misses.

    • Emacs 24.4 Has Built-In Web Browser, Improved Multi-Monitor Support

      A new release of Emacs is out today and it’s quite a big update with new functionality for this popular and extensible text editor.

    • Emacs 24.4 released

      Version 24.4 of the Emacs text editor is now available.

  • Programming

    • EU Code Week – more than just coding, more than just a week

      Last week was the second ever EU code week. With over 3000 events across the EU and beyond, this was by far the most successful such event ever. But more importantly: it meant hundreds of thousands of children and adults have tried this out for the first time – and realised it is creative, rewarding and fun. Hundreds of thousands have had their first taste of a new opportunity. Hundreds of thousands have learned it’s not just for guys, and not just for geeks. Hundreds of thousands have started on a new life skill – one that could empower and open doors for the rest of their lives.

    • LLVM Gets Bindings For Google’s Go

      Another feature for the upcoming LLVM 3.6 release are bindings for Google’s Go programming language.

    • PHP 5.6.2 and 5.4.34 Update for Critical Security Flaws

      PHP is widely deployed across the Internet and is the language used to power much of the world’s leading Content Management Systems (CMS) and blogs (including this one).

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Army withheld promise from Germany that Ebola virus wouldn’t be weaponized

      The United States has withheld assurances from Germany that the Ebola virus – among other related diseases – would not be weaponized in the event of Germany exporting it to the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases.

      German MFA Deputy Head of Division for Export Control Markus Klinger provided a paper to the US consulate’s Economics Office (Econoff), “seeking additional assurances related to a proposed export of extremely dangerous pathogens.”

      Germany subsequently made two follow-up requests and clarifications to the Army, according to the unclassified Wikileaks cable.

    • FLASHBACK: When Conservative Media Didn’t Care Bush’s Bird Flu Czar Had No Medical Experience

      Fox News continues to lead the conservative attack on Ron Klain, whom President Obama appointed as the administration’s Ebola coordinator, termed by some a “czar,” to help direct the government’s response to the rare virus and its arrival in Dallas, Texas.

  • Security

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Idaho officer’s pay cut after he shot pet dog

      A northern Idaho police officer who shot a pet dog has had his pay reduced by $3.15 to $31.02 per hour.

    • Official Sources May Be the Only Sources

      New York Times investigative reporter James Risen is taking a stand. Despite being hounded by both the Bush and Obama administrations to reveal his sources, he has vowed to go to jail rather than abandon his pledge of confidentiality.

    • FedEx Ground Says Its Drivers Aren’t Employees. The Courts Will Decide

      Five days a week for 10 years, Agostino Scalercio left his house before 6 a.m., drove to a depot to pick up a truck, and worked a 10-hour shift delivering packages in San Diego. He first worked for Roadway Package System, a national delivery company whose founders included former United Parcel Service (UPS) managers, and continued driving trucks when FedEx (FDX) bought RPS in 1998. FedEx Ground assigned Scalercio a service area. The company, he says, had strict standards about delivery times, the drivers’ grooming, truck maintenance, and deadlines for handing in paperwork, and deducted money from his pay to cover the cost of his uniform, truck washings, and the scanner used to log shipments.

    • President Of Israel Says Israel Is A ‘Sick Society’

      But one voice echoing popular global sentiment is surprising – the President of Israel. Israel President Reuven Rivlin says Israel has become a “sick society” that lacks human decency and is unable to engage in dialogue with Arabs due to racial animosity and prejudice – a rather stunning indictment by a head of state of his own country.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • What is net neutrality all about?

      Waiting in line can feel like a sacred responsibility, with each line member poised to prevent cutting and ensure fairness. Other times, cutting is just part of the game, like when you’re at the airport and have to wait for every platinum, gold, and silver club member to board before taking your seat.

      “Net neutrality” is about what kind of lines we should have on the Internet. Supporters of net neutrality think all online information should be treated equally — no cutting. Opponents argue that fast lanes and priority access would actually make the Internet better.

    • The Future of the Internet – 20 Years Ago

      Netscape Navigator was released 20 years ago today. Thank you to everyone who supported us at Netscape & built the Web with us then and now!

      That was posted by a certain Marc Andreessen. You probably know him as a successful venture capitalist, but before that, he was one of the people who helped popularise the Web. He did that by creating the Mosaic browser back in 1993 – first for Unix, and later for the Apple Macintosh and Windows (version 3.1). Mosaic was written at the University of Illinois, and was freely available for non-commercial use. But once the appeal of a graphical Web browser became evident, it was natural for people to start to think about turning it into a business.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Must Reveal Everything He Owns to Hollywood

        Kim Dotcom has failed in a bid to keep his personal finances a secret from Hollywood. They will now be revealed to the studios, but the public will remain in the dark. In a separate High Court ruling, Dotcom was refused a judicial review after being denied access to documents to assist with his extradition battle.

      • Illegal Copying Has Always Created Jobs, Growth, And Prosperity

        Throughout history, those who have copied the most have also always been the most prosperous, and for that reason. Bans on copying, like the copyright and patent monopolies, are just plain industrial protectionism.

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