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12.25.14

Links 26/12/2014: Devuan in the News, New PCLinuxOS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Sinofsky, The Creator Of That Other OS, Sees The Light

    He sees the end of the old ways and the arrival of newer software with less baggage on ARM and the cloud giving us all a fresh start. GNU/Linux gives a fresh start too. Yes, refreshing. Why can’t the trolls be as forthcoming?

  • Enterprise Advances Brought Linux Success in 2014

    For Linux, 2014 could easily be labeled the year enterprise really and truly embraced Linux. It could just as easily be labeled the year that nearly forgot Linux on the desktop. If you weren’t Docker, containers, OpenStack, or big data ─ chances are the spotlight didn’t brighten your day much. If, however, you (or your product) fell into one of those categories, that spotlight shined so brightly, it was almost blinding.

    Let’s glance back into our own wayback machine and see where Linux succeeded and where it did not. The conclusions should be fairly simple to draw and are incredibly significant to the state of Linux as a whole.

  • Christmas Quiz

    Forget the fancy graphics of Valve’s latest offering – the only computer game a Linux user needs this year is a good quiz on all things Linux-y. Here are eight rounds of fiendish questions on everything from the Kernel to hardware to see if you know your Tux from your Beastie.

  • ​Linux and open source 2014: It was the best of years, it was the worst of years

    There was great news and there was awful news in the world of Linux and open-source software during 2014.

  • Desktop

    • Welcome to the Pre-Post-PC Era

      Today’s float on the parade of the PC-is-dead prognostications comes from The Register, which says, “At the very moment that Linux desktops seem to be reaching new levels of sophistication, polish and ‘just works’ ease-of-use, the entire future of the desktop computer (by which I also mean laptop) feels in doubt.”

      The only thing that’s in doubt is whether that sentence is anywhere near remotely accurate. But let’s put that aside for a moment and assume we can see the future of how we deal with our digital lives.

    • Windows and Linux: The same, but different

      I use Windows 8.1 and Linux Mint 17.1 a lot nowadays, to do things like write, surf the web, check twitter and other web-based things.

      Sometimes I boot into Windows, sometimes Mint, but who cares which? I am just going to Chrome anyway. It’s all the same thing.

    • UNIX Industry Banks on Linux Strategies

      Struggling UNIX server makers are strengthening their Linux strategy in line with the open-source application environment. The move is aimed at maintaining remaining customers, since users are increasingly abandoning UNIX servers. However, it is receiving a lukewarm response from the market.

      According to industry sources on Dec. 22, server vendors such as IBM and HP are concentrating on the development of products so that the Linux operating system and related applications can be used as UNIX servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Updating the Linux Kernel Without Restart Could Arrive Soon for Users

      A new development cycle has been started for the Linux kernel, 3.19, but it looks like the 3.20 branch is about to receive a very interesting patch that should really shake things up if it’s going to get accepted, that is.

    • The winning Linux kernel live patch: All of the above

      Life’s choices often amount to one of two options: Linux or Windows? Android or iOS? Kgraft or Kpatch?

      That last pair consists of the two major contenders for the technology Linux could use for live kernel patches. Now a winner is in, and it amounts to all of the above.

      According to a post on the official Linux kernel developer’s mailing list, a kernel patching system that works with both Kgraft and Kpatch and uses “core functionality abstracted out of [those] already existing implementations” has been proposed as an addition to the Linux 3.20 kernel.

    • Eudyptula Challenge: superfast Linux kernel booting

      One of the first tasks of this quite interesting challenge is to compile and boot your own kernel

    • Linux Kernel Developers Consider Live Kernel Patching Solution

      kPatch and kGraph may soon enable live kernel updates on all Linux distributions, making it possible to apply security and other patches on the open source operating system without rebooting.

    • OPNFV Plans Next Steps for Open Source NFV, SDN

      OPNFV, the open source software-defined networking and network-functions virtualization project, said development of both code and community will be its focus for 2015.

    • Does Linux suffer from bloat?

      Linux has long been known as an operating system that would run well even on older hardware. But has Linux become bloated in recent releases and how does it compare to Windows 8 in terms of system requirements?

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Lite 2.2

        It’s been quite a while since I last looked at Linux Lite, the last version I reviewed being 1.0.6. Much has changed in Linux Lite since that release and now it’s reached version 2.2. If you aren’t familiar with it, you should know that Linux Lite is a distribution geared toward helping current Windows users transition to the Linux desktop.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2014.12 released

        PCLinuxOS has been updated to version 2014.12, and you can download it in a variety of flavors including the super-humongous 4.8 GB Full Monty version that comes with tons of additional software.

      • Santa Claus has Linux in his sack — PCLinuxOS 2014.12 is here
      • Happy Holidays from PCLinuxOS

        PCLinuxOS 2014.12 isos have been released for Full Monty, KDE, MATE and LXDE. Highlights include kernel 3.18.1, ffmpeg 2.5.1, mesa 10.4.0, SysVinit (no systemd) and all popular applications such as Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and VLC have been updated to their latest versions. Please note if you have been keeping up with your PCLinuxOS software updates then there is NO NEED to install fresh from a 2014.12 iso. These ISOS are final releases based on legacy technology. Future releases will default to grub2 and support uefi and gpt partition formats.

      • Christmas rest for the braves

        We planned initially to release Mageia 5 beta 2 around the 16th of December. We still have some work left to complete to release a proper beta 2 that would drive us through to the final release.

        Releasing development ISOs is a good way to test all the functions of the installer with the largest possible scope of use cases and variety of hardware. We still have some issues left with EFI integration and some tricky bugs in the installer. So in order to allow some time to fix them and also to still enjoy the Christmas period with friends and family, it has been decided to delay beta 2 until the 6th of January 2015, the initial date of the RC, and then postpone the final release.

      • Mageia 5 Has Been Delayed
      • Mageia Beta Delayed, Christmas Quiz, and 7 Best Alternatives

        Today in Linux news the Mageia project announced another delay in version 5 Beta 2. The Linux Voice is running a Linux quiz for Christmas and Gary Newell offers up his list of the seven best alternative Linux distributions of the year. The Register says 2015 will be the year of Linux – on mobile. Three reviews need to be highlighted and, finally today, Matt Hartley says everyone should switch to Ubuntu MATE.

      • ROSA Fresh R5 is out

        The ROSA company is happy to finally present ROSA Desktop Fresh R5, the number 5 in the “R” lineup of the free ROSA distros with the KDE desktop as a main graphical environment.

      • Hands-on with PCLinuxOS: A terrific release

        I had been thinking that a new PCLinuxOS release was due any time now, based on their quarterly release schedule. Sure enough, it has now arrived, just in time for Christmas – PCLinuxOS 2014.12.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Stock: 3 Pros, 3 Cons

        Red Hat Inc (RHT) is ending the year with a flourish, as the stock has hit a 52-week high of $70. This puts the market cap at nearly $13 billion. In the past year, RHT stock has gained about 23%.

      • Fedora

        • Trying on Fedora 21

          I think it is arguable the Fedora project has done just that, created a small “core” base that products (such as Workstation, Server and Cloud) can be built on. And I applaud Mr Miller for working successfully toward his vision. Still, I am disappointed the result appears to be a smaller, less interesting Fedora. It is a more, to borrow Mr Miller’s term, “boring” foundation distribution, rather than a powerful desktop or server distribution. It is not a solution that brings more functionality to the table, something that would approach Mint’s level of “just works”, Ubuntu’s task oriented work flow or openSUSE’s level of integration. As a core platform we can use as a base to install Docker containers and run services, Fedora 21 can be considered a success. As a workstation operating system I would use to develop code or a desktop distribution I would install for friends & family, I do not think Fedora is a good match for those roles.

    • Debian Family

      • Devuan rebels hope to deliver Debian fork in 2015

        Devuan, the Debian spin-off that will not include systemd has posted its first progress report.

        The missive says things are going well, as the project now has a GitLab repository and has built the first devuan-baseconf package.

      • Linux Bloat, Linux Lite, and Devuan Update
      • Don’t panic and keep forking Debian™! :^) Once upon a time there was a Debian fork

        This is an update on the progress of the Devuan.org project, born out of the Debianfork.org declaration to defend our growing community from the systemd avalanche.

      • Is Devuan really a good idea?

        I was idly looking through the press releases and news stories when I came across this article which talks about the new Debian fork called Devuan.

        Devuan is a complete fork of the Debian system minus systemd.

        I know that there are lots of people who aren’t happy with the inclusion of systemd as part of the next release of Debian but to make such a radical decision to clone the entire thing and start your own project could be deemed overkill.

        I can understand a single developer or a handful of developers taking a Debian or Ubuntu base and then creating a new distribution with a specific purpose in mind. I actually think smaller distributions are a good thing because they come up with and implement ideas that might not reach the light of day in one of the base distributions.

        Many people are of the opinion however that it is better to pool resources and have just a few distributions where everybody works together to make those distributions as good as they can possibly be.

      • Devuan Is Still Moving Along As A Debian Fork Without Systemd

        The Devuan fork of Debian is progressing as Debian GNU/Linux without systemd present on the system.

      • Bonus: More from the deepest depths of Debian

        And not just Debian this time, since I have one or two here that elude me and are from the Arch corpus only. By and large the relevant theme here is a consistent lack of required hardware, although I’m throwing in an oddball application or two that I just can’t seem to get working, for more traditional reasons. Like extensive or esoteric setups. Or my own thick-headedness.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • NTP Vulnerabilities Closed in Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Canonical has announced that a number of NTP vulnerabilities have been corrected for Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating systems.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” Cinnamon Review: As always, Impressive!

              I am very happy with Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. It looks great with very polished interface, hundreds of attractive wallpapers, easy customization options and awesome collection of themes. The distro offers really good performance and excellent battery life. If you are looking for a functional distro which offers attractive looks and impressive performance, I definitely feel you should try out Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2014: A Banner Year for Open Source

    Open source was initially adopted for low cost and lack of vendor lock-in, but customers have found that it also results in better innovation and more flexibility. Now it is pervasive, and it is challenging proprietary incumbents across technology categories. It is not only mainstream, open source is truly leading innovation in areas like cloud, mobile, big data, the Internet of Things, and beyond.

    As we embark on a new year, I cannot help but reflect on the speed with which technology is changing. Rapidly delivering technology is about much more than just the technology – it is about people and culture. More than ever, this is why executives are looking at key technology companies – including Red Hat – as their partner instead of as a vendor.

  • IsoHunt releases roll-your-own Pirate Bay

    Torrent site ISOhunt has created a roll-your-own, open source, version of infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.

    IsoHunt’s motive for the release seems to be a belief that big targets like The Pirate Bay will inevitably be picked off by law enforcement agencies. Lots of sites, however, present a tougher target. Open-sourcing what it’s calling “OpenBay” means there’ll be more targets for law enforcers to consider.

    “History of torrent sites such as Isohunt and The Pirate Bay gives us a lesson that would be a crime not to learn,” says the new OpenBay site. “The era of individual torrent sites is over.”

  • The Pirate Bay’s Site Goes Back Online (With a Giant, Waving Flag For Now)
  • There Are Gonna Be 9280928 Pirate Bays Because Anyone Can Make a New One
  • Pirate Bay Site Is Back Online, But Pirate Booty Is Hidden Behind Encryption
  • Facebook’s 2014 Open-Source Highlights
  • A real-time editing tool for Wikipedia

    Wikipedia is one of the most frequently visited websites in the world. The vast online encyclopedia, editable by anyone, has become the go-to source for general information on any subject. However, the “crowdsourcing” used by Wikipedia opens their doors to spin and whitewashing–edits that may be less than factual in nature. To help journalists, citizens, and activists track these edits, TWG (The Working Group) partnered with Metro News and the Center for Investigative Reporting to build WikiWash.

  • Open Source Meritocracy Is More Than a Joke

    In January 2014, Github removed the rug in its office’s waiting room in response to criticism of its slogan, “United Meritocracy of Github.” Since then, the criticism of the idea of meritocracy has spread in free software circles. “Meritocracy is a joke,” has become a slogan seen on T-shirts and constantly proclaimed, especially by feminists.

    Such commentary is true — so far as it goes, but it ignores the potential benefits of meritocracy as an ethos.

    Anyone who bothers to look can see that meritocracy is more of an ideal than a standard practice in free software. The idea that people should be valued for their contributions may seem to be a way to promote fairness, but the practice is frequently more complicated.

  • Unmanagement and unleadership

    Luis Ibanez is a senior software developer at Google. In this short talk he explains what he means by “unmanagement” and “unleadership” and how they can change the course of a project.

  • Using Your Open Source Work to Get a Job

    So you’ve worked on an open-source project, and you want to place that experience on your resume in order to move your career forward. Fantastic! In theory, there’s no reason an employer should shun your experience, just because you did the project from home on your own time. But how can you actually leverage that project work to obtain a full-time job?

  • Events

    • Help improve diverse accessibility for PDX’s Open Source Bridge conference

      Sumana writes, “Open Source Bridge is already a leader among tech conferences in diversity-friendliness — OSB featured a strong code of conduct, accessibility, well-labelled food for all needs, and cheap & free admissions before they became de rigeur, and in 2014 boasted a gender-balanced slate of speakers.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Symantec Brings Security Savvy as OpenStack Gold Member

      If you ask many enterprises considering doing an OpenStack deployment why they aren’t pulling the trigger, lots of them will cite security concerns as the primary obstruction. As I covered recently, IDG Enterprise came out with results from a new survey it did involving 1,672 IT decision-makers who report that they are very focused on cloud computing, including open cloud platforms such as OpenStack. The survey clearly showed that security and protection from disaster were among IT managers’ chief concerns in implementing cloud deployments.

    • Banks and other institutions leverage the Tor network as a security layer.

      Now that many enterprises are actually moving forward with OpenStack deployments, they are also wrestling with the complexities of putting applications and appropriate services on their cloud platforms. The last days of 2014 have brought news of some interesting choices becoming available for OpenStack deployments.

    • Mirantis, Tesora Partner on OpenStack Cloud Interoperability

      Tesora and Mirantis have partnered to certify the interoperability of their respective OpenStack open source cloud computing distributions and tools.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter, December 22, 2014

      In this issue, you’ll get a summary of all the FreeBSD development work we’ve supported; highlights of all the conferences that we sponsored and attended; plans for the FreeBSD Journal in 2015; another great testimonial from a commercial user; and our Q1-Q3 financial reports. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite part of our semi-annual newsletter, the insightful and always inspirational letter from our president and founder, Justin Gibbs.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Turing Church and Open Source Religion: Ben Goertzel Interviews Giulio Prisco

      In 2011 I — Ben Goertzel – interviewed physicist and futurist Giulio Prisco on his notion of Technological Transcendence. Since that time Giulio has been very active in developing these ideas further – and quite recently he has taken the initiative to start a “Turing Church” with an open-source spirit. So it seemed time to have another conversation with Giulio on his Turing Church concept and plans, and what it may mean for the future of humanity, transhumanism and spirituality.

    • RichRap Unveils The Open Source, 3D Printed Universal Pellet Extruder

      If you are like me, you can’t help but see dollar signs every time you run your 3D printer. “How much filament is this using?” “What if the printer screws up just as the project is nearing completion?” Those are thoughts that run through my head as I watch the spool of filament slowly unravel and my finances follow right behind.

    • Sifteo’s intelligent cubes go open-source after disappointing commercial run

      Sifteo, a system of intelligent gaming cubes launched with significant fanfare in 2011, has gone open-source.

    • Mars Express images and videos for everyone

      As of December 19, the European Space Agency (ESA) is now sharing all of its images and videos from the Mars Express mission under CC BY-SA. ESA is using the intergovernmental organization (IGO) port of CC BY-SA 3.0. ESA is one of several intergovernmental organizations to use the IGO port since we introduced it last year.

    • Open Data

      • The year in local open data

        It was another year full of encouraging news on the open data front in states and municipalities across the country. New open data policies were approved in municipalities of all sizes from coast to coast, existing open data programs matured and sparked new innovations, and there were numerous other open government wins as a result of advocacy efforts.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Security

    • VeriSign Warns of DNS Security Risks

      The CSO of VeriSign discusses his concerns about domain collisions and the risks they entail.

    • 12 Million Home Routers Vulnerable to Takeover

      More than 12 million devices running an embedded webserver called RomPager are vulnerable to a simple attack that could give a hacker man-in-the-middle position on traffic going to and from home routers from just about every leading manufacturer.

    • Apple pushes first ever automated security update to Mac users

      Apple Inc has pushed out its first-ever automated security update to Macintosh computers to help defend against newly identified bugs that security researchers have warned could enable hackers to gain remote control of machines.

      The company pushed out the software on Monday to fix critical security vulnerabilities in a component of its OS X operating system called the network time protocol, or NTP, according to Apple spokesman Bill Evans.NTP is used for synchronizing clocks on computer systems.

    • Thunderbolt devices can infect MacBooks with persistent rootkits

      Attackers can infect MacBook computers with highly persistent boot rootkits by connecting malicious devices to them over the Thunderbolt interface.

      The attack, dubbed Thunderstrike, installs malicious code in a MacBook’s boot ROM (read-only memory), which is stored in a chip on the motherboard. It was devised by a security researcher named Trammell Hudson based on a two-year old vulnerability and will be demonstrated next week at the 31st Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg.

    • NTP The Latest Open Source Security Problem

      The problem was discovered by the Google Security Team which seems to be responsible recently for more than its fair share of vulnerabilities detected. Some of the vulnerabilities are in older versions of the NTP code and have been fixed. So as long as you have been keeping up-to-date there is nothing to worry about.

    • NTP Is The Latest Project Struck By Security Issues

      Now public via the ICS-CERT after the discoveries were made by the Google Security Team are multiple vulnerabilities with the widely-used NTP. These vulnerabilities could lead to arbitrary code execution with the same privileges as the NTP daemon. These vulnerabilities can be exploited remotely and the ICS-CERT characterizes them as requiring low skills to exploit.

    • Why the Sony hack is unlikely to be the work of North Korea.

      Everyone seems to be eager to pin the blame for the Sony hack on North Korea. However, I think it’s unlikely. Here’s why:1. The broken English looks deliberately bad and doesn’t exhibit any of the classic comprehension mistakes you actually expect to see in “Konglish”. i.e it reads to me like an English speaker pretending to be bad at writing English.

    • Sony Pictures hackers say they want ‘equality,’ worked with staff to break in

      The hackers who took down Sony Pictures’ computer systems yesterday say that they are working for “equality” and suggest that their attack was assisted or carried out by Sony employees. In an email responding to inquiries from The Verge, a person identifying as one of the hackers writes, “We Want equality [sic]. Sony doesn’t. It’s an upward battle.” The hackers’ goals remain unclear, but they used the attack yesterday to specifically call out Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, referring to him as a “criminal” in a tweet.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Delta employee charged with helping smuggle guns onto plane

      The FBI and New York police held a news conference to discuss the latest on an airline security breach involving a Delta employee facing federal charges.

      Police say more than 150 guns were illegally smuggled from Atlanta to New York on more than a dozen trips. Channel 2′s Rachel Stockman broke the news Monday that a former Delta employee at Hartsfield-Jackson is accused of using his clearance to help smuggle the guns.

    • Leaked CIA docs teach operatives how to infiltrate EU

      Wikileaks has released two classified documents instructing CIA operatives how best to circumvent global security systems in international airports, including those of the EU, while on undercover missions.

      The first of the documents, dated September 2011, advises undercover operatives how to act during a secondary airport screening. Secondary screenings pose a risk to an agent’s cover by focusing “significant scrutiny” on an operative via thorough searches and detailed questioning.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Flaw in open-source PDF viewer could put WikiLeaks users, others at risk

      An open-source component used to display PDF files on WikiLeaks.org and other websites contains vulnerabilities that could be exploited to launch cross-site scripting (XSS) and content spoofing attacks against visitors.

      The vulnerable component is called FlexPaper and is developed by a company called Devaldi, based in New Zealand. The company confirmed the issues, which were first reported Thursday on the WikiLeaks supporters forum, and released FlexPaper 2.3.0 to address them.

  • Finance

    • The Cost of US Wars Since 9/11: $1.6 Trillion

      The cost of US war-making in the 13 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks reached a whopping $1.6 trillion in 2014, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

    • Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street

      Sheeta Leung Hui-kwan, a spokeswoman for G4S Hong Kong, said an internal investigation was underway, but initial findings suggest a broken door sparked the incident.

      Armed police were quick to arrive at the scene, and closed off two lanes of the road.

      According to reports, witnesses to the accident were seen running onto Gloucester Road and grabbing HK$500 notes. One person allegedly filled their arms with wrapped bundles of cash, a witness told the SCMP.

    • Why Won’t Warren Quit Worrying and Learn to Love Wall Street?

      Illustrating that nothing rattles corporate media like progressive populism, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius (12/24/14) is the latest establishment journalist to launch a salvo against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and “her jihad against Wall Street.”

      Echoing the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin (FAIR Blog, 11/26/14), Ignatius goes after Warren for opposing the nomination of Antonio Weiss to be the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for domestic finance. He makes the same extraneous points Sorkin did about Weiss (He’s a Democrat! He publishes the Paris Review!) and similarly misrepresents Warren’s primary reason for opposing him, which is, as she wrote in the Huffington Post (11/19/14), that “Weiss has spent most of his career working on international transactions,” so “neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury.”

      Ignatius also criticizes Warren for including on her “enemies list” Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, despite the fact that they “had never worked as private bankers.” Summers may not have been a private banker, but he was a managing director of the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, which paid him $5.2 million; he also got $2.7 million in “speaking fees” from financial firms, including major banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase (Salon, 4/4/09). But he wasn’t a private banker!

  • Censorship

    • Amy Adams: ‘Confused’ by ‘Today’ show treatment

      Amy Adams says she is still “really confused” about having her live interview on The Today Show dramatically pulled minutes before it was due to take place Monday morning.

      Adams told USA TODAY on Tuesday night that she was “surprised” that the segment was unceremoniously canceled after she expressed misgivings over discussing aspects of the Sony hacking scandal on live television.

  • Privacy

    • ‘Citizenfour’ Producers Sued Over Edward Snowden Leaks (Exclusive)

      Horace Edwards, who identifies himself as a retired naval officer and the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, has filed a lawsuit in Kansas federal court that seeks a constructive trust over monies derived from the distribution of Citizenfour. Edwards, who says he has “Q” security clearance and was the chief executive of the ARCO Pipeline Company, seeks to hold Snowden, director Laura Poitras, The Weinstein Co., Participant Media and others responsible for “obligations owed to the American people” and “misuse purloined information disclosed to foreign enemies.”

      It’s an unusual lawsuit, one that the plaintiff likens to “a derivative action on behalf of the American Public,” and is primarily based upon Snowden’s agreement with the United States to keep confidentiality.

    • 8 Free Privacy Programs Worth Your Year-End Donations

      Free software isn’t free. Someone’s got to shell out for the expensive development, maintenance, bug fixes and updates for programs that so many of us who live online have come to see as almost natural resources. And increasingly, those taken-for-granted tools have become vital for the privacy and security of millions of people.

    • Tor Project Leaders Warn of Possibly Imminent Network Attack

      In the world of online anonymity, the Tor network is a silent king. Millions of users depend on Tor to keep their tracks untraceable online, and not just individual users. Banks and other institutions leverage the Tor network as a security layer. In the U.S. last year, when NSA snooping was in the news, usage of the Tor network doubled within a matter of days.

    • Facebook: Colonialism 2.0

      The Western media has attempted to portray Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious plan to get every human being online as altruistic at first, but later revealed as simply what could be called “profitable empathy.” In reality however, the truth is much more sinister, with Facebook already revealed to be much more than a mere corporation run by Zuckerberg and his “ideas”

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Should Prosecute the Torturers

      The New York Times has a blistering editorial calling on President Obama to prosecute those who committed torture…

    • Iraq: Yezidi women and girls face harrowing sexual violence

      Torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, suffered by women and girls from Iraq’s Yezidi minority who were abducted by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), highlights the savagery of IS rule, said Amnesty International in a new briefing today.

    • Oakland PD Body Cams Help Cut Police-Involved Shootings From 8 A Year To Zero In The Last 18 Months.

      A body camera system is nothing without solid policies backing them up. Anyone can instruct an officer to wear a camera, but only a department solidly behind the program will hold them accountable if they fail to do so. According to public records obtained by Ars Technica, the Oakland PD is making a genuine effort to ensure devices are on and recording.

    • EXCLUSIVE – Ryan Ferguson on his first year of freedom: Man wrongly jailed for TEN YEARS reveals how the girlfriend he met in prison is helping him cope with life outside and tells of the hell of solitary confinement

      A review of the trial later revealed that police coerced and coached key witnesses

    • 2015 – Looking Forward

      But still, mainstream politicians still don’t think that issues like civil liberties, mass surveillance, digital rights and freedom of speech will move people’s votes at a general election. That is why so many MPs simply ignored their constituents when it came to crackdowns like the DRIP vote. They count that once election will be run in exactly the same way as previous decades.

    • Secret Torture versus Open Source Intelligence

      The DNI, USDI, and CIA went over the cliff when they confused technology with thinking, secrets with intelligence, and spending money with progress. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the world of intelligence as decision-support, Big Data is noise. The best intelligence — precision intelligence — is from a human source with direct access, and that is not something we can do today despite millions of such sources being available. We have no penetrations of ISIS, the clandestine service refuses to deal with “overt” human experts, while the diplomats and attaches have no money for commercial sourcing and modest performance fees. In consequence we have no human assets of any import across the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, or the Americas at the same time that our analysts are children lacking in real-world experience — who in addition rarely speak the target language and have no grasp of the culture or history of the target population.

    • A Majority of Cop Killers Have Been White

      As officials continue to investigate Saturday’s tragic killing of two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, details have surfaced about the suspect, 28 year old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who allegedly shot a woman in Baltimore before traveling to New York. Anti-police posts he appears to have published on social media sites prior to the killings have lead many to connect his crime to protests that occurred in previous weeks, and some commenters have cast blame on officials including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama, all of whom have condemned the violence.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Takes a Wild Ride: 2014 in Review

      If you’ve been watching the issue of net neutrality this year, you know it’s been quite a ride. The year started with the D.C. Circuit overturning the majority of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules, explaining that the FCC can’t impose “common carrier”-type rules on ISPs without actually classifying them as “common carriers.” Having chosen to classify them instead as “information services” back in 2004, the ruling meant the FCC had to go back to the drawing board. That led to a new proposal in May by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that many believed would actively undermine the open Internet in the name of protecting it.

    • It’s Almost Christmas. Is Anyone Still on the Internet?

      Offices everywhere are emptying as people head home for a few days of light dining and constructive political conversations with relatives. But is the Internet as much of a ghost town as your workplace over the holiday season? Nope. Internet usage is likely to be higher than usual for the rest of the week, according to Sandvine, a firm that tracks Internet traffic. The only exception: a few hours on Christmas Eve, when people have no choice but to put away devices and talk to one another.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Secretly Settled With Hotfile for $4 Million, Not $80 Million

        Last December the MPAA announced one of its biggest victories to date. The Hollywood group won its case against file-hosting site Hotfile, who agreed to a $80 million settlement. However, this figure mostly served to impress and scare the public, as we can now reveal that Hotfile agreed to pay ‘only’ $4 million.

      • Raid on Kim Dotcom’s Mansion Was Legal, Supreme Court Rules

        A high-profile police raid carried out on Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion has been declared legal by the country’s Supreme Court. The Court acknowledged that the search warrants used against Dotcom were ‘deficient’ in detail, but this did not result in a miscarriage of justice.

      • UK Cinema Calls Police on Kids With iPhones Over Piracy Concerns

        A group of 12-year-old girls had the police called on them after they decided to bring their iPhones and iPads to a showing of The Hunger Games at a local cinema. The police officers who rushed to the scene were unable to find any recorded footage, but by then the children were too distressed to watch the rest of the film.

12.23.14

Links 23/12/2014: Updates on GNU/Linux in China and N. Korea

Posted in News Roundup at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

    It’s nearly impossible to sum up an entire year of developments in something as large and nebulous as the world of desktop Linux, especially in a year like this one which has seen some the best releases that projects like Mint, Fedora and openSUSE have put out to date.

    At the same time the distro that’s closest to being a household name, Ubuntu, has been nearly silent since 14.04 arrived in April.

    To paraphrase author Charles Dickens, the past year of Linux releases has been both the best of times and the worst of times.

    At the very moment that Linux desktops seem to be reaching new levels of sophistication, polish and “just works” ease-of-use, the entire future of the desktop computer (by which I also mean laptop) feels in doubt.

  • The Machine with Open Source Carbon OS is the Next Big Thing – if HP can deliver

    HP has recently been facing some serious difficulties and has opted to betting all its resources on the new PC called ‘The Machine’. Probably the most intriguing thing about the machine is that it will rewrite basic computing on a very fundamental level. While the topic has been covered extensively, I realized we haven’t actually touched it here and thought it was about time.

  • North Korea’s Red Star Linux goes for a Mac OS X look

    It seems that even the somewhat “traditional” North Korean tech aesthetics is getting an update. Thanks to a former lecturer at Pyongyang, we are getting a glimpse of what the officially sanctioned operating system of North Korea, Red Star Linux, now looks like, almost half a decade since the OS was first leaked outside the secretive regime. Apparently, like the rest of the tech world, the Linux-based OS has moved away from a Windows 7, nay Window XP even, look towards a more stylish OS X.

  • Chromebooks rising, SteamOS stalling, Linux’s civil war: The World Beyond Windows’ 10 biggest stories of the year

    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Microsoft has nothing but good things to say about Linux. Windows 10 is abandoning many of the more jarring changes of Windows 8—while simultaneously copying features from Linux.

    Windows 10 includes virtual desktops, a centralized notification center, and a vision of apps that can run in windows when you’re using a proper PC, or full-screen when you’re using a mobile device. It’s a smattering of ideas from 15-year-old Linux desktops, GNOME Shell, and Ubuntu’s vision of convergence.

  • China plans to cull foreign tech in favour of local suppliers

    Regulators in China recently seeked anti-trust probes against Western companies such as Microsoft and Qualcomm Inc.

  • The 5 Best Linux Stories of 2014

    Two Thousand and Fourteen was an exciting, tumultuous and rather funky year for Linux.

    Great consumer news, forks, death threats, hardware delays and… something truly unthinkable just a few years ago. Truth be told I’m still trying to wrap my head around, what feels like, the zaniest year of Linux shenanigans I have ever seen.

    Here are the 5 stories that, I feel, best sum up what happened with Linux (and the related Open Source world) in 2014.

  • Measuring Lock-in

    There’s a reason for that lock-in. For decades, M$ was allowed to use strong anti-competitive practices all over the world. It takes a lot of time money and effort to undo that. e.g. Munich took 10 years to throw open the doors to the jail in which it found itself after decades of using M$’s products while folks like Largo, FL, who never took the bait are laughing all the way to the bank, year after year. Smaller organizations like the ones for which I worked could free themselves in weeks but it requires good knowledge of GNU/Linux which is often lacking. That too can be overcome. When the dust settles, folks who switch are better off and have lower costs of IT forever. It pays to switch.

  • China’s ‘home-made’ operating system isn’t home made at all, but maybe that’s OK

    Like most governments, China’s has long been concerned about the security vulnerabilities that may come with using software developed in other countries. The biggest problem: PC operating systems in government buildings are almost universally run on Windows. For years, China has been trying to create a domestic alternative. Yesterday, the latest alpha build of its decade-in-the-making Kylin operating system went up for download.

    According to Techweb, this latest version of Ubuntu Kylin – the version of Kylin that’s being designed for use by the public – still contains serious bugs, and important parts of the OS have not been translated into Chinese.

    In fact, whether Kylin is even a Chinese operating system at all is debatable, although the Chinese media continues to describe the project as “home-grown.”

  • Meet Red Star OS, the North Korean Linux distro that apes Apple’s OS X

    Red Star OS is a Linux distribution developed in North Korea. Not only is it North Korea’s official Linux distribution, it’s their country’s official operating system period.

    Microsoft’s Windows operating system is written and developed in the USA, so it’s no surprise North Korea doesn’t really trust it given the tense relations between the two countries. Until 2002, when Red Star OS began to be developed in the DPRK, the few available computers in North Korea generally ran Windows. (Interestingly enough, the North Korean hackers which seem to be behind the hack of Sony Pictures appear to have been using Windows PCs instead.)

  • Desktop

    • Open Source Online Game Gets Students Excited About Linux

      When Razvan Rughinis began teaching the introductory operating systems course at University Politehnica of Bucharest in Romania 10 years ago, he was challenged to get students interested in Linux and keep them interested for the entire three-month course.

      Many first-year computer science students have no experience with Linux, and they have no interest in learning it, said Rughinis a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. And those students who do know Linux are regarded as unusual and treated as social outcasts, he said.

      “They wouldn’t pay attention to the first experience to see what Linux has to offer; not just the desktop, but how the services work and the depth of the system,” he said. “It’s a steep learning curve for students coming from high school. Their first encounter was too difficult.”

    • Librem 15 Is a Beast of a Linux Laptop with a Gorgeous Finish

      Librem 15 aims to be the only laptop coming with completely free software and its makers are looking to get some funding through a crowdfunding campaign.
      You might think that if a laptop ships with any Linux distribution, then it would stand to reason that it would be loaded with free and open source software, but the truth is that it’s not that simple or even intuitive. For example, it’s true that the Linux kernel is an open source project and that it’s freely distributable, but there are some people in the community that say it’s not enough.

    • Teaching Linux in the Dark

      Did I tell him it was Linux? Did I give him the party line on freedom-as-in-beer-and-code? No. I didn’t tell him anything except I was going to fix his computer.

      When the install was done, I imported his IE bookmarks into Firefox and loaded his music and pictures into the appropriate directories. I did not set him up with multiple desktops, nor did I blingify his desktop. He wanted to play his online games with his friends, he wanted to check his bank account from time to time and he wanted to access his Yahoo email account. That’s all. Oh…and he wanted to play World of Goo. It’s his new and favorite obsession.

      It took me all of one and a half hours to get him fixed and out the door.

      In the years I’ve been doing this, it’s only been recently that I’ve learned an extremely important lesson. Not everyone needs to be saved from one entity and changed to another. Not everyone wants or needs to know the important philosophical truths about free open source software. Sometimes, people just want their computers to do what they tell them to do and in the shortest and most simple way possible. The end result was a happy friend and a neighborhood computer I will not have to fix for a long time.

    • Come On! The Year Of GNU/Linux On The Desktop Was Ages Ago. Now We’re Mopping Up.

      Chromebooks are killing iPads and Wintel PCs in USAian education. Even PhotoShop ships for them. Every major OEM of PCs is shipping ChromeOS which is Chrome browser embedded on GNU/Linux. There are moves to integrate the rampant Android/Linux, too, with ChromeOS. We’ve won, beyond our wildest dreams and rather quickly too. It was only 7 years ago that Android was a gleam in Google’s eyes but they sold a billion copies last year.

    • Linux bloated? Think again

      When I first started using Linux, back in the mid-late nineties, a typical Linux installation was roughly four to five CDs and wound up installing applications geared toward scientists, programmers, HAM radio operators, and more. The kernel was built for a small sub-section of hardware it actually had support for (which included a lot of hardware most people didn’t have). The typical resources needed to run Linux were quite small. The first machine I ran Linux on was a Pentium II 75 Mhz processor with 56 MB of RAM and an unsupported WinModem (which was eventually swapped out for a US Robotics 36.6 external modem).

  • Server

    • Why is everyone hating on operating systems?

      For all for all of the hype containers have received, they are still dependent on the underlying operating system to run. Containers are awesome, but they’re still new, and the technology is still growing. In this talk, Brian Proffitt talks about how changes in the IT sector still require a trusted operating system sitting underneath containers, hypervisors, and all virtualization solutions.

  • Kernel Space

    • Video: Yes, I’m Linux. Are You?

      This was released by the Linux Foundation yesterday and I thought I’d share.

    • Inline Data Support Comes To CephFS With Linux 3.19

      The Ceph file-system in Linux 3.19 will support inline data to offer performance improvements for some operations.

      Ceph, the distributed file-system that prides itself as having no single point of failure and being very scalable, is adding in new functionality for Linux 3.19. First up, CephFS for Linux 3.19 adds support for inline data. Inline data makes the file-system quicker for accessing small files and is a feature already supported by Btrfs, EXT4, and other file-systems. Inline data support for Ceph has been a long time coming and is outlined further on this Ceph Wiki page.

    • That Nasty Linux Kernel Lockup Bug Is Still Unresolved

      Nearly one month ago back during the Linux 3.18 release candidates there was a worrisome regression uncovered by kernel developers, but now with the Linux 3.19 merge window nearly over, that issue still has yet to be firmly addressed.

    • systemd Disables the Linux Magic SysRq Key
    • Graphics Stack

      • VC4 Gallium3D Adds DMA-BUF Support, Yields Working DRI3

        Beyond the VC4 Gallium3D work yesterday landing in Mesa that led to this Raspberry Pi graphics driver potentially running much faster, DMA-BUF support was also added.

      • NIR Has Been Revised As A New IR For Mesa

        The NIR Mesa IR was envisioned and originally developed by Connor Abbott, who was interning at Intel this summer after being a fresh graduate of high school and having already contributed to Lima and other Linux graphics projects.

      • VDPAU Updated To v0.9

        Before going on holiday break, Aaron Plattner at NVIDIA released version 0.9 of the VDPAU library (libvdpau) and of the VDPAU information utility (vdpauinfo).

      • Adreno A4xx Rendering With Freedreno Takes Shape

        The Freedreno Gallium3D driver’s support for the Adreno A4xx hardware is taking shape and beginning to work for GL rendering on this latest-generation Qualcomm graphics hardware.

      • Server-Side XCB Is Being Discussed For The X.Org Server

        Given the recent X.Org Server security vulnerabilities that were aplenty and many dated back 10 to 20 years or more, Jeremy Sharp is trying to get developers into finally materializing server-side XCB.

      • Intel 2.99.917 X.Org Driver Released, 3.0 Release Finally Near

        The Intel X.Org driver (xf86-video-intel 3.0) driver has been in pre-release form since September 2013 and now after having gone through many development revisions, xf86-video-intel 3.0 might be on final approach.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE’s Krita Loses Its Main Backer

        Since 2007 there has been KO GmbH as a support and software service company built around KOffice/Calligra in their belief that the software was “getting ready for the big time”, but seven years later the situation is not so good and KO GmbH is no longer handling Krita.

      • Interview with Marty Last

        I haven’t worked for FOSS projects yet, but what a great idea for a New Year’s resolution. I’ve worked as part of teams that generated open source tools and upstream patches for existing drivers/kernel, but nothing directly.

      • KDE e.V. is looking for its first Executive Director

        KDE e.V. has been successfully supporting the KDE community for over 17 years. For many of them we had the tremendous help of a business manager, several interns, an event manager and countless volunteers to be able to do this. In the coming years we want to be able to support the KDE community even better. In order to do this we need strong support from an Executive Director. The Board of Directors has decided to hire someone for this position in the coming months. We are looking for a passionate individual who understands our community and can drive our business interaction. Do you want to be a part of bringing great software to millions of users? Do you want to really make a difference for a Free Software non-profit? Then this is the job for you! If you would like to know more about the position please read the job ad.

      • Qt 5.4 on Red Hat Enterprise 5

        For my job, I need to take care of the support of old Linux distributions for our products, therefore I experimented in building Qt 5.x for Red Hat Enterprise 5 (or CentOS 5 or other clones).

        Whereas Red Hat Enterprise 6 works more or less out of the box, to build Qt (even without WebKit and Co.) on Red Hat Enterprise 5, more work is needed. Even the xcb library is not yet existent there.

      • Application Development with Qt Creator, Second Edition

        I got a copy of the Application Development with Qt Creator, 2nd ed. for review, so I decided to post the review here – KDE is still the greatest Qt community in the world, and we have more than a few students and teachers in it which might benefit from a book like this one.

      • Announcing Subsurface 4.3

        The Subsurface development team proudly announces release 4.3 of Subsurface, an open source divelog and dive planning program for Windows, Mac and Linux.

      • Bludevil 2.1 released

        On 3rd December, I have released Bluedevil 2.0. It was a first stable release that supported Bluez 5 and it contained mainly crash fixes over 2.0-rc1. Unfortunately, there was also a big regression.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Builder Is Still Building Up To A New IDE For Developers

        Since this summer Christian Hergert has been hard at work on building “Builder”, a new integrated development environment designed for GNOME developers. The GNOME Builder isn’t expected to compete with Eclipse, Qt Creator, and the likes, but is focused solely around the GNOME development workflow and the needs of GNOME developers. Builder is focused on C, Vala, JavaScript, and Python language support. Builder also has plans for GObject Introspection integration, PerfKit integration, GDB support, Clang integration, etc. Hergert is so committed to builder that he had quit his day job at MongoDB to focus on Builder for one year.

  • Distributions

    • How To Install Puppy Linux Tahr On A USB Drive

      Puppy Linux is a lightweight Linux distribution designed to run from removable devices such as DVDs and USB drives.

      There are a number of Puppy Linux variants including Puppy Slacko, which utilises the Slackware repositories, and Puppy Tahr which utilises the Ubuntu repositories.

      Other versions of Puppy Linux include Simplicity and MacPUP.

      It is possible to use UNetbootin to create a bootable Puppy Linux USB drive but it isn’t the method that is recommended.

      Puppy Linux works great on older laptops, netbooks and computers without hard drives. It isn’t designed to be installed on a hard drive but you can run it that way if you want to.

    • The Curious Case of the Disappearing Distros

      Well the holidays are pretty much upon us at last here in the Linux blogosphere, and there’s nowhere left to hide. The next two weeks or so promise little more than a blur of forced social occasions and too-large meals, punctuated only — for the luckier ones among us — by occasional respite down at the Broken Windows Lounge.

      Perhaps that’s why Linux bloggers seized with such glee upon the good old-fashioned mystery that came up recently — delivered in the nick of time, as if on cue.

    • North Korea Linux now resembles Apple’s OS X for Macs
    • Reviews

    • Screenshots

    • Slackware Family

      • Ktown for Slackware – development history available in git

        For a long time I have been keeping copies of the full source directories for every KDE 4 release I have made for Slackware. That is amounting to a lot of megabytes, since I am also keeping the source tarballs, not just the scripts and patches. Traditionally, I have kept one KDE version publicly available for all recent Slackware releases, in my ‘ktown’ package repository at http://alien.slackbook.org/ktown/ . This repository is also available through rsync, not just http (using my primary mirror at rsync://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/alien-kde/).

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Phone delayed again to next year

            It seems that Samsung isn’t the only one experiencing delays in getting a new player in the mobile market out of the woodwork. Canonical, the commercial company behind the open source Linux-based Ubuntu OS has been quoted to have said that its much-hyped Ubuntu Phone won’t be announced until early 2015. And that’s just the announcement of the availability and not the availability itself, which can, of course, be delayed repeatedly, as Samsung’s dance with its own Tizen OS has proven.

          • Ubuntu Linux Phone from bq to Ship in February 2015
          • Canonical Brings Snappy Ubuntu Core OS to Amazon AWS
          • Canonical Releases Most Stable Ubuntu Touch RTM Version So Far – Screenshot Tour

            Canonical has just promoted a new Ubuntu Touch RTM version of its operating system and it’s moving even closer to the final build that should be ready in time for the February 2015 release.

          • Linux Top 3: Linux 3.19 rc1, Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 and Tails 1.2.2
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Why You Should Switch to Ubuntu MATE Edition

              When I first came to Linux, I gravitated to KDE and then later on, early GNOME. Back then, these desktop environments were designed mostly to provide a usable X environment from which to use Linux compatible applications. Today, however, our need for a desktop environment is more varied. Some individuals prefer to have a desktop experience that is rich, full of nice effects and looks great. Others still, prefer a desktop experience that provides a simple, hassle free interface.

              My own desktop needs, reflecting on the ideas above, have also evolved. I went from wanting a fancy, slick GUI desktop over to leaning with a lighter weight desktop. XFCE started off as my go-to lightweight desktop preference, while keeping Gnome 3 around on another machine because it was fun to use.

              After a lot of recent thought and reflection, I have decided to commit full time to a “no frills” desktop environment. My desktop of choice: MATE on Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Quadcopter drone packs first all-Linux APM autopilot

      Erle Robotics launched a ROS-enabled, open source “Erie-brain” autopilot that runs APM directly on Linux. The device also powers an “Erle-copter” drone.

      Over the last year, Spanish firm Erle Robotics S.L. has been working with 3DRobotics to develop an open source BeaglePilot autopilot for drones that can run Linux on 3DR’s popular, Arduino-based APM (ArduPilot Mega) platform. The APM Linux port was developed by both companies, as well as several academic institutions. The BeagleBone-based “Erle-brain” autopilot is built into the $490-and-up Erle-copter quadcopter.

    • Phones

      • Jolla’s Sailfish OS Update 10 Is Now Available

        The tenth update to Jolla’s Sailfish mobile operating system is now available. This update is version 1.1.1.26 and is codenamed Vaarainjärvi.

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Samsung Z1 full specifications leaked, India release followed by China and Korea

          We have been waiting for the Samsung Z1 launch event, and it looks like its finally happening at a secret Samsung Z1 launch event in India. Its exciting to see that we have final specifications of the Z1 which runs Tizen 2.3, 4.0 inch 800 x 480 PLS TFT display, 768MB RAM, 1.2GHz Dual-core processor, 3MP primary camera with a LED flash, VGA Front Facing Camera, 4GB internal storage, microSD card slot, with a 1,500 mAh battery.

      • Android

        • Forget Google’s robot cars, now it’s on to ANDROID cars

          Google is planning a big push into in-car infotainment systems with an upcoming version of Android, sources claim.

          “Android M” – the version to come after the current Android 5.0 “Lollipop” – will be available in a formulation designed specifically to run cars’ built-in screens, Reuters reports, citing anonymous insiders with knowledge of the plan.

          Google made its first advances toward the automotive world at its I/O developer conference earlier this year, when it unveiled its Android Auto software. The first Android Auto–compatible cars are expected to arrive early next year.

        • Google releases Android Lollipop 5.0.2 for the 2012 Nexus 7

          After rolling out the first fixes for Android Lollipop on Nexus phones and tablets, Google has tied up some loose ends with a separate update just for the 2012 Nexus 7.

        • Google Plans to Integrate Android Directly Into Vehicles

          The company is working on a new Android version that will power a car’s entertainment and navigation systems, connect it to the Internet, and integrate with the vehicle’s sensors, a Reuters report says.
          Sometime in the not-too-distant future, cars from many automakers could feature a version of Google’s Android operating system built directly into the vehicles.

        • The best Android apps of 2014

          Monument Valley, The Room Two, Clumsy Ninja and much, much more in our pick of games released this year through the Google Play store.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Databricks Delivers Online Courses Focused on Apache Spark

    Databricks, a company founded by the creators of the popular open-source Big Data processing engine Apache Spark, is a firm that you may not have heard much from in 2014, but you will throughout 2015. The company has healthy venture funding of $47 million, and Andreesen Horowitz is one of the investors, with Ben Horowitz on board.

  • Events

    • Google and Facebook feel the wrath of German open source advocate

      Open-Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna has hit out at the closed nature of services offered by Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook.

      Speaking in Paris earlier this month, Laguna said many of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, and others like them, need to open up their proprietary systems to comply with laws around the world and uphold many of the citizen’s rights that people have fought for over the last several hundred years.

    • Open Source: Both Bigger And Less Relevant Than You Imagine

      Such is the case with the Ponemon Institute’s survey of 1,400 technology professionals, which according to some outlets found big companies “cautious” and “slow” to embrace open source. Others, looking at the exact same data, found respondents “generally positive” to open source. (The survey was sponsored by Zimbra, which provide of open-source messaging and collaboration software.)

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and KDDI Launch First Firefox OS Smartphone in Japan

        Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web, is excited to announce that KDDI will release the first Firefox OS smartphone in Japan, just in time for the holidays.

        KDDI announced at a press conference in Tokyo today that the newest Firefox OS smartphone, Fx0, goes on sale in Japan on Dec. 25. Fx0 is the first high-spec Firefox OS smartphone with the latest Firefox OS update inside.

      • The transparent Fx0 will finally make you want a Firefox OS phone

        Announced at a KDDI press event in Tokyo today, the Fx0 is a striking 4.7-inch smartphone with a transparent shell and a home button decorated with the golden Firefox logo embracing the Earth. It runs the latest version of Mozilla’s web-centric mobile OS and was designed by noted Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka, whose previous collaboration with KDDI produced a phone worthy of making it into the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. With the Fx0, Yoshioka has worked around the familiar outlines of LG’s G3 design (LG is the silent partner producing the device) and adapted them to a smaller size while producing a delightful aesthetic in the process. Like a watch with a window showing its internal mechanism, this phone’s exposed electronics are a subtle reminder of its technical sophistication — plus, that Firefox home button is just plain cool.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The OpenStack opportunity, the way forward, and more

      Interested in keeping track of what’s happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for what’s happening right now in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • VMware Raises its Ante in the OpenStack Race, with Mirantis

      Marking the clearest evidence yet that OpenStack player Mirantis is working more closely with VMware on open cloud initiatives, the companies have published a Mirantis OpenStack reference architecture for VMware vCenter Server and VMware NSX. Now available for download, Mirantis OpenStack allows customers to deploy and control workloads that run on VMware vSphere in their VMware vCenter Server clusters within Mirantis OpenStack.

    • HP Sees NFV as a ‘Huge Opportunity’

      Saar Gillai, SVP and general manager of NFV at HP, discusses the opportunities and the challenges of cloud deployment.

      Hewlett-Packard is bullish on the future of the cloud and on network functions virtualization (NFV). Helping to lead HP’s NFV and cloud efforts is Senior Vice President Saar Gillai, who is also the general manager for NFV as well as the chief operating officer for HP Cloud.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding

    • What’s Jimmy Wales going to do with $500k from the UAE?

      Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales says he’ll “start a foundation” to process a large amount of money he has received from the United Arab Emirates’ regime.

      Christmas came early for Wales, and Tim Berners-Lee, earlier this month when they shared a $1m cash award from the Gulf state. The “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award” is named after the veep of the UAE.

  • BSD

    • You should be running a pfSense firewall

      Those of us who work in the depths of high technology are not immune to the age-old adage of the shoemaker’s children having no shoes. We probably have the most technologically advanced homes of anyone we know, but we also tend to leave various items alone if they’re not causing problems. After all, that’s what we deal with at work. Who needs to saddle themselves with network upgrade projects at home when nothing’s broken?

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Gnupg needs your support!

      Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG, the free/open version of PGP) relies on donations to pay developers to keep the project alive and viable; as one of its millions of users, I am grateful and indebted to the people who keep it alive and that’s why I’ve just donated to the project.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU flings €1m at open source security audit wheeze

      Might also think about encrypting stuff. Maybe. You know… next year, perhaps?

    • EU: EUR 1 million for security audit of open source

      The European Parliament is funding a security audit of the free and open source solutions used by the Parliament and the European Commission. Last Wednesday, the EP allocated EUR 1 million for the audit project, to be carried out by the EC Directorate General for Informatics (DIGIT). The project should also come up with best practices for code review and quality assessments of free software and open standards funded by the EU.

    • I raised €1 million to demonstrate security and freedom aren’t opposites

      When a politican talks about security technology, they’re usually coming for your civil rights. Suspicionless mass surveillance, secret internet blocklists, arduous security theatre at airports: Safety and freedom are presented as trade-offs — and many politicians are all too willing to sacrifice more and more the latter for the short-term sugar high of feeling like they’re Doing Something to Keep The World Safe.

  • Licensing

    • Top 5: Legal issues in open source in 2014

      The most-read articles this year on Opensource.com demonstrated a strong interest in the changing aspects of complicated issues. For example, the top two stories this year both relate to a complex series of cases involving a dispute between Versata and Aperiprise surrounding alleged violations of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

      In addition to cutting-edge legal issues, readers remain very interested in more practical questions such as which open source license they should use.

      And readers were also interested in the biggest software patent case from the Supreme Court in recent memory, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank.

      But it’s not just developments in the court that had readers’ interest: the FTC’s patent-assertion study represents a potentially important step to combat the harmful effects of Patent Assertion Entities.

      Looking ahead to 2015, open source legal issues will likely remain in the news, with a possible new push to revive patent litigation reform in the United States under the new Congress.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open science leaps forward in 2014

      We have had quite a year of open science at Opensource.com in 2014! I couldn’t hope to cover every article we published over the year, but I will highlight some of my favorites. The tide is turning in science. More funding is going to open science projects, more publications are making their data available to everyone (especially other researchers), and all of this is hopefully beginning to impact hiring decisions.

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • An Open Hardware Random Number Generator Proposed

        In 2015 we might see an open hardware random number generator that would connect to the system via an SD card slot.

      • Best of open hardware in 2014

        Open hardware is the physical foundation of the open movement. It is through understanding, designing, manufacturing, commercializing, and adopting open hardware, that we built the basis for a healthy and self-reliant community of open. And the year of 2014 had plenty of activities in the open hardware front.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • National Defrost Your Turkey Day – don’t get food poisoning this Christmas

      As families across the country carry out the final preparations ahead of Christmas Day, many minds will be switching to turkey.

      No, not the country, but the main ingredient of tens of thousands of festive dinners that will be enjoyed on December 25.

      According to the Food Standards Agency, millions of people have been defrosting their turkey incorrectly and, due to that, have launched National Defrost Your Turkey Day.

      And that day is today, December 22.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The world is on the edge of a US-Russia nuke wipeout war: Chomsky

      Renowned commentator Noam Chomsky says that the US-Soviet war is taking the world on the brink of a Cold War that threatens to wipe out the world.

      The threat of a nuclear war is hanging over the world again, ominously, adds the scholar, to RT’s Sophie&Co. It looks like both the US and Russia seem to be on the track of another Cold War.

    • How long can Russia withstand the crisis?

      The Russian economy is overly dependent on crude oil exports, and this ongoing crisis proves that it is not easy for Russia to be an extra-large Saudi Arabia. Some people suggest that Russia should learn from Canada and Australia, which have managed to transform huge reserves of natural resources into fortunes. However, due to Russia’s large population of 140 million people, its modernity and strong currency cannot be solely supported by oil, gas and timber.

    • Droning On

      But of course, the “war on terror” is very much about boosting the standing of politicians who are “fighting terror” on behalf of their citizens, and about boosting the ever-inflating powers – and budgets – of the security services. SO counterproductive measures are, paradoxically, the most attractive to those whose aim is not to obtain peace, but rather to maintain the concentration of power and finance consequent upon an eternal state of phoney war.

    • USA Today Wants You to Think Killings of Police Are on the Rise

      “Ambush Recharges Debate,” declares the front page of USA Today (12/22/14), a headline over a story about the killing of New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. The “debate” being recharged is presumably linked to the national protests against police brutality–protests that are in no way connected to this brutal murder.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • These are the CIA’s tips for spies on how to avoid detection at airports

      Let’s get one thing clear: The two secret CIA documents published today by Wikileaks will not make you a clandestine officer.

      Both reports are aimed at teaching CIA agents traveling undercover to avoid unnecessary scrutiny at airports. The first, “Surviving Secondary,” dated September 2011, explains how not to be singled out for secondary screening by passport officers, and how to handle it if you are, while the second, “Schengen Overview,” from January 2012, summarizes the information systems used by the 26 European countries that have open borders with each other as part of the Schengen agreement.

    • WikiLeaks Releases CIA Manual Advising Undercover Agents on Travel & Avoiding ‘Secondary Screenings’

      It advises that “smart phones, iPods, and MP3 players, can pose a vulnerability to alias travel because of their requirement for subscriptions. If border control officials can establish a link between the device and the traveler’s true name,this could present a difficulty for someone traveling in alias,” which is a classic concern of those critical of the global security state.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 6 Stories The Media Beat to Death in 2014 That Have Faded Into Obscurity

      In a digital world the media often struggles to maintain the attention of its audience. Between horrific mass killings, viral outbreaks, violent authority figures, terrorists, and tantalizing political melodrama, the focus of our media shifts constantly.

      The following six topics from 2014 were once a major focus of the fleeting attention of the media. Each of them at one point has received overwhelming media attention to become a fixture of American dialogue before fading into obscurity.

    • The propagandists have won: What Fox News and the pornography revolution have in common

      Truthiness has replaced truth. Now that we all have our own facts, we may rue the day we personalized the news

    • The Weird World of the Washington Post, Where Reagan Never Met Gorbachev

      As I’ve written before (FAIR Blog, 12/2/09), reading the Washington Post opinion pages can be like reading dispatches from a parallel universe. You get that sense of alternative history from Post deputy editorial editor Jackson Diehl’s latest piece (12/21/14), teeing off on Barack Obama’s statement that “we know from hard-earned experience that countries are more likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their people are not subjected to chaos.”

    • Some of the stinkiest reporting from the past year

      It’s that time of year again, when FAIR looks back at the year and recalls some of the stinkiest media moments. There were, of course, many contenders– but only a select few can make the list.

  • Privacy

    • US Congress OKs ‘unprecedented’ codification of warrantless surveillance

      Congress last week quietly passed a bill to reauthorize funding for intelligence agencies, over objections that it gives the government “virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American”, without warrant, and allows for indefinite storage of some intercepted material, including anything that’s “enciphered”.

    • [fear mongering] GCHQ warns serious criminals have been lost in wake of Edward Snowden leaks

      The spy agency has suffered “significant” damage in its ability to monitor and capture serious organised criminals following the exposes by the former CIA contractor.

    • [tor-talk] Warning: Do NOT use my mirrors/services until I have reviewed the situation
    • Tor exit nodes face unusual activity, is Tor being raided or under hack attack?

      Thomas White (@CthulhuSec) warned users to steer clear of his Tor servers after he lost control following what he’s called “unusual activity.” In a post on Tor mailing list Thomas said,”I have now lost control of all servers under the ISP and my account has been suspended.”

    • Why India can’t trust the CIA’s intelligence input?

      We have yet another story on the intelligence sharing regarding the 26/11 attack and it has almost become a habit for the Americans and the British to let out such information in bits and pieces year after year. The US has time and again said that intelligence was shared with India on the 26/11 attack and this fact has been repeatedly denied by India. For India the attacks were not specific enough to collate and act upon.

    • Agencies missed signals about David Headley’s involvement in 26/11 Mumbai attacks

      There were a series of “missed signals” about Pakistani-American David Headley’s involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks even though he had exchanged “highly suspicious” emails with his LeT and ISI handlers before and after the assault, an investigative report said.

    • Spy agencies reportedly had intel pointing to Mumbai attack

      Three spy agencies collected intelligence that could have thwarted the lethal terror attack in Mumbai in 2008 but failed to put the pieces together, according to a report published late Sunday evening by The New York Times and Propublica, an online news source.

    • In 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Piles of Spy Data, but an Uncompleted Puzzle

      Indian and British intelligence agencies monitored the online activities of a key plotter but couldn’t connect the dots.

    • FURY erupts on streets of Brussels over greedy USA’s data-slurping appetite

      Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Brussels on Friday to express anger about secret trade talks between the EU, US and others that they believe would damage the 28-member-state bloc’s data protection rights.

      More than 1,000 people marched in the centre of the EU quarter to protest about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The latter has provoked outrage following a leak of the US position from April 2014 that was published on Wednesday by Netzpolitik.org and Associated Whistleblowing Press. It focuses on e-commerce, technology transfer, cross-border data flows and net neutrality.

    • NSA What? US Straining EU Ties With Blatant Spying

      The US is gearing up for a major power play among its ‘allies’ through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA). Chief among its many controversies is what amounts to the US spying on its partners, all in the name of ‘anti-protectionist’ measures.

    • The real reasons why Facebook doesn’t have a dislike button

      The thing that perplexes me is why so many people still use Facebook these days. I can understand wanting to stay in touch with friends and family, but there are plenty of other ways to do that. Video chat, instant messaging, and email all work well and do not expose private information to Facebook’s algorithms and advertising systems. Yet some people behave as though Facebook is the only way to maintain contact over vast geographic distances and time zones.

  • Civil Rights

    • Guest Post: Torture Is Still on the Table

      The recent Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogations is a parade of horribles. Detainees by the dozen arrested wrongfully and later released, including innocent nobodies and even men with mental disabilities. Poorly vetted interrogators with disciplinary problems and financial conflicts of interest. Relatives held as hostages to gain leverage over targets. Incredibly shoddy intelligence analysis.

    • The Unidentified Queen of Torture

      For the past eight months, there has been a furious battle raging behind closed doors at the White House, the C.I.A., and in Congress. The question has been whether the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would be allowed to use pseudonyms as a means of identifying characters in the devastating report it released last week on the C.I.A.’s abusive interrogation and detention program. Ultimately, the committee was not allowed to, and now we know one reason why.

    • Meet Alfreda Bikowsky, the Senior Officer at the Center of the CIA’s Torture Scandals

      NBC News yesterday called her a “key apologist” for the CIA’s torture program. A follow-up New Yorker article dubbed her “The Unidentified Queen of Torture” and in part “the model for the lead character in ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’” Yet in both articles she was anonymous.

      The person described by both NBC and The New Yorker is senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. Multiple news outlets have reported that as the result of a long string of significant errors and malfeasance, her competence and integrity are doubted — even by some within the agency.

      The Intercept is naming Bikowsky over CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency’s use of torture, and her active participation in the torture program (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee). Moreover, Bikowsky has already been publicly identified by news organizations as the CIA officer responsible for many of these acts.

    • Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses

      Since the day President Obama took office, he has failed to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects — an official government program conceived and carried out in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

      He did allow his Justice Department to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of torture sessions and those who may have gone beyond the torture techniques authorized by President George W. Bush. But the investigation did not lead to any charges being filed, or even any accounting of why they were not filed.

    • Two double agents, a prison swap and the code from outer space: did this spy-v-spy duel save US-Cuban relations?

      From a maximum-security prison in Texas, former United States military analyst Ana Montes has been offering up bumper-sticker justifications for why she betrayed her country and spied on behalf of the Cuban government over the course of 17 years. “I believe that the morality of espionage is relative,” Montes wrote in a private letter to a friend last year. “The activity always betrays someone, and some observers will think that it is justified and others not, in every case.”

    • China mulls national security law to deal with terrorists

      Tabling the draft, Director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, Li Shishi, told lawmakers, “It was necessary to make a fundamental law on national security in accordance with the new contemporary environment.”

    • The New Sound of Crowd Control

      One popular device, the LRAD-100X, was used in Ferguson, and on two days last week, it was used to warn off demonstrators in New York City protesting the death of Eric Garner. According to its manufacturer, the LRAD offers police “near instantaneous escalation across the force protection spectrum” to “shape the behavior of potential threats.”

  • DRM

    • DRM glitch leaves new Max Payne 3 buyers temporarily in the lurch

      Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 is 70% off right now as part of the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale, but would-be neo-noir crime story aficionados were denied entry into the cynical world of the drug-dependent detective yesterday by a failure in the game’s third-party authentication and matchmaking system. Starting early on Friday, December 19, the Rockstar Social Club component of the game would respond only with “Error contacting activation server” when players tried to start up the game for the first time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Girls left in tears after being dragged out of cinema by staff who called 999 after wrongly believing the 12-year-olds were filming The Hunger Games on their iPads

        A group of 12-year-old girls were left in tears after being hauled out of a cinema by police when staff falsely accused them of recording The Hunger Games on their mobiles and iPads.

        The seven children, who attend one of the country’s leading independent girls’ schools, were quizzed after staff dialled 999 and reported the allegation as an ‘emergency’.

      • Finland Abolishes Copyright Levies On Digital Devices

        Pressure for EU reform is now greater than ever. The UK earlier this year passed a law that legalized private copying by individuals without any requirement for additional compensation to artists. Two years ago Spain replaced levies with a government compensation fund similar to the one adopted in Finland this week.

        Although it’s true that progress has been made, it’s also worth noting that the usual copyright dinosaurs are fighting back, and that the final outcome is by no means clear. In the UK, the music industry has said that it may try to challenge the private copying exception in the courts. In Spain, legal action by collecting societies has resulted in two key questions about copyright levies being sent to the European Union Court of Justice, and its judgment on the case is likely to have important implications for such levies throughout the EU.

12.21.14

Links 22/12/2014: GNU/Linux at Sky News, Another Tizen Camera

Posted in News Roundup at 9:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • ASF publishes long-overdue Code Of Conduct

    We pride ourselves at The Apache Software Foundation on our principles of “community over code” and “don’t be a jerk”. But, alas, we’ve been slow to codify some of these things in public. Part of this, I’m sure, is that it’s easy to think we all just know how we’re supposed to treat people, and so you shouldn’t have to say, right?

  • Open-Source NFV Group Readying Software Releases for 2015

    In a recent post on the organization’s blog, Chris Price, chairman of the technical steering committee (TSC) for the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), said the panel is reviewing a broad array of project ideas to see what ones will be pursued by the committee. In addition, the wider OPNFV community will focus on establishing an integration and baseline platform while also creating several NFV-related projects that will find their way into the OPNFV’s second release of 2015.

  • Santa for sysadmins: I/O, shake it all about
  • OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: Devin Avery

    OpenDaylight accepted seven student interns for the summer of 2014 to work in the community and receive hands-on development experience in SDN. Each intern worked closely with an active OpenDaylight developer as their mentor on a project that suited interest and community need.

  • Google Makes Cloud Dataflow SDK Open Source

    Cloud Dataflow, which it describes as “a platform to democratize large-scale data processing by enabling easier and more scalable access to data,” was just unveiled in June. It’s still an alpha release, but used internally in the company, Google says.

  • Google Open Sources “Cloud Dataflow” SDK, Built to Trump MapReduce

    All the way back in June, at Google I/O, Google pronounced that the venerable MapReduce data crunching scheme was “tired” and launched a service dubbed Cloud Dataflow that analyzes pipelines with “arbitrarily large datasets.” Dataflow was a much talked about star in a set of cloud services discussed at Google I/O and Google officials even confirmed that Dataflow had replaced MapReduce at Google. MapReduce, of course, is built for processing and generating large data sets with a parallel, distributed algorithm on clusters.

  • Events

    • GNOME Asia Summit 2015 to be hosted in Depok Indonesia

      The GNOME Asia Committee is pleased to announce that the upcoming GNOME.Asia Summit 2015 will be hosted in Depok Indonesia May 7-9 2015. It will be a great place to celebrate and explore the many new features and enhancements to GNOME 3.

    • GNOME.Asia Join Kaiyuanshe – Open Source Alliance in China

      We are thrilled to report that GNOME.Asia is a founding member of KAIYUANSHE(开源社) launched Oct 16, 2014. KAIYUANSHE roughly translated as “open source alliance,” is a group of enterprises, communities, and individuals in China supporting and promoting free and open source software (FOSS).

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.5

      The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.5, the fifth minor release of LibreOffice 4.3 “fresh” family, which is a stable release of the more advanced version of the software, targeted to individual and enterprise users. LibreOffice 4.3.5 contains over 70 bug fixes.

    • Public Interest, Software Freedom and Open Standards

      …importance of working with upstream projects and initiatives for a government like the UK Government.

      [...]

      Public interest and software freedom are not always aligned, in the sense that software freedom grant rights to users of Free Software but does not imply users will get what they want; in this case however, these two notions could become very much aligned. The same holds true for Open Standards: if major chunks of the UK’s public sector’s pool of documents is migrated to ODF, there is something close to a liability – and an opportunity- for this Government to ensure the format continues to thrive and be improved.

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU to fund Free Software code review

      The European Parliament has approved funding for several projects related to Free Software and privacy. In the EU budget for 2015, which the European Parliament adopted on December 17, the Parliamentarians have allocated up to one million Euro for a project to audit Free Software programs in use at the Commission and the Parliament in order to identify and fix security vulnerabilities.

    • Advocacy group: ‘ICT procurement is broken’

      Public administrations in the EU are hindering competition by asking for specific brands and products when procuring software solutions, says OpenForum Europe, an organisation campaigning for an open, competitive ICT market. “No progress has been made in recent years. In fact the practice of referring to brand names in public procurement has become more widespread”, OFE says.

    • Top Clippings For December 18th

      EU software procurement breaches rules more than ever before – OFE PDF – Because they really do prefer to feed what they perceive as corporate power brokers rather than work to create European value with European money.

      EU allocates half million euros for testing open source – FSFE – It’s a rounding error on the budget, but at least it’s something. Let’s see who gets it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The project that wants to bring an open source, print-at-home connected car to a road near you

      If cars are indeed set to become “smartphones on wheels”, able to connect to the internet and each other, there are a few things we need to settle first. What kind of operating system will they run on, for example, and will they use proprietary or open source applications? Will upgrades to the car’s underlying system happen as seamlessly as mobile OS updates do today, or will you have to call out a mechanic?

    • Halo 4 backend, SuperTuxKart, and more

      It looks like our Linux friend Tux enjoys racing karts! The SuperTuxKart team is wishing its gamers a Merry Christmas by releasing SuperTaxKart 0.8.2 beta. SuperTuxKart is a 3D kart racing game licensed under GPLV3 and available on many platforms, including Linux. This new beta release includes a new graphical engine, Antartica. You should really check out the release post and the screenshots of the improved graphics. Another new feature is online accounts in preparation of networked multiplayer gaming—which is still to come.

    • Sharing

      Why do we share? What makes it different from giving? And what does it have to do with strategy and impulse control? Mike talks to the scientist Nikolaus

    • They bonded over video games, now they’re building an open-source laser tag gun

      “We just wanted to play video games in real life,” said Ibrahim Pasha, the youthful CEO of Skirmos — an ambitious open-source laser tag gun started by a handful of former high school pals.

    • 8 open-source holiday gifts

      The holiday season is in full swing and you may still have a few people to check off your gift-giving list. If you’re at a loss for what to buy the open-source-focused engineer or maker in your life, take a gander at these 8 open-source gifts.

    • Open-Source Mixology: Cocktail Recipes by the Numbers
    • Open Data

      • Machine learning can help sift open source intelligence

        U.S. intelligence agencies and the military are increasingly leveraging analytics platforms based on machine learning to sift through data sources like social media. In the vernacular of the Pentagon, these efforts are generally referred to as open source intelligence initiatives.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • New 64-bit Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Disclosed This Week
    • SSL Version Control

      In the meantime, you can use this extension to turn off SSLv3 in your copy of Firefox. When you install the add-on, it will set the minimum TLS version to TLS 1.0 (disabling SSLv3). If you want to change that setting later, like if you really need to access an SSLv3 site, just go to Tools / Add-ons and click the “Preferences” button next to the add-on. That will give you a drop-down menu to select the minimum TLS version you want to allow.

    • Don’t update NTP – stop using it

      Several severe vulnerabilities have been found in the time setting software NTP. The Network Time Protocol is not secure anyway due to the lack of a secure authentication mechanism. Better use tlsdate.

    • Linux ‘GRINCH’ vuln is AWFUL. Except, er, maybe it isn’t

      Alert Logic admits it has NOT seen any exploits that harness this vulnerability. Other security firms believe Alert Logic is overstating the risk, which Trend Micro characterises as “limited”.

      [...]

      An independent researcher first posted about the vulnerability – which he called PackageKit Privilege Escalation – almost a month ago before Alert Logic picked up on the threat and publicised it.

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • Git thee behind me, Git crit security bug!

      “Linux clients are not affected if they run in a case-sensitive filesystem,” the service’s warning reads, but are nonetheless encouraged to upgrade. Windows and Mac OS users have no excuse not to upgrade, as “Git clients running on OS X (HFS+) or any version of Microsoft Windows (NTFS, FAT) are exploitable through this vulnerability.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On Terrorism

      Some politicians seem to act as if “terrorism” means a terrible crime committed by someone who doesn’t fit the speaker’s own racial & religious profile. Just because something induces terror in some or many people, that doesn’t make it terrorism. That diminishes the concept as well as grouping routine crime – for which society has millennia of experience and solutions – into the same bucket as a more subtle and serious phenomenon that preys on the meshed society.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The World’s Biggest Car Company Wants to Get Rid of Gasoline

      The first thing you notice about the Mirai, Toyota’s new $62,000, four-door family sedan, is that it’s no Camry, an international symbol of bland conformity. First there are the in-your-face, angular grilles on the car’s front end. These deliver air to (and cool) a polymer fuel-cell stack under the hood. Then there’s the wavy, layered sides, meant to evoke a droplet of water. It looks like it was driven off the set of the Blade Runner sequel.

  • Finance

    • Gift-Giving Advice From the New York Times

      The Times might offer in its defense that this piece is labeled as one of Sullivan’s “Wealth Matters” columns, a feature specifically set up to give advice to the 1 percent (or the 0.01 percent) on how to “manage not only their money and fortune, but their overall well-being.” To which one can only note that it’s not a coincidence that the Times does not have a “Poverty Matters” column.

  • Censorship

    • BT, Sky, and Virgin “hijacking” browsers to push porn blocks

      BT, Sky, and Virgin Media are hijacking people’s web connections to force customers to make a decision about family-friendly web filters. The move comes as the December deadline imposed by prime minister David Cameron looms, with ISPs struggling to get customers to say yes or no to the controversial adult content blocks.

      [...]

      The hijacking works by intercepting requests for unencrypted websites and rerouting a user to a different page. ISPs are using the technique to communicate with all undecided customers. Attempting to visit WIRED.co.uk, for example, could result in a user being redirected to a page asking them about web filtering. ISPs cannot intercept requests for encrypted websites in the same way.

      BT is blocking people’s browsers until they make a decision, making it impossible for customers to visit any websites once the in-browser notification has appeared. A spokesperson for the UK’s biggest ISP said: “If customers do not make a decision, they are unable to continue browsing. The message will remain until the customer makes a decision.”

  • Privacy

    • Judge: It’s OK for cops to create fake Instagram accounts

      A federal judge in New Jersey has signed off on the practice of law enforcement using a fake Instagram account in order to become “friends” with a suspect—thus obtaining photos and other information that a person posts to their account.

    • Possible upcoming attempts to disable the Tor network

      The Tor Project has learned that there may be an attempt to incapacitate our network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers in the network called directory authorities. (Directory authorities help Tor clients learn the list of relays that make up the Tor network.) We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use.

    • [tor-talk] Warning: Do NOT use my mirrors/services until I have reviewed the situation

      Many of you by now are probably aware than I run a large exit node
      cluster for the Tor network and run a collection of mirrors (also ones
      available over hidden services).

      Tonight there has been some unusual activity taking place and I have
      now lost control of all servers under the ISP and my account has been
      suspended. Having reviewed the last available information of the
      sensors, the chassis of the servers was opened and an unknown USB
      device was plugged in only 30-60 seconds before the connection was
      broken. From experience I know this trend of activity is similar to
      the protocol of sophisticated law enforcement who carry out a search
      and seizure of running servers.

      Until I have had the time and information available to review the
      situation, I am strongly recommending my mirrors are not used under
      any circumstances. If they come back online without a PGP signed
      message from myself to further explain the situation, exercise extreme
      caution and treat even any items delivered over TLS to be potentially
      hostile.

  • Civil Rights

    • CIA Travel Advice To Operatives

      Today, 21 December 2014, WikiLeaks releases two classified documents by a previously undisclosed CIA office detailing how to maintain cover while travelling through airports using false ID – including during operations to infiltrate the European Union and the Schengen passport control system. This is the second release within WikiLeaks’ CIA Series, which will continue in the new year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Private Torrent Site Operators Face Criminal Trial

        In 2011, police in two countries coordinated to take down a private torrent site that had largely flown under the radar. This week, 3.5 years after the raid, two alleged operators of the site faced a criminal trial in Sweden. Having uploaded no content themselves, will they be held liable for the actions of their users?

IRC Proceedings: November 30th, 2014 – December 20th, 2014

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: November 30th – December 6th, 2014

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: December 7th – December 13th, 2014

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: December 14th – December 20th, 2014

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 21/12/2014: China and Linux, GNOME Shell 3.15.3

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Imitate Fake Hollywood Terminal Hacking Melodrama with This Amazing App for Ubuntu

    We all know that Hollywood movies are the worst place to see some accurate depiction of anything from real life and that includes computer terminals. Well, there is a solution for that now and we can only hope that some misguided producer will see the new “hollywood” package made for this exact purpose.

    Hollywood movie producers invest a lot of time and money in custom interfaces and GUIs that don’t really do anything, but they think they’re nice and interesting on film. Most of the time, someone is hacking away by typing frenetically while windows with crazy stuff open and close. This is why this kind of image is now seared into the public’s consciousness and hacking looks more exciting than in real life. It isn’t.

  • China is Planning to Purge Foreign Technology and Replace With Homegrown Suppliers

    The orders from Chinese banking and military commissions coincided with the trial of domestic computer systems in Siping, a city of 3.4 million people in Jilin province. Other cities and agencies in Jilin will now begin testing whether NeoKylin, a Linux-based operating system from China Standard Software Co., can substitute for Windows and servers made by Inspur can replace IBM’s, the two people familiar with the plan said. The trial will then expand across the country, they said.

  • Microsoft and Google in a Post-Snowden World
  • Server

    • Why Docker, Containers and systemd Drive a Wedge Through the Concept of Linux Distributions

      The announcement of Rocket by CoreOS was perceived by many to be a direct challenge to Docker, particularly as it came on the eve of DockerCon Europe and threatened to overshadow news coming out at the event. Docker, Inc. CEO Ben Golub was quick to fire back with his ‘initial thoughts on the Rocket announcement’. This piece isn’t about the politics of ecosystems and VC funded startups, which I’ll leave to Colin Humphreys (and note an excellent response from Docker Founder and CTO Solomon Hykes). It also isn’t about managing open source community, which I’ll leave to Matt Asay. Here I want to look at systemd, which lies at the heart of the technical arguments.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.19: ThinkPad Muting Redone, New Dell Backlight Support, Acer Is Banging

      The x86 platform driver changes for the Linux 3.19 kernel have been submitted and they include some noteworthy improvements for many Linux laptop owners.

    • Intel Skylake Audio Support For Linux 3.19

      Intel’s next-generation Skylake processors are starting to take shape with the Linux 3.19 kernel.

      Linux 3.19 lands initial Skylake graphics support within the Intel DRM drivers (there’s already initial support on the user-space side too within Mesa) and there’s Skylake MPX support among other Skylake related work that’s been merged for 3.19.

    • Linux 3.19 Merge Window Closes Ahead Of Schedule

      Linus announced on Friday night that he’s closing the merge window early for 3.19. Torvalds said that he’s pulling the last of the pull requests on Saturday — related to KBuild and the READ_ONCE split-up — but is planning to then close the merge window.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.16.3 Released To Fix Security Issues

        Julien Cristau of Debian announced the X.Org Server 1.16.3 release on Saturday morning. The primary focus of this release is on correcting the security issues within the GLX, DIX, XV, DRI3, RENDER, and other areas of the xorg-server code-base affected by outstanding security problems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • kdepim 4.14 + unittest

        As you saw I continue to work on 4.14 branch, in parallel I work on KF5 porting.

      • On Domain Models and Layers in kdepim

        Each application has a “domain” it was created for. KOrganizer has for instance the calendar domain, and kmail the email domain, and each of those domains can be described with domain objects, which make up the domain model. The domain model of an application is essential, because it is what defines how we can represent the problems of that domain. If Korganizer didn’t have a domain model with attendees to events, we wouldn’t have any way to represent attendees internally, and thus couldn’t develop a feature based on that.

      • nOS Infinity Is a Unique-Looking OS Powered by KDE – Gallery

        nOS Infinity is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that uses the KDE desktop environment. It’s built for old and new computers and it’s quite different from what you might expect.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro 0.8.11 Brings Support for Linux Kernel 3.18

        Manjaro 0.8.11 is a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux, which is also 100% compatible with the repositories of the base system. It’s been out for a short time, but developers have already pushed a second major update for it.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat claims the ‘grinch’ issue isn’t a Linux vulnerability

        The official reply noted that “this report incorrectly classifies expected behavior as a security issue,” through a Red Hat Bulletin released on Wednesday just one day after the report being made public. This was in response to Alert Logic claiming that this Grinch issue may be as large as the previously seen Heartbleed bug, noting that they believe it is a serious design flaw in how Linux handles user permissions.

      • Red Hat’s success aside, it’s hard to profit from free

        Red Hat, which just reported a profit of $47.9 million (or 26 cents a share) on revenue of $456 million for its third quarter, has managed to pull off a tricky feat: It’s been able to make money off of free, well, open-source, software. (It’s profit for the year-ago quarter was $52 million.)

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 21 Desktop Installation Steps with Screenshots

          Fedora is an open source Linux based operating system. As Fedora is free so end users can use it , modify it as per their requirements and distribute it. Fedora Operating system is available for Desktops, Servers and cloud. Fedora project is supported by RedHat. Most of the new softwares and technologies are developed and tested by Redhat in Fedora and then later on these softwares are used in Redhat Stable Versions.

          In this post we will discuss Fedora 21 Desktop or workstation (64 bit) Installation Steps with Screenshots. Below are the minimum requirements to install Fedora 21.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.5.0 beta released

          The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.5.0

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Phone launch delayed until early 2015

            Earlier this year, I reported on the forthcoming release of Ubuntu phones. Ubuntu for phones had just hit “release to manufacturer” status and phones were supposed to launch before the end of 2014.

            Bad news: The phones clearly won’t be here this year. But good news! Canonical told me they’ll be out in early 2015, after a slight delay to clean up some lingering interface and manufacturing snags.

          • Can Ubuntu Click Address Linus Torvalds’ Binary Problems?

            Linux is a dominant player in almost every industry segment, minus one: desktop. We heard Linus Torvalds’ pain when he uttered these words at LinuxCon North America this year, “I still want the desktop”.

          • UNITY TO GET AN OPTION TO ALWAYS SHOW THE MENUS [UBUNTU 15.04 VIVID VERVET]

            Marco’s work involves adding an option to always show the Unity menus (in Unity, the menus are currently displayed on mouse over). Furthermore, this option will work with both the regular Appmenu / global menu, displayed on the top Unity panel, as well as LIM (locally integrated menus), displayed in the application titlebar:

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha, Tanglu 2 Review, and More Red Hat

            Just when you thought you couldn’t get anymore Red Hat news, it once again was the talk of the techtown. An interest blog post from Hanno Böck today says quit using NTP if you care about security. Jack M. Germain discusses the work of Open Invention Network and Jamie Watson reviews Debian-derivative Tanglu 2. Dedoimedio.com shares their best distro of 2014 and Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 was released.

          • Ubuntu Touch to Land with Bq Aquaris e4.5 Phones in February

            The first two companies that have been confirmed to release phones with Ubuntu Touch are Meizu and Bq. Until now, only Meizu showed any kind of involvement with Ubuntu Touch and they were the first to announce a launch window. On the other hand, Bq has been silent, but it seems to have been very busy and to be the first one out the door.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Gets Linux Kernel Regression Fix

            A Linux kernel regression for Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) has been identified by Canonical and the developers have issued a patch that should be available through regular channels.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Google building full Android IVI stack, says report

      If Android M is for real, the technology would go far beyond its Android Auto initiative announced earlier this year. Android Auto offers Apple CarPlay-like extensions to existing Android apps for customized interactions with a wide variety of IVI navigation and multimedia systems. IVI systems that support Android Auto should begin to appear in cars sometime in 2015.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen IVI 3.0 Gains GENIVI 7.0 Compliance

          It’s not news that open source is rolling through many industries like a well-oiled machine, so of course automotive is no exception. Organizations like GENIVI are helping to move this along, by creating specifications for open source platforms that provide a consistent foundation for the use of open source for In-Vehicle Infotainment systems.

      • Android

        • The best Android phones, tablet, and watch of 2014

          The best thing about Android is that there are lots of choices. The worst thing about Android is that there are lots of choices. There are just too many damn phones to choose from!

        • This is the world’s most stunning new Android phone – and it’ll only cost you $5,000

          While there’s no question that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are beautiful smartphones, some might argue that Apple’s 2012 iPhone 5 and last year’s iPhone 5s feature an overall look that is more sleek and sophisticated. Now, imagine that sophisticated design was given harder lines, darker tones and a 5-inch full HD display, and it was built out of titanium and 18k gold instead of aluminum.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Most important open source news of the year

    In 2014, we have seen continued growth for both use and adoption of open source software in the enterprise software market. Cloud takes a big part of that obviously, with project likes Docker and OpenStack who have been in the news frequently. But growth wasn’t limited to increased use and adoption. We also noticed a lot of big names open sourcing their own solutions. Facebook announced a new branch of MySQL built for scalability, NASA released source code for many software projects, GitHub released the Atom text editor under a MIT license, and Google open sourced an email encryption tool and it’s Chrome PDF engine. The biggest news this year when it comes to open sourcing software has been Microsoft with .Net. This list of new open source releases goes on, with companies like LinkedIn, organizations such as DARPA, and more. If this trend continues, we can expect a lot more to be released under an open source license in 2015.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.1 for Debian

      Release 4.1 of WordPress came out on Friday so after some work to fit in with the Debian standards, the Debian package 4.1-1 of WordPress will be uploaded shortly. WordPress have also updated their themes with a 14-day early theme called twentyfifteen. This is the default theme for WordPress 4.1 on-wards.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF’s High Priority Project List Now Has A Committee

      The Free Software Foundation has now built up a committee to review their “High Priority Projects” list and they’re looking for more feedback from the community.

      Nearly ten years ago is when the Free Software Foundation began listing what they viewed as the High Priority Free Software Projects in a list. This list has over time contained some definite high-priority projects related to freeing Java and Adobe PDF support and open graphics drivers to some more obscure projects of high priority like a free version of Oracle Forms, a replacement to OpenDWG libraries for CAD files, automatic transcription software, etc. I’ve personally called out many of the FSF HPP for what they’re worth with my thoughts over the years.

    • GnuCash 2.6.5 released
  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Uganda Adopts Free And Open Source Software For E-Governance

      The population in Uganda has been growing rapidly. The country now has 35 million people. In order to provide quality services to its citizens and to improve the national competitiveness through administration innovation, the government has adopted free and open source software as the preferred mode of operation for electronic government (e-government) services and platforms.

  • Licensing

    • As Hollywood Funds a SOPA Revival Through State Officials, Google (And The Internet) Respond

      Almost three years ago, millions of Internet users joined together to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a disastrous bill that would have balkanized the Internet in the name of copyright and trademark enforcement. Over the past week, we’ve been tracking a host of revelations about an insidious campaign to accomplish the goals of SOPA by other means. The latest development: Google has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of an overbroad and punitive subpoena seeking an extraordinary quantity of information about the company and its users. The subpoena, Google warns, is based on legal theories that could have disastrous consequences for the open Internet.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Librarians Are Continuing To Defend Open Access To The Web As A Public Service

        Librarians have built up quite a reputation for activism in all the right ways. Whether taking a stand against DRM, expanding libraries’ catalogs to include new digital media and art, or embracing indie authors, librarians come off as much more of a hip crowd than you might expect. These stances occasionally put them at odds with some in the community that they serve, perhaps most notably with parents who have pushed for restrictions on internet access within libraries. It gets all the more unfortunate when a subsection of the citizenry sees fit to ramp up the rhetoric against an institution simply attempting to serve the greatest public good. This typically, unfortunately, devolves into the supposed accusation of librarians “defending” the right for visitors to view “pornography.”

      • Libraries ‘Need To Be More Like Coffee Shops’, Says Government Report

        Better Wi-Fi connectivity, alongside hot drinks and comfier seating, could be the key to saving Britain’s libraries

        A government inquiry has called for a “complete reinvigoration” of the UK’s library network, including plans to make the facilities more welcoming by offering free Wi-Fi and hot drinks.

  • Programming

    • Google Announces Open-Source Availability of Cloud Dataflow SDK

      The goal is to let developers integrate applications more easily with its managed data analytics service.

    • Libscore Promises Easy Open Source Code Tracking

      Open source software theoretically ensures that the best code becomes the most widely shared and used code. But how can open source developers know how many other projects are actually making use of their handiwork? An interesting new tool called Libscore aims to provide an answer — at least for Web developers.

    • MIPS R6 Architecture Now Supported By GCC

      As of yesterday, there’s MIPS32R6 and MIPS64R6 support in GCC. The new MIPS R6 CPU architecture support was contributed by Imagination Technologies themselves. MIPS Release 6 features new instructions aimed for enhancing performance for JIT, JavaScript, browsers, PIC for Android, and large workload applications. The MIPS R6 architecture was announced a few months ago and the first products based on the updated MIPS ISA are their new Warrior processors.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google Drive now supports ODF

      What a brilliant end of the year for ODF, Google have decided to add support for the file type to it’s Drive service. The new update allows users to edit and save documents on Drive and also import ODF files and edit them from Drive. Prior to this you could only import ODF files to the service but you would have to edit download and edit them locally.

Leftovers

  • Calls growing for referendum on Greater Manchester having elected mayor

    Salford mayor Ian Stewart has already said he is ‘inclined’ towards favouring a public vote on the issue, with his council voting in favour of a motion calling for residents to have their say

  • Security

    • Hackers hit OPM background investigations contractor

      Hackers have gone after KeyPoint Government Solutions and its main customer, the Office of Personnel Management, is issuing a warning that nearly 50,000 people may have had their information compromised.

      An OPM spokeswoman said that the agency has concluded an investigation of the breach and is notifying 48,439 people whose personally identifiable data may have been breached.

      The agency is taking the action “out of an abundance of caution,” the spokeswoman said.

    • Lessons from the Sony Hack

      Earlier this month, a mysterious group that calls itself Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer systems and began revealing many of the Hollywood studio’s best-kept secrets, from details about unreleased movies to embarrassing emails (notably some racist notes from Sony bigwigs about President Barack Obama’s presumed movie-watching preferences) to the personnel data of employees, including salaries and performance reviews. The Federal Bureau of Investigation now says it has evidence that North Korea was behind the attack, and Sony Pictures pulled its planned release of “The Interview,” a satire targeting that country’s dictator, after the hackers made some ridiculous threats about terrorist violence.

      Your reaction to the massive hacking of such a prominent company will depend on whether you’re fluent in information-technology security. If you’re not, you’re probably wondering how in the world this could happen. If you are, you’re aware that this could happen to any company (though it is still amazing that Sony made it so easy).

    • OpenHardware Random Number Generator

      Before I spend another night reading datasheets; would anyone be interested in an OpenHardware random number generator in an full-size SD card format? The idea being you insert the RNG into the SD slot of your laptop, leave it there, and the kernel module just slurps trusted entropy when required.

    • New fear: ISIS killers use ‘digital AK-47′ malware to hunt victims

      Malware has emerged from war-torn Syria targeting those protesting the rule of ISIS (ISIL, Islamic State, whatever the murderous humanity-hating fanatics are calling themselves these days.)

      The trivial Windows spyware, analyzed by University of Toronto internet watchdog Citizen Lab, was sent out in a small number of emails aimed squarely at members of the group Raqqah is being Slaughtered Silently (RSS) – which is holed up deep in ISIS-controlled territory and campaigning against the medieval terror bastards.

    • North Korea Calls BS on Sony Hacking Scandal

      The offer comes as the FBI formally accused Pyongyang of the attack on Friday and US President Barack Obama promised to “respond proportionally” to the online breach.

    • Obama: North Koreans did it

      US President Barack Obama has declared that Sony “made a mistake” in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, and he pledged that the United States would respond “in a place and manner and time that we choose” to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US drone attack kills at least five Taliban fighters in Pakistan – report

      A US drone fired two missiles at a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least five Taliban fighters, two security officials said.

    • Six Militants Killed in US Drone Attacks in Pakistan
    • Drone strikes counterproductive, says secret CIA report

      Drone strikes and other “targeted killings” of terrorist and insurgent leaders favoured by the US and supported by Australia can strengthen extremist groups and be counterproductive, according to a secret CIA report published by WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks Reveals CIA Admitted Drone Strikes Ineffective

      The Taliban hasn’t broken a sweat replacing leaders killed by drones, according to a secret CIA report.

      Controversial U.S. drone strikes may be helping rather than hindering the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a leaked CIA document released by Wikileaks Thursday.

    • Yemen: Whose Law?
    • Drone explosion kills volunteer in Lviv region

      “The drone exploded during its demonstration at the Yavoriv firing ground at around 09.00 on December 18. The blast fatally wounded a volunteer from Kyiv region, which was in the area [of the explosion],” the head of the media center, Oleksandr Poroniuk, said. The causes of the incident are being established. Law enforcers and members of the military prosecutor’s office are working at the scene.

    • In revenge, Pakistani Taliban strike school, killing at least 141

      Pakistan suffered the worst terrorist attack of a seven-year Taliban insurgency Tuesday when militants rampaged through an army-run high school in the northern city of Peshawar, killing at least 141 people, mostly students, in what the militants described as revenge for months of airstrikes on their tribal-area strongholds by Pakistan warplanes and CIA drones.

    • Yemen: Whose Law?

      Yemen’s transitional government, according to analysts and human rights groups, continues to condone extrajudicial killings of people it could arrest, detains people without due process and turns to tribal law to cover up its mistakes.

    • Judge Vacates Order Hushing Up Drone Strike

      A federal judge vacated as moot an order that prevented government disclosure of information about the targeted drone strike that killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011.

    • COMMENTARY: People of faith have legitimate questions about use of lethal drones

      These “targeted” killings are conducted remotely in countries against which we have not declared war. Lethal drone strikes occur without warning, target for death specific individuals who are secretly selected, and are operated remotely by individuals thousands of miles away.

    • The Senate Drone Report of 2019

      Though it was a Friday afternoon, normally a dead zone for media attention, the response was instant and stunning. As had happened five years earlier with the committee’s similarly fought-over report on torture, it became a 24/7 media event. The “revelations” from the report poured out to a stunned nation. There were the CIA’s own figures on the hundreds of children in the backlands of Pakistan and Yemen killed by drone strikes against “terrorists” and “militants.” There were the “double-tap strikes” in which drones returned after initial attacks to go after rescuers of those buried in rubble or to take out the funerals of those previously slain. There were the CIA’s own statistics on the stunning numbers of unknown villagers killed for every significant and known figure targeted and finally taken out (1,147 dead in Pakistan for 41 men specifically targeted). There were the unexpected internal Agency discussions of the imprecision of the robotic weapons always publicly hailed as “surgically precise” (and also of the weakness of much of the intelligence that led them to their targets). There was the joking and commonplace use of dehumanizing language (“bug splat” for those killed) by the teams directing the drones. There were the “signature strikes,” or the targeting of groups of young men of military age about whom nothing specifically was known, and of course there was the raging argument that ensued in the media over the “effectiveness” of it all (including various emails from CIA officials admitting that drone campaigns in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen had proven to be mechanisms not so much for destroying terrorists as for creating new ones).

    • Are drone strikes more defensible than torture?

      There are lots of hypocrisies surrounding the recently released executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. But they pale in comparison to the current Democratic silence about President Barack Obama’s policy of targeted drone assassinations.

    • Impunity will persist on CIA torture, killings

      1) CIA director John Brennan vehemently defends the agency – lauding the interrogators as “patriots” and refusing to call their methods torture;

      2) President Obama backs up Brennan (his previous chief counter-terrorism adviser, his choice to head the CIA); and

      3) His administration has desisted from filing charges against those responsible for the torture.

    • To Improve Assassination Operations, CIA Studies Failures of Colonial Powers to Combat Resistance

      In other words, according to the CIA, the white South African apartheid government may have fared better against the struggle for equality and justice if it had assassinated Mandela. Governments, including the US, should murder inspirational leaders if they want to defeat insurgencies.

    • US prepared to veto UN plan for Israeli occupation

      The U.S. is prepared to veto a United Nations Security Council proposal that calls for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands in 2017.

      State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the resolution, offered by Jordan and pushed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, is unlikely to face an immediate vote.

    • World War II bomb defused in German city

      A World War II bomb has been successfully defused in an eastern German city after some 9,700 people were evacuated from the surrounding area and a meeting of a state legislature was interrupted.

    • John Prescott: Torture by Bush regime is shocking but not surprising

      Former deputy prime minister John Prescott says there’s more to the UK and US “special relationship” than meets the eye

    • Saudi says oil decisions not linked to politics

      Saudi Arabia’s oil chief said in comments published Thursday that there are no links between the kingdom’s decision to oppose production cuts and political objectives – an apparent response to accusations last week from Shiite powerhouse Iran.

      Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as saying that there are “incorrect information and analyses … linking petroleum decisions with political objectives.”

    • CIA report reveals failure of Israel’s targeted killing policy

      A secret CIA review published recently by WikiLeaks reveals that Israel has been among the least successful countries regarding the targeted killing of opponents, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on Thursday. The review shows that the killings carried out by the US and its ally Israel have been the least successful among a list of eight countries; the American and Israeli authorities usually laud such assassinations.

    • UK drone net got torture-grade CIA comms

      A computer network that the US Central Intelligence Agency began using a decade ago to conduct the kidnap and torture of terrorist suspects has become an integral part of the system now operating drone strikes in the Middle East and Africa.

      The means to send ‘above top secret’ intelligence communications around the globe without exposure empowered the CIA’s Rendition and Detention Program to snatch and interrogate suspects in the US ‘war on terror’. The same network system became the principal mechanism behind the intelligence-led “targeted killing” of suspected enemies using drone strikes today.

      The technological link between the two sinister programmes, signposted in passing detail by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program last week, further confirms that a US military network routed via the UK carried intelligence vital to the US targeted killing programme, and presents evidence that may sway officials deciding whether contractor British Telecommunications Plc should be held to account for building a part of the network used to transmit drone targeting intelligence since 2012.

    • Journalist Robert C. Koehler says: Abolish the CIA!

      BK: The U.S. launched its disastrous war on Iraq based largely on the false intelligence the CIA produced via torture.This intelligence was, of course, what the neocon cabal, which had a pre-9/11 interest in invading Iraq, wanted. So yes, the CIA was just doing its job, but its job wasn’t, and isn’t, to keep American citizens safe.The torture techniques detailed in the report are horrific to read about. They include beatings and waterboarding and something called “rectal rehydration.” They include sleep deprivation, hideous stress (one detainee was chained to the wall in a standing position for 17 days.) They include threats to harm or murder the detainees’ children or wife or mother. As I say, the Senate Intelligence Committee report makes clear that the information extracted by these techniques had no accuracy, belying all justification of them. But more to the point, torture and murder are utterly immoral acts, which rouse fury and hatred that come back to haunt the perpetrators: the American people.

    • Fox News hosts use Sydney siege to defend CIA

      Fox News has plunged itself into the centre of controversy once again for referencing the Sydney siege in an apparent justification for the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation”.

    • Wikileaks Releases CIA Report on High Value Targeting

      Wikileaks has released a CIA document from 2009 analyzing the positive and negative effects of strikes against high value targets.

    • Secret CIA report: Drone strikes and targeted killings ‘boost support for terror groups’

      Drone strikes and “targeted killings” of terror targets by the United States can be counterproductive and bolster the support of extremist groups, the CIA has admitted in a secret report released by WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks: Classified report detailed assassination shortcomings
    • Leaked report reveals CIA terror strategy
    • Leaked CIA report: Targeting Taliban leaders ‘ineffective’

      he removal of senior Taliban leaders has had little impact on the organisation, a CIA report released by Wikileaks has said.

      The 2009 report analyses “high value targeting” in a number of conflicts – the assassination of senior insurgents.

      It said the Taliban’s ability to replace lost leaders has hampered the effectiveness of coalition operations against its leadership.

      The CIA would not comment on the leaked documents.

    • CIA report reveals setbacks in ‘high value’ targeted assassinations
    • Leaked CIA report says targeted killing programs could backfire
    • The CIA’s Secret Killers

      Some time in early or mid-1949 a CIA officer named Bill (his surname is blacked out in the file, which was surfaced by our friend John Kelly back in the early 1990s) asked an outside contractor for input on how to kill people. Requirements included the appearance of an accidental or purely fortuitous terminal experience suffered by the Agency’s victim.

    • Obama taps CIA No. 2 Haines for White House job

      President Barack Obama is naming the CIA’s second-ranking official to a top White House national security post.

      Obama says Avril Haines is a “model public servant” who is respected across the government. He says that as deputy national security adviser, she will play a critical role in keeping the country save and promoting American interests around the world.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • ISIS Leaders Killed as WikiLeaks Publishes Docs on CIA Doubts About “High-Value” Assassinations

      U.S. military leaders say three top figures from the Islamic State have been killed by U.S. airstrikes, including a military chief and a deputy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The news comes as the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has published an internal CIA document which reveals the agency’s doubts about the effectiveness of such killings. The document, which is from 2009, describes both the positive and negative impacts of assassinating so-called high-value targets. It warns that such operations can “[increase] the level of insurgent support,” “[strengthen] an armed group’s bond with the population,” “[radicalize] an insurgent group’s remaining leaders.” WikiLeaks notes, “After the report was prepared, U.S. drone strike killings rose to an all-time high.”

    • Freedom under US arrest

      The US policy exposed by Julian Assange and Edward Snowden through the dissemination of classified information gained vital importance for the entire world.

    • Assange: US prosecuting Barrett Brown for quoting assassination threats against me

      The charges against journalist and activist Barrett Brown, accused of threatening an FBI agent, are partially based on his quoting another person’s threat to assassinate the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange said.

      Brown, 33, whose sentencing was delayed until January on Tuesday, faced federal charges including computer-related crimes, obstruction of justice and publicly threatening an FBI agent performing his duty. He’s now looking at up to eight years in prison for aiding hackers in breaching corporate computers, after pleading guilty in April to being an accessory.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange Expresses Support for US Journalist Accused of Hacking

      Julian Assange wrote in a statement that the case of Dallas journalist Barrett Brown involves him personally and the work of WikiLeaks.

    • Brought to You by Wikileaks: Mandela Shows Better to Kill Than Imprison

      A study by the Central Intelligence Agency that evaluated the pros and cons of assassination programs has revealed significant insights into the agency’s thinking about targeted killings, including potential backlash. The study was published by Wikileaks on Thursday.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange weighs in on Barrett Brown sentencing delay

      Brown has been in federal custody since his arrest more than two years ago.

    • Wikileaks pins accused spy Rolando ‘Roly’ Sarraff Trujillo as Cuban political prisoner

      Rolando “Roly” Sarraff Trujillo was arrested on espionage charges in Cuba in 1995.

  • Finance

    • China proposes broadening use of Yuan for trade with Russia: report

      China’s trade minister proposed more use of China’s currency in settling trade with Russia in the face of a falling rouble to ensure safe and reliable trade, Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix TV reported on Saturday.

    • Foreign Bankers Rape Ukraine

      If it were not for the fact that the lives of some 45 million people are at stake, Ukrainian national politics could be laughed off as a very sick joke. Any pretenses that the October national elections would bring a semblance of genuine democracy of the sort thousands of ordinary Ukrainians demonstrated for on Maidan Square just one year ago vanished with the announcement by Victoria Nuland’s darling Prime Minister, “Yat” Yatsenyuk, of his new cabinet.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Sailing through a scandal

      Why the phone-hacking affair has left Rupert Murdoch better off

      IT MUST all seem like a distant nightmare now. After the revelations of phone-hacking at the News of the World emerged in 2011, Rupert Murdoch was hauled before Parliament, calling it “the most humble day of my life”. Executives and journalists were arrested. The scandal prompted Mr Murdoch’s News Corp to drop a cherished plan to buy out the other investors in BSkyB, a satellite broadcaster (since renamed Sky). Some predicted that the affair, which included the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl’s voicemails, could be Mr Murdoch’s and his firm’s undoing.

    • Pew Admits Flaw In Poll Being Used To Attack Stronger Gun Laws

      The research group whose misleading poll question was heavily touted by the media to suggest “growing public support for gun rights” has acknowledged that the question was flawed.

      Last week, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that asked respondents whether it is more important to “control gun ownership” or to “protect the right of Americans to own guns.” The poll showed increased support for the gun rights answer and a drop in support for regulating guns. The results were reported by numerous media outlets, especially by the conservative press.

    • eBay Becomes 100th Company to Cut Ties to “Controversial” ALEC

      The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) had joined the climate change awareness group Forecast the Facts, Credo Action, and others in asking eBay to leave what Reuters called the “controversial political group ALEC” in recent weeks. A Twitterstorm on December 17 was followed by the delivery of a petition containing nearly 100,000 petitions to eBay’s headquarters in San Jose, California on December 18. eBay’s announcement came shortly after.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Pew: Internet privacy is a fantasy, will merely be a ‘fetish’ by 2025, according to experts

      If you’re still holding out hope for the preservation of “Internet privacy,” you may need to adjust your ideals a bit. The future of online privacy is cloudy, and policymakers and technology innovators have a weighty task on their hands – one they’re likely to fumble. This is one of the overarching findings of a recent canvassing of more than 2,500 experts by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

    • Judge questions evidence on whether NSA spying is too broad

      Judge Jeffrey White heard oral arguments by attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the suit, and the government, during a hearing in a federal district court in Oakland, California. The EFF says its suit is the first challenge in public court to the government’s upstream data program, which copies online data from the main cables connecting Internet networks around the world.

    • NSA to defend Internet collection in court
    • Privacy Advocates Battle DOJ in NSA Spying Case

      The National Security Agency is illegally searching and seizing Americans’ Internet communications, privacy advocates told a federal judge at a hearing on Friday.

    • It’s a Big Day in Court for Privacy and Surveillance

      On Friday, privacy advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are attempting a new strategy in their six-year-old lawsuit against the National Security Agency. Filed in 2008, Jewel v. NSA is a suit calling for the end of the surveillance of millions of AT&T customers’ internet traffic and emails. Despite evidence provided by an AT&T whistle-blower, the US district court, under pressure from the federal government defendants, has delayed and avoided judgment, suggesting that the case raises issues too secret for the federal courts even to rule upon and too important for national security to shut down anyway.

    • Global Privacy Fears Increase After NSA Leaks

      An international survey shows a growing demand for privacy and Internet access.

    • Digital Rights Group Goes After NSA

      In its ongoing public relations struggle, the NSA will soon have to defend itself in court. A digital rights group, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is bringing forth a motion against the National Security Agency on Friday over the agency’s Internet data collection program.

    • NSA’s internet surveillance faces constitutional challenge in court

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation says the government’s upstream data collection violates the Fourth Amendment

    • NSA and EFF to square off in court over internet surveillance

      ​A digital rights group in the United States plans to argue in federal court this week that the National Security Agency’s internet surveillance operations violate the US Constitution’s ban against unlawful searches and seizures.

    • Google Says 2015 Will Be the ‘Moment’ To Reform NSA Spying

      Google is already beginning to lay the groundwork for another push next year to rein in government spying ahead of a crucial summer deadline to some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance authority.

    • Snowden’s surveillance disclosures helping change user behaviors

      Millions of Internet users have changed their Internet behavior and are doing more to keep their own personal data secure from possible surveillance, according to a survey from the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The survey revealed 64 percent of respondents have increased privacy worries over just one year ago, as the NSA, GCHQ, and other organized surveillance programs target Web users.

    • After the Snowden leaks, 700m act to avoid NSA spying

      Nearly 700 million people worldwide have taken steps to protect their privacy from NSA surveillance, according to an international internet security survey

    • More people may be dodging NSA surveillance than you think – Open thread

      In November, a study released by the Canadian Centre for International Governance claimed that while 60% of internet users had heard of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, only 39% of those people had taken additional steps to protect their online privacy as a result.

    • Snowden spying leaks prompt millions to protect data

      Recent revelations about government-backed surveillance have prompted millions of people to do more to keep their data private, suggests a survey.

      Many people now regularly change passwords or avoid certain websites or apps, said the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

      It also found that 64% of the 23,000 people questioned are more worried about their privacy than a year ago.

    • Congress expands NSA domestic spying programs and nobody cares

      While the media was busy lining up to congratulate Obama for lawlessly granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and cuddling up to one of the six state sponsors of terrorism in the world, Congress passed legislation that, according to one House Republican, “grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.” Republican leadership in the House inserted language into the Intelligence Authorization bill at the very last minute which includes a phrase to allow for “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of U.S. phone and Internet data.

    • In 2007, One Judge Said No to the NSA

      Last week, the government quietly released a new cache of court filings and orders from late 2006 and early 2007 that together reveal a watershed moment in the government’s effort to secretly expand its authority to conduct surveillance on American soil—without ever asking Congress or the public. Instead, the government once again asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to belatedly bless certain aspects of the President’s Surveillance Program, which was initiated by President Bush without judicial or legislative approval in 2001.

    • Edward Snowden and the NSA Disclosures

      Disclosures from the vast trove of NSA documents obtained by Edward Snowden were first published in The Guardian exactly 560 days ago, and it’s worth asking ourselves whether we have gained anything from the revelations since then. The answer to that question increasingly seems clear: no.

    • Looking for a Hoodie With NSA Documents on It? This Is Your Store
    • Edward Snowden gets human rights award in Berlin

      The trio responsible for breaking last year’s NSA spying scandal have been honored for defending human rights. Prominent Germans praised the work of Edward Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.

    • Troubled Ties: Snowden, Germany and the NSA

      The government argued by way of contrast that allowing Snowden onto German soil would hamper international relationships, notably with the United States. It would also corner the government in Berlin: extradite Snowden, or face the unpleasant transatlantic music.

    • The CIA Probably Won’t Get Punished For Spying On The Senate
    • CIA unlikely to penalise staff over search of Senate computers – report

      A panel investigating the CIA’s search of a computer network used by Senate staff will not recommend disciplining the agency officials involved in the incident, according to the New York Times.

      The review panel is looking into the search by agency officials of staffers from the Senate intelligence committee who were investigating the CIA’s use of torture in interrogations of detainees after the 9/11 attacks on the US.

      The Times, citing current and former government officials, said the panel was likely to fault the CIA for missteps. But the newspaper said the decision not to recommend anyone for disciplinary action was likely to anger members of the intelligence committee, who have accused the agency of interfering with its investigation of agency wrongdoing.

    • Missouri seeks to block NSA

      A bill filed today in Missouri would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah….

    • Interview: ‘Citizenfour’ Director Laura Poitras on Storytelling in Docs
    • Are Electronic ‘Back Doors’ Unintentionally Helping Hackers?

      For global insurance firms, cyberattacks have become the most threatening of all emerging risks, according to a survey conducted recently by Guy Carpenter & Co., the risk and reinsurance specialists. Over the past two years, hackers have infiltrated major airlines, energy companies and defense firms, among many other businesses.

    • The Global Cell Network Is Wildly Insecure. Anyone Could Be Listening To Your Calls.
    • German Researchers: Cellphone Calls, Messages Easy to Crack
    • German researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls.

      German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Bureaucratic Nightmare That Cost Matt DeHart His Liberty — And His Family $10,000 CAD

      Matt DeHart faces a very depressing and lonely Christmas in jail this year for reasons that are at best down to an extreme bureaucratic SNAFU, and at worst (and more likely) down to collusion between the Canadian and American authorities to stop the whistleblower talking to the press.

    • FBI investigates suspicious death of North Carolina teen Lennon Lacy

      People who knew Lacy don’t think he committed suicide. Others are unsure what to believe. But many here say the possibility that Lacy, a popular high school senior who moved easily between black and white social circles, was the victim of a racially motivated killing demands more investigation.

    • The FBI told their story about North Korea attacking Sony. Before we retaliate, read what they didn’t tell you.

      While most journalists report official government statements, and cite only approving voices, there are a few who quote dissenters. We should pay attention to these few, considering the long list of government lies attributing evil deeds to designated foes. Learning from experience is the beginning of strength.

    • Is Torture a ‘Conservative’ Value?

      Conservatives who usually hail individual liberties are leading the televised defense of the U.S. government’s torture of terror suspects, including many who were completely innocent. But some conservatives are troubled by this knee-jerk defense of the Bush administration, as Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.

    • The ‘Exceptionalism’ of US Torture

      Americans like to think of themselves as the ultimate “good guys” and anyone who gets in their way as a “bad guy.” Under this theory of U.S. “exceptionalism,” whatever “we” do must be moral or at least morally defensible, from sponsoring coups around the world to torture, as William Blum describes.

    • Torture scraps values US once held dear

      American exceptionalism has always maintained a moral imperative. The conduct of the world’s foremost liberal democracy is guaranteed by a fierce commitment to liberty and the security of individual rights.

    • US-Cuba thaw shows power of talking

      The world has often seemed on fire of late. There has been a horrific massacre in a Pakistani school. A cyber-hacking apparently organised by North Korea, which might come to look very familiar in years to come. The Sydney siege. The barbarians of Isis unbowed. Ebola continuing to spool out. Russia’s economy tumbling.

      So it’s well to note a milestone of huge positive significance when it occurs. The United States’ detente with Cuba, announced all of a sudden by the presidents of both countries late last week, was such a moment.

    • North Korea proposes joint investigation with U.S. into hacking attack against Sony

      Pyongyang warns of ‘serious’ consequences if Washington rejects a probe that it believes will prove North Korea had nothing to do with the cyberattack. An unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman said North Korea knows how to prove it’s not responsible for the hacking, so the U.S. must accept its proposal for the joint investigation.

    • CIA torture report: Europe must come clean about its own complicity

      As the world awaited the US Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme under the George W Bush administration, there was very little introspection in Europe. As if European countries had nothing to do with what went on in the hunt for al-Qaida in the years after 9/11. In fact, many of America’s European allies were deeply involved in the CIA programme. And they have managed to stay very quiet about it. Could this change now?

    • Victims of Diego Garcia base: Islanders forcibly evicted by UK plead to return home

      Residents of the Chagos Islands who were kicked out of their homes in the 1960s by the British government to make way for a US military base fear they may never return home, despite politicians’ promises, RT’s Polly Boiko reports.

      “You have to go back where you belong. That’s me, as a Chagossian,” says Bernard Nourrice, a former resident of Diego Garcia, one of the Chagos Islands, now a closed US military base.

      Diego Garcia has recently made headlines after the CIA torture report revealed the US used the so-called “black sites” based in other countries for detention. Though the report did not mention the names of the locations, it’s been alleged Diego Garcia could be one such site.

    • Torture’s Time for Accountability

      America’s reputation for cognitive dissonance is being tested by the Senate report documenting the U.S. government’s torture of detainees and the fact that nothing is happening to those responsible. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the nation must choose between crossing the Delaware or the Rubicon.

    • Why must we tolerate police spies in our midst?

      When you are in a radical movement, it’s wise to assume that the person arguing for the most extreme action is an agent provocateur. The question for opponents of fracking is on whose behalf are the agents provocateurs provoking.

      Nato and the Romanian and Lithuanian governments have alleged that Russia is urging on opponents of the new technology. Not because Putin gives a damn about global warming, but because he wants Europe to remain dependent on Russian gas. They have no conclusive proof. But the prominence the Kremlin’s apparatchik journalists on RT, the state-funded television channel, give to fracking protests suggests Russian agents may be seeking to manipulate the green movement.

    • Barrett Brown: why his sentencing hearing was sabotaged; his case should now be thrown out

      On Tuesday the sentencing of Barrett Brown, a US journalist, was delayed for a second time and postponed until January 22 of next year. At the hearing the prosecution dramatically presented 500 pages of new evidence, seemingly unrelated to the charges to which Brown was awaiting sentencing. The only explanation for this is that it was a clumsy attempt by the prosecution to provide the judge with a basis for awarding a maximum sentence at the January hearing. But the behaviour of the prosecution at the hearing revealed several important ambiguities that can only be described as (unintended) prosecutional sabotage. (See also video at end.)

    • Judge: Boy, 14, Shouldn’t Have Been Executed

      More than 70 years after South Carolina sent a 14-year-old black boy to the electric chair in the killings of two white girls in a segregated mill town, a judge threw out the conviction, saying the state committed a great injustice.

      George Stinney was arrested, convicted of murder in a one-day trial and executed in 1944 – all in the span of about three months and without an appeal. The speed in which the state meted out justice against the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century was shocking and extremely unfair, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen wrote in her ruling Wednesday.

    • Cops’ last hope at credibility: Why an American crisis is teetering on the edge

      Police are killing unarmed teens, and demanding apologies from critics. Here’s the only way they will ever change

    • Incendiary footage emerges of NYPD officer repeatedly punching a 16-year-old black suspect in the back during street arrest as onlookers beg him to stop

      Footage has emerged of a plain-clothed New York police officer punching a teenage boy repeatedly in the back as he was being handcuffed by four other police on Monday.

      Witnesses claim the suspect was just 12. The NYPD says he is actually 16 years old and has a history of arrests.

      The case has been referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau for investigation and the NYPD is saying very little about the details of the arrest.

      Scene caused outrage on the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan on Monday afternoon. The NYPD has come under increasing scrutiny for its use of force in the wake of the Eric Garner case.

    • Clueless cop targets liberal: NYPD union chief says mayor thinks he’s running “a f**ing revolution”

      If you thought nothing could top Cleveland police union chief Jeff Follmer’s brazen defense of police authority – “the nation needs to realize, when we tell you to do something, do it” – you need to read this story about New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch’s meltdown in the wake of criticism over the NYPD’s killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island.

    • Officer Put On Leave For Tweeting To Bait Public Into Violence

      It seems like there are so many police-behaving-badly stories that have come out recently, it’s no longer all that noteworthy. Mind you, I don’t know that the policing situation is generally actually getting worse, as it might seem, or if there is just simply a greater willingness to shine a spotlight in some very uncomfortable places within our own society. That said, what does remain interesting is watching how police around the country react to this spotlight. Watching the unfortunate reactions to athletes showing support for protesters, for instance, would be hysterical if it weren’t so sad. Those stories appear to indicate that some within law enforcement appear to think that protecting some members of the population is a task with which they can be selective.

    • Deputies: Woman, 72, slapped over Facebook snub

      A 27-year-old woman is accused of slapping a 72-year-old woman who denied her friend request on Facebook.

      The Tampa Bay Times reports Rachel Anne Hayes became angry on Wednesday when the woman said the Facebook name she uses is inappropriate.

    • Ex-detectives who claimed VIP paedophiles were protected in cover-ups to present dossier to inquiry

      Ex-cops who claim VIP paedophile investigations were axed in a cover-up are to hand a dossier to Britain’s most senior police officer.

      They have agreed to ­compile formal statements on what they knew of ­operations being shut down.

      The file will be presented to Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

    • Finnish Police fired a gun only six times in 2013

      Chief Inspector Jukka Salminen says that the Finnish Police use guns very infrequently on a comparative scale. Last year in Finland, the police fired their weapons in an official capacity a total of six times.

    • Protesters Mass at Mall of America on Busy Shopping Day

      Parts of the massive Mall of America were temporarily closed Saturday following a demonstration against racial profiling and police brutality at one of the nation’s largest shopping centers. A large crowd gathered in the Bloomington, Minnesota, mall rotunda just before 2 p.m. local time and staged a “die-in,” despite warnings from mall officials that the protest was not permitted and could lead to arrests.

    • #BlackLivesMatter is shutting down the Mall of America

      “Join us at the Mall of America in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter,” read a Facebook invitation to protest a year of police brutality this afternoon at the massive Bloomington, Minn., shopping center that bills itself as “the place for fun in your life.”

    • Police brutality protesters rally at Mall of America

      The group Black Lives Matter Minneapolis had more than 3,000 people confirm on Facebook that they would attend. Official crowd estimates weren’t immediately available, but pictures posted to social media by local news organizations showed the rotunda was full. Organizer Mica Grimm estimated about 3,000 people participated.

    • 15 reasons America’s police are so brutal

      Tamir Rice and Eric Garner aren’t anomalies. Cops aren’t properly trained and now routinely use maximum force

    • Nothing Changes: Cops Still Threatening Citizens, Breaking Laws To Shut Down Recordings

      The NYPD should know better. In August, it handed a $125,000 settlement to a man it arrested for recording officers performing a stop-and-frisk. A month earlier, the ACLU sued the NYPD in federal court to prevent the NYPD from arresting the people recording them. It’s even clearly stated in the NYPD policy manual that “bystanders are allowed to film [officers] as long as they’re not interfering with the officers’ duties and/or police operations.”

    • Should Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & CIA Officials Be Tried for Torture? War Crimes Case Filed in Germany

      A human rights group in Berlin, Germany, has filed a criminal complaint against the architects of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor. The move follows the release of a Senate report on CIA torture which includes the case of a German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who was captured by CIA agents in 2004 due to mistaken identity and tortured at a secret prison in Afghanistan. So far, no one involved in the CIA torture program has been charged with a crime — except the whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed it. We speak to Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and longtime defense attorney Martin Garbus.

    • Obama asks US Congress to work for closure of Guantanamo base
    • Will a GOP Senate Let Obama Close Guantanamo?
    • Obama Wants to Close Guantanamo. Will a GOP Senate Let Him Do It?
    • Will Obama close Gitmo alone?

      President Obama is unlikely to go against the will of Congress and unilaterally shutter the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, lawmakers from both parties predict.

      “I don’t know that he can,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said. “I know that there are enough congressional restrictions on the books that limit his options.”

    • Fears build as CIA’s ‘ghost prisoners’ vanish into Afghan jails

      A CIA prisoner whose treatment set the torture template in the agency’s notorious Salt Pit jail outside Kabul, and another known as a “ghost prisoner” – held in such secrecy that for years even his name was classified information – have disappeared into Afghanistan’s prison system, where they are once more at risk of torture.

    • CIA interrogators didn’t just break detainees’ bodies — they also attacked their souls

      When reports about abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison first came out more than a decade ago, Michael Peppard started researching every account of mistreatment and torture he could find. He soon noticed a pattern missed by most journalists: American interrogators were using the religious faith of Muslim detainees as a weapon to abuse them.

    • John Yoo: If the Torture Report Is True, CIA Officers Are at Legal Risk

      The debate over the CIA interrogation program pits critics who insist illegal torture took place against defenders who say the treatment of prisoners was legal. These defenders cite guidance that the spy agency got from the Bush Administration. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden phrased it this way: “It needs be said that on multiple occasions all of the techniques were determined lawful by the Department of Justice and judged appropriate for the circumstances.”

    • Torture memo author John Yoo admits CIA may have gone too far

      John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who authored a series of notorious memos cited by the Bush administration to justify the torture of terrorism detainees, acknowledged on Sunday that the CIA may have broken the law.

    • Jailed Former CIA Officer Thinks Interrogators Should Be Prosecuted
    • Why CIA torturers won’t be punished
    • Obama decision to withhold ‘thousands’ of pictures of prisoner torture abuse to be challenged in court

      Thousands of images depicting U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan may be released this week following the Senate’s ‘torture report’.

    • Whitewashing the CIA torture regimen

      The logic that torture is a “stain” on U.S. history is the heart of the problem, since it blocks an honest reading of whatever “values” Washington actually stands for.

    • The CIA’s Covert War Against Fidel Castro

      Released in 1975 and 1976, the Church Commission report revealed that the CIA had been secretly trying to assassinate foreign leaders, including Fidel Castro, for years. It’s a murky chapter in American history that’s worth looking back at this week, as America prepares for an epochal shift in its relationship with the Cuban leader and Cuba itself.

    • Letters: CIA violations must not be ignored
    • Sturgeon backs calls for inquiry into Scots and UK part in CIA flights

      The First Minister has backed calls for a judicial inquiry into the possibility of Scottish and British involvement in the torture or rendition of terror suspects.

      The UK Government is facing pressure for a judge-led inquiry after new revelations in a US Senate report on CIA interrogation.

    • Nick Clegg: Tony Blair should face charges if he collaborated in CIA torture
    • Tony Blair said to be prepared to face inquiry over CIA torture report
    • ​Blair whitewash? Ex-PM prepared to face CIA torture inquiry into UK complicity
    • Thailand Says It Was Unaware Of CIA ‘Black Site’ On Its Soil

      Thailand’s prime minister says his government had no knowledge of a secret location inside the country where the CIA is said to have waterboarded top al-Qaida operatives in 2002.

      Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was responding to the so-called “torture report” released by the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that detailed the treatment of terrorism suspects at secret locations — black sites– around the world.

    • Not just the CIA: special forces in Iraq fought a shadow war that led to rise of IS

      The controversy over the CIA torture report has moved on to calls for the UK government to be open about its own involvement. The arguments have also been widened to include other elements of CIA activities, especially in Iraq.

    • Former US Army psychiatrist says CIA questioning was driven by pressure link Saddam to 9/11 to justify invasion of Iraq
    • CIA ‘torture report’: Agency conduct was driven by pressure to link Iraq to al-Qaeda following 9/11

      The CIA tortured al-Qaeda suspects because it wanted evidence that Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11 in order to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The agency was under intense pressure from the White House and senior figures in the Bush administration to extract confessions confirming co-operation between the Iraqi leader and al-Qaeda, although no significant evidence was ever found.

    • Outsourced Terror

      The horrific stories of CIA-sponsored torture that aren’t in the Senate report.

    • The CIA torture report: through Arab eyes

      The fear that the US has lost its moral compass is vastly exaggerated, for the simple reason that the US – at least in the Arab World – never possessed this moral legitimacy in the first place.

    • Torture program linked to discredited, illegal CIA techniques

      Torture methods employed by the CIA under the guise of its “enhanced interrogation techniques” program can be traced back — through personnel and decades of research — to human experiments designed to induce the subjugation of prisoners through use of isolation, sleep and sensory deprivation, psychoactive drugs and other means, according to details contained in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report, a summary of which was released last week.

    • MFÍK Urges Investigation Of Iceland’s Role In CIA Torture

      “Being an accomplice to torture is a war crime,” says MFÍK Chair Þórhildur Sunna Sævarsdóttir

    • White House oversight of CIA program lacking

      In July 2004, despite growing internal concerns about the CIA’s brutal interrogation methods, senior members of George W. Bush’s national security team gave the agency permission to employ the harsh tactics against an al-Qaida facilitator whom the agency suspected was linked to a plot to disrupt the upcoming presidential election.

    • CIA interrogation report: Just what did the UK know?

      In March 2004, a Boeing 737, registration number N313P, lifted off from Baghdad International Airport with two prisoners on board – captured by the SAS after a shoot-out in the city.

    • Romania agreed to host CIA ‘black sites’ to be accepted into NATO – ex spy chief

      Romania allowed the CIA to use a number of sites on its territory, a former head of the country’s intelligence confessed. He added that Bucharest’s bid to join NATO at the time prevented it from asking the US about the purposes of the sites.

    • Romanian ex-spy chief acknowledges CIA had ‘black prisons’ in country

      A top official from Romania has for the first time confirmed that the CIA had “at least” one prison in the country.

      Ioan Talpes, the former head of the country’s intelligence service said the CIA had “centres” in Romania, including a transit camp or compound, where prisoners were kept before being moved to other locations. He is the first Romanian official to confirm the information in the CIA torture report last week, which stated the existence of at least one “black site” in which prisoners were held and probably tortured.

    • The CIA tortured Abu Zubaydah, my client. Now charge him or let him go

      Abu Zubaydah has now been held incommunicado for 12 years without trial. This is gross injustice

    • CIA torture report: UK intelligence agencies questioned over redactions

      The British parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) has started to question intelligence agencies over whether they requested redactions in the explosive US Senate report on CIA torture.

      The ISC has already been investigating broader allegations of UK agencies’ involvement in torture or mistreatment.

    • UK torture inquiry could summon Blair and Straw
    • North Korea Calls for U.N. Probe of CIA ‘Torture Crimes’
    • Accused of rights abuses, N.Korea urges UN meeting on CIA torture
    • North Korea asks UN to ‘urgently’ investigates CIA torture claims
    • North Korea asks United Nations to investigate CIA torture ‘crimes’
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • It Doesn’t Matter Who Does the Lobbying: Trade Agreements Aren’t the Place for Internet Regulations

      The Associated Whistleblowing Press released portions of draft text proposed by the United States for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) this week, revealing some alarming provisions that indicate how tech companies have been involved in influencing a secret international deal. The language of the leaked treaty shows provisions that could impact privacy online, and net neutrality—with no public consultation or opportunities for open debate. What is dispiriting is some of the language of these Internet regulations almost certainly comes from tech companies, who have joined the many other lobbyists fighting for their special interests behind closed doors.

  • DRM

    • Be Cautious About ‘Digital Handcuffs’, Says Stallman

      Cautioning the tech-savvy people about the universal snooping propaganda of the technology giants, president of Free Software Foundation Richard Stallman spoke about the unholy nexus of the states with the corporates, in the city.

      Stallman, a reputed cyberspace activist and a champion of the free software movement, lashed out at the malpractices of technology giants like Apple and Microsoft, who, according to him, take the users hostage using ‘digital handcuffs’.

      Advocating freedom of computing and the Internet, he said that the apparent technology providers often exercise ‘Orwellian Justice’, which peeps into the privacy of users. “Amazon’s Kindle, the e-reader application, is infamous for remotely erasing the purchased copies of the book ‘1984’,” said Stallman.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XLV

      The TTIP negotiations are in trouble. After 18 months of talks, the EU and US have precious little to show for all their jetting to and fro across the Atlantic. And external factors such as the imminent Presidential race in the US means that time is running out to get the deal signed and sealed. Against that background, there are signs of a (rather feeble) attempt to put “rocket boosters” under the negotiations, as David Cameron likes to phrase it – although he forgets that rocket boosters can also explode on take-off, destroying their cargo completely.

    • EU-Canada Trade Agreement May Be Incompatible With EU Law

      Of course, this is just one legal opinion, and doubtless the European Commission would beg to differ. But it does indicate that the very ambition of CETA — and therefore also TAFTA/TTIP, which is very similar in this respect — may be its downfall. By seeking to move “behind the borders”, tackling “non-tariff barriers” that are actually regulations protecting health, safety, the environment, etc., these agreements may interfere with too many core functions of how a democracy works, and be struck down by the courts as a result.

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay alternatives

        As you may have heard, the Pirate Bay was raided and is down as I write this post. The closure of the Pirate Bay has generated a lot of discussions online, and many people have been looking for alternative torrenting sites. Fortunately, there was an interesting thread on Reddit about that very topic and one redditor was kind enough to post a list of alternative torrent sites:

      • Hollywood v. Goliath: Inside the aggressive studio effort to bring Google to heel

        To get the same results in a post-SOPA world, MPAA has hired some of the nation’s most well-connected lawyers. The project is spearheaded by Thomas Perrelli, a Jenner & Block partner and former Obama Administration lawyer. Perrelli has given attorneys general (AGs) across the country their talking points, suggesting realistic “asks” prior to key meetings with Google. Frustrated with a lack of results, Perrelli and top MPAA lawyers then authorized an “expanded Goliath strategy” in which they would push the AGs to move beyond mere letter writing. Instead, they would seek full-bore investigations against Google.

      • Update On Ten-Year Campaign To Give Copyright Industry Another Monopoly: WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty

        Say what you will about the copyright industry, but it certainly doesn’t give up. No matter how many times a bad idea is fought off, sooner or later, it comes back again. The best example of this is probably WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty, which Techdirt has been covereing for a decade: in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2013.

The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games

GNU/Linux sure is a growing force in the world of gaming. The embrace by Steam helped a lot, but it did not single-handedly change things. Other companies foresaw the demise of Windows. Microsoft knows what’s going on as its domination slipped away and gamers are now able to move to GNU/Linux by the millions while games get ported to GNU/Linux by the hundreds (if not thousands). This includes some very high-profile games.

According to this new article from Sam Machkovech, “Bluetooth on Windows is a mess.”

The article from Machkovech is titled “Microsoft tells J.S. Joust devs their game is “NOT possible” on Windows” and our reader said: “Development on Windows is hard to the point of being impractical if not impossible. The mono-culture for years kept that flaw hidden. People realize that as they are now getting back into cross-platform development.”

So here we have a game for GNU/Linux that won’t be available on Windows. That’s quite a twist of fate. Windows is now the neglected platform. Developers find it hard to work with.

Microsoft recently found itself buying a company that makes cross-platform games, killing the GNU/Linux versions. So Minecraft drops the platform which Microsoft publicly claims to ‘love’ (it’s a lie) after Microsoft takes over, based on this report: “Minecraft: Story Mode is a brand new adventure being created around Minecraft, but sadly Linux has been left out in the cold it seems.

“Minecraft: Story mode will be a narrative-driven video game created by Telltale Games. It will be about Minecraft. Telltale have made some pretty highly rated games, so for general gamers this will probably be exciting news.”

Microsoft, which lies about “loving” Linux, sure is not showing any love.

On the contrary, as the Windows monopoly is eroding, largely thanks to Android, which uses Linux, Microsoft is now openwashing its Windows-only games, misusing the “open source” label. IDG appears to have just hired one of Microsoft’s most fanboyish person as ‘reporter’ to do this openwashing and there were plenty of Microsoft puff pieces after that, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. What Microsoft calls “open source” here is the server side (not desktop side) of a Windows-only proprietary game. Compare that to truly Free software games or games for GNU/Linux (not just through Steam) and Android. Microsoft’s PR fooled a lot of its moles inside the media, including apologists like Adrian Bridgwater, but it should be clear that this is fake “open source” (just like .NET). It is about deceiving the public and changing perceptions.

12.20.14

Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The cost of cheap and/or underqualified staff?

Summary: Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming

Jason Evangelho said that “New Windows 7 Patch Is Effectively Malware”. This is how he put it in the headline at Forbes, showing just how “professional” Microsoft has become. It is so “people-ready” that it bricks computers. A Microsoft booster told the story like this: “Microsoft withdraws bad Windows 7 update that broke future Windows 7 updates”. Actually, it’s not just about future updates. It’s a a lot worse than that. Vista 7 becomes like a brick, unable to change. The full details are found further down in smaller fonts:

One of this week’s Patch Tuesday updates for Windows 7 has been withdrawn after some users discovered that it blocked installation of software containing digital signatures, including first- and third-party software, and even other Windows updates.

[...]

With Windows Update so important to keeping Windows users secure, a loss of confidence would be very bad news. But if this kind of problem continues, that seems like an inevitable outcome. While IT departments might be able to test updates in a lab before deploying them, providing some protection against faulty fixes, home users have no such luxury. Users have to have confidence that installing an update won’t break their machine. Broken, withdrawn updates shake that confidence.

Years ago (more than half a decade back) we warned that Vista 7 was basically just a lump of hype, perceptions distortion, and shameless lies. Now we see more evidence of this.

Microsoft Peter’s praises of Vista 7 and other Microsoft spyware continue nonetheless. Even when there is a serious problem he is belittling the problem rather than giving Microsoft a hard time. That is the role of Microsoft boosters. “Botched KB 3004394 triggers error messages, but no response from Microsoft” said the heading from IDG, showing that Microsoft is silent on such a serious matter. They’re speechless! Years ago we warned that a lot of key Windows developers were leaving and then often being replaced by cheap or poorly qualified staff. We said this would harm the quality of patches, not just of future versions of Windows. We were right.

Perhaps it is time to switch off Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Peter. Over the years he has done little more than mock Microsoft’s critics, including regulators (he still publishes revisionism about Microsoft’s browser abuses), so if we ever pursue the truth, we need to steer away from Microsoft’s media moles.

Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft’s Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

Posted in Microsoft at 11:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some of Microsoft’s latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business

MICROSOFT HAS not been having a good year, irrespective of what its shareholders wish to believe. The NSA leaks have not done this monopolistic informant any good and Ballmer was pushed out. So was a lot of the workforce, as Microsoft had announced massive layoffs, even bigger than in prior years. It’s a company that is shrinking, based on several parameters.

Putting aside the publicity stunt ‘lawsuit’ from Microsoft (over data in Ireland, not just a tax haven to Microsoft), the company is fading away. Microsoft fails to make the news as much as it used to (we used to observe the company very closely) and when it makes the news it’s not often rosy. Microsoft is a proprietary software company that uses software to spy on the entire world. If information (or knowledge is power), then a lot of information facilitates domination of one group over another. That’s what NSA is about. Microsoft is basically an apparatus of imperialism and a lot of nations, including China and Russia, seem to be getting it, whereupon they migrate to GNU/Linux. Microsoft is now paying the price of sucking up to its government.

On the subject of Microsoft layoffs, their true extent has been impacted by a strategy from around 5 years ago. Microsoft hides the scale of layoffs by hiring cheap/temporary staff without worker protections/privileges (pension, compensation etc.) and sometimes by recruiting overseas (countries with lower salaries) while laying off ‘expensive’ — albeit usually more skilled — staff. Here is a new report’s summary: “The federal government has granted an exemption to Microsoft Canada that will allow the company to bring in an unspecified number of temporary foreign workers to British Columbia as trainees without first looking for Canadians to fill the jobs.

“A notice posted on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website says foreign workers will receive specialized training in a new human resources development centre in the province. The tech giant will not have to perform a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) — a rigorous process that would include a search for Canadians who could fill the positions.”

As we showed here several years ago, Microsoft uses British Columbia to bypass visa restrictions in the United States (where Gates does plenty of lobbying on visa issues so as to enrich himself further at the expense of the middle class). People who will be working in British Columbia will be mostly immigrants if history is anything to judge by. Also notice that the report says “foreign workers” and “foreign trainees”. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s a race game – a game of globalists who deprive workers and take away their rights.

“Perhaps Canadian citizens are too smart or honest to qualify,” wrote one of our readers.

Regarding Microsoft’s influence, it is rapidly diminishing. Binstock’s site will finally stop advertising Microsoft under the guise of ‘news’. “Killed by sucking up to Microsoft” said a reader of ours about this news regarding the death of Dr. Dobb’s, whose Web site is not to be confused with the paper publication. The Web site basically became a Microsoft mouthpiece in recent years, after a Microsoft booster, Andrew Binstock (editor), drove it to the ground along with its credibility (we gave many examples), just like Elop did at Nokia. The death of the site was mourned by a Microsoft booster, Tim Anderson, who labelled it “specialist programming site” although in recent years it was run almost single-handedly by a Microsoft booster. It is actually not too shocking that Dr. Dobb’s put a Microsoft booster in charge; its new owner, a partner of Microsoft (UBM), put a Microsoft advertiser in charge perhaps in order to attract more advertising money. UBM merely committed suicide or shot the site at the back of the head when it chose bias over news, but either way, it’s all over now.

What happened at Dr. Dobb’s is not the exception. Many pro-Microsoft sites died or went silent. Remember Microsoft Watch, which was Microsoft advertising disguised as “watching”? Not only the sites died; their authors too went away or turned to other areas. Quite a few Microsoft boosters, including major ones like Joe Wilcox and Ian Fried (no typo), have left the scene or turned to other areas. Microsoft media proxy is quickly eroding. Other memorable examples include Microsoft Emil, Microsoft Nick, and Microsoft Jack, who is not very active anymore and sometimes covers Google or Linux these days (not necessarily bashing them, either).

This does not mean that Microsoft has run out of moles in the media. Here for instance we have Microsoft .NET advertisements and openwashing. This was published a few days ago in a Microsoft-funded British news site and it was authored by the Microsoft-bribed Tim Anderson (the same guy who mourns the loss of yet another Microsoft propaganda site, as noted above). This “Exclusive Interview” from Anderson is basically giving Microsoft a platform and dubbing it ‘news’. Complete nonsense. Please also note that Microsoft’s proxy in the UK (Accenture) wants to keep bamboozling managers under the guise of “advice” because it’s a very lucrative market in financial terms. One of Microsoft’s many moles at CBS reminded us that it’s all about Microsoft. The timing seems right because a lot of the British public sector and exploring and even moving to Free software, more standards (such as ODF), and greater technological autonomy.

“The timing seems right because a lot of the British public sector and exploring and even moving to Free software, more standards (such as ODF), and greater technological autonomy.”Not just the public sector moves away from Microsoft. Some of the biggest companies in the private sector are increasingly doing the same thing. Earlier this year we wrote about Ford dumping Microsoft after Ford had been Microsoft’s close ally for years. “Good news,” called it a reader, “except for the fact that it is inflicting “infotainment” systems on buyers.”

As asked: “Is QNX still hybrid?” Well, it is not Free software like Linux, but alas, the main problem is that BlackBerry is becoming a patent troll and this is where Ford is heading. As Simon Sharwood put it the other day:

As foreshadowed in February, Ford has announced a new in-car entertainment and communications system that will run on BlackBerry’s QNX real-time operating system, not Windows as is the case for the company’s current efforts.

Ford Sync 3 will offer touch-screen and voice recognition controls. The latter will allow drivers to command both their vehicle and apps on their phone. Siri control is another feature.

The auto-maker’s offered a touch-screen system for some time now, but it’s widely regarded as one of its weak points. A complete refresh on a new operating system therefore looks like a good move.

It’s certainly one BlackBerry will appreciate, as broader uptake of QNX is one of its hoped-for exit routes from the mucky world of smartphones. A few million highly-visible QNX machines shipped each year will therefore be most appreciated.

Just because Ford left Microsoft doesn’t mean it made the right choice. It just chose a lesser evil.

We were gratified to learn that Facebook, which uses GNU/Linux in its servers, rid itself of Microsoft as well. Microsoft is so yesterday that even Facebook dumps it. As the media in California put it, “Facebook confirmed that it’s no longer including search results from Bing on its site. The Bing deal began around the time Microsoft bought its Facebook stake, and was renewed in 2010.

“The move will hurt Bing’s search market share, which was already ailing after a recent redesign of Microsoft’s consumer web site, MSN.”

Will Microsoft shares in Facebook also be returned (forcibly)? They cannot be turned into private ownership, sadly enough, which harms self determination at Facebook. Microsoft has held Facebook hostage for many years. Either way, traffic in Facebook very rapidly declines these days (that’s a story for another day), so we don’t expect the company to be around for much longer. Incidentally, Mac Asay, writing in the Microsoft-centric media, calls Facebook “largest open-source company”, which is utter nonsense. Mac Asay also dubs people he does not agree with “jerks”, but that’s quite typical of him (he is the only person in Twitter whom I know blocked me). Mr. Asay — it is worth reminding readers — had applied for a job at Microsoft before he worked for Novell.

The bottom line is, Microsoft is rotting and we are hoping that it will go down the same path in years to come. Its once-large empire is now just a fort begging for survival and sacrificing its own staff.

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