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10.31.14

The EPO Is More Corrupt Under Battistelli Than Under Alison Brimelow: Part VIII

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 6:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The huge scandal that the corporate media seemingly refuses to cover

Alison Brimelow

Summary: After Brimelow (shown above), with all her flaws and her scandals, an even worse President is installed who then abolishes oversight and seemingly brings his old friends to the EPO, creating a sort of subculture that is impenetrable to outsiders

THE EPO is no stranger to scandals (including some involving Alison Brimelow, as we noted before). We have covered them for years, but these days we are stunned by the degree of inherent corruption inside the EPO (this is the eighth part among many). The chin drops to the floor when one realises the lack of oversight. With no oversight comes great abuse, as revelations about the CIA and NSA, for example, serve to show.

Weeks ago we showed how EPO oversight got dismantled (related original documents are here) and below again is a quick walk-through (original documents):

  • CA-140-08-EN – 2008 – Audit Committee: possible models
  • CA-32-09-EN – 2009 – EPO Audit Committee: draft terms of reference
  • CA-33-09-EN – 2009 – Draft decision setting up an Audit Committee
  • CA-D9-09-EN – 2009 – Establishing an Audit Committee of the Administrative Council
  • CA-100-11-EN – 2011 – Internal appeal against CA/D 4/11
  • CA-D4-11-EN – 2011 – Decision of the Administrative Council
  • CA-55-11-EN – 2011 – Disbanding the Audit Committee

Today we would like to tell the much longer story of the EPO’s Audit Committee. “In 2008,” tells us an anonymous source, “possible models for an “Audit Committee” were discussed in the proposal document CA/140/08 presented to the Administrative Council.”

Quoting the relevant document: “The present document follows on from the governance workshop in Ljubljana on 7-8 May 2008, the results of which were summarised in CA/62/08 dated 30.05.08.

One of the priorities emerging from the workshop was “Audit Committee and independence of Internal Audit”. The present document outlines in detail the compelling case for an Audit Committee. Three models are analysed and assessed. The Budget and Finance Committee and the Administrative Council are requested to give their opinion. Thereafter the Office will submit a proposal for the terms of reference of the Audit Committee.”

That was quite a long while back.

CA/140/08, as above, noted the following problems with the existing “Internal Audit” (emphasis added):

B. PROBLEMS RELATED TO INTERNAL AUDIT

a) Independence of IA

22. At the EPO, the internal audit function is separated from operational areas.

IA reports directly to the President and should remain a tool in the hands of the President.

This notwithstanding, an independent mechanism (such as an audit committee) would provide further assurance of the correct functioning of IA, particularly in view of the fact that even at the highest management level situations can occur that call for the independence of IA.

Such an independent mechanism should exist:

• to ensure that IA is equipped with a sufficient budget and resources for the adequate performance of the audit work;

• to prevent any undue limitation of the status of IA within the framework of its audit mission;

• to prevent any unjustified deletion of the proposed audit plan;

• to review the appointment, transfer and dismissal of the head of internal audit and internal auditors;

to ensure that the supervision of IA does not rely entirely on the President.

As we have shown in previous parts, the President, Battistelli, seems to have gone out of control and is now acting like a tyrant with executive orders, potentially also appointing friends of his for positions of power.

“In June 2009,” explained our source, “the then-EPO President Alison Brimelow (former Director of the UK-IPO) presented the AC with the proposal documents CA/32/09 (“EPO Audit Committee: draft terms of reference”) and CA/33/09 (“Draft decision setting up an Audit Committee”).”

CA/33/09 (available above) proposed the establishment of an Audit Committee as a subsidiary body of the Administrative Council and said:

The present document is based on consultations between the Office and the Board of Auditors and presents a draft decision based on the outlines of the terms of reference for an EPO Audit Committee (cf. CA/32/09) as a subsidiary body of the Administrative Council pursuant to Article 14 of the Rules of Procedure of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.

CA/33/09 was approved by the AC in June 2009 as decision CA/D9/09.

Now, here is the best bit. At that point in time, Battistelli, Director of the French INPI, was the Chairman of the AC. Yes, no kidding. In July 2010, Battistelli was appointed to succeed Alison Brimelow as EPO President!

In May 2011, in his new role as EPO President he submitted a proposal to the AC to abolish the Audit Committee “for reasons of efficiency”. See CA/55/11, “Disbanding the Audit Committee”, which says: “The present document proposes that the Administrative Council’s June 2009 decision establishing an Audit Committee (CA/D 9/09) be repealed for reasons of efficiency.”

CA/55/11 was approved by the AC in June 2011 as decision CA/D4/11. The decision of the AC to abolish its Audit Committee was appealed by EPO staff representatives (see CA/100/11) and this appeal is currently pending before the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO (ILO-AT) in Geneva.

The letter from the Chairman of the Audit Committee is worth reading. CA/100/11, in pages 13 and 14, states (emphasis added): “The role of the Audit Committee is not an overlap with the internal and external audit but a key component of a balanced auditing and governance structure of the Office as it is in most international organisations.

What a colossal mess.

A further parallel “thread” to this story concerns the EPO’s external audit mechanism, the so-called “Board of Auditors” which is established under Article 49 EPC. According to Article 49(1) EPC: “The income and expenditure account and a balance sheet of the Organisation shall be examined by auditors whose independence is beyond doubt, appointed by the Administrative Council for a period of five years, which shall be renewable or extensible.”

Again, what an utter joke!

The most-recently appointed member of the EPO’s three-man “Board of Auditors” is Mr. Frederic Angermann.

To quote this page from the EPO (under Munich, 13 December 2013, the 138th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation):

The Council appointed Frédéric Angermann, Senior Auditor at the French Court of Auditors, as member of the Board of Auditors, with effect from 1 January 2014. Mr Angermann will succeed Michel Camoin, to whom the Council paid tribute.

Under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Council heard the status report on latest developments concerning the Unitary patent, given by the Head of the Lithuanian delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the second half of 2013. The chairman of the Select Committee (set up by the 25 EPC contracting states participating in the enhanced co-operation on unitary patent protection to supervise the EPO’s activities related to the tasks entrusted to it in the context of unitary protection) reported then on the committee’s 5th and 6th meetings (see Communiqué on the 6th meeting of the Select Committee, to be published shortly on this website). The Council thereby noted that a number of EPC contracting states not taking part in the enhanced co-operation had been granted observer status on the Select Committee. Other EPC contracting states not taking part in the enhanced co-operation will henceforth also be automatically granted observer status upon request.

What the EPO communique doesn’t tell us is that Angermann was previously a senior official at the French INPI. Battistelli must know him. This cannot be treated as merely a coincidence. In other words, he previously worked under Battistelli who was the Director of the French INPI, just prior to his EPO appointment.

Now refer back to Article 49(1) EPC: “auditors whose independence is beyond doubt

Everyone can see the problem here. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Battistelli may be bringing in cronies.

In summary, the Audit Committee which was established in 2009 as an independent subsidiary body of the EPO’s Administrative Council (and thus independent from the EPO President) was subsequently abolished in 2011 “for reasons of efficiency” (by Battistelli) after barely two years of existence.

The Audit Committee was established by the AC under Battistelli’s chairmanship of that body and the proposal for abolition came from Battistelli in his new role as EPO President (where he would have been subject to the oversight of the Audit Committee).

The consequence of this abolition was to return to the “status quo” prior to CA/140/08: Internal Audit at the EPO is once again completely under the control of the EPO President (i.e. in the hands of one person).

Apart from this, one of the EPO’s external auditors appointed under Article 49 EPC has a previous close professional connection to Battistelli.

All of this indicates that there is no effective independent internal audit mechanism at the EPO. Battistelli killed it.

Furthermore, the integrity of the external audit mechanism under Article 49 EPC has been compromised by Battistelli’s cronyism.

When you consider that the annual budget of the organisation is around 2 billion euros, that should be a cause for public concern. There is no excess of money in Europe right now (Britain is furious this month over demands for a payment of an extra £1.7 billion to the EU) while staff at the EPO is grossly overpaid with virtually no oversight, as we showed in previous parts and demonstrated with strong exhibits of authority.

As readers can see, especially if they follow European media, this is another story that the mainstream media has completely ignored. Unbelievable perhaps, but more likely there is fear of covering it, if not some certain complicity (depending on the media owners).

Once again, German journalists have been fully informed about these matters but haven’t written a single line about them despite the fact that according to the German Press Codex [PDF], “accurate informing of the public” is supposed to be one of the overriding principles of the Press (see preamble to Section 1). Perhaps the German media is preoccupied with other agenda.

Claiming That Microsoft ‘Loves’ Linux While Windows Update Bricks Devices With Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In Microsoft’s own words:

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft — which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability — ‘loves’ Linux

A followup on the story about Windows Update essentially bricking Linux devices (peripheral to the PC) is proving to be rather spooky. Nobody was going to court; people can apparently just brick hardware deliberately, without due process and without facing consequences for such destructive actions.

“Nobody was going to court; people can apparently just brick hardware deliberately, without due process and without facing consequences for such destructive actions.”The curious thing here is the leeway it gives for Microsoft to brick installations of GNU and Linux, even if the ‘alien’ system is in its own partition. While some journalists are repeating Microsoft's lies about Microsoft 'loving' Linux we already know damn well that Microsoft hates GNU and Linux to the point of preventing sales of PCs with anything other than Windows, except perhaps in Italy owing to a top court’s latest ruling.

How is bricking people’s devices that are powered by Linux somehow acceptable or even legal now? It is done via Windows Update, which means that Microsoft now bricks Linux installations, whether unintentionally or intentionally (or somewhere in between). Will Microsoft also screw with the MBR/bootloader claiming that Free software infringes on its ‘IP’?

The sad thing is that some pro-FOSS people are easily fooled (maybe willfully) into saying that “Microsoft loves Linux” (it can also be found in the Linux Foundation’s Web site). “Read it all the way through,” told me one of them. “They love Linux because of $s not for its own sake.”

I responded by saying that Microsoft loves Linux like BP likes “green”, mostly for marketing around perceptions that help sell more petrol

There was a a discussion in Twitter among some FOSS journalists, who do not necessarily agree. The OSI’s President, for instance, tends to agree with me on that.

One of our readers wrote to say: “Unintentional disinformation regarding “contributions” to the Linux kernel. The large number of commits was simply unfucking the code. A question is does Microsoft maintain that code now that Greg fixed it, or did they just lay that egg in someone else’s nest?”

When Greg worked for Novell, which had been paid money for Microsoft to help it infiltrate several FOSS communities, Microsoft committed GPL violations (not a sole incident) and now it hopes to spin that as “contribution”. When will this revisionism end?

As a side note, layoffs at Microsoft continue to expand. The Microsoft booster wrote: “The cuts of approximately 3,000 employees today are believed to be largely support staff in human resources, finance, sales and marketing and IT. They are part of the 18,000 employees Microsoft officials said back in July that they’d be laying off over the course of a year.”

Android and other Linux-based platforms hurt Microsoft. It leads to layoffs, so Microsoft cannot claim to love Linux. Although it make take some time, Microsoft may end up a bit like Novell and Nokia, potentially absorbed by some bigger business (Microsoft is shrinking in terms of scale of influence or clout).

Protectionist Reign: Corporations in Complete Control of Everything With Domination Over Patent Law

Posted in Law, Patents at 5:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The golden rule: those who have gold make the rules

No parking

Summary: How multinational corporations, joined by the corporate press that they are funding, promote a corporations- but not people-friendly patent policy in north America

Some time after a Reuters article that quotes mostly patent lawyers and speaks for large corporations (we saw it reposted in about a dozen large newspapers, mostly corporate press) the Wall Street media came out with a similar report, repeating some of it later and saying: “Companies that build their business models around aggressive patent litigation are finding that approach less lucrative after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and stricter government policies.

“Here again we see how large corporations steer policy, irrespective of what the public wants.”“Patent lawsuits filed in the third quarter declined 23 percent from the second quarter, according to the industry coalition Unified Patents. About 88 percent of the drop is because of fewer cases by companies that make more than half their revenue from patent licensing and sue computer, electronics and software companies, the group said yesterday.

““The drop is real and likely permanent given the many structural changes to the patent system and patent litigation over the past couple years,” said Adam Mossoff, a law professor at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.”

The site of the CCIA says that articles like these are not helping. They help large corporations, that is for sure. The corporate media typically pushes these talking points. “Alice is helping get rid of some bad patents, but those are just a drop in the bucket,” says Matt Levy, who added this cartoon.

Professor Geist, in the mean time, explains how corporate Canada (his phrase) is interfering with patent reform. To quote: “The Internet Association, a U.S.-based industry association that counts most of the biggest names in the Internet economy as its members (including Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, and Yahoo), recently released a policy paper on how Canada could become more competitive in the digital economy. The report’s recommendations on tax reform generated some attention, but buried within the 27-page report was a call for patent reform.”

Further down he says: “Yet despite the opportunity to give the green light to combat patent trolls, the Canadian business community urged caution. According an internal summary document on the discussions, Cisco warned that the reforms “could do more harm than good.” Jim Balsille, the co-founder of Blackberry, indicated that he supported the intent of the patent troll reforms, but cautioned about the need to get the details right. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce also expressed concern with the reforms, arguing that the measures could legislate against legitimate assertion of patent rights and that they could create a chilling effect.”

Here again we see how large corporations steer policy, irrespective of what the public wants. Civil disobedience may be in order and in TechDirt there is a new article about those who knowingly and deliberately ignore patents that do not deserve respect or, conversely, those who insist that invalid patents can be infringed on. This system is rigged and it need to be toppled.

10.30.14

Links 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • China will upgrade all PCs to Linux by 2020

      China have announced a new time frame in which they will move to a new operating system. It will consist of 15% of government computers being switched to Linux per year. The report by Ni Guangnan outlining the transition won government approval and by 2020 the Chinese Government’s transition to Linux should be complete.

    • Things I Do in Windows When I Forget It’s Not Linux

      Many Linux users out there dual-boot with a Windows system, or they just use the two operating systems separately. An interesting thing happens when you’re in Windows and you try to do something that you think is normal, but that feature doesn’t exist.

  • Server

    • Weapons of MaaS Deployment

      I’ve been researching OpenStack deployment methods lately and so when I got an email from Canonical inviting me to check out how they deploy OpenStack using their Metal as a Service (MaaS) software on their fantastic Orange Box demo platform I jumped at the opportunity. While I was already somewhat familiar with MaaS and Juju from research for my Official Ubuntu Server Book, I’d never seen it in action at this scale. Plus a chance to see the Orange Box–a ten-server computing cluster and network stack that fits in a box about the size of a old desktop computer–was not something I could pass up.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Finally Being Optimized For SSHDs

      The Linux kernel is finally being optimized for use of solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) that follow the ATA 3.2 standard.

    • Video: KvmGT – GPU Virtualization for KVM

      Here is a video I’ve been waiting for by Jike Song from Intel. The KVM Forum 2014 was held in conjunction with the recent LinuxCon Europe and someone (from the Linux Foundation or the KVM Forum) has been processing and posting presentation videos to YouTube in a staggered fashion. About 13 hours ago this video appeared. When I noticed the topic on the KVM Forum schedule (along with the slide deck [PDF]) a week or two before the event, I was really looking forward to learning more.

    • Conspirationist Website Wants People to Boycott Linux and Use Minix

      This is not the first initiative of its kind. In fact, a similar website was released just a couple of weeks ago, asking users to support forking Debian because it adopted systemd. Now, the Linux kernel is the target and the website claims to be the work of multiple users (developers?).

    • Ease your kernel tracing struggle with LTTng Addons

      If you are new to Linux tracing and/or LTTng, go no further. Head on to the new and awesome LTTng Docs to know what this stuff is all about. I wrote an article on basics of LTTng and then followed it up with some more stuff a few month back too.

    • Graphics Stack

      • GLAMOR Acceleration Continues To Be Cleaned Up

        Now that X.Org Server 1.17 RC1 has been released with a focus on improving GLAMOR and integrating the xf86-video-intel DDX, Keith Packard has written a blog post about the work that has gone on so far since GLAMOR’s inception for optimizing and cleaning up this 2D-over-OpenGL acceleration method.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 8.1 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 With Intel HD Graphics

        For those curious how the latest open-source Intel Linux graphics driver is performing against Intel’s newest closed-source Windows OpenGL driver, we’ve put Ubuntu 14.10 (including a second run with the latest Linux kernel / Mesa) against Microsoft Windows 8.1 with the newest Intel GPU driver released earlier this month.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Ubuntu & SUSE & CentOS, Oh My!

      It’s Halloween week, and the big names in Linux are determined not to disappoint the trick-or-treaters. No less than three mainline distributions have released new versions this week, led by perennially-loved-and-hated crowd favourite Ubuntu.

      Ubuntu 14.10, better-known by its nom de womb “Utopic Unicorn”, hit the streets last Thursday. It appears to be a mostly update release, with more of the release announcement’s ink devoted to parent-company Canonical’s “Canonical Distribution of Ubuntu Openstack” than to Utopic’s “latest and greatest open source technologies”. Among those, the v3.16 kernel has been included, as well as updated versions of GTK, Qt, Firefox, LibreOffice, Juju, Docker, MAAS, and of course, Unity. Full details can be found in the official release notes.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Is Released

        Enterprise users who rely on SUSE Linux now have access to a new and updated version of the platform: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, announced Monday. SUSE says the key benefits this update offers to customers are increased uptime, improved operational efficiency and accelerated innovation.

      • Suse enterprise Linux can take your system back in time

        The newest enterprise edition of the Suse Linux distribution allows administrators to go back in time, for instance, to immediately before they made that fatal system-crippling mistake.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Software Collections 1.2 Adds GCC 4.9, Nginx 1.6

        Red Hat has released their third update to their “Software Collections” that provide updated development tools/packages to RHEL6/RHEL7 users as an alternative to their default packages.

      • Red Hat Offers Startups a Free Cloud Platform

        Application testing and development has traditionally been one of the chief drivers of public cloud usage, as it presents extremely little real risk to a company. Because critical information — customer data, credit card numbers and so on — isn’t being stored, the benefits of cloud computing are more apparent and immediate. Now, Red Hat Inc. wants to make it’s even easier, by offering a version of its OpenShift platform specifically for software startups.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM unveils toolkit for students learning how to program

      ARM has unveiled a toolkit for university students who wish to learn embedded systems design and programming.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Cool Devices and Demos at Tizen Developer Summit Shanghai

          All around it was a great event, with additional keynotes from luminaries in the Chinese government and industry, sessions from Intel, Samsung, and the community, and a well-attended DevLab where attendees learned how to write and deploy their first wearable Tizen app. I spoke to one person who had written a complete sketchpad app in the 1.5 hour session, who had never used the Tizen wearable platform before. All around, we were very pleased with the event and the attendees were as well.

        • Samsung’s Gear S smartwatch coming to the US on November 7th

          Samsung’s Gear S smartwatch will launch in the United States on November 7th, the company announced today. All four major US carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile) will carry the device, and you’ll also be able to purchase it from Samsung’s store-in-a-store shops at Best Buy locations across the US. The Gear S will be available in black or white, but Samsung’s not revealing any pricing details; it’s leaving that task to the carriers. Just don’t expect the Gear S, with its built-in cellular radio and curved OLED screen, to come cheap.

        • Samsung values your need for security and your input to Samsung KNOX

          Samsung as a company is not the most open at times, but they are trying to change their ways with Open Source initiatives within the company, and also them trying to take onboard Open Source projects like Tizen. It looks like the Samsung KNOX team also wants their customers, partners, and basically anyone to know that they value the quality of Samsung KNOX that they are offering, and welcome you to contact them regarding any concerns you might have or information you want to contact to share publicly or privately.

      • Android

        • Google’s new open source project lets developers add live YouTube streaming to their Android apps

          With the new YouTube WatchMe for Android project, developers can now integrate live streaming into their apps. Thanks to this new open source project, more third-party devs will be able to offer video streaming features similar to Sony’s Live on YouTube by – Xperia and HTC’s upcoming RE camera.

        • 35 Essential Android Apps for Daily Use

          This list of essential Android apps are the ones you must have apps you need every day. They help with email, weather, music, and handful of other essential tasks.

        • Windows Phone Shrinks In Android-Dominated Europe, As New iPhones Boost iOS’ Share

          Spare a thought for Microsoft, a relative newcomer to the mobile making business, after Redmond completed its $7.2BN+ acquisition of former European mobile making powerhouse Nokia earlier this year. If Microsoft was hoping to see quick marketshare wins in Europe once its hands were fully on the levers of production that has not come to pass.

        • Puppy Linux 6.0 Tahrpup CE released

          Puppy Linux has long been one of the more prominent lightweight Linux distributions. This time around it’s up to version 6.0 and it has been dubbed “Tahrpup” by the Puppy Linux developers. Puppy Linux 6.0 is based on Ubuntu 14.04 and uses Linux kernel 3.14.20.

        • KDBUS Submitted For Review To The Mainline Linux Kernel

          It looks like KDBUS, the Linux kernel D-Bus implementation, is posed to be added to the next kernel release after Greg Kroah-Hartman sent out its patches today.

        • Three great Android tools for Linux and Windows sysadmin

          Systems administration isn’t a simple job — and being able to respond to issues quickly is a definite plus. Not long ago, server problems meant receiving a phone alert followed by a trip to the data center to fix whatever was wrong. Today, having full-powered computers such as smartphones or tablets literally in your hand is a tremendous help when doing sysadmin. Load Android with a few key applications and you can remotely monitor servers and services, get alerts and warnings as they occur, and solve problems without any travel at all.

        • Android’s dominance in Europe crushes Windows Phone

          In today’s Android roundup: Windows Phone is in deep trouble in Europe as Android reigns supreme. Plus: LG sells 16.8 million Android phones, and Android 5.0 Lollipop’s security features

        • Watch a working Project Ara prototype demonstrated ahead of Spiral 2 reveal

          The engineers behind Project Ara are trying to make the last smartphone you’ll ever need. Their design for a modular device has users slotting components — a camera, extra storage space, a Wi-Fi connector — into their phones, as and when they need them. It’s an ambitious scheme, but engineers working at NK Labs in Boston have already produced a working prototype, which they showed off to modular smartphone evangelist Dave Hakkens during a recent visit.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Has the time come to rebrand open source?

    I wonder how many other businesses are experiencing the same problem. I’m keen to start a conversation about how others fair when selling FOSS solutions and whether its time to get together again and think again about a re-branding that will have my prospective customers asking, “OK tell us more” rather than “open sounds insecure”. To that end I would like to nominate a brand new name that I have seen used in FOSS communities as a suitable candidate… Community Software.

  • Elastix seeks LatAm open-source VoIP community
  • Vast majority of software developers now use open source, Forrester reports

    Both developers and organizations are adopting open-source software based on merit rather than ideology, according to the findings of the report. A full 80 percent of the more than 1,200 coders from tech firms and traditional companies that participated in the survey said they use free tools because they’re functionally superior to commercial alternatives in the same category, while 72 percent said the broad participation in open-source projects can make the code more secure.

  • This time it’s SO REAL: Overcoming the open-source orgasm myth with TODO

    What can the world learn from Google, Twitter and Facebook – apart from how to make millions through ads flinging? How to run a successful open-source project.

    The trio in September announced TODO, to make open-source project “easier.” Joining them are Dropbox and Box and code-site GitHub, payment providers Square and Stripe, US retailer WalMart Labs and a body called the Khan Academy.

  • Facebook, Google, and the Rise of Open Source Security Software

    Arpaia is a security engineer, but he’s not the kind who spends his days trying to break into computer software, hoping he can beat miscreants to the punch. As Sullivan describes him, he’s a “builder”—someone who creates new tools capable of better protecting our computer software—and that’s unusual. “You go to the security conferences, and it’s all about breaking things,” Sullivan says. “It’s not about building things.”

  • Facebook Builds Open-Source Osquery for Security Insight

    The tool is designed to expose what’s going on inside an OS. Osquery, Facebook’s new open-source framework, could give enterprises new security insight.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • GPU Profiling Support Lands In Mozilla Firefox

        The built-in profiler for Mozilla’s Firefox web browser now has the ability to provide GPU profiling information.

        Mozilla graphics team has added GPU profiling support that so far will show how much GPU time is spent when compositing. The GPU profiling support has already proven useful for debugging issues and optimizing Firefox’s GPU usage.

      • Introducing SIMD.js

        SIMD.js will accelerate a wide range of demanding applications today, including games, video and audio manipulation, scientific simulations, and more, on the web. Applications will be able to use the SIMD.js API directly, libraries will be able to use SIMD.js to expose higher-level interfaces that applications can use, and Emscripten will compile C++ with popular SIMD idioms onto optimized SIMD.js code.

      • SIMD For JavaScript Continues Coming Along

        SIMD for JavaScript continues to be worked on by Mozilla, Google, Intel, and others for better accelerating particular workloads in the web.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Contributing effectively to OpenStack’s Neutron project

      Earlier this year, Kyle Mestery posted an article on his blog outlining some common misconceptions about contributing to the Neutron project and how to contribute effectively upstream. Kyle is a Principal Engineer at Cisco Systems where he works on OpenStack, OpenDaylight, and Open vSwitch. He is also Program Technical Lead (PTL) for the OpenStack Neutron project, the networking component of OpenStack handling the complex task of connecting machines in a virtual environment.

    • DreamHost Takes its OpenStack IaaS Platform Out of Beta Tests

      DreamHost has now taken its DreamCompute infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) OpenStack cloud platorm out of private beta testing. The company, with a platform that comes from the creators of Ceph, is set to compete with Amazon and other players in the cloud game.

    • This Polish startup aims to “do to open source what DigitalOcean did to SaaS”

      With almost 80,000 followers on Twitter and series A funding of $37.2 million in the bank, cloud hosting firm DigitalOcean is a suitable company to look up to for VirtKick.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice based document editor comes to the iPad

      LibreOffice is enjoying some serious adoption. CloudOn, a US-based company has launched a document editor for Apple’s iPad which is based of free and open source LibreOffice. The company says in a press statement that the app offers a, “…new experience for creating and editing mobile documents with a gesture-first doc editor that removes all the clutter, overload and lag of yesterday’s tools. Now people can intuitively create and collaborate on thoughts, ideas and information in ways that fits with the way they work.”

    • LibreOffice 4.3.3 Released with 62 Bug Fixes

      A new minor release of the hugely popular open-source office suite LibreOffice has been made available for immediate download.

  • Healthcare

    • PwC pitches open-source electronic health records

      According to PWC’s Dan Garrett, who heads the firm’s Health IT practice, the VistA solution makes sense in the short term because of existing interoperability between DOD and VA, and in the long term because the open architecture of VistA gives DOD the ability to modernize at its own pace.

  • Business

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Paris extends smart city open source tools to region

      The French capital is pushing for the use of free and open source software solutions to extend its smart city project to the city region. Making databases and applications interoperable and creating smart city grids requires tools to be as open as possible, and the use of open source provides many advantages over proprietary tools, says the city’s Deputy Mayor Jean-Louis Missika.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Job No. 1 In Open Source: Making Sure Others Can Understand Your Code

      While I’ve pointed out the importance of hiring exceptional writers to help craft and articulate meaningful stories about why a product matters, the reality is that strong writing skills matter just as much for developers as for marketers. In part this is a matter of developers doing a better job of marketing their projects to rally contributors, but it’s actually much more fundamental.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Failed Promise of HTML5

      The W3C announced this week that the HTML5 specification is now an official recommendation. While I was an avid supporter of the HTML5 effort in the early days, seven years ago, you can count me among those that aren’t all that excited by the W3Cs announcement.

      [...]

      As I see it, web standards are now evolving every six to eight weeks and the W3C is merely a bystander in the process.

Leftovers

  • Windows 7: Officially Dead This Week

    With no funeral, retrospectives, accolades, or notes of sadness, the Windows 7 era has come to an end.

  • Freedom Reaches Retail Shelves On Friday

    Perhaps freedom won’t turn on like the flick of a light-switch. It will be a gradual process that’s been going on for a while but it will be faster now. People I meet are still wondering what to do about XP. “7” or “8*” or Wintel are not on their radar any longer. They are thinking that if Android/Linux is what I like, why do retailers only offer Wintel on retail shelves? They are thinking that something must be available and they are finding GNU/Linux. On their own. That’s the game-changer. That’s the shift in mind-share.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Hackers breach some White House computers

      Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion.

    • LAX flight delayed after WiFi hotspot name prompts concerns

      An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles International Airport to London was delayed Sunday after concerns over the name of a WiFi hotspot.

      A passenger saw the WiFi connection, named “Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork,” and expressed concern to a flight attendant.

    • Stupid WiFi Hotspot Name Gets American Airlines Flight Grounded

      America: land of the ass coverage policy and home of “better safe than sorry.” Free and brave? Not so much. If anyone wants to know if the terrorists have won, here’s another one to file under “Exhibit A: Yes, At Least A Sizable Partial Victory.”

    • Hackers Are Using Gmail Drafts to Update Their Malware and Steal Data

      In his career-ending extramarital affair that came to light in 2012, General David Petraeus used a stealthy technique to communicate with his lover Paula Broadwell: the pair left messages for each other in the drafts folder of a shared Gmail account. Now hackers have learned the same trick. Only instead of a mistress, they’re sharing their love letters with data-stealing malware buried deep on a victim’s computer.

    • Security Specifications

      There are many potential sources for security specifications. Some of them are government standards. For example, in the United States, HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, specifies requirements for administrative safeguards, physical safeguards, and technical safeguards of medical records and personally identifiable information. Anyone dealing with Protected Health Information must comply with HIPAA.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drones posing global security issues

      To date, only the US, Britain and Israel have used armed drones in an overt, operational environment in which they killed opponents. But the reason why other nations have not used drones is political, not technological, for almost every government is developing an offensive UAV capability.

    • Bill to ban armed drones from N.J. skies advances in Legislature

      A bill that would criminalize the outfitting of drones with weapons was advanced by a state Assembly committee today.

      The bill, introduced in January, primarily limits the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles by law enforcement and fire departments to certain situations where search warrants have been obtained, or where there is a clear emergency, such as an Amber Alert or an active fire, according to the legislation.

    • DoD, Lockheed Shake On 29 F-35s; Price Drops 3.6%

      The eighth Low Rate Initial Production contract includes 19 F-35As, six F-35Bs and four F-35Cs. “It also provides for the production of the first two F-35As for Israel, the first four F-35As for Japan along with two F-35As for Norway and two F-35As for Italy. The United Kingdom will receive four F-35Bs. The contract also funds manufacturing-support equipment as well as ancillary mission equipment.”

    • Killer robots are here and we must stop them, expert says

      From “The Terminator” to the Avengers’ upcoming battle with Ultron, pop culture’s parade of killer robots has long expressed fears that modern technology’s marvels might turn against us.

      In fact, the killer robots are already here – in the form of military drones and missiles, for now – and so is a movement to ban them by such organizations as the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. So says physicist Mark Gubrud, who appears tonight at a Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition meeting to speak about the “robot arms race” and the growing possibility of “robot armies fighting a war and humans playing no role.”

    • Elon Musk: ‘We are summoning the demon’ with artificial intelligence

      Elon Musk, a chief advocate of cars smart enough to park and drive themselves, continues to escalate his spooky speech when it comes to the next level of computation — the malicious potential of artificial intelligence continues to freak him out.

    • Rethinking a Negative Perception of Drones | Commentary

      We hear a lot about the nasty realities of modern drone usage — the targeted strikes that kill indiscriminately and the surveillance operations that concern privacy advocates. The side of the story we hear far less often is that of the large, military aircraft’s smaller brethren: the UAVs that have demonstrated significant advantages with disaster relief, search and rescue, conservation, forest fire detection and scientific research efforts. Unfortunately, myths persist publicly and in Congress there is no middle ground between libertarian-leaning privacy advocates who oppose drones and those who are in favor of them.

    • Drone deliberately flown at plane above Essex sparking terror fears

      A passenger plane was just 75ft from a mid-air crash with an unmanned drone, an official report has revealed.

      The quadcopter drone was deliberately flown towards the turbo-prop plane as it came into land, according to the co-pilot. He feared there was a high risk of a collision with the plane, which holds up to 74 passengers.

    • US drone strike kills five people in Pakistani tribal region

      A suspected US drone strike killed at least five militants in a Pakistani tribal region today, with local villagers saying the dead included a senior Arab commander.

    • What’s the cause of endless wars?

      Todd Chretien argues that the imperial state doesn’t just defend oil industry thieves, but the system of competitive capitalism worldwide–the so-called “free market.”

    • Students protest BAE’s ‘careers in killing’

      The Lancaster University Careers Fair was again the venue for a protest against the inclusion of BAE Systems. A Group of Lancaster University Students and activists staged a “die-in” at the careers fair in the university’s Great Hall this afternoon. The group lay on the floor to symbolise the death and destruction caused by arms manufacturer BAE Systems, who were represented at the fair.

    • Obama’s Hypocritical Crusade Against Extremism
    • US urges battle against IS to be waged online

      The US-led coalition has carried out fresh air strikes against jihadists in Syria and Iraq as Washington called for the battle against the Islamic State group to be taken to the Internet.

    • Video – Thales Watchkeeper UAV deployed to Afghanistan

      Since 25th September, the Thales Watchkeeper has been cutting its teeth in Afghanistan. From the British Army base in Helmand province, in the south of the country, the tactical UAV has conducted regular monitoring and reconnaissance missions to protect the estimated 10,000 British soldiers stationed there since 2001 as part of the International Security Assistance Force.

    • A sky full of drones

      Western enthusiasm for Malala Yousafzai overshadows the fact that western policies deny children in Pakistan their most basic rights. The short-term memory of the media cycle, coupled with political self-interest and selective attention continue to marginalise the trauma of CIA drones.

    • The Malala that they ignore

      The press pick and choose which of Malala’s messages are amplified ― and which are silenced. They can hardly get enough of her insistence on the importance of “the philosophy of nonviolence I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa”.

      [...]

      In March last year, Malala sent this message to a congress of Pakistani Marxists: “First of all, I’d like to thank The Struggle and the IMT [International Marxist Tendency] for giving me a chance to speak last year at their Summer Marxist School in Swat and also for introducing me to Marxism and socialism.

      [...]

      When the courageous activist speaks of the importance of education and non-violence, the West shouts her words loudly from the mountain tops. When that same activist criticises predator drones and, that most sacrosanct entity of all, capitalism, the silence is deafening.

    • Naming the Dead: visualised

      The database of names is built on over two years of research in and outside Pakistan, using a multitude of sources. These include both Pakistani government records leaked to the Bureau, and hundreds of open source reports in English, Pashtun and Urdu.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Swedish officials weigh up option to question Assange ahead of court ruling

      Sweden’s chief prosecutor said on Tuesday she was seriously considering an invitation by the British government to question Julian Assange in London, before a court ruling in Sweden on whether to lift the warrant for his arrest.

      The Foreign Office said on Tuesday it would welcome a request by the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny to question Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy and would be happy to facilitate such a move, which is seen by Assange’s lawyers as an important step towards breaking the deadlock surrounding the case.

    • Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • IRS Also More Than Willing To Steal Money Under The Pretense Of Crime Fighting

      The Department of Justice and its underlings (the FBI and nearyl every law enforcement agency in the nation) have turned the ideal of asset forfeiture (defund drug dealers; return money to the defrauded, etc.) into a free-roaming, many-tentacled opportunistic beast, one that “liberates” any amount of “suspicious” cash from tourists, legitimate business owners or anyone else who just happens to have “too much” cash in their possession.

    • Detroit man fights $30k child support bill for kid that is not his

      The State of Michigan is ordering a Detroit man to pay tens of thousands of dollars, or go to prison. The reason? He owes back child support for a child that everyone agrees is not his.

      “I feel like I’m standing in front of a brick wall with nowhere to go,” said Carnell Alexander.

      He says he learned about the paternity case against him during a traffic stop in Detroit in the early 90s. The officer told him he is a deadbeat dad, there was a warrant out for his arrest.

  • Censorship

    • Hungary Internet-Tax Protest Swells Into Anti-Orban Demo

      A rally to block a planned tax on Internet use in Hungary swelled into one of the largest anti-government demonstrations since Prime Minister Viktor Orban came to power in 2010.

    • Street Demonstrations Against Hungary’s Plan To Tax Internet Data Lead To A Partial Climbdown By Government
    • FDA Is Angry That ICANN Won’t Just Censor Websites On Its Say So

      It’s not just the City of London Police demanding that websites be taken offline without any due process. It appears that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is getting in on the game as well. The Wall Street Journal recently published a detailed article about how angry the FDA is with ICANN (there’s also a corresponding blog post which may not face the same paywall restrictions) for not simply killing domains that the FDA deems “rogue pharmacies.” That’s not to say that there aren’t reasonable concerns about rogue pharmacies. There are clearly some concerns about those sites, but it seems like there are better ways to deal with those than just barging in and saying that ICANN and registrars need to take down sites based solely on their say so.

  • Privacy

    • You Can’t Vote Out National Security Bureaucrats: And They, Not Elected Officials, Really Run The Show

      A year ago, we noted a rather odd statement from President Obama, concerning some of the Snowden leaks. He more or less admitted that with each new report in the press, he then had to go ask the NSA what it was up to.

    • Documents Show FBI Impersonated Newspaper’s Website To Deliver Spyware To Suspect’s Computer

      The court documents didn’t detail how the FBI managed to install the weaponized payload on Glazebook’s computer. The emails obtained by the EFF, however, expose the electronic paper trail.

    • During Cold War, CIA And FBI Hired Over 1,000 Nazis As Spies, Limited Investigations Of Those Nazis

      A new book by Eric Lichtblau, The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men, apparently details how the FBI and CIA hired over 1,000 Nazis during the height of the cold war, forgiving them their past sins, so long as they might help spy on the Soviet Union.

    • Entirely Coincidentally, NSA Signals Intelligence Director Moved To New Position After Conflicts Of Interest Were Exposed By Buzzfeed

      The NSA’s newly-developed concern for “optics” is being tested by employees both former and current. Keith Alexander, the NSA’s longtime leading man, took his snooping show on the road, offering his expertise to banks for $1 million/month. But he couldn’t leave it all behind, attempting to drag the current NSA CTO along with him by offering him an interesting — but conflicting — part-time position with IronNet Security. The NSA said, “That’s fine.” Then it said, “We’re looking into it.” Then it said nothing while Keith Alexander pulled the plug on the deal while simultaneously denying any sort of impropriety.

    • UK’s GCHQ Can Get Warrantless Access To Bulk NSA Data
    • Secret policy reveals GCHQ can get warrantless access to bulk NSA data
    • Verizon is launching a tech news site that bans stories on U.S. spying

      The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called SugarString.com. The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game.

    • FBI Raids House Of ‘Second Leaker’ Who Provided Terrorist Watchlist Documents To The Intercept

      The government appears to have located the “second leaker.” Snowden obviously still remains out of reach in Russia, but the other leaker — one hinted at over the past few months and confirmed in Laura Poitras’ Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” — seems to have been identified by the FBI. Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News breaks the news.

    • More Surveillance Punishes Canadians, Not Terrorists

      The potential destruction of terrorism is infinitesimally smaller than the damage done to our rights by a disproportionate attempt to prevent it.

      Please. Please remember this. It’s even more important now, when that fact is so easily forgotten in the wake of the attack on our Parliament and the tragic deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

    • White House Says Obama Doesn’t Think Netanyahu Is a ‘Chickenshit’

      On Tuesday, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here,” and it begins with an anonymous senior administration official calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit.”

      Now, White House damage control is officially in effect. Press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration does not think that Netanyahu, as Goldberg reported, is in fact a “chickenshit.”

    • Islamophobia TV

      THE THURSDAY before Homeland’s season premiere, I wrote an article for the Washington Post calling Homeland “the most bigoted show on television.” While I am not the first person to present many of the arguments I laid out in the article, the moment was right and the article went viral.

      [...]

      The only male Muslim character who’s allowed to be something other than a terrorist–an innocent victim–is Issa, Abu Nazir’s young son, who’s killed in a drone strike that mistakenly targeted his school.

    • Twitter Might Be In Worse Shape Than You Think

      For Twitter, old news is bad news. On Monday, the company once again had to tell investors that its strenuous efforts to attract new users met with only middling results in the third quarter. The market reacted much as it did upon receiving similar news in February and May, lopping more than 10% off Twitter’s share price upon the open of trading Tuesday amid a handful of analyst downgrades.

    • The 7 Privacy Tools Essential to Making Snowden Documentary CITIZENFOUR

      What needs to be in your tool belt if you plan to report on a massively funded and ultra-secret organization like the NSA? In the credits of her newly released CITIZENFOUR, director Laura Poitras gives thanks to a list of important security resources that are all free software. We’ve previously written about CITIZENFOUR and Edward Snowden’s discussion of his motivation to release closely guarded information about the NSA. Here’s a closer look at the seven tools she names as helping to enable her to communicate with Snowden and her collaborators in making the film.

    • More Apple privacy concerns: Yosemite uploads unsaved TextEdit docs to iCloud

      If you’re using Apple’s latest desktop OS, Yosemite, you might want to adjust your iCloud settings to avoid unsaved documents ending up on Apple’s servers.

      Apple’s latest desktop OS, OS X Yosemite, and its latest mobile update, iOS 8.1 are designed to make work across multiple Apple devices a lot more convenient, courtesy of syncing features rooted in iCloud Drive (Apple’s answer to Dropbox) and “continuity”.

    • Apple’s OS X Yosemite slurps UNSAVED docs into iCloud

      Apple’s OSX 10.10 – aka Yosemite – is silently uploading users’ unsaved documents and the email addresses of their contacts to Apple’s iCloud, according to security researcher Jeffrey Paul.

    • Apple Mac OS X Yosemite ‘Secretly’ Uploading Private Data to iCloud Servers

      A security researcher claims that Apple’s latest desktop software secretly and silently uploads unsaved documents and email addresses to the company’s servers without a user’s knowledge.

      According to Berlin-based hacker and security researcher Jeffrey Paul, changes made in Mac OS X Yosemite causes sensitive and private data to be automatically uploaded to Apple’s servers.

  • Civil Rights

    • 12 Nobel Peace Prize Winners Ask Nobel Peace Prize Winning President Obama To Release CIA Torture Report

      The signatories of the letter are Desmond Tutu, Jose Ramos-Horta, Mohammad ElBaradei, Leymah Gbowee, Muhammad Yunis, Oscar Arias Sanchez, John Hume, F.W. De Klerk, Jody Williams, Carlos X. Belo, Betty Williams and Adolfo Perez Esquivel. One hopes that this would help drive things forward on actually releasing the report, except that the CIA seems dead set against it.

    • An End to Torture

      Twelve Nobel Peace Prize laureates have written to President Barack Obama asking the US to close the dark chapter on torture once and for all. Please add your voice in support of their message below. It will be forwarded to the President. And please share widely.

    • We Hardly Knew Ye: Judge Dismisses Manuel Noriega’s Publicity Rights Suit Against Activision

      Sometimes it’s difficult to maintain any faith in our legal system, particularly when it comes to intellectual property, and perhaps even more particularly when it comes to publicity rights. Then, some former drug-running dictator comes along to sue a video game and the system actually manages to do right. Yes, the case brought by Manuel Noriega against Activision over the game’s depiction of the dictator in the Call of Duty franchise has been tossed out by the judge.

    • Manuel Noriega case against Call of Duty is dismissed

      Noriega did work as a CIA informant before the agency broke ties with him.

    • More Cops Investigate More Teens ‘Sexting.’ Now What?

      The reason for police involvement — beyond the slim chance that it could net them some cheap child porn busts, thanks to existing laws being applied badly — is left unstated. Apparently, the discovery of suggestive and/or explicit photos couldn’t be left up to the students and their parents to handle. Instead, somebody will need to be punished for something that appears to be incredibly common and often wholly voluntary.

    • The TSA Stole My Belt Buckle… For Safety.

      On my flight out to LA, I dealt with the same issue with an imperious and stupid TSA supervisor who tried to take the buckle under the same pretenses at DCA until I protested long enough for her to get the top level supervisor in the terminal.

    • Footage shows homeless black man Milton Hall being shot at 46 times by police in the US

      Graphic footage has emerged showing a homeless man being shot and killed by police in the US who fired a barrage of 46 bullets as he held a penknife.

      Milton Hall, who was mentally ill, was surrounded by eight officers training their guns in a shopping centre car park in Saginaw, Michigan, in July 2012.

      The 49-year-old had been arguing with police after an alleged altercation with a shop assistant for several minutes and the video shows him refusing an officer’s demand to put down the knife.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Gottfrid Svartholm Found Guilty in Hacking Trial

        Gottfrid Svartholm has today been found guilty of hacking crimes by a Danish court. The Swedish Pirate Bay founder and his 21-year-old accomplice were found to have been involved in illegally accessing systems operated by IT company CSC. It was the biggest hacking case ever conducted in Denmark.

      • Pirate Bay founder guilty in historic hacker case

        Gottrid Svartholm Warg and his 21-year-old Danish co-defendant were found guilty on Thursday morning, with the Dane released on time served and Warg to be sentenced on Friday.

      • Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

        Sweden’s Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday.

      • Dotcom Tries To Reclaim Millions Seized in Hong Kong

        It was a place where Kim Dotcom loved doing business but it took just 13 minutes for a Hong Kong court to authorize the seizure of $42 million of his assets in 2012. Now the tycoon wants his cash back, with his legal team arguing that justice officials misled the courts.

      • EFF Ranks Service Providers For Who Stands Up To Copyright/Trademark Bullies

        We’ve written in the past about the EFF’s Who Has Your Back rankings, in which it looks at various internet companies to see who protects your privacy against governments and lawsuits. Now, the EFF has come out with an offshoot chart, looking at who has your back when it comes to bogus copyright and trademark demands. The only two companies that get a perfect score are Automattic/WordPress and NameCheap, as you can see on the full chart. The worst, somewhat surprisingly, is Tumblr, which scored a big fat zero out of the five listed items.

      • Crooner in Rights Spat
      • When Even The New Yorker Is Doing Long Features On The Ridiculous State Of Copyright Law…

        This article has been out for a few weeks now, but I’ve finally had a chance to read through the whole thing. Louis Menard, over at the New Yorker, has a long piece on just how messed up copyright laws are today, going over many of the same grounds we have (for nearly two decades). The piece itself is a sort of book review of Peter Baldwin’s new The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle, but basically repeats the main point: copyright law as it is today really doesn’t make much sense. The first half of the article is a great look at the problems of copyright law, but unfortunately, the second half of the article goes off the rails by leaping on familiar and misleading tropes about why people feel the way they do about copyright. Still, the first half covers a number of copyright’s problems quite well.

10.29.14

Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Spooky Linux Urban Legends

    The truth is, Linux — and the ecosystem of Free and Open Source software around it — isn’t perfect. Heck, I regularly give Linux a hard time for its shortcomings, myself. But the reality is… it’s absolutely fantastic for both end users and companies building software/hardware solutions alike.

  • Tux Machines DDOS Attack Mostly Contained

    According to Schestowitz, although the site continues to be under fire, he and his team have developed methods to deal with the attacks.

    “The DDOS attacks against both sites are still going on,” he wrote last night in an email in response to our query. “There’s now an aggressive filtering software in place banning a lot of machines which it suspects to be part of the attacks. It helps reduce the frequency of downtime.”

    That’s good news. Although we have no idea of the traffic figures for TechRights, it’s certainly a popular free software site. Tux Machines is probably even more popular, with thousands of visitors daily depending on it for links to the latest news on Linux and FOSS. It’s nice to know it’s seemingly dependable again, even as it continues to come under attack.

  • Desktop GNU/Linux Wins

    To me, this is quite an important period because the only reason I migrated to GNU/Linux was to be free of crashes. Later I was glad I did because of performance, lack of malware, avoidance of the EULA from Hell, easy back-ups and installation, easy management, etc. Many other famous migrations happened around the same time and I would bet stability was an issue for them too. Certainly cost, flexibility, and independence from M$ were issues. Many businesses were spending ~$1000 per seat per annum just to keep things running, so it’s not just about licences or being “cheap”. FLOSS is the right way to do IT.

  • Why Microsoft loves Linux

    That’s a heck of a long way from Steve Ballmer proclaiming back in 2001 that “Linux is a cancer.” In the years since then Microsoft certainly attacked Linux like it was a cancer — doing everything from sponsoring SCO’s copyright attack on Linux to claiming that Linux violated unnamed Microsoft patents to endless FUD assaults.

  • About Linux Weekly News
  • Server

    • Parallels CTO: Linux container security is not the problem

      Containerization technology has been a game-changer, powering Docker and other transformative software solutions. It’s also garnered its share of criticisms about performance, security, and resiliency.

      But one of the creators of Parallels, a key containerization technology on Linux, is pushing back against what he feels are pervasive myths about containers — many of which, he argues, are rooted in misunderstandings of how to use them and what they’re for.

  • Kernel Space

    • Introducing the 2014 Linux Training Scholarship Winners

      The Linux Foundation recently announced its 2014 Linux training scholarship winners.This year marked the strongest demand we’ve ever seen for this program with more than 1,000 applications received. Reading through the submissions it became clear that learning Linux is widely recognized as a smart strategy for building a successful career. From every corner of the world, up and coming developers and sysadmins want to be able to tap into this massive opportunity. This is also represented in our Intro to Linux MOOC as well with nearly 300,000 registrations from more than 100 countries.

    • systemd 217

      Many new features, even more bugfixes!

    • Systemd 217: Many New Features, Even More Bug-Fixes

      Lennart Poettering announced the release today of systemd 217 and it’s quite a big update.

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenGL 4.x Support For Mesa Still Inching Along

        While there hasn’t been much to report on lately with regard to major OpenGL 4.x advancements, the OpenGL 4.0+ support is still being worked on by the open-source developers wishing to expose GL4 compliance within the Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau Linux graphics drivers, among other potential Mesa/Gallium3D drivers.

      • AMD’s R300 Gallium3D Driver Enables VDPAU Again

        For those stuck running on the R300g driver, which supports the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) series and older GPUs, you really should consider upgrading your graphics card and likely your system. But if you’re set on using the R300g driver going into the foreseeable future, you might as well upgrade Mesa.

      • xorg-server 1.16.99.901

        Here’s the first RC for X server 1.17.

      • X.Org Server 1.17 RC1 Released, Exciting For GLAMOR & Modesetting

        Keith Packard has made available the first test release for the upcoming X.Org Server 1.17 release. This release is coming a bit late but Keith is still hoping to have xorg-server 1.17.0 ready for release at the end of the year or around early January.

      • OpenGL 4.x Support For Mesa Still Inching Along

        While there hasn’t been much to report on lately with regard to major OpenGL 4.x advancements, the OpenGL 4.0+ support is still being worked on by the open-source developers wishing to expose GL4 compliance within the Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau Linux graphics drivers, among other potential Mesa/Gallium3D drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Driver Comparison

        As a follow-up to last week’s Ubuntu 14.04 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 AMD Performance Comparison and yesterday’s Radeon R9 290: Gallium3D vs. Catalyst driver comparison, here’s taking things further in looking at the performance of the open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver in several configurations while compared against the closed-source AMD Catalyst graphics driver as found on Ubuntu 14.10.

      • Btrfs On 4 x Intel SSDs In RAID 0/1/5/6/10

        These results are much more interesting than the earlier two-disk HDD benchmarks now using solid-state storage and having bought four Intel Series 530 120GB SSDs for making this an interesting RAID comparison. Four of the Intel SSDSC2BW120A4K5 solid-state drives were used in their 120GB capacity. Each of these solid-state drives retail for $75~80 USD and features sequential reads up to 540MB/s and sequential writes up to 480MB/s with its Serial ATA 3.0 interface. The 2.5-inch SSD 530 Series drive is rated by a five-year warranty and uses 20nm Intel NAND MLC memory.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat begins offering free OpenShift to startups

        Red Hat is looking to lure startups to its web of services with a new program that gives budding businesses free access to OpenShift Online, Red Hat’s public cloud app development platform.

      • Red Hat Launches OpenShift Startup Program

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the launch of the OpenShift Startup Program. This free program uses OpenShift Online, Red Hat’s public cloud application and development platform, to help startups build and grow their business.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Join workshop at Nha Trang IT Day 2014

          Sunday, October 26th, 2014, at Nha Trang university, Nha Trang, Vietnam, the Nha Trang IT Day 2014 was taken place. During that day, the Fedora Join workshop was held to introduce about Fedora Project to professors, teachers and students who work and study at NTU and nearby universities and to help them to join into.

        • Makulu for Work and Play, Wget Vulnerability, and Systemd Updates

          makuluToday in the Linux newsfeeds is Sean Michael Kerner’s coverage of a newly reported Wget Symlink Vulnerability. MakuluLinux 1.0 Cinnamon was released today and two community reviews give users a nice introduction. The Systemd debate continues and The Canonical Distribution of Ubuntu OpenStack was announced. And finally today, Bryan Lunduke shares “what it’s like living on a Chromebook.”

        • ownCloud updates for Fedora 19 and EPEL 6

          Instead of relval (for a change) I spent some of my non-work time today working on ownCloud packaging (I’m the owner/’primary contact’/whatever for the ownCloud package, these days).

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu’s Unity 8 desktop removes the Amazon search ‘spyware’

            Unity 8, seen in the Ubuntu Desktop Next images and Ubuntu Touch phones, removes a controversial feature branded “spyware” by some and fixes one of Ubuntu’s most long-standing complaints. When Unity 8 is stable and ready, Ubuntu won’t send your local searches over the web and show you Amazon product results anymore, quelling some longstanding fears in the open-source community.

          • SIMD8 Vertex Shaders For Broadwell

            Kristian’s latest patches being made public are enabling support for vertex shaders to be generated using Intel’s SIMD8 scalar back-end for Broadwell hardware and newer. “With Broadwell we have the option to run vertex shaders in scalar (SIMD8) mode which potentially gives us better throughput and more vertices per thread dispatch. This patch series implements this by repurposing our [fragment shader] backend to also work for vertex shaders.”

          • An Intel-Based Ubuntu Touch Tablet Is Planning To Launch Soon

            Today we’ve received some information a device dubbed the “UT One” that is an Ubuntu Touch tablet powered by an Intel Bay Trail processor and aims to ship in December.

          • UT One tablet with Ubuntu Touch coming in December?

            The makers of the Ubuntu Linux operating system for notebooks, desktops, and servers have been working on a version for phones and tablets… and hope to see the first of those devices ship later this year or early in 2015.

          • UBUNTU DEVELOPER TOOLS CENTER 0.1 RELEASED WITH ECLIPSE AND ANDROID ADT SUPPORT

            A couple of months ago, Canonical released Ubuntu Developer Tools Center (UDTC), a project to “enable quick and easy setup of common developers needs on Ubuntu”.

          • Ubuntu Could Give a Fatal Blow to Windows in China

            The Windows operating systems is going out the front door in China and its place will be taken by a Linux distribution that will be used by the authorities and the governing body. The problem is that there is no real alternative, although at least one OS might be ready for the task, and that is Ubuntu Kylin.

          • Ubuntu’s Unity desktop may be more popular than most people think

            Unity is the desktop that just can’t get much respect in the Linux world. It has been criticized since the day it first appeared, with many Linux users being quite vocal in their disgust at Canonical’s decision to include Unity instead of GNOME. But is Unity really that reviled? A new survey by OMG Ubuntu indicates that most Ubuntu users actually seem to like Unity.

          • Ubuntu Survey Results Show Unity, Heron’s and Dual-Boots Are Popular

            One week and 15,000 responses later, the results of our Ubuntu at 10 Reader Survey are finally ready to serve up. And they make for some fascinating mid-morning coffee-break reading.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny open source USB-stick SBC focuses on security

      Inverse Path is readying a tiny, open-spec “USB Armory” SBC that runs Linux or Android on an i.MX53, and offers Trustzone, secure boot, and USB emulation.

    • Lightweight DBMS guides Linux-based cow feeding robot

      Ittia announced a design win for its lightweight embedded DB SQL database in Wasserbauer’s uClibc Linux based “Butler Gold” robot designed to feed cattle.

    • Phones

      • iPhone 39.3 M units in Q3… sorry I missed this news a week ago

        So Apple gave its Q3 results (talking calendar quarter of course so its July-September numbers) and this includes the first few days of sales of the new iPhone 6 models. How was it? 39.3 million units. Thats up 12% from Q2 and up 16% from the same period one year ago. That is not good enough, as the market is growing far faster, so iPhone market share is again down (year-on-year). Because of the iPhone launch pattern of one launch date per year, the quarterly sales move up and down a lot, so the Apple view should always be considered with the annual view. But yes, market share now in Q3 is about 12.4% which is down from 13.3% a year ago same period. Apple’s iPhone market share year-on-year has now fallen 8 consecutive quarters, down from the peak market share of 23.9% in Q1 of 2012 to essentially half of that, 12.4% today.

      • Tizen

        • Samsung Gear S UK release gets delayed

          We previously reported that the Tizen based Samsung Gear S was looking at a release date of 24th October, which happened to be last week by many of the major UK online tech retailers. Well, as what happens quite often in the Tech world the release has been delayed, and we are now looking at the week commencing 11 November 2014 for its UK launch. No specific reason has been given by Samsung to the delay.

      • Android

        • 12 of the best new features in Android Lollipop

          Google’s approach for rolling out the latest version of Android, Lollipop, is a little different. There are the usual things we see every year — a new Nexus phone and a new Nexus tablet — but instead of a big event, the company is posting details in blog posts and on the main Android site. So if you’re tracking the rollout closely, you probably have a sense of what’s new and what’s cool in the OS. If you’re not, though, getting a sense of what Lollipop is actually like and what it actually does isn’t easy.

        • YouTube’s WatchMe for Android Brings Live Event Streams to Android Apps

          YouTube has been in the news recently based on reports that it plans to launch paid subscription services, but there is another bit of interesting news about the popular video hosting and streaming company: It has launched an open source project called YouTube WatchMe for Android, available on GitHub, that offers an app designed to facilitate YouTube Live Streaming Events on Android devices.

        • Twelve great features in Android 5.0 Lollipop

          In today’s Android roundup: Twelve of the best features in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Plus: Google releases its Google Fit health app, and popular music app djay 2 is now available for Android

        • 12 of the best new features in Android Lollipop

          Google’s approach for rolling out the latest version of Android, Lollipop, is a little different. There are the usual things we see every year — a new Nexus phone and a new Nexus tablet — but instead of a big event, the company is posting details in blog posts and on the main Android site. So if you’re tracking the rollout closely, you probably have a sense of what’s new and what’s cool in the OS. If you’re not, though, getting a sense of what Lollipop is actually like and what it actually does isn’t easy.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Survey indicates four out of five developers now use open source

    Why? The majority of them have switched to open source because they perceive open source development programs as having better performance and reliability. This, as Hammond observed, is a change. “Open source used to be popular because of the lower cost. Now the cost of tools is the least important element for developers.”

  • The Apache Software Foundation Marks 15 Years of Open Source Innovation and Community Leadership

    Apache has seen amazing success over the last 15 years. Not only do ASF projects impact almost every area of computing, but the Apache License, our Contributor License Agreements (CLAs), and our pattern of open, collaborative development (often known as “The Apache Way”) continue to influence Open Source projects outside of the ASF. Many Apache projects have gone on to build huge, successful ecosystems around themselves, and other established projects have joined the ASF to grow and diversify their community.

  • Wipro is building space for 10,000 in open source
  • Events

    • Looking Ahead at Upcoming FOSS Events

      Now that the mega-conference week that was is in the books — Ohio LinuxFest, All Things Open and Seattle GNU/Linux Conference are all history for this year — generally the Linux/FOSS world catches its collective breath and starts thinking about shows in 2015.

    • Free Software (and Freedom) in Kosovo

      So today’s challenge for hackers, I think, is putting that advice into practice by writing a new generation of free software programs with strong crypto baked in as a matter of course. That means strong crypto in connectivity software (more things like OpenVPN, TOR, Commotion); in communications programs (MailPile, Cryptocat, RedPhone), and in content applications (FreeNet, GNUnet).

    • Keys to diversity in tech are more simple than you think
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple’s JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8

        Mozilla Distinguished Engineer Robert O’Callahan reports that the Spidermonkey JavaScript engine, used by the Firefox web browser, has surpassed the performance of Google’s V8 engine (used by Chrome) and Apple’s JavaScript Core (used by Safari) on three popular benchmarks: Mozilla’s own Kraken, Webkit’s SunSpider and Google’s Octane.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Power of Brand and the Power of Product Redux

      Those who know me know that I am partial to OpenOffice, an open source project that I contribute to. So I am extremely pleased to see it continue to advance in all fronts. Since coming to Apache, OpenOffice’s name recognition has grown from 24% to 39% and the user share has grown from 11% to 18%, while keeping user satisfaction constant. This is a testament to the hard work of the many talented volunteers at Apache.

    • LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice: Why LibreOffice Wins

      Comparing LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice is like comparing identical twins. Even people who know them well have trouble distinguishing one from the other, and, when you find a difference, it is often trivial. All the same, the differences are growing, and LibreOffice has at least eleven advantages over OpenOffice – see the list below.

  • Funding

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Rebuilding tech in Afghanistan with open source

      The Center for International and Intercultural Communication (ZiiK) at the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) has been helping with the reconstruction of academic organizations in Afghanistan since 2002. Under the supervision of the Berlin IT lecturer, Dr. Nazir Peroz, Director of the ZiiK, computer centers have been established at five college locations in Afghanistan.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Zend Server 8 Delivers Z-Ray Application Insight

      For the first time, Zend Server is now also available on IBM’s Power Linux platforms. Zend has been available for years on IBM i, but has not been available for Linux running on IBM’s Power servers. IBM has had a busy year for Power, launching its Power8 server systems portfolio and doubling down on Linux.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why agency IGs are more bark than bite

      The U.K. government employee added, “Yet we still have a huge .pdf mountain which we hate, and do our best to segment and slice. But to stop the remaining .pdf mountain getting any higher requires that Word documents stop being the default way government communicates with itself. We’ve made a start with HTML and Open Document Format becoming our adopted open standards for documents.

      Levels of inter-departmental and inter-agency alignment and agreement will need to be be Herculean…to…agree on standards,” he said.

      Nathaniel Heller, founder of the transparency and ethics nonprofit Global Integrity, said it’s important to figure out “how to get away from PDF ghettos as a way of transmitting information.” He added, “what’s really needed for this sort of dense information — and IG reports are a classic example — to be made more useful to, say, my mother is context, analysis, and summaries…My gut is that it takes someone, whether an IG office itself or other infomediaries, to tell us a bit about why a particular case should matter.”

    • Microsoft Plans Skype Calls Without Plug-In Via Internet Explorer

      In-browser Skype calls are on the horizon after Microsoft backs ORTC and WebRTC technology

    • Open Web Platform Milestone Achieved with HTML5 Recommendation
    • The W3C Pronounces the HTML5 Standard Finalized
    • Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is

      After nearly 10 years of development, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has promoted the HTML5 specification to Recommendation status, its highest level of maturation, effectively making the markup language a formal web standard.

Leftovers

  • How a Band of Rebels and Pioneers Launched WIRED’s First Website 20 Years Ago Today

    It was the summer of 1994, and WIRED had been covering the digital revolution for nearly a year and a half. Personal computers were linking up, people were logging on, and the whole thing was crashing through society like a “Bengali typhoon,” as WIRED founder and editor-in-chief Louis Rossetto famously described it.

  • Science

    • Orbital Sciences’ Antares Rocket Explosion in Pictures

      sHere, NASA photographer Joel Kowsky captures the moment of a “catastrophic anomaly” on the Antares rocket just after it lifted off from Pad-0A at the Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The rocket’s upper half is clearly visible here, with what appears to be an explosion near its aft. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar

      After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states — in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Apple sacrifices data privacy for convenience

      When I first heard about Jeffrey Paul’s claim [NSFW] that OS X 10.10 Yosemite was leaking data to Apple’s servers, my first reaction was “yeah, yeah – that’s the way autosave is supposed to work.”

      But I was wrong.

      Yes, some people that have upgraded to Yosemite directly from Snow Leopard are being caught out by the way autosave works, something that the rest of us have got used to.

  • Civil Rights

    • New book sheds further light on US government protection of ex-Nazis

      A new book published Tuesday, The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men, by New York Times journalist Eric Lichtblau, details the close relations developed by the US government with Nazi war criminals during and after the Second World War.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • US says AT&T misled customers over promises of offering unlimited data plans

      AT&T is being sued by the US government over allegations it misled millions of smartphone customers who were promised unlimited data plans but instead experienced slow speeds while browsing the Internet or watching streaming video.

    • FTC sues AT&T over ‘deceptive’ throttling of unlimited data customers

      The Federal Trade Commission is suing AT&T because the second-largest US carrier throttles speeds of its unlimited data customers, a policy that the FTC describes as “deceptive” and “unfair.” In a press release, the FTC said AT&T has “misled millions of its smartphone customers” by slowing down their data speeds after they’ve used up a certain amount of data in a single month. AT&T has failed to make its throttling policies clear enough, according to the complaint. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. The Commission’s filing blasts AT&T for slowing customers down to the point where common tasks — watching video, streaming music, etc. — become “difficult or nearly impossible.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Led Zeppelin Sales Soar as Stairway to Heaven Suit Continues

        In a case of improbable timing, Led Zeppelin has simultaneously scored a new hit with the album containing Stairway to Heaven while firing back against allegations that it ripped off the opening notes of the legendary song.

        [...]

        The new release of the alternate “Sunset Sound” mix, however, provides no new clues to the controversy—even if it does shed new light on the song itself. If you listen very hard, you’ll notice the picked guitar intro once had a more haunting feel, with a reverb-like sound that makes it seem distant. And at the end, Jimmy Page momentarily restarts his guitar solo at a point when the familiar mix instead winds down into an anticlimax. While fans might debate the relative merits of these versions, one thing is certain: With the album climbing the charts, ever-more money is at stake in the legal battle.

      • RIAA: The Pirate Bay Assaults Fundamental Human Rights

        The RIAA has just submitted its latest list of “rogue” websites to the U.S. Government. The report includes many of the usual suspects and also calls out websites who claim that they’re protecting the Internet from censorship, specifically naming The Pirate Bay. “We must end this assault on our humanity and the misappropriation of fundamental human rights,” RIAA writes.

10.28.14

Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

Posted in News Roundup at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Organizations are Rallying Behind an Open Source Internet of Things

    If you’ve been reading about the Internet of Things (IoT) market, you may be noticing that it is picking up steam with powerful partnerships and big name companies launching initiatives. Red Hat put up an extensive post recently illustrating that it is very focused on the concept of networking objects of all types, and we’ve covered the backing that organizations ranging from The Linux Foundation to Microsoft are putting behind the IoT market.

  • Events

    • Ceph Developer Summit 2014 – Hammer

      The Ceph Developer Summit (CDS) for the next major Ceph release called Hammer started today some hours ago (2014/10/28). It’s again a virtual summit via video conference calls.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Hybrid cloud – the future is open source

      Among respondents to Computing’s recent data centre research programme, the hybrid cloud model is generating a lot of interest. Indeed, moving towards a hybrid model was the aim of 41 per cent of them (see figure 1).

      Hybrid cloud implies a close interconnectivity between a private cloud (i.e. a collection of physical and virtual systems used exclusively by one company) and the multi-tenant public cloud services exemplified by Google, Amazon and Microsoft Azure. This seamlessly integrated whole allows data, services and workloads to be moved between public and private clouds at will, with the administrator able to monitor and manage the whole system via a single dashboard.

    • Making cloud storage easy with OpenStack Swift

      When you want to learn about object storage in OpenStack, John Dickinson is the guy to ask. John is the Director of Technology at SwiftStack, a company which relies on the OpenStack Swift project to provide unstructured data storage to customers around the world. He also serves as the Program Technical Lead (PTL) for OpenStack Swift and has been involved in the development of Swift since 2009.

    • IBM Expands Global Cloud Footprint and Focus on OpenStack

      Despite a recent poor quarterly results report, IBM appears to be applying even more focus to its cloud services business. The company has announced an expansion of its global cloud network with a new cloud center in Mumbai, India and a new suite of cloud services for OpenStack. And these are just the latest components of IBM’s $1.2 billion investment in cloud centers in every major market worldwide.

    • Chris Kemp: Nebula CSO. Cloud pioneer. Entrepreneur. Former NASA CTO.

      Chris Kemp spoke with TechRepublic about the founding of OpenStack and how he went from NASA’s first CTO of IT to startup founder.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCL 2.6.12 is released

      The GCL team is happy to announce the release of version 2.6.12, the latest achievement in the ‘stable’ (as opposed to ‘development’) series. Please see http://www.gnu.org/software/gcl for downloading information.

    • [GNU IceCat] 31.2.0

      GNU Icecat is now available on Fedora repositories.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Survey probes accessibility of Member States’ transposing of EU legislation

      A survey is being conducted to see if the sharing of information on how the European Union Member States are transposing European legislation can be improved. The results of this survey could potentially contribute to increased interoperability of the ICT systems that provide access to European legislation.

    • W3C now endorses HTML5

      In addition HTML5 will see much more better games get developed for the web, Mozilla using various technologies have shown off desktop-like games in terms of graphics, if this were to become mainstream we may see a shift from people using traditional desktop and laptop to devices like Chromebooks, although post-Snowden privacy concerns make this a more distant reality than it was before. HTML5 also brings with it native support for scalable vector graphics (SVG) and math (MathML), anotations important for East Asian typography and features to enable accessibility of rich applications.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Army Says Only 30% of Americans Could Join

      The U.S. Army now says that seven out of 10 young people between the ages of 17 and 24 are ineligible to become soldiers.

      The alarming reduction in the pool of prospective soldiers worries Army brass and they largely attribute it to three issues: obesity or health problems; lack of a high school education; and criminal histories.

      “There’s a reliance on an ever-smaller group of people to serve and defend the country,” said Maj. Gen. Allen Batschelet, commanding general for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky. “What do we do about that and how do we address that concern?

    • David Cameron jogger: ‘How good is security if I managed to run between them?’

      The jogger who was manhandled to the ground after running into David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has said he had “no idea” why police officers jumped on him.

      Dean Farley, a 28-year-old hospital worker from Leeds, questioned the Prime Minister’s security arrangements.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Washington Post’s Putinology

      OK, so fiery anti-Americanism is the belief that the United States desires a unipolar world where it calls the shots. Does anyone doubt US elites think otherwise?

  • Privacy

    • Verizon’s ‘Perma-Cookie’ Is a Privacy-Killing Machine

      Verizon Wireless has been subtly altering the web traffic of its wireless customers for the past two years, inserting a string of about 50 letters, numbers, and characters into data flowing between these customers and the websites they visit.

    • Sharyl Attkisson’s computer intrusions: ‘Worse than anything Nixon ever did’

      That’s the noise that Attkisson’s Apple computer was making at 3:14 one morning. A Toshiba laptop computer issued by CBS News did the same thing a day earlier, around 4 a.m. All this goes down in October 2012, right in the midst of the Benghazi story. A person who’s identified as “Jeff” warns Attkisson: “I’ve been reading your reports online about Benghazi. It’s pretty incredible. Keep at it. But you’d better watch out.” “Jeff,” like several of the names in “Stonewalled,” is a pseudonym.

    • Report Reveals Wider Tracking of Mail in US

      In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly…

Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Wipro to deploy 10,000 strong team for open source initiatives on non-proprietary software

    Wipro’s open source practice has been made under its Business Application Services division, under which the company intends to build open source platforms that enable online services on a large scale.

    The company will shift its focus to applications, infrastructure, including operating systems, databases, cloud technologies and software defined infrastructure. Significantly, in the Product Engineering space, Wipro believes licensable IP blocks will help shrink product development timelines.

  • Catalyst to lead Mahara open source ePortfolio project

    Catalyst, an open source software specialist based in Christchurch, New Zealand, has taken ownership of ePortfolio project Mahara’s trademark and will also lead the its partner programme, it announced overnight.

  • Events

    • ‘All Things Open’ All Wrapped Up for 2014

      There was absolutely nothing wrong with this year’s All Things Open conference. There were a few glitches, as might be expected, but not enough to matter. Was it perfect? Probably not. Perfection at a conference would probably be pretty boring — and boring would be a fault keeping it from being perfect, if you’ll excuse a little circular logic. Let’s just say say that ATO was more than good enough — and then a lot more.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla hopes to challenge Raspbian as RPi OS of choice

        The Mozilla Foundation staged a Mozilla Festival in the UK over the weekend, and one of the projects developers delivered was a port of Firefox OS working to the Raspberry Pi.

      • Mozilla Positions Firefox OS as a Competitor to Raspbian for Raspberry Pi

        The Mozilla Foundation held its much anticipated festival in England this past weekend, and one of the projects shown off by developers is a port of Firefox OS working with he Raspberry Pi. The diminutive, credit card-sized Raspberry Pi devices (shown here), priced at $25 and $35, have quickly won over hackers and hobbyists who are taking Linux in new directions, including even supercomputing.

        Now, Mozilla appears to belive its Firefox OS mobile platform can engage developers working on robotics and other applications for Raspberry Pi boards.

      • Mozilla preps Firefox OS for the Raspberry Pi

        Mozilla released an experimental “PiFxOS” build of Firefox OS optimized for the Raspberry Pi, with an early focus on robotics and media players.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Venture Funding Marches On as SwiftStack Secures $16M

      If you observe the old adage “follow the money” right now, it seems that you’ll be led straight to OpenStack. Today, there is yet more news about venture funding for an OpenStack-focused startup. SwiftStack, which specializes in software-defined storage based on the OpenStack cloud platform, announced that it closed $16 million in funding to scale its efforts to enable storage scalability for the enterprise.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Is #1

      LibreOffice is a fine example of what FLOSS can be. When FLOSS projects reach this level of penetration in usage there’s no limit to how far they can go. We’ve seen this before in the Linux kernel, Apache web-server, MySQL database, PostgreSQL database and many others.

    • The Document Foundation joins the Open Source Business Alliance

      The Document Foundation (TDF) joins the Open Source Business Alliance (OSB Alliance), to strengthen LibreOffice ecosystem by creating stronger ties with companies and organizations deploying the free office suite on a large scale.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.1 RC3 Gets Lots of Fixes

      The previous RC in the series had a very short list of changes and just a couple of regressions, which indicated that we might get a stable version soon. It looks like that wasn’t the case after all and that we still have to be patient and gaze with great interest at what the devs are doing.

      FreeBSD 10.0 was a big step forward for this distribution and a natural evolution from the 9.x branch. People tend to forget that open source is not the same thing with Linux and there are other distros out there that might be using a completely different base, like BSD for example. The first point release for FreeBSD 10.x is also an important step for the devs because it gathers a huge number of changes that will make users’ lives much easier.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Emacs 24.4 Released
    • New GNUMail release 1.2.2

      After Pantomime a GNUMail release had of course to follow. The same words as for Pantomime apply.

    • GNU wget 1.16 released
    • GNU libtool 2.4.3 released [stable]

      GNU Libtool hides the complexity of using shared libraries behind a
      consistent, portable interface. GNU Libtool ships with GNU libltdl, which
      hides the complexity of loading dynamic runtime libraries (modules)
      behind a consistent, portable interface.

    • guile-ncurses 1.6 released

      I am pleased to announce version 1.6 of GNU Guile-ncurses. Guile-ncurses is a library for the creation of text user interfaces in the GNU Guile dialect of the Scheme programming language. It is based on the ncurses project’s curses, panel, form, and menu libraries.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Changing the Behaviour of Eclipse’s Update Manager

      If you’ve developed plugins for the Eclipse environment, you’re moderately aware that Eclipse’s update manager can behave in strange ways from a user perspective. Things have gotten better with the p2 Remediation Support in Kepler (4.3.0) but what about dependency resolution done by Maven plugins, like Tycho, at build-time ? You get to specify a list of repositories, their content is aggregated, and if your request is satisfiable, it will be satisfied. Of course there’s some criteria p2 will attempt to optimize. For example, preferring highest version with fewest dependencies (minimize transitive closure) from a set of identically named units.

    • Clang Goes Ahead And Enables C11 By Default

      LLVM’s Clang C/C++ compiler went ahead and enabled C11 as the default C language for the upcoming LLVM 3.6 release.

Leftovers

  • NYT Tried to Sell ‘Pro-Growth’ Candidate, but Brazilians Weren’t Buying

    Stewart was referring to Aécio Neves, governor of the state of Minas Gerais and the favorite of “investors and business people in Brazil.” Neves ended up losing to incumbent President Dilma Rousseff, described by Stewart as “a former Marxist guerrilla who praises Mr. [Hugo] Chávez as ‘a great Latin American.’”

    [...]

    Cardoso belonged to the same party as Neves, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, which despite its name takes a center-right line. This may explain why Neves’ “pro-growth” policies were not as convincing to Brazilian voters as they are to New York Times columnists.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Assange court ruling expected ‘by midnight’

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal against the arrest warrant hanging over him is being considered by a court in Stockholm, with the chief prosecutor expected to report back before midnight.

    • Peter Carey: ‘How can Assange be a traitor?’

      Peter Carey’s new novel, Amnesia, features an activist on the run from the US government. He talks to Tim Martin about his intuitive connection with the WikiLeaks founder

    • Whitlam, Assange inspire Carey

      Peter Carey is in Melbourne flogging his latest book Amnesia, about an Australian female cyber-terrorist, a kind of Julian Assange in drag. When I call the two-time Booker Prize winner’s hotel, he’s wolfing down the last of a cold steak sandwich. Gough Whitlam had died earlier that week and was still on his mind.

    • Peter Carey, A History Manifesto

      Peter Carey’s new novel Amnesia counterpoints modern hackers with murky incidents in Australia’s recent past as a writer explores where countries and individuals stand in the modern world.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Privacy

    • Feds identify suspected ‘second leaker’ for Snowden reporters

      The FBI recently searched a government contractor’s home, but some officials worry the Justice Department has lost its ‘appetite’ for leak cases

    • Big Brother’s Liberal Friends

      IT IS strange that the Obama administration has so avidly continued many of the national-security policies that the George W. Bush administration endorsed. The White House has sidelined the key recommendations of its own advisers about how to curtail the overreach of the National Security Agency (NSA). It has failed to prosecute those responsible for torture, on the principle that bygones should be bygones, extending a courtesy to high officials that it has notably declined to provide to leakers like Chelsea Manning. The result is a remarkable degree of continuity between the two administrations.

      Yet this does not disconcert much of the liberal media elite. Many writers who used to focus on bashing Bush for his transgressions now direct their energies against those who are sounding alarms about the pervasiveness of the national-security state. Others, despite their liberal affectations, have perhaps always been enthusiasts for a strong security state. Over the last fifteen months, the columns and op-ed pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post have bulged with the compressed flatulence of commentators intent on dismissing warnings about encroachments on civil liberties. Indeed, in recent months soi-disant liberal intellectuals such as Sean Wilentz, George Packer and Michael Kinsley have employed the Edward Snowden affair to mount a fresh series of attacks. They claim that Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and those associated with them neither respect democracy nor understand political responsibility.

      [...]

      Snowden and his companions have shown that national-security liberals’ arguments for deference rest on false assumptions. The truth is that not only are America’s overseas interventions problematic by themselves, but they are also increasingly undermining domestic liberties. Intelligence efforts that are supposed to be focused abroad turn out to have sweeping domestic consequences. It’s impossible to distinguish intelligence data on domestic and foreign actors. Security officials in various countries can work together across borders to circumvent and undermine domestic protections, actively helping each other to remake laws that restrict their freedom of operation. And at home, officials can use these new arrangements to work around and undermine civil rights. This commingling of domestic and international politics is complex and poorly understood. It helps explain why national-security liberals have such difficulty in comprehending—let alone refuting—Snowden’s and Greenwald’s arguments.

  • Civil Rights

    • Occupy Democracy is not considered newsworthy. It should be

      From last Tuesday, Parliament Square was wrapped in wire mesh. In one of the more surreal scenes in recent British political history, officers with trained German shepherds stand sentinel each day, at calculated distances across the lawn, surrounded by a giant box of fences, three metres high – all to ensure that no citizen enters to illegally practice democracy. Yet few major news outlets feel this is much of a story.

    • A Plan to Cut Costs and Crime: End Hurdle to Job After Prison

      With an estimated one in three American adults having been arrested at some point in their lives, and 16 million people — about 7.5 percent of the adult population — who are felons or former felons, the question of how to reintegrate the 700,000 people who are released from prison each year has become increasingly urgent.

    • How the Press and the CIA Killed Gary Webb’s Career

      Ceppos assigned another Mercury News investigative reporter, Pete Carey, to review Webb’s reporting against the charges of the media critics. On October 12 the Mercury News published Carey’s findings, which backed up Webb’s work and actually added new information, particularly regarding the 1986 search warrant against Blandón and his arms-dealing associate, Ronald Lister. But though Webb’s reporting was vindicated, the assignment to Carey was an omen of the paper’s increasing defensiveness.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XLI

      In my last update, I noted that the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) chapter remains the centre of attention, with rumours swirling around that the President-elect of the new European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, would pull a rabbit out of his hat by announcing that ISDS would be dropped. That didn’t happen, and it seems that once more, the UK is to blame.

    • Copyrights

      • Big Pirate Sites ‘Raided’, Admins on the Run

        Authorities have carried out raids across Germany in pursuit of the operators of movie streaming portal Kinox.to. The individuals are also said to be behind other sites including Movie4K, FreakShare and BitShare. Throw alleged extortion, arson and the fact the sites are still online into the mix, and the plot only thickens.

      • MPAA Reports The Pirate Bay to The U.S. Government

        The MPAA has informed the U.S. Government about two dozen piracy-promoting websites it would like to be gone. The list includes major torrent sites The Pirate Bay and Kickass.to, file-hosting services such as Uploaded and Rapidgator, as well as Russia’s social network VK. The popular Popcorn Time application was also welcomed with a mention.

10.27.14

Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as ‘Fakes’

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows Update does what a developer would need a sledgehammer for

Man made

Summary: Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers

SO, Microsoft says and insists on "loving" Linux, but its actions say otherwise. We previously explained how one of the antifeatures of UEFI ‘secure boot’, promoted by Intel and Microsoft (Wintel), is a potential bricker. Articles about this include:

Today we have another story about ways in which Microsoft bricks Linux devices (by ‘accident’) and to quote a Microsoft booster, the ‘updates’ impacted victims and “bricked some of their hardware”. Define “some”. Microsoft Peter, who wrote about it early on (like ‘damage control’), belittles the seriousness of this:

Hardware hackers building interactive gadgets based on the Arduino microcontrollers are finding that a recent driver update that Microsoft deployed over Windows Update has bricked some of their hardware, leaving it inaccessible to most software both on Windows and Linux. This came to us via hardware hacking site Hack A Day.

It makes one wonder why Arduino developers use a desktop platform that has back doors and a disastrous track record.

Going to the original source which has plenty of comments:

The FTDI FT232 chip is found in thousands of electronic baubles, from Arduinos to test equipment, and more than a few bits of consumer electronics. It’s a simple chip, converting USB to a serial port, but very useful and probably one of the most cloned pieces of silicon on Earth. Thanks to a recent Windows update, all those fake FTDI chips are at risk of being bricked. This isn’t a case where fake FTDI chips won’t work if plugged into a machine running the newest FTDI driver; the latest driver bricks the fake chips, rendering them inoperable with any computer.

So Microsoft is bricking Arduino devices now. Great! Mission accomplished.

Microsoft Peter is already seeing backlash to his Microsoft propaganda (‘damage control’) and not for the first time, either.

“The Microsoft press tries to justify this as an attack on “fake” chips,” wrote Will Hill. “Bricking is malicious and intentional. People who reverse engineered the drive claim that the bricking is malicious and intentional.”

“Microsoft Peter is already seeing backlash to his Microsoft propaganda (‘damage control’) and not for the first time, either.”TechDirt said that “IP Is No Excuse: Even If Someone Is Using Fake Chips, It’s Not Okay To Kill Their Devices”. It said that “It’s not entirely clear if this is something FTDI did on purpose or not (though, their comments below suggest they did), but it is worrisome, and it’s simply not okay — whether it was on purpose (in which case it’s potentially illegal) or not (in which case it’s just bad).”

Mike Masnick responded to the Microsoft booster/PR by saying that Microsoft can’t just brick people’s devices. He seems unaware of the background of the author and the gymnastics in logic (not knowledge) that he would stoop to in order to defend Microsoft in every possible situation, especially the most difficult and controversial situations that put Microsoft under a lot of public pressure and backlash, possibly lawsuits too (class action).

Public Knowledge weighed in, explaining that “being where they are, no one installing the update would ever see them (not even in a blink-and-you-miss-it clickthrough agreement). In other words, it’s a “warning” that’s less than useless.

“Less than useless because not only does it fail to warn, but its inclusion seems pretty clearly an attempt to avoid liability for destroying someone else’s device, without them actually seeing the warning. To extend the earlier metaphor a bit, this would be like a disclaimer posted in the back room of a Nike store that said that, by entering the store, I had agreed to have the shoes I’m wearing inspected and shredded if they turn out to be fake Nikes. In other words, a completely unenforceable term.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how fine print can be used to fool consumers and deprive them of rights over what should be their own property before; this seems to be an extraordinary extreme of that. Maybe this should mark a turning point in the law’s willingness to support this kind of chicanery.”

We found more or less the same party line in The Register, which wrote: “Responding to the growing furor, FTDI now says it has yanked the offending driver from Windows Update so that Windows users will no longer receive it automatically. But it says it has no intention of giving up the fight against (presumably) Chinese chip knockoff artists.”

They are not knockoff artists, there was no legal case, and even if there’s suspicion that something illegal was happening, it does not by any means justify bricking of hardware. Then again, Microsoft is a criminal company (reminder in the videos below), so we have come to expect such behaviour. When it can be conveniently painted as an ‘accident’, then it is usually defensibly.

Direct link to deposition video | Full set of the deposition videos (including Ogg Theora versions)

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