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02.22.17

Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

Posted in News Roundup at 1:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Austrian Schools

      Here it is 2017 and Austrian schools are using GNU/Linux and folks are still having problems with That Other OS in schools. I was in a similar situation back in 2000 when I first installed GNU/Linux in my classroom. TOOS didn’t work for me then and it still doesn’t work for schools today. Any time you have a monopolist telling you what you can and can’t do in your classroom, you’re going to have problems, especially if that monopolist isn’t particularly supportive of your objectives. In my case, M$ was celebrating its monopoly and didn’t even care if the software crashed hourly. I later discovered there were all kinds of evil consequences of the EULA from Hell, like limiting the size of networks without a server running their software and fat licensing fees.

    • How to build the fastest Linux PC possible on a budget

      There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a system boot up almost instantaneously when the power switch is hit. Long gone are the days of going to make yourself a brew while those spinning platters buzz and the display kicks into life, lazily dragging you into the GUI you call home.

      But surely that luxury of speed is reserved for those who are willing to drop £1,000+ on a new system? Fortunately, this is not the case anymore. With advancements in technology over the last six years, and Intel’s aggressive push to keep reinvigorating its chipsets each and every generation, we’re starting to see more and more affordable budget, speed-oriented components finally making it to market.

      The SSD has succeeded the hard drive with sub 10-second boot times and lightning quick file transfers. However, three years on and we’ve seen both the rise and fall of the SATA III bus. This was a standard that was supposed to last us until 2020, but now lies completely saturated, with only the ever enduring HDD still making good use of the connectivity.

    • How to communicate from a Linux shell: Email, instant messaging

      I get a lot of questions on how to perform various tasks from a Linux shell/terminal. In the interest of making a simple cheat sheet—something I can point people to that will help them get rolling with terminal powers—what follows are my recommendations for how to perform various types of communication from your shell.

      I’m talking about the normal sort of communication most people perform via a web browser (or a handful of graphical applications) nowadays: Email, instant messaging, that sort of thing. Except, you know, running them entirely in a terminal—which you can run just about anywhere: in an SSH session on a remote server, on a handheld device, or even on your Android phone/tablet.

    • 5 signs that you are a Linux geek

      Linux users are a passionate bunch, and some are downright proud of their of their geekiness. But if you’re not sure about your status, a writer at MakeUseOf has a list of 5 signs that show you are a Linux geek.

    • The Year Of Linux On Everything But The Desktop

      The War on Linux goes back to Bill Gates, then CEO of Microsoft, in an “open letter to hobbyists” published in a newsletter in 1976. Even though Linux wouldn’t be born until 1991, Gates’ burgeoning software company – itself years away from releasing its first operating system – already felt the threat of open source software. We know Gates today as a kindly billionaire who’s joining us in the fight against everything from disease to income inequality, but there was a time when Gates was the bad guy of the computing world.

      Microsoft released its Windows operating system in 1985. At the time, its main competition was Apple and Unix-like systems. BSD was the dominant open source Unix clone then – it marks its 40th birthday this year, in fact – and Microsoft fired barrages of legal challenges to BSD just like it eventually would against Linux. Meanwhile Apple sued Microsoft over its interface, in the infamous “Look and Feel” lawsuit, and Microsoft’s reign would forever be challenged. Eventually Microsoft would be tried in both the US and the UK for antitrust, which is a government regulation against corporate monopolies. Even though it lost both suits, Microsoft simply paid the fine out of its bottomless pockets and kept right at it.

    • EU privacy watchdogs say Windows 10 settings still raise concerns

      European Union data protection watchdogs said on Monday they were still concerned about the privacy settings of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system despite the U.S. company announcing changes to the installation process.

      The watchdogs, a group made up of the EU’s 28 authorities responsible for enforcing data protection law, wrote to Microsoft last year expressing concerns about the default installation settings of Windows 10 and users’ apparent lack of control over the company’s processing of their data.

      The group – referred to as the Article 29 Working Party -asked for more explanation of Microsoft’s processing of personal data for various purposes, including advertising.

    • Microsoft Faces European Privacy Probes Over Windows 10

      Microsoft Corp. faces a coordinated investigation by European privacy regulators after it failed to do enough to address their concerns about the collection and processing of user data with a series of changes to Windows 10 last month.

      European Union data-protection officials sent a letter to Microsoft saying they remain “concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data,” according to a copy of the document posted by the Dutch watchdog Tuesday. Regulators from seven countries are concerned that even after the announced changes, “Microsoft does not comply with fundamental privacy rules.”

  • Server

    • Of Pies and Platforms: Platform-as-a-Service vs. Containers-as-a-Service

      I’m often asked about the difference between using a platform as a service (PaaS) vs. a containers-as-a-service (CaaS) approach to developing cloud applications. When does it makes sense to choose one or the other? One way to describe the difference and how it affects your development time and resources is to look at it like the process of baking a pie.

    • Understanding OpenStack’s Success

      At the time I got into the data storage industry, I was working with and developing RAID and JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) controllers for 2 Gbit Fibre Channel Storage Area Networks (SAN). This was a time before “The Cloud”. Things were different—so were our users. There was comfort in buying from a single source or single vendor. In an ideal world, it should all work together, harmoniously, right? And when things go awry, that single vendor should be able to solve every problem within that entire deployment.

    • Open source docks with mainstream vendors

      Open source and mainstream are joining forces this week as the Docker software containerisation platform comes under the spotlight at technology-focused network and information sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

      “The diversity of our partners at the event − Docker, Microsoft Azure, Atlassian, SUSE and HPE – is a clear indication of the excitement around the Docker platform,” says Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems.

  • Kernel Space

    • New Media Drivers Queued For Linux 4.11

      Another pull request worth mentioning for the Linux 4.11 kernel is the media subsystem updates.

    • A Big Networking Update For Linux 4.11

      David Miller has mailed out the rather big set of updates to the networking subsystem for the Linux 4.11 kernel.

    • Linux 4.11 Adds EFI Memory Attributes Table Support

      The (U)EFI support continues to evolve within the Linux kernel and with the 4.11 release will be new and improved functionality.

    • Security Changes Bring Major AppArmor Update, Better TPM 2.0 To Linux 4.11

      James Morris has filed the security subsystem feature updates targeting the Linux 4.11 merge window.

      Changes to the security-related components in the kernel include a major AppArmor update with policy namespaces support and many fixes, /sys/kernel/security/lsm now makes it easy to show loaded Linux Security Modules, SELinux updates, and improved TPM 2.0 support.

    • Linux 4.10 arrives

      With more than 13,000 commits, the release of Linux 4.10 was not as small at Linus Torvalds was expecting. Nonetheless, it arrived over the weekend, bringing with it significant changes, such as the introduction of support for virtual GPUs.

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Released — Happy Anniversary!

      Kernel 4.10 has the honor of being christened the “Anniversary Edition” by Linus Torvalds. I’m guessing this is because of the recent 25th anniversary of the release of Linux 0.01. Admittedly, it is a bit late for that (the anniversary was back in September); however, Linus had not named any of the recent releases for the occasion, opting instead for naming them after several deranged animals.

    • Collabora Contributions to Linux Kernel 4.10

      Linux Kernel v4.10 is out and this time Collabora contributed a total of 39 patches by 10 different developers. You can read more about the v4.10 merge window on LWN.net: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

      Now here is a look at the changes made by Collaborans. To begin with Daniel Stone fixed an issue when waiting for fences on the i915 driver, while Emil Velikov added support to read the PCI revision for sysfs to improve the starting time in some applications.

    • Mesos Is to the Datacenter as the Kernel Is to Linux

      Necessity is the mother of invention. We needed our datacenters to be more automated, so we invented tools like Puppet and Chef. We needed easier application deployment, so we invented Docker. Of course it didn’t stop there. Ben Hindman, the founder and chief architect of Mesosphere, co-created Apache Mesos. In his keynote at MesosCon Asia 2016, Hindman relates how failures and elasticity led to the development of Mesos.

    • Power Management Sees More P-State Tweaking, Other Changes For Linux 4.11

      Rafael Wysocki has submitted the ACPI and power management feature updates for the Linux 4.11 kernel.

      The work in the power management space this cycle includes improvements to Operating Performance Points (OPP), CPUFreq core clean-ups, new CPUFreq drivers for Broadcom BMIPS and TI SoCs and Qoriq.

    • Linux 4.10 Released as First New Kernel of 2017

      After a one week delay, Linus Torvalds released the first new Linux kernel of 2017 on Feb. 19, with the debut of Linux 4.10. The Linux 4.9 kernel (aka ‘Roaring Lionus” was released back on Dec. 11. There was some talk in 2016 that seemed to indicate that Linux 4.10 would in fact be re-numbered as Linux 5.0 but that didn’t end up happening.

      “On the whole, 4.10 didn’t end up as small as it initially looked,” Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. “After the huge release that was 4.9, I expected things to be pretty quiet, but it ended up very much a fairly average release by modern kernel standards.”

      “So we have about 13,000 commits (not counting merges- that would be another 1200+ commits if you count those),” Torvalds added.

    • The Companies That Support Linux and Open Source: Mender.io

      IoT is largely transitioning from hype to implementation with the growth of smart and connected devices spanning across all industries including building automation, energy, healthcare and manufacturing. The automotive industry has given some of the most tangible examples of both the promise and risk of IoT, with Tesla’s ability to deploy over-the-air software updates a prime example of forward-thinking efficiency. On the other side, the Jeep Cherokee hack in July 2015 displayed the urgent need for security to be a top priority for embedded devices as several security lapses made it vulnerable and gave hackers the ability to remotely control the vehicle. One of the security lapses included the firmware update of the head unit (V850) not having the proper authenticity checks.

    • Open Source Networking: Disruptive Innovation Ready for Prime Time

      Innovations are much more interesting than inventions. The “laser” is a classic invention and “FedEx” is a classic innovation. Successful innovation disrupts entire industries and ecosystems as we’ve seen with Uber, AirBnB, and Amazon to name just a few. The entire global telecommunication industry is at the dawn of a new era of innovation. Innovations should be the rising tide in which everybody wins except what’s referred to as “laggards.” Who are the laggards going to be in this new era of open communications? You don’t want to be one.

      [...]

      It’s clear from this presentation that The Linux Foundation and its Open Source Networking and Orchestration portfolio of projects is driving real innovation in the networking ecosystem. Successful and impactful innovations take time as the disruptive forces ripple throughout the ecosystem. The Linux Foundation is taking on the complex task of coordinating multiple open source initiatives with the goal to eliminate barriers to adoption. Providing end-to-end testing and harmonization will reduce many deployment barriers and accelerate the time required for production deployments. Those interested in the future of open source networking should attend ONS 2017. No one wants to be a “laggard.”

    • XFS Changes Filed For The Linux 4.11 Kernel

      The XFS file-system updates have been submitted for the Linux 4.11 merge window.

    • Xen Changes For Linux 4.11: Lands PVHv2 Guest Support

      The latest pull request worth mentioning for the Linux 4.11 merge window are the Xen virtualization feature updates.

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Lands in SparkyLinux’s Unstable Repo, Here’s How to Install It

      The trend of offering users the most recent Linux kernel release continues today with SparkyLinux, an open-source, Debian-based distribution that always ships with the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software versions.

      SparkyLinux appears to be the third distro to offer its users the ability to install the recently released Linux 4.10 kernel, after Linux Lite and Ubuntu, as the developers announced earlier that the Linux kernel 4.10 packages are now available from the unstable repository.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Vulkan Driver’s PRIME Code Rewritten

        Red Hat’s David Airlie keeps to work on improving the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver.

      • Intel Sandy Bridge Picks Up transform_feedback2, Should Allow WebGL 2.0 Support
      • Radeon Pro Software 17.Q1 Released For Linux Professionals

        AMD today released the Radeon Pro Software 17.Q1 driver for Windows and Linux users running FirePro / RadeonPro workstation graphics cards.

      • Wayland 1.13 Released

        Wayland 1.13 is now available thanks to release management by Samsung OSG’s Bryce Harrington.

      • wayland 1.13.0

        This is the official release of Wayland 1.13. There have been no changes since beta and RC1.

        In addition to a range of bug fixes, changes since wayland 1.12 have added some API for controlling the visibility of globals and numerous documentation and other improvements.

      • Wayland 1.13.0 Display Server Officially Released, Wayland 1.14 Lands in June

        Bryce Harrington, a Senior Open Source Developer at Samsung, announced today the release and general availability of the Wayland 1.13.0 for GNU/Linux distributions that already adopted the next-generation display server.next-generation display server.

        Wayland 1.13.0 has entered development in the first days of the year, but the first Alpha build arrived at the end of January, along with the Alpha version of the Weston 2.0 compositor, including most of the new features that are present in this final release that you’ll be able to install on your Linux-based operating systems in the coming days.

      • Weston 2.0 RC2 Wayland Compositor Arrives With Last Minute Fixes

        While Wayland 1.13 was released today, Bryce Harrington today opted against releasing the Weston 2.0 reference compositor and instead issue a second release candidate.

        Weston 2.0 is the next version of this “playground” for Wayland compositor technologies since the new output configuration API had broke the ABI, necessitating a break from the same versioning as Wayland.

      • [ANNOUNCE] weston 1.99.94
      • The Vulkan Differences Between AMDGPU-PRO, RADV & SteamVR’s RADV Drivers

        With Valve having published a binary-only RADV Radeon Vulkan driver build for their beta of SteamVR on Linux, I did some poking out of curiosity to see the differences to the mainline RADV driver in Mesa. Out of curiosity I also did a comparison to see how the Vulkan capabilities compare to the proprietary AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA/Radeon Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Relative Gaming Performance

        Last week I published some Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Radeon benchmarks and Windows vs. Linux NVIDIA Pascal tests. Those results were published by themselves while for this article are the AMD and NVIDIA numbers merged together and normalized to get a look at the relative Windows vs. Linux gaming performance.

        With the tests last week we tested Company of Heroes 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, GRID Autosport, Metro Last Light Redux, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Civilization VI, Tomb Raider, Total War: WARHAMMER, and The Talos Principle, among others.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.8.6 Released for LTS Users with over 80 Improvements, Bug Fixes

        Today, February 21, 2017, KDE announced the availability of the sixth maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems.

      • Plasma in a Snap?

        Shortly before FOSDEM, Aleix Pol asked if I had ever put Plasma in a Snap. While I was a bit perplexed by the notion itself, I also found this a rather interesting idea.

        So, the past couple of weeks I spent a bit of time here and there on trying to see if it is possible.

      • QStringView Diaries: Advances in QStringLiteral

        This is the first in a series of blog posts on QStringView, the std::u16string_view equivalent for Qt. You can read about QStringView in my original post to the Qt development mailing-list, follow its status by tracking the “qstringview” topic on Gerrit and learn about string views in general in Marshall Clow’s CppCon 2015 talk, aptly named “string_view”.

      • Making Movies with QML

        One of the interesting things about working with Qt is seeing all the unexpected ways our users use the APIs we create. Last year I got a bug report requesting an API to set a custom frame rate for QML animations when using QQuickRenderControl. The reason was that the user was using QQuickRenderControl as an engine to render video output from Qt Quick, and if your target was say 24 frames per second, the animations were not smooth because of how the default animation driver behaves. So inspired by this use case I decided to take a stab at creating such an example myself.

      • KDE Talks at FOSDEM

        The continuation of the original talk from Dirk Hohndel and Linus Torvalds about the port of Subsurface from Gtk to Qt, now with mobile in mind.

      • How to Create a Look and Feel Theme
      • United Desktop Theme for KDE Plasma 5.9
      • How to create a look and feel theme
      • Qt Roadmap for 2017

        With Qt 5.7 and 5.8 released we have a completely new baseline for Qt 5 based applications and devices. In this blog, I want to provide a roadmap update on what we are currently working on in the Qt R&D and what the future directions are.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME hackaton in Brno

        Last week, we had a presentation on Google Summer of Code and Outreachy at Brno University of Technology. Around 80 students attended which was a pretty good success considering it was not part of any course. It was a surprise for the uni people as well because the room they booked was only for 60 ppl.

      • Nautilus 3.24 – The changes

        Since Nautilus was created, if a user wanted to open a folder where the user didn’t have permissions, for example a system folder where only root has access, it was required to start Nautilus with sudo.

        However running UI apps under root is strongly discouraged, and to be honest, quite inconvenient. Running any UI app with sudo is actually not even supported in Wayland by design due to the security issues that that conveys.

      • Nautilus 3.24 to Bring Desktop Support for Wayland Sessions, Easy Root Browsing

        The GNOME 3.24 desktop environment is coming in only one month from today, on March 22, and it will bring with it a lot of new features for many of its core components and applications, including the Nautilus (Files) file manager.

        GNOME developer Carlos Soriano is sharing with us today the upcoming features of Nautilus 3.24, as well all the improvements and bug fixes that landed so far, and what didn’t make it in the release, which will be available for all users as part of the GNOME 3.24 Stack.

  • Distributions

    • [elementaryOS] AppCenter: Funded

      A few moments ago, we hit 100% funded for our AppCenter campaign on Indiegogo. Thank you, backers! More than 300 people backed us over just two weeks to help bring our pay-what-you-want indie app store to life.

    • New Releases

      • Meet Flint OS, a Chromium OS Fork for Raspberry Pi & PCs That Runs Android Apps

        Will Smith from Flint Innovations Limited is informing Softpedia today about their up and coming Linux-based operating system for PCs and Raspberry Pi devices, Flint OS, based on the open-source Chromium OS project.

        These days, we see more and more developers and entrepreneurs launching new operating systems based on Chromium OS, which Google uses with much success for its Chrome OS on many Chromebooks that you can purchase today. But Flint OS is somehow a bit special, not only because it provides support for both Raspberry Pi SBCs and x86 computers with either Intel or Nvidia GPUs, but because it uses Android apps.

      • Zorin OS 12 Business Edition Launches with macOS, Unity, and GNOME 2 Layouts

        Three months after launching the biggest release ever of the Ubuntu-based operating system, the Zorin OS team is today announcing the availability of Zorin OS 12 Business Edition.

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel, Zorin OS 12 Business Edition ships with the innovative Zorin Desktop 2.0 desktop environment that offers multiple layouts for all tastes. These means that you can make your Zorin OS 12 desktop look like macOS, GNOME 2, or Unity with a click.

      • Rebellin Linux v3.5 released!
      • Rebellin Linux 3.5 Rolls Out as the Best GNU/Linux Distro Based on Debian Sid

        The developers of the Debian-based Rebellin Linux operating system have announced today the release and general availability of version 3.5, a major build that introduces exciting new features and up-to-date components.

        Rebellin Linux 3.5 rolls out as the best GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian Sid, according to the developers, because it comes with out-of-the-box email support. We don’t know what to say about that, but we can’t help but notice that this release includes the latest GNOME 3.22.2 and MATE 1.16.1 desktop environments.

        “Rebellin Linux v3.5 is out! Built on the goodness of Debian and the previous Rebellin, it’s the best Debian Sid based distribution you can get. Know why? Cos it comes with email support,” reads today’s announcement. “Download Rebellin now and end your search for the perfect Linux distro.”

      • KaOS 2017.02

        KaOS is proud to announce the availability of the February release of a new stable ISO.

        The policy is, once a first pacman -Syu becomes a major update, it is time for a new ISO so new users are not faced with a difficult first update. With the exceptional large amounts of updates the last four to five weeks a new ISO is needed a bit sooner than usual.

        As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.31.0, Plasma 5.9.2, KDE Applications 16.12.2 & not yet released ports of KDE Applications. All built on Qt 5.8.0.

      • KaOS 2017.02 Is Out with Linux 4.9.10, KDE Plasma 5.9.2, and X.Org Server 1.19.1

        KaOS 2017.02, the February release of the ISO image of KaOS, an open-source GNU/Linux distribution that offers a rolling model and it’s inspired by Arch Linux, has been announced today.

        As its name suggests, KaOS is built around the KDE desktop environment, so it’s targeted mainly at KDE fans. The new ISO image, KaOS 2017.02, ships with all the latest KDE technologies and applications, including KDE Plasma 5.9.2, KDE Applications 16.12.2, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and Qt 5.8.0.

      • Linux Lite To Have These New Features In The Next Release Linux Lite 3.4

        …we contacted the creator of the Linux Lite “Jerry Bezencon” and enquired the upcoming new features in the latest version of the Linux Lite. We have also done a review of the latest available distro i.e. 3.2 (32 bit) so that the readers can understand easily where are the new features headed towards.

    • Slackware Family

      • Thoughts on Slackware 14.2

        All in all I’m quite happy with slackware 14.2 on my quasi-modern computer. Old school linux and openbsd types will no doubt feel at home with slack. There’s no systemd to worry about. A full install takes about 9 gigs of drive space. The slackware folks have obviously put a ton of work into this new release. A word of warning to linux newbies, this isn’t the easiest distro to install and is probably best suited to linux intermediates or experts.

    • Red Hat Family

      • JBoss Fuse 6.3 integration services for Red Hat OpenShift released

        Red Hat announced the latest update to the Red Hat JBoss Fuse-based integration service on Red Hat OpenShift. With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud-based SaaS systems, and new data streams, organizations can face increasing pressure to more quickly deliver innovative new services. Traditional centralized, monolithic ESB-style integration approaches are often ill-suited to support the business in responding to this pressure.

      • Huawei, Red Hat expand cloud cooperation to include public and NFV clouds

        Huawei and Red Hat are expanding their cooperation to include public and network functions virtualization (NFV) clouds.

        The announcement expands upon previously announced collaborations between the two companies to deliver OpenStack-based solutions and carrier-grade software-defined networking (SDN) solutions.

      • Why upstream contributions matter when developing open source NFV solutions.

        When software is developed using open source methods, an upstream repository of the code is accessible to all members of the project. Members contribute to the code, test it, write documentation and can create a solution from that code to use or distribute under license. If an organization follows the main stream or branch of the upstream code their solution will receive all the changes and updates created in the upstream repository. Those changes simply “flow down” to the member’s solution. However, if a member organization forks the code — if they create a solution that strays from the main stream — their solution no longer receives updates, fixes and changes from the upstream repository. This organization is now solely responsible for maintaining their solution without the benefit of the upstream community, much like the baby salmon that took a tributary and then have to fend for themselves rather than remain in the main stream and receive the benefit and guidance of the other salmon making their way to the ocean.

      • HPE and Red Hat Join Forces to Give Customers Greater Choice for NFV Deployments

        Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( NYSE : HPE ) and Red Hat, Inc. ( NYSE : RHT ) announced today they are working together to accelerate the deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions based on fully open, production-ready, standards-based infrastructures. HPE plans to offer ready-to-use, pre-integrated HPE NFV System solutions and HPE Validated Configurations incorporating Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage for communications service providers (CSPs).

      • Red Hat Joins the OpenPower Foundation

        As part of our commitment to delivering open technologies across many computing architectures, Red Hat has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture, at the Platinum level. While we already do build and support open technologies for the POWER architecture, the OpenPOWER Foundation is committed to an open, community-driven technology-creation process – something that we feel is critical to the continued growth of open collaboration around POWER.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 25: The perf linux tool.
        • Fedora 25 KDE: disappointing experience

          Fedora is not a frequent guest on the review deck of Linux notes from DarkDuck blog. The most recent review was of Fedora 22 back in July 2015. That was a review of the GNOME version, the most native for Fedora.

          You are probably aware of the tight link between the GNOME project and RedHat, the Fedora Project main sponsor.

        • F25-20170221 Updated ISOs available!!

          It is with great pleasure to announce that the Community run respin team has yet another Updated ISO round. This round carries the 4.9.10-200 kernel along with over 780 MB of updates (avg, some Desktop Environments more, some less) since the Gold release.

        • F25-20170221 Updated Lives Released

          I am happy to announce new F25-20170221 Updated Lives.

        • Our Bootloader Problem

          GRUB, it is time we broke up. It’s not you, it’s me. Okay, it’s you. The last 15+ years have some great (read: painful) memories. But it is time to call it quits.

          Red Hat Linux (not RHEL) deprecated LILO for version 9 (PDF; hat tip: Spot). This means that Fedora has used GRUB as its bootloader since the very first release: Fedora Core 1.

          GRUB was designed for a world where bootloaders had to locate a Linux kernel on a filesystem. This meant it needed support for all the filesystems anyone might conceivably use. It was also built for a world where dual-booting meant having a bootloader implemented menu to choose between operating systems.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • SF’s Elections Commission asks mayor to put $4M toward open source voting system [Ed: Microsoft a threat]

    While the Elections Commission may be among the least followed city bodies, the seven members are playing a critical role in determining whether San Francisco will begin to use an open-source voting system.

    For years, open-source voting advocates have called on San Francisco officials to part ways with traditional voting machine companies.

    Open-source voting is widely considered the best defense to voter fraud with the added benefits of cost savings and flexibility.

    Much to chagrin of these advocates, The City has continued to sign contracts with nonopen-source voting companies. While no open-source voting system has been deployed elsewhere, other jurisdictions are currently working on it, such as Travis County, Texas.

    After The City allocated $300,000 in the current fiscal year to move San Francisco toward an open-source voting system, the effort has gotten off to a slower-than-expected start. Advocates worry if funding isn’t committed to building out such a system, the effort will face further delays.

  • Radisys Contributes Its LTE RAN Software to M-CORD

    Radisys announced today that its open source LTE radio access network (RAN) software will be available under the Apache 2.0 license for On.Lab’s Mobile Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (M-CORD) 5G architecture. The software will be available to the open source group in March.

    M-CORD, one of a few CORD projects at On.Lab, aims to set the stage for 5G with a disaggregated virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), a programmable RAN, mobile edge computing, and mobile network slicing. The goal is to help bring the CORD framework to the mobile edge of the network for 5G services.

  • Radisys Announces Open Source LTE Radio Access Network (RAN) Software for the Mobile-CORD (M-CORD) Project
  • Radisys and China Unicom Collaborate on Mobile CORD (M-CORD) Implementation for 5G Services
  • Singapore IT bosses turn to open source

    In order to successfully compete in the age of the customer and continue to deliver world-class operational capabilities, senior IT decision makers from Singapore plan to focus on three IT and business priorities in the next 12 months.

    These include reducing cost and improving operational efficiency (78%); improving their organization’s ability to innovate (46%); and improving customer experience (46%).

    These three priorities have been reflected in respondents’ strategic IT initiatives in the next 12 months to transform both internal and customer facing technologies.

    Three-fourths (76%) identified integration of back-end systems-of-record with customer-facing mobile and web systems-of-engagement as a high or critical priority.

    More than half (56%) identified modernization of key legacy applications as a high or critical priority.

  • An AI Hedge Fund Created a New Currency to Make Wall Street Work Like Open Source

    Wall Street is a competition, a Darwinian battle for the almighty dollar. Gordon Gekko said that greed is good, that it captures “the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” A hedge fund hunts for an edge and then maniacally guards it, locking down its trading data and barring its traders from joining the company next door. The big bucks lie in finding market inefficiencies no one else can, succeeding at the expense of others. But Richard Craib wants to change that. He wants to transform Wall Street from a cutthroat competition into a harmonious collaboration.

  • This Is The World’s First Cryptocurrency Issued By A Hedge Fund
  • Hedge Fund Numerai Launches its Own Cryptocurrency
  • Ubuntu Developer to Unveil Crypto Micropayments Concept [Ed: Article may have been removed]
  • Meet the chap open-sourcing US govt code – Paul, an ex-Microsoft anti-piracy engineer [Ed: Used to work for Microsoft and now spreads the GPL ("cancer" according to Microsoft) in the US government]

    The manager of the project, Berg said, really wanted to release MOOSE as open source, but didn’t know how to do so. As a result it took 18 months to traverse government bureaucracy and to obtain the necessary permissions. It’s now available under the GPL 2.1 license.

  • Another option for file sharing

    Existing mechanisms for file sharing are so fragmented that people waste time on multi-step copying and repackaging. With the new project Upspin, we aim to improve the situation by providing a global name space to name all your files. Given an Upspin name, a file can be shared securely, copied efficiently without “download” and “upload”, and accessed by anyone with permission from anywhere with a network connection.

  • Google Developing “Upspin” Framework For Naming/Sharing Files

    Google today announced an experimental project called Upspin that’s aiming for next-generation file-sharing in a secure manner.

  • Google releases open source file sharing project ‘Upspin’ on GitHub

    Believe it or not, in 2017, file-sharing between individuals is not a particularly easy affair. Quite frankly, I had a better experience more than a decade ago sending things to friends and family using AOL Instant Messenger. Nowadays, everything is so fragmented, that it can be hard to share.

    Today, Google unveils yet another way to share files. Called “Upspin,” the open source project aims to make sharing easier for home users. With that said, the project does not seem particularly easy to set up or maintain. For example, it uses Unix-like directories and email addresses for permissions. While it may make sense to Google engineers, I am dubious that it will ever be widely used.

  • Google devs try to create new global namespace

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a universal and consistent way to give names to files stored on the Internet, so they were easy to find? A universal resource locator, if you like?

    The problem is that URLs have been clunkified, so Upspin, an experimental project from some Google engineers, offers an easier model: identifying files to users and paths, and letting the creator set access privileges.

  • Netflix treats security ills with Stethoscope: Open-source self-probing tool

    Netflix has released the source code of a web application called Stethoscope for evaluating the security of mobile and desktop computing devices.

    The software, covered by the Apache 2.0 license, intended for employees of organizations that use a device management service. Netflix hopes that employees using the toolkit will learn from it and apply the app’s recommendations to personal devices that are not under active management.

  • ReactOS 0.5 Open Source Windows-Compatible OS to Offer Windows Vista-Like Style

    ReactOS 0.4.4 arrived last week as the latest maintenance update to the stable 0.4 series of the open source Windows-compatible operating system, bringing better rendering for many applications and initial printing support.

  • 6 open source tools I use on my Windows machine

    In most of the places I have worked there has been a centralized computer and application standard that was more or less mandatory for all employees. There are benefits of such an environment, which I will not go into in this piece, but for me, as an open source and Linux enthusiast, I try to use the tools I’m used to and like.

    So, I immediately install my favorite applications when I receive a new standardized Windows-based work computer, something I have been lucky enough to be allowed to do.

  • Events

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Basic Rules to Streamline Open Source Compliance For Software Development

      Companies will almost certainly face challenges establishing their open source compliance program. In this series of articles, based on The Linux Foundation’s e-book, Open Source Compliance in the Enterprise, we discuss some of the most common challenges, and offer recommendations on how to overcome them.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Building an Open Source Eco-Village

      People involved in the maker movement are coming up with all sorts ideas to both help the planet and improves people’s lives — such as this idea for an open source village.

  • Programming/Development

    • Best practices for guiding new coders

      As the new year progresses, many free and open source projects are turning their attention to various formalized mentoring programs, such as Mozilla’s Winter of Security, Outreachy, and (the program with my favorite name) the X.Org Endless Vacation of Code. Patterned after the success of Google’s Summer of Code, these programs give many new programmers a chance to gain firsthand experience working within successful FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) projects and the projects themselves access to fresh talent.

    • Developing an nrf51822 based embedded device with Qt Creator and Debian

      I’m currently developing an nRF51822-based embedded device. Being one the Qt/Qt Creator maintainers in Debian I would of course try to use it for the development. Turns out it works pretty good… with some caveats.

    • Qt’s Roadmap For 2017: Graphics, An Exciting Qt 5.9/5.10

      Tuukka Turunen of The Qt Company has shared some of the project’s goals for the 2017 calendar year in delivering Qt 5.9 and Qt 5.10 along with more point releases.

      Qt developers hope to make 2017 exciting by shipping Qt 5.9 in May and their hope is to ship Qt 5.10 this November.

    • Intend to retire perl-Log-Any-Adapter-Dispatch

Leftovers

  • Why I Don’t Talk to Google Recruiters

    This is a real story, and it’s not only about Google. I’m getting emails from recruiters at Amazon, Facebook, and smaller Silicon Valley startups. They find me somehow, most likely through this blog, my books, or my GitHub account. They always start with “We’re so impressed by your profile” and finish with “Let’s schedule an interview.” I always reply with the same text, and they always disappear, only to come back in a few months under a different name. Let me explain my reasons; maybe you will do the same and we can change this situation in the industry.

  • On Killers and Bullshitters*

    We’re living in a very weird and convoluted moment in the annals of truth and bullshit. For some reason Americans saddled themselves with a rich and obnoxious reality TV star significantly unmoored from reality. A George W. Bush aide famously told a reporter: We’re an empire now and we make our own reality. Maybe it’s an axiom of our age: The wealthy and powerful have the right to make their own reality. As for the poor and the powerless, the same condition of being unmoored from reality is generally linked with what we call “mental illness,” which leads to marginalization, institutionalization or incarceration.

    The same corrupt double standard works in the realm of violence. I‘ve been writing for decades about the killing our government has officially undertaken in places like Vietnam and Iraq and in smaller venues. I’ve always liked the bumper sticker that says: Kill One Person It’s Murder; Kill 100,000 It’s Foreign Policy. In my thinking, it isn’t a joke; it’s more like the Rules Of Engagement.

    For me, the exemplary culprit in this equation is Henry Kissinger and the cold-blooded slaughter of millions of Vietnamese in a war that really makes no sense at all. (I challenge anyone to tell me what the Vietnamese ever did to us other than work as our ally against the Japanese in World War Two.) The most truthful narrative is that the Vietnamese were betrayed and attacked by the United States, one, to support French re-colonization after WWII, and, two, because US leaders felt compelled to dominate the wrecked post-WWII world. To recognize Vietnamese nationalism and the Vietnamese urge for freedom was too complicated for our fearful and reductive Cold War mindset. Rich and powerful, we ended up killing millions of Vietnamese in an ultimately failed effort to impose our reality — although in the end the Vietnamese developed excellent capitalistic instincts.

  • Science

    • Separation from your phone ‘makes you stressed within minutes’

      Psychologists have found that the answer is probably only a few minutes – at least among people aged 18 to 26.

      In a study, people whose phones were taken away from them were more likely to show “stress behaviour” than those who had their phones on them.

      Participants who were given another mobile showed less signs of stress too, even though it wasn’t their own phone.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • European Commission Public Consultation On Plan To Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

      The European Commission has launched a call for comments on its proposed plan to help EU members fight antimicrobial resistance.

      In mid-2017, the European Commission is launching a Commission Communication on a One Health Action Plan to support Member States in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

      The communication will be directed towards European Parliament and European Council. Public consultation from any citizens or organisations is welcome through 28 April, and is available through a questionnaire assessing the opinions of individuals on activities related to the European Commission’s action plan, according to a Commission announcement.

    • We must punish those guilty of Female Genital Mutilation

      There are four types of FGM, all four types are barbaric and there are no health benefits in forcing young girls and women to go through with this. The ages at which girls are mutilated can range from babies to young women, and an elder, ‘the cutter,’ in their communities, with no painkillers to numb the pain, will cut them with a rusty blade.

      The reasons given are always ‘social and cultural’ with little or no focus on religion. Religion is the common denominator in all 30 countries where FGM is concentrated. The three top countries are Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia and while their cultural and social norms will differ vastly, the religion will be the same.

      It is at this point that many will argue, ‘Yes but Christians also cut their girls.’ Even though there is no demand from Christian countries to do this nor is there any biblical call for FGM.

    • Mysterious radiation spreading across Europe after authorities keep it secret

      Mysterious radioactive spikes are being found across Europe – and nobody quite knows why.

      Iodine-131, a man-made radioactive material, is being found in small amounts across the continent. It was found in northern Norway early in January, according to officials, but has been gradually moving across the rest of Europe ever since.

      But despite finding the material in January, authorities didn’t announce that it had been found until recent days. That might be because it isn’t at all clear where it has come from or how it got to be spread out.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 95 in Stretch cycle
    • Kaspersky: No whiff of Linux in our OS because we need new start to secure IoT [Ed: Kaspersky repeats the same anti-Linux rhetoric he used years ago to market itself, anti-Linux Liam Tung recycles]

      Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, says its new KasperskyOS for securing industrial IoT devices does not contain “even the slightest smell of Linux”, differentiating it from many other IoT products that have the open-source OS at the core.

    • Russian security company to compete with Microsoft via new OS
    • KasperskyOS “11-11” Released After 14 Years Of Development — Here Are Best Features
    • KasperskyOS aims to secure the billions of forgotten network devices
    • Intent-Based Security Gains Momentum at RSA

      It isn’t a buzzphrase on par with “artificial intelligence” yet, but intent-based security has been gathering steam, as evidenced at this week’s RSA Conference.

      Startups such as Illumio, Twistlock, and vArmour have staked their plans on intent-based security, and at least one established player, Fortinet, is steering its portfolio in that direction.

    • 5 open source security tools too good to ignore

      Open source is a wonderful thing. A significant chunk of today’s enterprise IT and personal technology depends on open source software. But even while open source software is widely used in networking, operating systems, and virtualization, enterprise security platforms still tend to be proprietary and vendor-locked. Fortunately, that’s changing.

      If you haven’t been looking to open source to help address your security needs, it’s a shame—you’re missing out on a growing number of freely available tools for protecting your networks, hosts, and data. The best part is, many of these tools come from active projects backed by well-known sources you can trust, such as leading security companies and major cloud operators. And many have been tested in the biggest and most challenging environments you can imagine.

    • What’s the best Linux firewall distro of 2017?

      You don’t have to manage a large corporate network to use a dedicated firewall. While your Linux distro will have an impressive firewall – and an equally impressive arsenal of tools to manage it – the advantages don’t extend to the other devices on your network. A typical network has more devices connected to the internet than the total number of computers and laptops in your SOHO. With the onslaught of IoT, it won’t be long before your router doles out IP addresses to your washing machine and microwave as well.

      The one thing you wouldn’t want in this Jetsonian future is having to rely on your router’s limited firewall capabilities to shield your house – and everyone in it – from the malicious bits and bytes floating about on the internet.

      A dedicated firewall stands between the internet and internal network, sanitising the traffic flowing into the latter. Setting one up is an involved process both in terms of assembling the hardware and configuring the software. However, there are quite a few distros that help you set up a dedicated firewall with ease, and we’re going to look at the ones that have the best protective open source software and roll them into a convenient and easy to use package.

    • Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls

      The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks.

      On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.

    • Microsoft: no plans to patch known bugs before March [Ed: Microsoft is keeping open ‘back doors’ that are publicly known about, not just secret ones]

      Microsoft has no plans to issue updates for two vulnerabilities, one a zero-day and the other being one publicised by Google, before the scheduled date for its next round of updates rolls around in March.

      The company did not issue any updates in February, even though it had been scheduled to switch to a new system from this month onwards.

      It gave no reason for this, apart from saying: “This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

      “After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan.”

      The Google-disclosed bug was made public last week, and is said to be a flaw in the Windows graphic device interface library that can be exploited both locally and remotely to read the contents of a user’s memory.

    • Microsoft issues critical security patches, but leaves zero-day flaws at risk

      Microsoft has patched “critical” security vulnerabilities in its browsers, but has left at least two zero-day flaws with public exploit code.

      The software giant released numerous patches late on Tuesday to fix flaws in Adobe Flash for customers using Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 and later, as well as Edge for Windows 10.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Michigan, where did our winter wonderland go?

      About a half-dozen plows moved snow around on the frozen surface of Whitmore Lake in early February, forming the borders for 20 ice rinks.

      Temperatures rose steadily over the next few days, going from about 30 degrees to the high 30s, then into the 40s and 50s. It rained.

      The organizers of the Michigan Pond Hockey Classic, a charity tournament that brings up to 7,000 people to Whitmore Lake every year, postponed the event over concerns about thin ice but eventually had to cancel it all together, another casualty of an unusually warm winter in the Mitten State.

      From ice hockey to ice fishing and snowmobiling, many beloved outdoor wintertime activities have taken a hit this year, especially in the lower half of the Lower Peninsula.

    • Alarm as haze from Indonesian fires spreads in Southeast Asia News DW.COM

      Smoke over swathes of Indonesia and Singapore was “tracking close to 1997” with forecasts pointing to a longer dry season, NASA’s Robert Field said on Friday. For weeks, residents in the region, including Malaysians, have sought treatment for respiratory problems, with Indonesia again facing pressure from its neighbors to tackle illegal burn-offs by plantation firms and small farmers. The smog has disrupted aviation and forced school closures across the region. Southeast Asia is currently in the grip of a so-called El Nino weather phenomenon, which makes conditions drier than usual. Everything under control? On Thursday, Indonesia’s disaster chief, Willem Rampangilei, turned down a Singaporean offer to help by saying “everything was under control” and that he believed rains would arrive by early November.

  • Finance

    • Apple to Europe: It’s our job to design Ireland’s tax system, not yours

      Stop terraforming taxation, says Cupertino, and let us get on with it Apple has filed its defence against the European Commission’s claim it owes €13bn in back taxes in Ireland.

      Apple on Monday filed a defence in which it dismissed the very idea of the US$13.75/£11bn bill, calling for the total or partial annulment of the European Commission decision that set the case in motion and suggesting the Commission pay Apple’s costs into the bargain.

      Cupertino’s argument offers 14 pleas in law that collectively assert that the EU just doesn’t understand how Apple operates and thoroughly misunderstands the way it gets stuff done in Ireland.

      We therefore get familiar arguments suggesting Apple need not pay tax in Ireland because the real profit-generating work happens elsewhere. Apple Ireland “carried out only routine functions and were not involved in the development and commercialisation of Apple IP which drove profits,” says Plea 4.

    • Irish Union on European Agendas

      I was speaking with a Polish friend who is a Member of the European Parliament. He confirmed that Brexit had led to very wide support for Scottish Independence in the Parliament, across many political and national divides. He also made the interesting point that the cause of Irish reunification was again mentioned in the bars of Brussels.

      This of course makes perfect sense. With the personal and economic freedoms and common rights of EU citizenship, a sense of both the Republic and the North being inside a much wider union took the edge off some of the grievances of Irish nationalists, at least to the degree that this was a contributing argument for ceasing to pursue reunification by violence. It is a commonplace that Brexit undermines the intellectual and emotional basis of the Good Friday agreement – it certainly does. I hope Brexit will not result in renewed violence, but that it will result in a strongly renewed demand for Irish reunification I do not doubt – and I will support that demand.

    • Uber’s self-driving cars are now picking up passengers in Arizona [Ed: Uber operated at a loss to drive taxi drivers out of business. Now it gets rid of its own drivers.]

      Almost two months to the day after Uber loaded its fleet of self-driving SUVs into the trailer of a self-driving truck and stormed off to Arizona in a self-driving huff, the company is preparing to launch its second experiment (if you don’t count the aborted San Francisco pilot) in autonomous ride-hailing.

      What’s different is that this time, Uber has the blessing from Arizona’s top politician, Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, who is expected to be “Rider Zero” on an autonomous trip along with Anthony Levandowski, VP of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group. The Arizona pilot comes after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving cars because the company refused to apply for the appropriate permits for testing autonomous cars.

    • Government grants new powers to stop foreign human rights abusers buying London homes to launder their wealth

      The Government has bowed to pressure to act on evidence that London has become “a haven for the blood money of the world’s nastiest despots”.

      New powers will be given to the authorities to seize the assets of foreign human rights abusers who buy homes in Britain to funnel their ill-gotten wealth.

      However, the Home Office denied the move amounted to a US-style ‘Magnitsky Act’ – introduced after a corruption whistleblower who died in a Russian prison in suspicious circumstances.

    • Blockchain: A new hope, or just hype?

      Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin may have captured the public’s fancy – and also engendered a healthy dose of skepticism — but it is their underlying technology that is proving to be of practical benefit to organizations: the blockchain. Many industries are exploring its benefits and testing its limitations, with financial services leading the way as firms eye potential windfalls in the blockchain’s ability to improve efficiency in such things as the trading and settlement of securities. The real estate industry also sees potential in the blockchain to make homes — even portions of homes — and other illiquid assets trade and transfer more easily. The blockchain is seen as disrupting global supply chains as well, by boosting transaction speed across borders and improving transparency.

    • Leftist French lawmakers take CETA to Constitutional Council

      More than 100 French MPs decided yesterday (21 February) to appeal to the country’s Constitutional Council to block a contentious free trade deal between the European Union and Canada.

      Supporters of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) say it will boost economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. But opponents say it will lead to a race to the bottom in labour and environmental standards and allow multinational corporations to dictate public policy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • If Zuckerberg wants to rule the world, does he even need to be president?

      It is not normal for a technology chief executive to announce a new product roadmap in the form of a 5,700 word blogpost that begins with a unified theory of history and ends by quoting Abraham Lincoln. But that’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has done in his letter to the “Facebook community”, published on Thursday.

      The unusual aspects of the letter don’t stop at its length. Zuckerberg rapidly alternates between lofty statements of social principle and minor product updates. One minute, he is discussing the necessity for a strong civil society existing between the government and the people, implicitly rebutting Margaret Thatcher; the next, he is discussing the need for the administrators of Facebook groups to be able to support “sub-communities”, so that, for example, a Facebook group for a university can contain within it a sub-group for a particular accommodation block.

      If an attentive reader overcomes the whiplash induced by the shifts in tone, they’ll find a founder clearly concerned by the growing discontent many are feeling about Facebook’s effect on the world. Zuckerberg proposes solutions to such varied problems as Facebook’s history of heavy-handed censorship, the social network’s role in enabling and promoting fake news, and the need to prevent terrorist groups from using Facebook’s tools to recruit and co-ordinate.

    • We Could Have Had Biden

      Joe Biden would have beaten him.

      Think about why Trump won. He was by sheer accident the more or less least worst choice. Despite his behavior, he kept failing upward, right into the White House.

      A large portion of this election was about income disparity, cultural and economic displacement, a sense that the country had abandoned too much of its center. I don’t know how many of those people voted for Trump per se, but some percentage voted against for Hillary Clinton (spare me the popular vote bit, we’re dealing with the reality of the system which was here in 2016 and will be here in 2020.)

    • Are Liberals Helping Trump? Not Much, Apparently

      The article mostly talks to Trump supporters; it’s another entry in the Trump-supporters-support-Trump genre, with the twist that the supporters blame opponents for the fact that they still support Trump. Tavernise does cite some polling data well into the article, noting that Trump “has high marks among moderates who lean Republican: 70 percent approve, while 20 percent disapprove.”

    • Why the Flynn-Russia Controversy Isn’t Over Yet
    • Why the Flynn-Russia Affair Is So Troubling for Donald Trump
    • Cost of Trump family security vexes New York and Florida officials

      Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, inserted himself into the debate on Sunday, saying it costs $500,000 per day for nearly 200 police officers to protect Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which houses the Trump family business headquarters and serves as the home of the first lady, Melania Trump, and the couple’s son, Barron. The senator estimated the cost could rise to as much as $183m annually.

      At current estimates, even a four-year Trump administration could be heading for a billion dollars in taxpayer-borne costs – an eight-fold increase of the $97m Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, estimates it cost to protect Barack Obama over the two terms of his administration.

    • Defending Our Borders From Hell-Demons From Another Dimension

      “Only Trump can make Americans safe again!”

    • Socialism’s Return

      For the American left, 2016 proved to be a year with a cruel twist ending. In the first few months, a self-
described democratic socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly successful primary challenge to the Democratic Party’s presumed and eventual presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. By the end of 2016, however, not only had Sanders lost the primary race, but Clinton had been defeated in the general election by a billionaire who dressed his xenophobic and plutocratic ambitions in the garb of class resentment.

      But the apparent strength of the left wasn’t entirely an illusion. Even as late as November, the Sanders campaign had racked up a set of important victories. The Cold War had helped to entrench the idea of socialism as antithetical to the American political tradition, and Sanders had gone a long way toward smashing that ideological consensus. By identifying himself explicitly as a democratic socialist from the outset of his campaign, he helped give renewed meaning and salience to it as a political identity firmly rooted in the American tradition.

      In addition to helping end the stigma around socialism, the Sanders campaign provided a blueprint for a new generation of leftists and progressives. By running in the Democratic primary and showing that he could draw large crowds, Sanders revealed an emerging left-leaning constituency. It seemed in those early autumn months that even in defeat, Sanders had opened up the path for a more progressive Democratic Party: “Sanders Democrats” could continue to work within the party and not only protest outside it. The way forward seemed clear: After Clinton won the general election, a strengthened social-democratic left could work toward the universal provision of various social services and push for criminal-justice reforms and other key priorities.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Thiel company helped support NSA spy program: report

      Billionaire Peter Thiel’s company Palantir helped support the National Security Agency’s controversial spy program XKeyscore, according to a report in The Intercept citing previously undisclosed documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      Palantir helped build software to accelerate and increase the NSA’s use of XKeyscore, according to the documents.

      The program, first revealed by The Guardian in 2013, lets analysts search through databases of emails, online chats and browsing histories without authorization.

    • How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World

      Donald Trump has inherited the most powerful machine for spying ever devised. How this petty, vengeful man might wield and expand the sprawling American spy apparatus, already vulnerable to abuse, is disturbing enough on its own. But the outlook is even worse considering Trump’s vast preference for private sector expertise and new strategic friendship with Silicon Valley billionaire investor Peter Thiel, whose controversial (and opaque) company Palantir has long sought to sell governments an unmatched power to sift and exploit information of any kind. Thiel represents a perfect nexus of government clout with the kind of corporate swagger Trump loves. The Intercept can now reveal that Palantir has worked for years to boost the global dragnet of the NSA and its international partners, and was in fact co-created with American spies.

    • Legislation to stop U.S. border agents from demanding passwords and logins is on the way

      Privacy advocates aren’t happy with proposals for enhanced digital prying at U.S. borders, and now that issue could be taken up in the Senate.

      In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden called for accountability around reports that U.S. Customs and Border agents are obtaining the passwords to locked devices that belong to detainees at the border. Invoking the Fourth Amendment, Wyden dismissed such practices as extralegal, lacking probable cause and a warrant required for such searches.

      “There are well-established legal rules governing how law enforcement agencies may obtain data from social media companies and email providers,” Wyden wrote. “The process typically requires that the government obtain a search warrant or other court order, and then ask the service provider to turn over the user’s data.”

    • Pressure Mounts For FBI To Disclose How Much It Paid To Unlock iPhone

      The Associated Press and two other news organizations asked a judge Monday to force the federal government to reveal how much it paid for a tool to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters.

      The news organizations said in a court filing there was “no adequate justification” for the FBI to continue to withhold information on the cost of the tool or the identity of the vendor that sold it. They said their requests were narrowly tailored and, contrary to the arguments of the FBI and Justice Department, did not seek information that would jeopardize national security or be exploited by America’s enemies.

      “While it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor’s identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool, much less how such knowledge would reveal any information about the tool’s application,” lawyers for the news organizations wrote in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington.

    • London Internet Exchange members vote to block UK Snoopers’ Charter gagging order

      Members of LINX, the London Internet Exchange – the UK’s largest net “peering” point – have rejected proposals that would reshape the company’s constitution and could block members from being consulted about government tapping instructions.

      The vote, on Tuesday, followed a Reg report revealing that members had been given less than two weeks notice of a proposed change which would allow LINX’s chairman to “override” directors’ wishes and prevent members learning about controversial actions, including, according to LINX, “secret orders from the government”

      Directors of the company had urged the 740 members of LINX, mostly Internet providers from overseas, to vote for the plans without any debate or considering alternatives, during a 10-minute “Extraordinary General Meeting” (EGM) held on Tuesday.

    • NSA and CIA is the Enemy of the People

      Astute students of history understand that government agencies often further their own interests and not the administration they are designated to serve. Seldom is the genuine national security advanced when bureaucrats pledge their loyalty to their respective fiefdoms of projecting influence and power. Absent in this supremacy struggle equation is the abstract notion that state legitimacy is founded upon the will and consent of the people. Such a quaint concept does not reflect a chapter in the training manual that breeds the spooks who operate as above the law and unaccountable super spies.

      Guarding signals traffic or capturing foreign communication is a logical task to protect national secrets, while gathering information on intentions and operations from advocacies. Once upon a time the National Security Agency directed the ECHELON project as a cold war network. Over the decades the functions of electronic surveillance broadened into collection on all forms of data, no matter the source or the national origin of the subject.

    • NSA Contractors Join Privacy Shield

      Did you really think that the European Union would protect your privacy? Don’t be so naive.

      The US-EU Privacy Shield program is supposed to give EU citizens greater data protections. As I wrote previously, the Privacy Shield program has several legal loopholes, which makes it look a bit like a block of Swiss cheese.

    • Software vulnerability disclosures by NSA will continue under Trump, officials say [Ed: Relaying fake news and NSA propaganda/puff pieces. it's also a loaded headline; they harvested/weaponised zero-days, so this boils down to stenography and reputation laundering. Why is it a very big deal that the NSA sat on zero-days and did nothing? Because adversaries too could exploit these. Even if one naively believes that it's desirable for one's government to snoop on innocents, it still leaves adversaries empowered (e.g. control by blackmail)]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Rep. Sensenbrenner Thinks We Can Pay For The Border Wall With More Asset Forfeiture

      President Trump appears to have thrown his support behind asset forfeiture, even as the issue has begun reaching critical mass in the mainstream media. (It’s been thoroughly covered by more libertarian publications like Reason for years.) In addition to not being able to “see anything wrong with it,” Trump jokingly suggested he’d ruin the careers of politicians mounting reform efforts.

      His recent executive orders appear to back this “gloves off” approach to criminal justice. In addition to singling out immigrants as troublemakers, the orders ask law enforcement officials to take a look around and see if they’re being constrained by any state or federal laws. Presumably, any recent forfeiture reform legislation would fall under this heading as it prevents law enforcement agencies from acting in the way they’ve become accustomed: seize first, convict later… if at all.

    • Appeals Court Says Filming The Police Is Protected By The First Amendment

      In news that will surprise no one, police officers decided they must do something about someone filming the police department building from across the street. That’s where this Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision begins: with a completely avoidable and completely unnecessary assertion of government power.

    • Boris Johnson – an Ethics Free Zone

      The total absence of even a shadow of an ethical dimension to UK foreign policy is nowhere better illustrated than its continued relationship with the appalling Uzbek dictatorship. There is competition of course for the role of most unconscionable British policy. The support for the vicious tyrant of Bahrain and the suppression of the Bahraini Shia majority, the secret British military presence on the ground in Saudi Arabia assisting the bombing campaign that has killed thousands of children, these are sickening examples of Britain’s true role in the world.

    • Court To Cop: You Took 80 Days Away From A Person’s Life With A Baseless Warrant, So We’re Taking Your Immunity

      In 2009, April Yvette Smith was arrested on drug dealing charges and spent 80 days in jail. The charges were ultimately dropped by the district attorney, but by the time it happened, Smith had already lost her job. The same can’t be said for the officer who obtained her arrest warrant. His job was always secure. The only thing he’s lost — seven years after the fact — is his immunity from Smith’s civil rights lawsuit.

      The chain of events leading to Smith’s wrongful arrest are as horrible as they are stupid. Somewhere between Barney Fife and the banal evil of law enforcement ineptitude lies Officer Jason Munday. It starts with a “wired” confidential informant and ends in an indifferent “investigation” that sounds as though Munday just got bored sitting around the office.

    • UK Schools Experiment With Police-Style Body Cameras To Tackle ‘Low-level Background Disorder’

      Although only two UK schools are currently involved, a survey carried out by the Times Educational Supplement revealed that a third of the teachers who were asked said they would be willing to try wearing a body camera; two thirds said they would feel safer wearing it; and a tenth even thought it would eventually become compulsory for all UK teachers to use them.

    • The far-right panic: a distraction from jihadism

      But is this really the case? Youths have always aired obnoxious views to wind up adults, and this could well account for part of these figures. In any case, mouthing off is still a world away from actively organising and campaigning on far-right issues. That kind of mobilisation is completely absent today. The British National Party has disintegrated, its local council presence all but wiped out. Street-based protest groups such as the English Defense League and Britain First can barely mobilise a few hundred people for their rallies in car parks. We’re not witnessing a return to 1970s levels of far-right activity, let alone the 1930s, as one commentator recently claimed.

      [...]

      Even before Brexit, warnings of a far-right resurgence have routinely appeared in the press in recent years. Whenever there has been a terrorist atrocity carried out by jihadists, the elite response has been to raise concerns about a ‘far-right backlash’, even though none has emerged. In this way, obsessing about the far-right has become a displacement activity, a refusal to recognise that a significant minority of young Muslims are estranged from British society.

    • Iran Bans Teen Chess Siblings Over Head Scarf, Match Against Israeli

      ranian chess officials have barred two teen siblings from domestic chess tournaments and the national team for crossing some of the religious establishment’s so-called red lines at an international chess event.

      The Iranian National Chess Team dismissed 18-year-old Dorsa Derakhshani for appearing at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2017, which ran from January 23 to February 2, without the Islamic head scarf that became compulsory in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

      Her 15-year-old brother, Borna Derakhshani, was banned for playing against an Israeli opponent at the same event.

      Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and forbids Iranian athletes from competing against Israeli athletes at international sports events. Iranians in the past have cited injury or illness to avoid facing Israeli rivals.

    • Bangladesh catches Islamist convicted of blogger murder

      Bangladesh police on Monday (Feb 20) detained an Islamist who had been sentenced to death in his absence in 2015 for planning the gruesome murder of a secular blogger.

      Police said they had caught Rezwanul Azad Rana, a 34-year-old former student at one of the country’s top universities, and one other man when they raided a house in a suburb of Dhaka.

      Rana had been on the run since the start of his trial for the murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death with machetes in February 2013 in the first of a string of attacks targeting secular writers in Bangladesh.

      “The counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit of police has arrested Rana along with an assistant militant named Ashraf during a raid from a house at Uttara suburb in the capital Dhaka,” said a statement on the Dhaka police website.

    • Convicted hairdresser argues ruling should be overturned as Muslim woman takes off hijab

      Merete Hodne was initially given an £800 fine by police in October, 2015, after she refused to serve Malika Bayan in her establishment in Bryne, southwest Norway, because she was wearing a hijab.

      However the 47-year-old businessman, who said she was fully within her rights to not colour Ms Bayan’s hair, refused to pay the fine and was taken to court.

      The case has already been heard twice, as Ms Hodne appealed the ruling in September which initially found she had discriminated against the 24-year-old.

    • Speaking in Detroit, Farrakhan slams both Democrats and Trump

      Speaking to thousands gathered in Detroit on Sunday, Minister Louis Farrakhan said African-Americans shouldn’t place their faith in Democrats or Republicans, criticizing both parties for neglecting the black community.

      “Most of you are so hurt because Queen Hillary lost,” Farrakhan said at Joe Louis Arena during the final day of the annual convention of the Nation of Islam. “And some of you have cussed me out because I didn’t vote for her. I didn’t vote for Trump. I knew both of them is the same. You ain’t going to get nothing from either one, but more deceit from Hillary, but more straight talk from Trump.

      “He told you, you didn’t have nothing to lose. You’ve been a Democrat all your life and don’t have a damn thing to show for it.”

    • Clashes in Stockholm Suburb Draw Attention to Trump’s Remarks

      Residents in a northwestern suburb predominantly inhabited by immigrants have clashed with police officers, two days after President Trump unleashed a vague but pointed critique of Sweden’s migration policies.

      About 20 to 30 masked men threw stones and other objects at police officers in the suburb, Rinkeby, after the police arrested a man on suspicion of dealing drugs. A police officer fired a warning shot, but the disturbances continued for several more hours, stretching into early Tuesday morning. A photojournalist was injured in the clashes.

      The episode drew scrutiny worldwide because of Mr. Trump’s assertions — based on a Fox News segment — that Sweden had experienced a surge in crime and violence as a result of taking in large numbers of refugees. Mr. Trump’s comments were greeted with anger in Sweden, the latest example of strong criticism by the American president antagonizing friendly countries, including neighbors like Mexico and allies like Australia and the European Union.

    • Police forced to shoot at protesters as violence erupts – yet PM is in denial

      Stockholm police were forced to fire a shot into the crowd in the hard-hit suburb of Rinkeby, after a mob of around 30 began attacking officers with rocks.

      Violence erupted after the police had tried to arrest a wanted person on the subway.

    • 4 Ways To Make Sure Your Protest Really Makes A Difference

      The country is a garbage nest of rage. And no matter which side of the political pop you’re licking, the situation sure feels helpless. Too often protests devolve into dumb hostility, like the Oregon standoff or the more-recent UC Berkeley shitshow.

      But what if I told you that if you follow the rules history has laid out, protests and boycotts absolutely can work? For when you look down the annals of successful civil disobedience, a clear pattern emerges. One that I will now express to you in the following four easy steps. Grab a beer, you pitchfork-shining renegade. This is your handy guide to nut-punching The Man!

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • After Losing 10,000 Viewers Per Day, ESPN Finally Buckles To Offering Standalone Streaming Video Service

      For years now, ESPN has been the perfect personification of the cable and broadcast industry’s denial regarding cord cutting. Long propped up by a system that forces consumers to buy massive bundles of largely-unwatched channels, ESPN has struggled with the rise of streaming alternatives and sleeker, “skinny” channel bundles. The sports network, which has lost 7 million viewers in just a few years, has been trying to argue that these losses (which caused Disney stock to lose $22 billion in value in just two days at one point) are simply part of some kind of overblown, mass hallucination.

    • Ajit Pai is making the FCC more transparent — but only when it suits him

      FCC chairman Ajit Pai has had a whirlwind first month, taking immediate action to scale back net neutrality, slow broadband subsidies for low-income households, and block efforts to reform the exorbitant calling rates to prisons.

      But in the background of all of this, Pai has also made a series of changes at the commission in the name of transparency. He’s explored publishing FCC orders a month before they’re voted on, alongside a one-page summary (instead of close to one month after they’re voted on); limited the extent to which the commission can edit orders after a vote; and given commissioners more oversight of enforcement actions (fines, mostly) that punish companies for violating FCC rules

    • If New FCC Boss Ajit Pai Is So ‘Pro Consumer,’ Why Does The Telecom Industry Need To Pay People To Say So?

      On his first day new FCC Boss Ajit Pai repeatedly and breathlessly insisted that consumers and the digital divide would be his top priority. The problem: that dedication was directly contradicted by not only Pai’s past voting record at the agency, but his first actions as agency head. Out of the gate Pai undermined an FCC legal case against prison phone telecom monopolies, scrapped an FCC plan to bring competition to the cable box, killed all ongoing zero rating inquiries and began laying the ground work for killing net neutrality, and prevented nine already-approved ISPs from helping the poor via the agency’s Lifeline program.

      Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take particularly long for some news outlets to realize that Pai’s words weren’t supported by his actions. Both The Washington Post and the New York Times penned editorials blasting Pai, most notably for his ongoing disdain for net neutrality, which has broad, bipartisan support.

      Driven to defend Pai’s selection as FCC boss for obvious reasons, ISPs got right to work fighting back via their traditional weapon of choice: bullshitters for hire. Shortly after the Post and Times pieces surfaced, contrasting op-eds quickly popped up in newspapers and websites nationwide claiming Pai is actually an incredible boon to consumers, competition and innovation. Most of these op-eds failed to adequately disclose the authors’ financial ties to large broadband providers, or the fact they take money while pretending to be objective analysts — often including Congressional testimony.

  • DRM

    • Apple Says Nebraska Will Become A ‘Mecca For Hackers’ If Right To Repair Bill Passes

      Apple probably expected its heavy-handed (and stupid — more on that in a bit) “suggestion” to be taken more seriously by podunk legislators in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately for Apple, Brasch isn’t just a legislator in a state mainly known for corn and football-as-religion.

      Brasch is not only an Apple customer, but she’s a farmer who has had to deal with plenty of repair-blocking BS from companies like John Deere. She also has a background in computer science and an apparent tendency to not let corporate lawyers talk down to her.

      Not only did Apple pick the wrong legislator to threaten, its threat is incoherent. I’ve spent most of the last 15 years in the Midwest and, trust me, it would take far more than a right-to-repair bill’s passage to make Nebraska a mecca of anything. (Beyond college football, he said to head off the Cornhusker faithful most likely already demanding a retraction…)

      Then there’s the thing about “hackers.” There’s more than one type of hacker, but Apple dropped it as a pejorative term in hopes of conjuring images of hoodied figures sitting in dark rooms with the local SWAT team on speed dial and deploying some sort of encryption… you know, the evil kind.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ARIPO, OAPI To Harmonise Practices On Intellectual Property In Africa

      The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and its sister organisation, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle [African Intellectual Property Organization] (OAPI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to harmonise the intellectual property systems of the two institutions.

    • Book Review: The Informal Economy in Developing Nations – Hidden Edge of Innovation?

      Shamnad Basheer, of SpicyIP, picks up on two main themes. He cautions against, “the simplistic tendency to superimpose an existing “formal” IP appropriation regime onto the informal economy,” and, “it is foolhardy to assume that the informal sector simply needs to learn from the formal sector and formalise as quickly as possible. On the contrary, the informal economy may have important lessons for the informal economy…” Supporting innovation is important, but a formal approach to IP may not always be the answer.

    • Kenyan Regulator Cancels Leading Collective Management Licence To Streamline Music Royalties

      In a move meant streamline the collection of music royalties in Kenya, the government regulator declined to renew a 2017 licence for a leading collective organisation over unmet standards.

    • Momentum-Building: An Interview With Ruth Dreifuss On High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines

      I chaired the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health, which delivered a report to the World Health Organization in 2006. At that time I saw real momentum on the issue of access to medicines, an awareness, and a will to go further.

      However this momentum had been diminishing over the last years and the report of the High Level Panel acted as a strong push to put the issue back on the international agenda. This is the case at the World Health Organization, it cannot be ignored. We will have an opportunity to discuss the report at a side event at the World Trade Organization, and will present it at the United Nations Human Rights Council. It is very important that others take ownership of the report now.

    • Copyrights

      • European News Publishers Still Believe They Have The Right To Make Google Pay For Sending Traffic Their Way

        The European Commission is still (slowly) moving forward with its plan to dump a link tax on service providers like Google, Facebook, etc. in hopes of propping up local news outfits. The plan has been in the works for a couple of years now and it’s looking like the longer the planning goes on, the less likely it is to result in something that makes its advocates happy.

        A long report from Politico details the current state of this doomed venture. And it is doomed. Even if implemented in a way that makes news outlets happiest, the end result will be less incoming traffic from some of the most-used sites in the world. Some news agencies aren’t so sure this is the way forward.

      • Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research Finds

        A new academic study shows that piracy can have a positive effect on comic book sales under some conditions. The empirical research, which zooms in on Japanese Manga comics, suggests that sales of ongoing comics dip when pirated versions are more readily available, while those for completed series go up.

      • Court: Hosting A Pirate Site Doesn’t Equal Copyright Infringement [Ed: What authorities mean these days by "pirate site" is "site that people can upload copyright-infringing material to"]

        A Federal Court in California ruled that Steadfast is not automatically liable for hosting an alleged pirate website. In a tentative order favoring the Chicago-based hosting provider, Judge Wu fails to see sufficient evidence to support a secondary liability claim.

      • Why you should care about the Kafkaesque abomination that is the legal case against Kim Dotcom

        And the madness that is this Kafkaesque case against Kim Dotcom continues, this time the Court rules that the Police had no cause to have arrested Kim on the charges of Copyright infringement, but have given our legal sovereignty over to the United States by instead finding trumped up fraud charges as the excuse to trigger extradition.

        [...]

        The Moment of Truth had Assange, Greenwald and Edward Snowden prove without a shadow of a doubt that John Key had lied through his teeth about mass surveillance. It showed the NSA and CIA have staff here, it showed they planned to spike the sea cable and steal data directly from that feed and it showed that our GCSB went and met with the NSA to assure them the law Key had just pushed through allowed for mass surveillance despite Key telling the NZ public that it didn’t.

        But what did NZ focus on? Kim not proving Key knew he existed before he claimed to have known.

      • New Zealand Court Says Kim Dotcom Still Eligible For Extradition… But Not Over Copyright

        After quite some time, a New Zealand court has said that Kim Dotcom is eligible for extradition to the US — something he’s been fighting for over five years. But there’s a weird twist to the story. A key part of the argument that Dotcom’s lawyers have been making is that for extradition to the US, there needs to be “dual criminality” (you can hear Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, discuss this on our podcast a few months back). And, the key “crime” that Dotcom is charged with involves secondary copyright infringement (i.e., creating a platform that others use to infringe). But, that’s a problem, as there’s no criminal secondary copyright infringement under New Zealand law (nor US law, but that’s a separate issue). So, here’s the twist. The court actually agreed that there’s no such thing under New Zealand law — and said that Dotcom can’t be extradited for copyright infringement. However, the court said that he can be extradited for “fraud” because there’s dual criminality there.

02.21.17

Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Interview: Thomas Weissel Installing Plasma in Austrian Schools

      With Plasma 5 having reached maturity for widespread use we are starting to see rollouts of it in large environments. Dot News interviewed the admin behind one such rollout in Austrian schools.

    • Best Linux File Sharing Tips

      Today’s article is going to provide you with some useful Linux file sharing tips using common file sharing software. This article assumes two things. First, you’re running Ubuntu. Second, you’re comfortable typing recommended commands into a terminal window.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Now Available for Linux Lite Users, Here’s How to Install It

      Minutes after the release of Linux kernel 4.10 last evening, Jerry Bezencon from the Linux Lite project announced that users of the Ubuntu-based distribution can now install it on their machines.

      Linux 4.10 is now the most advanced kernel branch for all Linux-based operating systems, and brings many exciting new features like virtual GPU support, better writeback management, eBPF hooks for cgroups, as well as Intel Cache Allocation Technology support for the L2/L3 caches of Intel processors.

    • Wacom’s Intuos Pro To Be Supported By The Linux 4.11 Kernel

      Jiri Kosina submitted the HID updates today for the Linux 4.11 kernel cycle.

    • EXT4, Fscrypt Updates For Linux 4.11

      Ted Ts’o sent out today the feature updates for the EXT4 file-system for the Linux 4.11 merge window as well as the fscrypt file-system encryption code.

    • Ten Collabora Developers Have Contributed 39 Patches to Linux Kernel 4.10

      Today, February 20, 2017, Collabora’s Mark Filion is informing Softpedia about the contributions made by a total of ten Collabora developers to the recently released Linux 4.10 kernel.

      Linux kernel 4.10 was released on Sunday, February 19, as you should already be aware of, and it brings a whole lot of goodies to goodies, among which we can mention virtual GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) support, Intel Cache Allocation Technology support, eBPF hooks for cgroups, as well as improved writeback management.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 13.0.5 Released for Linux Gamers with over 70 Improvements, Bug Fixes

        We reported the other day that Mesa 13.0.5 3D Graphics Library will be released this week, and it looks like Collabora’s Emil Velikov announced it earlier this morning for all Linux gamers.

        Mesa 13.0.5 is a maintenance update to the Mesa 13.0 stable series of the open source graphics stack used by default in numerous, if not all GNU/Linux distributions, providing gamers with powerful drivers for their AMD Radeon, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs. It comes approximately three weeks after the Mesa 13.0.4 update.

      • mesa 13.0.5
      • R600/Radeon TGSI Shader Cache Gets Closer To Merging

        Timothy Arceri, who is now working for Valve on the open-source AMD Linux stack, has sent out the latest patches for wiring in Mesa’s GLSL on-disk shader cache for R600g/RadeonSI drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.9.2, Applications 16.12.2 and Frameworks 5.31.0 available in Chakra

        The latest updates for KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks series are now available to all Chakra users.

        Included with this update, is an update of the ncurses, readline and gnutls related group of packages, as well as many other important updates in our core repository. Be aware that during this update, your screen might turn black. If that is the case and it does not automatically restore after some time, then please switch to tty3 with Ctrl+Alt+F3 and then switch back to the Plasma session with Ctrl+Alt+F7. If that does not work, please give enough time for the upgrade to complete before shutting down. You can check your cpu usage using ‘top’ after logging in within tty3. You can reboot within tty3 using ‘shutdown –reboot’.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.2 and KDE Applications 16.12.2, More

        The developers behind the Chakra GNU/Linux operating system have announced today the immediate availability of all the latest KDE technologies released this month in the stable repositories of the distribution.

        Yes, we’re talking about the KDE Plasma 5.9.2 desktop environment, KDE Applications 16.12.2 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and KDE Development Platform 4.14.29, all of which can be found in your Chakra GNU/Linux’s repos if you want to run the newest KDE software.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • The Smallest Server Suite Gets Special Edition with PHP 7.0.15, Apache 2.4.25

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia about the availability of a special edition of the TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) Live Linux operating system.

        Carrying the same version number as the original TheSSS release, namely 21.0, and dubbed TheSSS7, the new flavor ships with more recent PHP packages from the 7.0.x series. Specifically, TheSSS7 includes PHP 7.0.15, while TheSSS comes with PHP 5.6.30.

      • Descent OS Is Dead, Arkas OS Takes Its Place and It’s Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Some of you out there might remember the Descent OS distro created by Brian Manderville and based on the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, and today we have some bad news for them as the development is now officially closed.

        Descent OS first appeared in February 2012 as a lightweight Ubuntu derivative built around the GNOME 2 desktop environment. Back then, it was known as Descent|OS, and was quite actively developed with new features and components borrowed from the latest Ubuntu releases.

      • Black Lab Linux 8.1 Out Now with LibreOffice 5.3, It’s Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Softpedia was informed today by the Black Lab Software project about the general availability of the first point release to the Black Lab Linux 8.0 operating system series.

        Serving as a base release to the company’s enterprise offerings and equipped with all the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Black Lab Linux 8.1 comes with up-to-date components and the latest security patches ported from Ubuntu’s repositories as of February 15, 2017.

        “Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 8.1. Our first incremental release to the 8.0 series. In this release we have brought all security updates up to Feb 15, 2017, as well as application updates,” said Roberto J. Dohnert, CEO of Black Lab Software.

      • Parrot 3.5 – Call For Betatesters

        We did our best to prepare these preview images including all the updates and the new features introduced since the last release, but now we need your help to understand how to make it even better, and of course we need your help to understand if there is something that doesn’t work as expected or something that absolutely needs to be included in the final release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • SSM uses Red Hat technology to modernise IT infrastructure

        RED Hat, Inc, a provider of open source solutions, announced that it has been selected by Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) to support the development of a new and advanced gateway for the registration of companies and businesses in Malaysia.

        Mesiniaga Bhd, a systems integrator with 35 years of experience, is the primary implementer for this initiative.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 27 Aiming To Drop Out Alpha Releases

          In a similar effort to Ubuntu itself not issuing alpha/beta releases the past few years as they focused on the quality of their daily ISOs instead, Fedora developers have been discussing a similar maneuver of beginning to drop alpha releases from their schedule.

          Beginning with Fedora 27 we could see no more alpha releases, if the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee approves of this change. The focus would be on ensuring Fedora Rawhide is always in good shape and save on release engineering time and other resources with putting out alpha builds.

        • Fedora macbook pro testers++

          In the final run-up to the Fedora 25 release, we slipped a week because there was a bug in installs on apple osx (now macos again) hardware. This was (and is) a use case the Workstation working group cares about, as they would love for folks with apple hardware to install Fedora and use it on that hardware. Sadly, we don’t have too many testers with this hardware to help our testing cycles, and many community members with this hardware also are using it day to day and cannot afford to reinstall and test at the drop of a hat.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • IOTA: IoT revolutionized with a Ledger

            Ever since the introduction of digital money, the world quickly came to realize how dire and expensive the consequences of centralized systems are. Not only are these systems incredibly expensive to maintain, they are also “single points of failures” which expose a large number of users to unexpected service interruptions, fraudulent activities and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious hackers.

            Thanks to Blockchain, which was first introduced through Bitcoin in 2009, the clear benefits of a decentralized and “trustless” transactional settlement system became apparent. No longer should expensive trusted third parties be used for handling transactions, instead, the flow of money should be handled in a direct, Peer-to-Peer fashion. This concept of a Blockchain (or more broadly, a distributed ledger) has since then become a global phenomenon attracting billions of dollars in investments to further develop the concept.

          • Return Home and Unify: My Case for Unity 8
          • Can netbooks be cool again?

            Earlier this week, my colleague Chaim Gartenberg covered a laptop called the GPD Pocket, which is currently being funded on Indiegogo. As Chaim pointed out, the Pocket’s main advantage is its size — with a 7-inch screen, the thing is really, really small — and its price, a reasonable $399. But he didn’t mention that the Pocket is the resurrection of one of the most compelling, yet fatally flawed, computing trends of the ‘00s: the netbook. So after ten years, are netbooks finally cool again? That might be putting it too strongly, but I’m willing to hope.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rewriting the history of free software and computer graphics

    Do you remember those days in the early nineties when most screensavers were showing flying 3D metallic logotypes? Did you have one?

    In this article, I want to go back in time and briefly revise the period in the history of computer graphics (CG) development when it transitioned from research labs to everyone’s home computer. The early and mid-1990s was the time when Aldus (before Adobe bought the company) was developing PageMaker for desktop publishing, when Pixar created ToyStory, and soon after 3D modeling and animation software Maya by Alias|Wavefront (acquired by Autodesk). It was also a moment when we got two very different models of CG development, one practiced by the Hollywood entertainment industry and one practiced by corporations like Adobe and Autodesk.

    By recalling this history, I hope to be able to shed new light on the value of free software for CG, such as Blender or Synfig. Maybe we can even re-discover the significance of one implicit freedom in free software: a way for digital artists to establish relations with developers.

    [...]

    The significance of free software for CG

    On the backdrop of this history, free software like Blender, Synfig, Krita, and other projects for CG gain significance for several reasons that stretch beyond the four freedoms that free software gives.

    First, free software allows the mimicking of the Hollywood industry’s models of work while making it accessible for more individuals. It encourages practice-based CG development that can fit individual workflows and handle unexpected circumstances that emerge in the course of work, rather than aiming at a mass product for all situations and users. Catering to an individual’s needs and adaptations of the software brings users work closer to craft and makes technology more human. Tools and individual skill can be continuously polished, shaped, and improved based on individual needs, rather than shaped by decisions “from above.”

  • ONF unveils Open Innovation Pipeline to counter open source proprietary solutions

    ONF and ON.Lab claim the OIP initiative to bolster open source SDN, NFV and cloud efforts being hampered by open source-based proprietary work.

    Tapping into an ongoing merger arrangement with Open Networking Lab, the Open Networking Foundation recently unveiled its Open Innovation Pipeline targeted at counteracting the move by vendors using open source platforms to build proprietary solutions.

  • [FreeDOS] The readability of DOS applications

    Web pages are mostly black-on-white or dark-gray-on-white, but anyone who has used DOS will remember that most DOS applications were white-on-blue. Sure, the DOS command line was white-on-black, but almost every popular DOS application used white-on-blue. (It wasn’t really “white” but we’ll get there.) Do an image search for any DOS application from the 1980s and early 1990s, and you’re almost guaranteed to yield a forest of white-on-blue images like these:

  • More about DOS colors

    In a followup to my discussion about the readability of DOS applications, I wrote an explanation on the FreeDOS blog about why DOS has sixteen colors. That discussion seemed too detailed to include on my Open Source Software & Usability blog, but it was a good fit for the FreeDOS blog.

  • Building a $4 billion company around open source software: The Cloudera story

    Dr Amr Awadallah is the Chief Technology Officer of Cloudera, a data management and analytics platform based on Apache Hadoop. Before co-founding Cloudera in 2008, Awadallah served as Vice President of Product Intelligence Engineering at Yahoo!, running one of the very first organizations to use Hadoop for data analysis and business intelligence. Awadallah joined Yahoo! after the company acquired his first startup, VivaSmart, in July 2000.

    With the fourth industrial revolution upon us—where the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres are blurred by the world of big data and the fusion of technologies—Cloudera finds itself among the band of companies that are leading this change. In this interview with Enterprise Innovation, the Cloudera co-founder shares his insights on the opportunities and challenges in the digital revolution and its implications for businesses today; how organizations can derive maximum value from their data while ensuring their protection against risks; potential pitfalls and mistakes companies make when using big data for business advantage; and what lies beyond big data analytics.

  • What we (think we) know about meritocracies

    “Meritocracy,” writes Christopher Hayes in his 2012 book Twilight of the Elites, “represents a rare point of consensus in our increasingly polarized politics. It undergirds our debates, but is never itself the subject of them, because belief in it is so widely shared.” Meritocratic thinking, in other words, is prevalent today; thinking rigorously about meritocracy, however, is much more rare.

  • A new perspective on meritocracy

    Meritocracy is a common element of open organizations: They prosper by fostering a less-hierarchical culture where “the best ideas win.” But what does meritocracy really mean for open organizations, and why does it matter? And how do open organizations make meritocracy work in practice? Some research and thinking I’ve done over the last six months have convinced me such questions are less simple—and perhaps more important—than may first meet the eye.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Summit Boston: Vote for Presentations

      The next OpenStack Summit takes place in Boston, MA (USA) in May (8.-11.05.2017). The “Vote for Presentations” period started already. All proposals are now again up for community votes. The period will end February 21th at 11:59pm PST (February 22th at 8:59am CEST).

    • [FOSDEM] Libreboot

      Libreboot is free/opensource boot firmware for laptops, desktops and servers, on multiple platforms and architectures. It replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware commonly found in computers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3.3 RELEASE Now Available!

      We are happy to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.3.3!

      This is a maintenance release in the 2.3.x series, bringing numerous stability and bug fixes, fixes for a handful of security issues in the GUI, and a handful of new features. The full list of changes is on the 2.3.3 New Features and Changes page, including a list of FreeBSD and internal security advisories addressed by this release.

      This release includes fixes for 101 bugs, 14 Features, and 3 Todo items.

      If you haven’t yet caught up on the changes in 2.3.x, check out the Features and Highlights video. Past blog posts have covered some of the changes, such as the performance improvements from tryforward, and the webGUI update.

    • NetBSD Accomplishes Reproducible Builds

      A lot of Linux distributions have been focusing on reproducible builds support in the past few years — ensuring individuals can rebuild a bit-for-bit replica of the original source code. NetBSD has now accomplished their operating system can be built in a reproducible build fashion.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Three new FOSS umbrella organisations in Europe

      So far, the options available to a project are either to establish its own organisation or to join an existing organisation, neither of which may fit well for the project. The existing organisations are either specialised in a specific technology or one of the few technology-neutral umbrella organisations in the US, such as Software in the Public Interest, the Apache Software Foundation, or the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). If there is already a technology-specific organisation (e.g. GNOME Foundation, KDE e.V., Plone Foundation) that fits a project’s needs, that may well make a good match.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • ESA affirms Open Access policy for images, videos and data / Digital Agenda

        ESA today announced it has adopted an Open Access policy for its content such as still images, videos and selected sets of data.

        For more than two decades, ESA has been sharing vast amounts of information, imagery and data with scientists, industry, media and the public at large via digital platforms such as the web and social media. ESA’s evolving information management policy increases these opportunities.

        In particular, a new Open Access policy for ESA’s information and data will now facilitate broadest use and reuse of the material for the general public, media, the educational sector, partners and anybody else seeking to utilise and build upon it.

  • Programming/Development

    • Key Traits of the Coming Delphi For Linux Compiler

      Embarcadero is about to release a new Delphi compiler for the Linux platform. Here are some of the key technical elements of this compiler, and the few differences compared to Delphi compilers for other platforms.

Leftovers

  • Surprising no one, Los Angeles is the most gridlocked city in the world

    In Los Angeles, every day brings a new carmageddon. The portmanteau was originally coined to describe a weekend in July 2012, when a section of 405 Freeway was closed for massive widening project. The traffic apocalypse turned out not to be as bad as predicted, but the additional lanes of freeway did nothing to alleviate LA’s legendary traffic woes. In fact, one could argue they’ve only gotten worse. According to a study released today, the City of Angels held the dubious distinction of ranking No. 1 for traffic congestion in the entire world.

    LA was the most gridlocked city in the world, with drivers spending 104 hours in congestion in 2016 during peak time periods, according to a massive review of global traffic data by analytics firm INRIX. That’s four whole days (plus eight hours) stuck in traffic. In that amount of time, you could watch Joel Schumacher’s 1993 Falling Down, in which an LA traffic jam spurs Michael Douglas into a spasm of rage-filled violence, over 50 times. Cool!

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Florida Supreme Court Reminds Politicians That Women Are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

      The state’s high court blocked a law that unnecessarily makes women wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

      Every day, people face important medical decisions. When tough choices arise, we consult with our health care providers about the pros and cons of different treatment options. We meditate on our goals and fears. Some of us will turn to family or friends for advice. Some of us will pray.

      No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion.

    • Hospital cuts planned in most of England

      Hospital services in nearly two-thirds of England could be cut or scaled back, BBC analysis of local plans shows.

      The proposals have been made by NHS bosses as part of a national programme to transform the health service and save money.

      They include everything from full closures of hospitals to cutting some specialist services such as accident and emergency and stroke care.

  • Security

    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Hackers take over microphones on Windows PCs to steal data

      Hackers targeting people in Ukraine have come up with something unusual: they use the microphones on Windows PCs to steal audio recordings of conversations, screenshots, documents and passwords.

      The cyber security firm CyberX calls it Operation BugDrop because the malware eavesdrops by controlling microphones — bugging its targets — and uses Dropbox to store the data that it steals.

      In a blog post, the company said it had confirmed that at least 70 people, from various sectors like critical infrastructure, media and scientific research, had fallen victim to the malware that was carrying out the cyber surveillance.

      While malware that takes over video cameras on PCs or laptops can be blocked by placing a piece of tape over the camera, the microphone on a PC or laptop requires dismantling to disable.

    • Trump’s Cybersecurity Plan is a Big No-Show at Key Event

      Tens of thousands of cyber professionals, academics, and a handful of public servants have swarmed downtown San Francisco for the annual RSA Conference — one of the largest digital and cyber security events of its kind.

      But trying to find a representative from the 3-week-old White House in the convention halls is like playing a game of Where’s Waldo. None appeared to attend, and panels discussing cybersecurity policy worked off of leaked drafts of an executive order abandoned by President Donald Trump’s administration.

      The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether it had sent a representative to San Francisco for the week, and previous requests for comment on plans for the cybersecurity executive order went unanswered.

      Rudy Giuliani serves as White House cyber security adviser, though he has said little publicly on the topic since being appointed.

    • using yubikeys everywhere

      Everybody is getting real excited about yubikeys recently, so I figured I should get excited, too. I have so far resisted two factor authorizing everything, but this seemed like another fun experiment. There’s a lot written about yubikeys and how you should use one, but nothing I’ve read answered a few of the specific questions I had.

      It’s not a secret I’ve had a dim view of two factor auth, although many of my gripes are about implementation details. I think a lot of that remains true. Where two factor auth perhaps might succeed is in limiting the damage of phishing attacks. I like to think of myself as a little too savvy for most phishing attacks. That’s sadly true of most phishing victims as well, but really: I don’t use webmail. I don’t have any colleagues sharing documents with me. I read my mail in a terminal, thus on the rare occasion that I copy and paste a link, I see exactly the URL I’m going to, not the false text between the a tags. Nevertheless, if everybody else recommends secure tokens, I should at least consider getting on board with that recommendation. But not before actually trying these things out.

      To begin with, I ordered two yubikeys. One regular sized 4 and one nano. I wanted to play with different form factors to see which is better for various uses, and I wanted to test having a key and a backup key. Everybody always talks about having one yubikey. And then if you lose it, terrible things happen. Can this problem be alleviated with two keys? I’m also very curious what happens when I try to login to a service with my phone after enabling U2F.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Last man standing: McMaster for NSA?

      As I said at the end of my Friday post, once Trump was turned down by Harward, it became more likely that he would turn to the active duty military for his 3rd pick for the job. McMaster is among the best of them out there. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he wrote one of the best books on the Vietnam War, Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.

    • Democrats, Liberals Catch McCarthyistic Fever

      Democrats and liberals are so angry about President Trump that they are turning to McCarthyistic tactics without regard to basic fairness or the need to avoid a costly and dangerous New Cold War, notes Daniel Lazare.

    • Former Swedish PM: More murders in Florida where Trump spoke than in Sweden last year

      Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt responded to President Trump’s remarks on Sweden again — this time with statistics on the country’s crime rates.

      In a tweet Monday morning, Bildt said the counties Trump made the speech at in Florida experienced higher murder rates last year than the whole country of Sweden did.

      “Last year there were app 50% more murders only in Orlando/Orange in Florida, where Trump spoke the other day, than in all of Sweden. Bad,” Bildt tweeted.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange must reduce ‘meddling’ in US policies while in Ecuadorian embassy – Moreno to RT (EXCLUSIVE)

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is sheltered in Ecuador’s embassy in London, should reduce meddling in the policies of countries Ecuador has friendly relations with, the frontrunner for Ecuador’s presidential elections, Lenin Moreno, told RT.

      [...]

      Moreno, who is so far leading in the count in the presidential elections in Ecuador which took place Sunday, may still have to face a second round of voting against his rival, former banker Guillermo Lasso, of the Conservative party.

      Moreno, a disabled former vice president, received 39.12 percent of valid votes out of 40 percent needed to win outright, the official preliminary election count, issued on Monday morning, showed, Reuters reported. Lasso, in turn, had 28.30 percent of the votes. At that point, 88.5 percent of votes were counted.

    • Federal Court Rules Against Public.Resource.Org, Says Public Safety Laws Can Be Locked Behind Paywalls

      Everyone should be able to read the law, discuss it, and share it with others, without having to pay a toll or sign a contract. Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, a federal district court has said otherwise, ruling that private organizations can use copyright to control access to huge portions of our state and federal laws. The court ordered Public.Resource.Org to stop providing public access to these key legal rules.

      Public.Resource.org has one mission: to improve public access to government documents, including our laws. To fulfill that mission, it acquires and posts online a wide variety of public documents including regulations that have become law through “incorporation by reference,” meaning that they are initially created through private standards organizations and later incorporated into federal law. Those regulations are often difficult to access because they aren’t published in the federal code, but they are vitally important. For example, they include the rules that govern the safety of buildings and consumer products, promote energy efficiency, and control the design of standardized tests for students and employees.

    • Chinese whistleblower granted political asylum

      ‘Rebecca’ Jun Mei Wu has told SBS News she is relieved to have been granted asylum in Australia.

      Ms Wu worked for the digital arm of the People’s Daily state media empire from 2012 to 2016. She fled the city of Wuhan for Sydney after being detained and questioned by security officers over her affiliation with an underground Protestant church.

      “I’m very thankful to the Australian government for saving me from certain imprisonment in China,” Ms Wu told SBS.

      “My relatives are still under surveillance back home. The situation journalists face in China is dire.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • After Advancing Scott Pruitt Confirmation, Senator Heads Over to Energy Lobbyist Fundraiser

      Jody Gale and Joe Vacapoli, two lobbyists from Farragut Partners, were seen arriving at the Barrasso fundraiser together. Former Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who resigned in disgrace after mounting ethics scandals, joined the firm last year, and was also at the event with Barrasso. Farragut Partners represents Energy Future Holdings and Southern Company, two utilities that rely heavily on coal-fueled power plants and have clashed with environmental regulators.

      Another lobbyist, Conrad Lass, who represents the trade group for Chevron and ExxonMobil, was listed on the event invitation as a host.

      Barrasso, the new chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has — like Pruitt — advanced oil and gas industry agenda items by moving to block environmental regulations. Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show that Barrasso collected over $1.1 million from the oil, gas, mining, and utility industries in the last campaign cycle.

  • Finance

    • ‘No deal’ Brexit would mean £6bn in extra costs for UK exporters
    • The day Britain died: Brexit, Trump and Scottish independence

      Last week a Rubicon was crossed as the House of Commons voted 494 to 122 – a government majority of 372 – to give a third reading to triggering Article 50.

      Just as seriously on the same day – Wednesday February 8th 2017 – the UK government reneged on its promise to take 3,000 child refugees (what was called the Dubs amendment) and slashed the number to 350. If that wasn’t enough the Commons at the same time voted to refuse to offer any guarantees to EU citizens living in the UK: content to use them as pawns in a high power poker game.

      It is going to be difficult for many in Scotland, and for many ‘openDemocracy’ readers, but Britain is over. There is no way back. Last week the very idea of Britain as outgoing, welcoming, doing the right thing, looking after the most vulnerable and being driven by a sense of humanity, was not only trashed but finally and fatally died.

      All of this requires that we get real about the debate here and recognise that we need to be tolerant, serious and embrace detail and facts, not faith and assertion. Unless the UK does an about turn on Brexit and Scotland, indyref2 is inevitable. The only issue will be timing and context.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Will Keith Ellison Move the Democrats Left?

      “Here’s the interesting thing about Islam,” Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman currently running for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, said. It was a sunny, gelid afternoon just after Christmas. “The Prophet Muhammad—peace and blessings be upon him—his father dies before he’s ever born. His mother dies before he’s six. He’s handed over to a foster mom who’s so poor, the stories say, her breasts are not full enough to feed him. So he grows up as this quintessential orphan, and only later, at the age of forty, does he start to get this revelation. And the revelation is to stand up against the constituted powers that are enslaving people—that are, you know, cheating people, trying to trick people into believing that they should give over their money to appease a god that’s just an inanimate object. And those authorities came down hard on him! And his first converts were people who were enslaved, children, women—a few of them were wealthy business folks, but the earliest companions of the Prophet Muhammad were people who needed justice. I found that story to be inspiring, and important to my own thinking and development.”

    • The Real Enemy of the People Is a President Who Opposes the Free Press

      When John Fitzgerald Kennedy addressed the American Newspaper Publishers Association just two months after he was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States, he explained that: “I have selected as the title of my remarks tonight ‘The President and the Press.’ Some may suggest that this would be more naturally worded ‘The President Versus the Press.’ But those are not my sentiments tonight.”

      [...]

      But the point of Kennedy’s speech was a serious one. He had come, as a new president of the United States, to talk about the relationship between his administration and the media. He acknowledged “the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war,” and he spoke honestly of his hope for a measure of restraint in the coverage of particularly sensitive global disputes. But he also said: “The question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • 3 things companies must know about data sovereignty when moving to the cloud

      I hear it nearly every day – the lament of teams trying to transform their enterprise from ’80s-era software to the cloud: “Our state (or country, or regional authority) says that data can never leave our jurisdiction, which means we can’t store it in the cloud.”

      It’s true that data sovereignty presents technical and legal challenges when moving on-premises systems and information stores to the cloud. There is no United Nations resolution, European Union mandate, or international trade agreement that provides one blanket set of data sovereignty requirements that all countries follow. Privacy and data-hosting laws vary by country and state, and some are more strict than others.

    • Tech Groups Tell Congress to Consider Privacy Implications of NSA Surveillance Powers

      Several technology industry groups sent a letter to members of Congress last week urging them to ensure privacy safeguards are maintained when they vote to renew a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gives the National Security Agency broad powers to collect information on foreign nationals.

    • How US Intelligence Surveillance May Affect Immigrants

      Recent reports that the US monitored calls between members of President Trump’s campaign staff and Russian intelligence personnel have renewed controversy about the surveillance powers of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI), and how those bodies handle the information they collect. But anyone concerned about the scope or legality of the US government’s warrantless intelligence surveillance should also worry about the way these programs may affect the country’s border and immigrant communities.

    • History tells us the wars on privacy and sharing will get worse before it gets better

      All governments of the world are cracking down on privacy and increasing mass surveillance, sometimes in the name of copyright enforcement, sometimes in the name of fighting terrorism, sometimes because they just want to. There’s a pattern here of similar things in the past – something is horrible, horrible, horrible, until the point where fighting the phenomenon just looks silly, counterproductive, and inhumane. Cannabis is there today, and it’s going to be years if not decades until it’s just as silly to fight people sharing knowledge and culture with each other, trying to brand them as awful people.

    • Privacy in practice for self hosting

      One of the main issue with centralized internet services is the commercial exploitation of people private datas, and the relative lack of security of those data against states actors among others. Yet, being self hosted and using smaller provider do not automatically grant protection, and few people do have a concrete idea of what steps are needed to efficiently protect the privacy of others when hosting services, inspired by the policy of Mozilla, riseup and several others groups trying to do the right things

    • Understanding the different Maslow need levels for privacy

      When we aspire to have privacy, we may do so for a number of different reasons. All these reasons are valid, but some are more urgent than others, psychologically speaking. When debating privacy issues, it’s important to be aware of these psychological models and the very real consequences involved.

      The psychologist Abraham Maslow created a theory known as the Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs, which predicts the ranked order people will adhere to in seeking out certain things in their life. Where privacy is ranked on this list is a matter of which environment you operate in, and it’s crucial to recognize the differences.

      Generally speaking, Maslow predicted that people won’t progress to addressing a higher level of needs until the current level is fully satisfied. The first level involves basic physiological needs – food, air, water, heat. Once these are satisfied, people start working on the second – safety from violence, safety in having food, air, and water for tomorrow as well; general freedom from worry. The third level is a sense of belonging to a group or tribe, the fourth is enjoying a sense of respect within that tribe, and the fifth and highest is self-development, once all other levels are satisfied.

    • Big Brother in the U.K.

      The United Kingdom’s Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is not part of an agency tasked with fighting terrorism. It’s a licensing body that “regulates businesses who provide workers to the fresh produce supply chain and horticulture industry, to make sure they meet the employment standards required by law,” according to its mission statement.

    • Trump’s Attorney General’s Record on Privacy

      President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the country’s law enforcement has cleared the Senate.

      The Senate voted 52-47 on Wednesday to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions, whose record on civil liberties issues—including digital rights—has drawn fire from Democratic lawmakers and public interest groups.

      EFF has expressed concerns about Sessions’ record on surveillance, encryption, and freedom of the press. Those concerns intensified during his confirmation process.

      Throughout his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and his written responses to additional questions from lawmakers, Sessions made a number of troubling statements. He said he would support legislation to enable a privacy-invasive Rapid DNA system. He refused to definitively commit not to put journalists in jail for doing their job. He dodged questions about Justice Department policies on Stingrays, and wouldn’t commit to publish guidelines on how federal law enforcement uses government hacking. He called it “critical” that law enforcement be able to “overcome” encryption.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump Effort To Protect Cops Doesn’t Match Facts

      President Trump put an executive order into effect last week to, in his words, “stop crime and crimes of violence against law enforcement officers.” But when the facts about police, violence and victims are considered — real facts, not alternative facts — the math doesn’t work. Like Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984, we are being asked to believe that two plus two does not equal four.

    • Where Protests Flourish, Anti-Protest Bills Follow

      State legislatures across the country are trying to crack down on protesters and make a mockery of the First Amendment.

      Over the past year, a historic level of activism and protest has spilled out into our nation’s parks, streets, and sidewalks — places where our First Amendment rights are at their height. The January 21 Women’s March, anchored in D.C. with echoes across the nation, was likely the single largest day of protest in American history. And yet, legislators in many states have followed up on this exuberant activism with proposed bills that are not only far less inspiring, but also unconstitutional.

    • Vague Rules Let ICE Deport Undocumented Immigrants as Gang Members

      Of the more than 680 people swept up during last week’s nationwide raids by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, none has attracted more attention than 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina. Although he crossed into the United States illegally when he was a child, Ramirez Medina twice applied successfully for permission to stay in the country under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

      The former California resident, who recently moved north to Des Moines, Washington, was detained on Friday when ICE went to his family’s home looking for his father, who is also undocumented and in removal proceedings.

      ICE claims Ramirez Medina’s DACA status is null and void due to evidence of gang involvement outlined by government attorneys in a brief filed earlier this week. The sum of the evidence is a tattoo on his arm that immigration officials believe is gang related, and statements that he allegedly made in custody that “he used to hang out with the Sureno[s] in California,” that he “fled California to escape the gangs,” and that he “still hangs out with the Paizas in Washington State.”

    • YODA, the Bill That Would Let You Own (and Sell) Your Devices, Is Re-Introduced in Congress

      Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) just re-introduced their You Own Devices Act (YODA), a bill that aims to help you reclaim some of your ownership rights in the software-enabled devices you buy.

    • Why a Jewish Organization Is Suing to Stop the Muslim Ban

      We assist refugees today not because they are Jewish, but because we are Jewish.

      I cringed when I heard the Trump campaign and administration start using “territory” as a euphemism for “religion.”

      It wasn’t just the thinly veiled attempt to institute a Muslim ban by another name. Sure, barring travelers from seven majority Muslim countries with an exception for religious minorities is pretty brazen, but so is the president going on television and saying we need to protect Christians more than Muslims.

      No, what made me wince was the sheer repetitiveness of it. We’ve seen this show before, and they haven’t even bothered to change the script.

    • Jeff Sessions’s Dubious Refugee Math

      How frightened should Americans be of refugees, and how much safer will they be under President Trump’s more restrictive refugee policy? If Americans are concerned about actual attacks involving committed terrorists sneaking through the vetting process with the intent to kill or maim Americans, the answer – based on statistics developed by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions – appears, for all practical purposes, to be virtually zero.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Abandons Zero-Rating Investigation and Moves Backward on Net Neutrality

      Bad news for Internet users. In his first few days in office, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has shelved the Commission’s investigation into Internet companies’ zero-rating practices and whether they violate the Commission’s Open Internet Order.

      As recently as January, the FCC was rebuking AT&T (PDF) for seemingly prioritizing its own DirecTV content over that of its competitors. Now, Pai has made it clear that the FCC doesn’t plan to move forward with the investigation.

      Simply put, zero-rating is the practice of ISPs and mobile providers choosing not to count certain content toward users’ data limits, often in exchange for capping the speeds at which customers can access that content. Most major mobile providers in the U.S. offer some form of zero-rated service today, like T-Mobile’s BingeOn program for zero-rated streaming and Verizon and AT&T’s FreeBee Data program. Facebook, Wikimedia, and Google have their own zero-rated apps, too. While they are currently focused on emerging mobile marks in developing countries, this recent development from the FCC may open the domestic market to them in new ways.

    • How Tech Policies May Evolve Under Republicans and Trump

      On zero rating, F.C.C. Chairman Ajit Pai has already expressed a preference on that: It is something consumers seem to love. To be able to download or stream without letting it count against your data plan is extremely popular with consumers. I don’t have a problem with that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Search Engines and Rightsholders Sign Landmark Anti-Piracy Deal

        After well over half a decade of backroom meetings facilitated by the UK Government, search engines and major rightsholder groups have signed an anti-piracy agreement. Both sides agreed on a deal in which search engines will delist and demote pirated content, faster and more effectively than before. The voluntary agreement, targeted at UK consumers, is the first of its kind in the world but appears to offer little new.

      • Kim Dotcom extradition to US can go ahead, New Zealand high court rules

        The high court in New Zealand has ruled Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the United States to face a multitude of charges including money laundering and copyright breaches.

        US authorities had appealed for Dotcom’s extradition to face 13 charges including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud.

      • Kim Dotcom Extradition to Go Ahead, But Not on Copyright Grounds

        The New Zealand High Court today ruled that Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the US, but it won’t be on copyright grounds. After months of deliberation, Justice Murray Gilbert agreed with the US Government’s position that this is a fraud case at its core, an offense that is extraditable. Dotcom says he will fight on.

      • New Zealand will probably try and extradite Kim Dotcom to the US

        NEW ZEALAND’S JUDICIAL SYSTEM HAS DECIDED, AFTER ALL THIS TIME, that is is fair to send citizen Kim Dotcom to the US and meet its extradition demands.

        This is something that Dotcom has been fighting for some time, and we must admit that it has come as something of a shock to us. The case against Dotcom has been proved to be a bit lacking, and he does have the kind of legal backing that we would want in these circumstances.

        The ruling is a murky one. It was delivered by the Auckland High Court and ruled that Dotcom could now be extradited to the United States due to allegations of wire fraud, copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and money laundering. He was found guilty of 13 counts in all.

      • New Zealand High Court clears Kim Dotcom extradition to the US

        Megaupload website founder Kim Dotcom and three associates were on Monday cleared by a court in New Zealand to be extradited to the U.S. where he faces a variety of charges including copyright infringement and racketeering.

        Holding that copyright infringement by digital online communication of copyright protected works to members of the public is not a criminal offense under New Zealand’s Copyright Act, the High Court found that a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement amounts to a bid to defraud, which is an extradition offense listed in the treaty between the U.S. and New Zealand.

      • Healthy Domains Initiative Isn’t Healthy for the Internet

        EFF had high hopes that the Domain Name Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative (HDI) wouldn’t be just another secretive industry deal between rightsholders and domain name intermediaries. Toward that end, we and other civil society organizations worked in good faith on many fronts to make sure HDI protected Internet users as well.

        Those efforts seem to have failed. Yesterday, the Domain Name Association (DNA), a relatively new association of domain registries and registrars, suddenly launched a proposal for “Registry/Registrar Healthy Practices” on a surprised world, calling on domain name companies to dive headlong into a new role as private arbiters of online speech. This ill-conceived proposal is the very epitome of Shadow Regulation. There was no forewarning about the release of this proposal on the HDI mailing list; indeed, the last update posted there was on June 9, 2016, reporting “some good progress,” and promising that any HDI best practice document “will be shared broadly to this group for additional feedback.” That never happened, and neither were any updates posted to HDI’s blog.

      • It’s the End of the Copyright Alert System (As We Know It)

        The Copyright Alert System has called it quits, but questions remain about what, if anything, will replace it. Known also as the “six strikes” program, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) was a private agreement between several large Internet service providers (ISPs) and big media and entertainment companies, with government support. The agreement allowed the media and entertainmenet companies to monitor those ISPs’ subscribers’ peer-to-peer network traffic for potential copyright infringement, and imposed penalties on subscribers accused of infringing. Penalties ranged from “educational” notices, to throttling subscribers’ connection speeds and, in some cases, temporarily restricting subscribers’ web access.

02.20.17

Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

Posted in News Roundup at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • When Open Source Meets the Enterprise

    Open source solutions have long been an option for the enterprise, but lately it seems they are becoming more of a necessity for advanced data operations than merely a luxury for IT techs who like to play with code.

    While it’s true that open platforms tend to provide a broader feature set compared to their proprietary brethren, due to their larger and more diverse development communities, this often comes at the cost of increased operational complexity. At a time when most enterprises are looking to shed their responsibilities for infrastructure and architecture to focus instead on core money-making services, open source requires a fairly high level of in-house technical skill.

    But as data environments become more distributed and reliant upon increasingly complex compilations of third-party systems, open source can provide at least a base layer of commonality for resources that support a given distribution.

  • EngineerBetter CTO: the logical truth about software ‘packaging’

    Technologies such as Docker have blended these responsibilities, causing developers to need to care about what operating system and native libraries are available to their applications – after years of the industry striving for more abstraction and increased decoupling!

  • Pieter Hintjens In Memoriam

    Pieter Hintjens was a writer, programmer and thinker who has spent decades building large software systems and on-line communities, which he describes as “Living Systems”. He was an expert in distributed computing, having written over 30 protocols and distributed software systems. He designed AMQP in 2004, and founded the ZeroMQ free software project in 2007. He was the author of the O’Reilly ZeroMQ book, “Culture and Empire”, “The Psychopath Code”, “Social Architecture”, and “Confessions of a Necromancer”. He was the president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), and fought the software patent directive and the standardisation of the Microsoft OOXML Office format. He also organized the Internet of Things (IOT) Devroom here at FOSDEM for the last 3 years. In April 2016 he was diagnosed with terminal metastasis of a previous cancer.

  • Events

    • foss-gbg on Wednesday

      The topics are Yocto Linux on FPGA-based hardware, risk and license management in open source projects and a product release by the local start-up Zifra (an encryptable SD-card).

      More information and free tickets are available at the foss-gbg site.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • What will we do when everything is automated?

      Just translate the term “productivity of American factories” into the word “automation” and you get the picture. Other workers are not taking jobs away from the gainfully employed, machines are.

      This is not a new trend. It’s been going on since before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. Industry creates machines that do the work of humans faster, cheaper, with more accuracy and with less failure. That’s the nature of industry—nothing new here. However, what is new is the rate by which the displacement of human beings from the workforce in happening.

    • Want OpenStack benefits? Put your private cloud plan in place first

      The open source software promises hard-to-come-by cloud standards and no vendor lock-in, says Forrester’s Lauren Nelson. But there’s more to consider — including containers.

    • Set the Agenda at OpenStack Summit Boston

      The next OpenStack Summit is just three months away now, and as is their custom, the organizers have once again invited you–the OpenStack Community–to vote on which presentations will and will not be featured at the event.

    • What’s new in the world of OpenStack Ambassadors

      Ambassadors act as liaisons between multiple User Groups, the Foundation and the community in their regions. Launched in 2013, the OpenStack Ambassador program aims to create a framework of community leaders to sustainably expand the reach of OpenStack around the world.

    • Boston summit preview, Ambassador program updates, and more OpenStack news
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development

    • NVIDIA Makes Huge Code Contribution To Qt, New Qt 3D Studio

      The Qt Company today announced Qt 3D Studio, a new 3D UI authoring system, thanks to NVIDIA providing Qt with hundreds of thousands of lines of source code making up this application.

    • Cavium ThunderX Support Added To LLVM

      Cavium’s ThunderX ARM 64-bit processors are now formally supported by the LLVM compiler stack.

    • How copying an int made my code 11 times faster

      Recently, after refactoring some Rust code, I noticed that it had suddenly become four times slower. However, the strange part is that I didn’t even touch the part of the code that became slower. Furthermore, it was still slower after commenting out the changes. Curious, I decided to investigate further.

      The first step was to use git diff to display all changes since the previous commit, which was normal speed. Then I started removing them one by one, no matter how inconsequential, and testing to see if it was still slow after the change.

      [...]

      Adding the print statement causes the code to go from 0.16 seconds to 1.7 seconds, an 11x slowdown (in release mode). Then, I posted it in the rustc IRC channel, where eddyb and bluss suggested a workaround and explained what was going on.

      The fix was to the change the print line to the following, which does indeed fix the slowdown.

Leftovers

  • Cars

    • Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber

      As most of you know, I left Uber in December and joined Stripe in January. I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the past couple of months about why I left and what my time at Uber was like. It’s a strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story that deserves to be told while it is still fresh in my mind, so here we go.

      I joined Uber as a site reliability engineer (SRE) back in November 2015, and it was a great time to join as an engineer. They were still wrangling microservices out of their monolithic API, and things were just chaotic enough that there was exciting reliability work to be done. The SRE team was still pretty new when I joined, and I had the rare opportunity to choose whichever team was working on something that I wanted to be part of.

      After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

    • Former engineer says Uber is a nightmare of sexism

      A former Uber engineer has published an explosive account of sexism and power struggles in the workplace, with allegations beginning from her very first official day with the company. The engineer, Susan Fowler (who left Uber in December and now works for Stripe), posted the account to her blog on Sunday, calling it a “strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story.” It is indeed horrifying.

      Sexism is a well-documented problem in Silicon Valley, but the particulars of Fowler’s account are astounding. She says problems began on day one, when her manager accosted her with details of his sex life:

    • Tesla Owner Who Sacrificed His Model S To Save Another Driver Gets Surprise From Elon Musk

      For those who may have missed the story, here’s the deal. Manfred Kick was driving his Model S on the German Autobahn near Munich and noticed that a person in a Volkswagen Passat was driving erratically on the highway, German publication Munchen Merkur reported. The Passat hit the guardrail several times and swerved suspiciously, so Kick realized that something was wrong.

      He didn’t know whether the Passat driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or whether some other issue was at stake, but he nonetheless decided to intervene to avoid a more serious accident. Kick accelerated to reach the Volkswagen Passat and when he looked over, he saw that the driver appeared unconscious.

    • Why buying used cars could put your safety at risk

      Charles Henderson sold his car several years ago, but he still knows exactly where it is, and can control it from his phone.

      The IBM researcher leading X-Force Red, the firm’s security testing group, wasn’t researching car security when he discovered a major privacy issue. He simply sold his car.

      “The car is really smart, but it’s not smart enough to know who its owner is, so it’s not smart enough to know it’s been resold,” Henderson told CNNTech. “There’s nothing on the dashboard that tells you ‘the following people have access to the car.’”

  • Proprietary Nightmares

    • SAP license fees are due even for indirect users, court says

      SAP’s named-user licensing fees apply even to related applications that only offer users indirect visibility of SAP data, a U.K. judge ruled Thursday in a case pitting SAP against Diageo, the alcoholic beverage giant behind Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer.

      The consequences could be far-reaching for businesses that have integrated their customer-facing systems with an SAP database, potentially leaving them liable for license fees for every customer that accesses their online store.

      “If any SAP systems are being indirectly triggered, even if incidentally, and from anywhere in the world, then there are uncategorized and unpriced costs stacking up in the background,” warned Robin Fry, a director at software licensing consultancy Cerno Professional Services, who has been following the case.

    • “Active Hours” in Windows 10 emphasizes how you are not in control of your own devices

      No edition of Windows 10, except Professional and Enterprise, is expected to function for more than 12 hours of the day. Microsoft most generously lets you set a block of 12 hours where you’re in control of the system, and will reserve the remaining 12 hours for it’s own purposes. How come we’re all fine with this?

      Windows 10 introduced the concept of “Active Hours”, a period of up to 12 hours when you expect to use the device, meant to reflect your work hours. The settings for changing the device’s active hours is hidden away among Windows Update settings, and it poorly fits with today’s lifestyles.

      Say you use your PC in the afternoon and into the late evening during the work week, but use it from morning to early afternoon in the weekends. You can’t fit all those hours nor accommodate home office hours in a period of just 12 hours. We’re always connected, and expect our devices to always be there for us when we need them.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Michigan civil rights panel: Flint water crisis rooted in ‘systemic racism’

      The Flint drinking water crisis has its root causes in historical and systemic racism, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission said Friday in a hard-hitting report that calls the public health catastrophe ” a complete failure of government” and recommends a rewrite of the state’s emergency manager law and bias training for state officials.

      The report, unanimously adopted at a meeting of the commission in downtown Flint, also calls for the creation of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” a model that was used in South Africa after apartheid as a way of rebuilding government trust and credibility by listening to and addressing specific concerns raised by Flint residents.

      It calls on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to invite experts to provide training on “implicit bias” to his cabinet, his team responding to Flint, and to require all state departments, including the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services, to do the same for their staff. Implicit bias is unconscious bias that can be directed toward historically disadvantaged groups, influencing decision-making.

    • Commission report: ‘systemic racism’ played role in Flint water crisis

      The 129-page report does not claim there were any specific violations of state civil rights laws, but says “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” played a role in the problems, which still linger in the city’s drinking water almost three years later.

      “The presence of racial bias in the Flint water crisis isn’t much of a surprise to those of us who live here, but the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s affirmation that the emergency manager law disproportionately hurts communities of color is an important reminder of just how bad the policy is,” state Sen. Jim Ananich, a Democrat from Flint, said.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

    • EVA: 79,000 prime working-age men are permanently outside labour force in Finland

      The Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA) has expressed its concern about the nearly 79,000 men in the prime working-age group who are not in employment, not in education and not eligible for disability pension.

      “Finland is home to 78,657 prime working-age men who can be labelled as missing workers. Not much is known about the activities of these 25–54-year-old men – except that they have disappeared from the labour force, apparently permanently,” EVA states in a report published on Thursday.

    • A Corporate Defender at Heart, Former SEC Chair Mary Jo White Returns to Her Happy Place

      Mary Jo White, whose tenure as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Obama bitterly disappointed those who hoped she would aggressively enforce banking laws, is rejoining the corporate defense team at Debevoise & Plimpton, marking her sixth trip through the revolving door between various government jobs and the white-collar defense law firm she calls home.

      Debevoise represents numerous major financial institutions under federal investigation, and White will now help those corporate clients manage their legal exposure.

      White got the call to return to Debevoise on Inauguration Day, her last day at the SEC. As Debevoise presiding partner Michael Blair told the Wall Street Journal, “We had been waiting to make that phone call for several years.”

      This latest trip through the revolving door is particularly disturbing because White declared in ethics disclosure forms before becoming SEC chair that she was retiring from her partnership at Debevoise, receiving a lump sum retirement payment of over $2 million. Instead of staying retired, she immediately went back to Debevoise after her government service ended, pocketing the money.

      It is not, however, surprising.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Life is a campaign’: After a difficult first month, Trump returns to his comfort zone

      As President Trump descended the stairs from Air Force One on Saturday evening, with a patriotic country song playing and thousands cheering, the 2020 election season officially began.

      Although the past several presidents have waited more than two years before jumping back onto the campaign trail, Trump’s first four weeks in office have shown that he just can’t stand too much time in Washington. One adviser calls political rallies the president’s “oxygen” — and Trump seemed to direly need a deep inhalation following a week that included his national security adviser resigning and his top replacement pick turning him down, his nominee for labor secretary withdrawing from consideration and accusations involving his campaign and Russia.

      “Life is a campaign,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force One. “Making our country great again is a campaign. For me, it’s a campaign.”

    • Presidential Impeachment, Explained

      Shortly following new revelations from the New York Times that President Donald Trump’s campaign team was in “repeated” contact with Russian officials ahead of the 2016 election, #TrumpImpeachmentParty began trending on Twitter in a call to take Trump out of office. But while the hashtag might be gaining steam, the process of impeaching a president is a lot easier said than done.

      What does it mean for a president to be impeached, what does the process look like, and is it even possible for Donald Trump to be impeached less than a month into his presidency? Here’s what you need to know.

    • Trump’s apparent security faux-pas-palooza triggers call for House investigation

      Representative Ted Lieu, a congressman from Los Angeles County, California, led fourteen other House Democrats on Friday in urging the House Government Oversight Committee to investigate “troubling reports” of President Donald Trump’s apparently poor security practices and the potential danger to national security posed by them—including his continued use of an unsecured Android device to post to Twitter, discussion of sensitive information (including nuclear strategy) in the restaurant at his Mar-A-Lago resort, and leaving classified material unlocked while visitors were in the Oval Office.

    • Trump attends private Mar-a-Lago event without telling press corps

      President Trump attended a private fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Saturday evening, without informing the press corps that follows him and reports on his movements.

      Trump made an unexpected stop at a fundraiser for Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute held at his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., the Washington Post reported.

      The event was not on his schedule.

      A video posted on Instagram shows Trump arriving at the private fundraiser, where he was met with cheers. More than 800 people attended the event, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Sunday.

    • Donald Trump invited golf club members to help choose his cabinet, leaked audio suggests

      Donald Trump invited wealthy members of one of his golf clubs to help interview candidates for posts in his administration, leaked audio recordings have revealed.

      The Republican was taped telling guests to “come round” and help interview potential “generals and dictators”, claiming it would be “fun”.

      Audio recordings from a party hosted by Mr Trump at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey in November – just two weeks after his election win – reveal comments he made to members.

    • Ralph Nader – Breaking Through Power Event
    • ACTION ALERT: WaPo’s Post Live Series Is a Love Letter to Corporate Conflicts of Interest

      Since 2010, the Washington Post has been banking on its pedigree and prestige by putting on Q & A sessions with influential Beltway personalities—sponsored by corporations directly involved in the topics of discussion. Event sponsors include Bank of America, Eli Lilly, Qualcomm, WGL Energy, AFLAC, GlaxoSmithKline and UnitedHealth, among others.

      These events, billed as “Post Live,” are generally fluffy, non-combative industry hype sessions sponsored by a relevant corporation and quarterbacked by a Washington Post columnist or reporter to lend it gravitas. The ideological scope, as one would expect based on who funds them, ranges from “how capitalism and the US military can be more awesome” to “capitalism and the US military are already awesome.” This ideological capture is seen most starkly in Post Live’s coverage of healthcare and war.

    • Event at University of La Verne – Fighting Fake News: 21st Century Global Critical Media Literacy

      Mickey Huff (Director of Project Censored, professor of social science and history, Diablo Valley College), Andy Lee Roth (associate director of Project Censored, instructor in sociology, Citrus College) and Elizabeth Blakey, (lawyer, sociologist, First Amendment scholar, and assistant professor of journalism, Cal State-Northridge) will examine news censorship, the origins of “fake news,” and how critical media literacy, particularly among young adults, will be essential for sustaining democracy in the 21st Century.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A preview of self-censorship in the new political landscape

      Over the next few months, there’ll be plenty of debate about the role of the government in funding public broadcasting.

      The Trump administration reportedly has the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — and a host of other cultural and arts organizations– targeted for elimination.

    • Why Suzanna Mukherjee thinks the online space is evolving

      The biggest advantage of the medium, is that there is no censorship yet, says Suzanna. “In film and television, censorship is the biggest problem. At the end, owing to cuts, one finally cannot end up telling the story he or she sets out to do so,” Suzanna adds.

    • Legal impediments to Internet censorship

      Back then, cinema and television, on account of their inaccessibility to ordinary researchers, did not provide a convenient source of research information. To put it simply, it was basically impossible to cite television, and motion pictures were exhibited at the cinema houses at the whim of the film distributors.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Oldham headmistress makes fresh ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations against Islamist parents

      Allegations of a new Islamist “Trojan Horse” plot to wrest control of a state school have been made by a headmistress in the north of England.

      Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham since 2006, emailed the local council saying she had “very strong reasons to believe that… a ‘Trojan Horse’ agenda [is] being played out”, The Sunday Times reported.

      “Trojan Horse” refers to plots uncovered in 2014 in Birmingham schools in which Islamist groups attempted to infiltrate positions of authority and impose a conservative or Salifist ethos on their running.

    • Revealed: new ‘Trojan Horse plot’

      Fears of a new “Trojan Horse” Islamic plot to take over a state school in Oldham have been raised by its head teacher, who says she has been concerned for her personal safety.

      Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School since 2006, has been so worried that she has worked from home for short periods in recent months.

    • Iranian morality police beat and detain 14-year-old girl ‘for wearing ripped jeans’

      A 14-year-old girl has been beaten and detained for wearing ripped jeans in Iran in the latest incident of police brutality against women and girls.

      Zahra*, who The Independent is not identifying for fear she may suffer reprisals, was celebrating her birthday with friends last week when a patrol of “morality police” pulled up.

      The teenager said officers tried to force her and her friends into their car in the city of Shiraz, beating them when they resisted.

    • ‘How is this ALLOWED?’ Fury as Turkish PM holds election rally in GERMANY
    • New Homeland Security Guidelines Call for the Sweeping Detention and Deportation of Illegal Immigrants: Report

      The Homeland Security Department has drafted sweeping new guidelines aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a pair of memoranda signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly.

      The memos dated Friday seek to implement President Donald Trump’s broad directive to crack down on illegal immigration. Kelly outlines plans to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand on the priority list for immigrants marked for immediate removal and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests, according to a person briefed on the documents, who confirmed the details to the Associated Press.

      “The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly wrote.

    • Scrutiny for Supreme Court Pick Fails to Focus on Rights of Disabled

      Since Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court, media have coalesced around a few themes: One is about whether any Trump appointment should be blocked as payback to Republicans, as expressed in a New York Times headline (2/13/17): “Democrats’ Quandary on Gorsuch: Appease the Base or Honor the Process.” Spoiler: The paper thinks the real strain is on “those in the middle.”

      Another theme is Gorsuch’s “eloquence” and his being “hard to pigeonhole” as conservative: One story said he “didn’t skip a beat” when a friend came out to him as gay.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Jessica Gonzalez on FCC Chair Ajit Pai

      This week on CounterSpin: “T-Mobile Very Pleased with Direction of Change under Trump Administration, CEO Says.” That headline tells you pretty much what you need to know about Ajit Pai, Trump’s choice of chair for the FCC—the entity charged with representing the public interest in the communications industry. The phone company exec is pleased, he says, because Pai’s appointment signals “an air of less regulation.”

      The idea that the media industry hates regulation is fiction, given that it’s government that grants licenses to companies to use the public airwaves and monopoly franchises to cable companies. In so doing, as media scholar Bob McChesney has said, government isn’t so much setting the terms of competition as picking the winners. What’s objected to, of course, are public interest regulations—including the net neutrality rules that allow for a democratic and diverse internet. What’s ahead for the public interest under Ajit Pai’s FCC? We talk with Jessica Gonzalez, deputy director and senior counsel at the group Free Press.

  • DRM

    • Chrome 57 Will Permanently Enable DRM

      The next stable version of Chrome (Chrome 57) will not allow users to disable the Widevine DRM plugin anymore, therefore making it an always-on, permanent feature of Chrome. The new version of Chrome will also eliminate the “chrome://plugins” internal URL, which means if you want to disable Flash, you’ll have to do it from the Settings page.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Google v. Oracle: Fair Use of a Copyrighted API

        Back in 2012, the N.D. Cal. district court ruled that the portions of Java structure that Google copied were not themselves entitled to copyright protection. On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed and ordered a new trial. In particular, the Federal Circuit panel led by Judge O’Malley held that the Java API taxonomy copyrightable as a whole and rejected the applicability of idea/expression merger doctrine. “Merger cannot bar copyright protection for any lines of declaring source code unless Sun/Oracle had only one way, or a limited number of ways, to write them.”

      • Search Engines, Rightsholders Agree Plan To Stop UK Consumers From Reaching Infringing Websites

        Search engines Google and Bing have signed a voluntary code of conduct with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Motion Picture Association to prevent consumers from being directed to copyright-infringing websites, the UK Intellectual Property Office said on 20 February. The deal, brokered by the IPO, comes into effect immediately and is intended to reduce the visibility of infringing content in searches by 1 June, the office said.

      • Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Can Be Extradited to the U.S., a New Zealand Court Rules

        New Zealand’s High Court has found that Kim Dotcom, best known for creating the now-defunct file sharing service Megaupload, is eligible for extradition to the U.S., rejecting a legal appeal by the self-styled “internet freedom fighter.”

        But the judges supported an argument put forth by Dotcom and his legal team that the U.S. cannot extradite him for charges related to copyright violation, reports the New Zealand Herald.

      • New Zealand appeals court upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling

        An appellate court in New Zealand has upheld a lower court’s 2015 decision that Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants should be extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright-related charges involving his former website, Megaupload.

        In a ruling issued Monday afternoon local time (late Sunday night, Eastern Standard Time), Justice Murray Gilbert of the High Court of New Zealand ruled that while he agreed with one of Dotcom’s attorneys’ primary arguments—”that online communication of copyright protected works to the public is not a criminal offence in New Zealand”—the judge noted that nevertheless, Dotcom and his co-defendants remain eligible for extradition based on other elements in the case.

      • Dotcom Legal Team on High Court judgment

        This case is no longer the “largest criminal copyright case”, 1 at least as far as New Zealand is concerned. As we have said all along, there is no such offence under our Copyright Act. We were right. However, this afternoon the High Court judgment 2 was issued and, ultimately, although it concluded we are right, 3 the Court concluded that Kim is still eligible for surrender.

      • NZ court rules Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to U.S. for alleged fraud

        A New Zealand court ruled on Monday that internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom could be extradited to the United States to face charges relating to his Megaupload website, which was shutdown in 2012 following an FBI-ordered raid on his Auckland mansion.

        The Auckland High Court upheld the decision by a lower court in 2015 on 13 counts, including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud, although it described that decision as “flawed” in several areas.

        Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said in a statement the decision was “extremely disappointing” and that Dotcom would appeal to New Zealand’s Court of Appeal.

      • Pirate Site With No Traffic Attracts 49m Mainly Bogus DMCA Notices

        It’s likely you’ve never heard of mp3toys.xyz since the site has very little traffic. However, thanks to a bungling anti-piracy outfit, the site is now the second most complained about ‘pirate’ site on the Internet, with Google receiving more than 49 million notices in just over six months.

02.19.17

Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

Posted in News Roundup at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Call to adopt free and open source software in Oman

    Adoption of free software applications in the public and private sectors in the Sultanate was one of the recommendations of the just concluded Free and Open Source Software Conference.

    It also called for strengthening the role of small and medium enterprises in deploying free software developed in accordance with the requirements of the market and its needs.

  • Open Source Ethereum Unveils New Partners Santander and JP Morgan

    Open-source blockchain platform Ethereum has unveiled its latest blockchain development group, with partners Santander and JP Morgan pledging support for the project.

  • The best open source CRM software

    If you’re a small business looking to take the next step in your evolution, you may be looking at implementing a customer relationship management (or CRM) solution. But with enterprise-grade vendors like Oracle and Salesforce charging such a high premium for their services, how can smaller companies afford to get started with CRM software?

    The answer lies in open source. As with many kinds of software, there are multiple vendors who provide open source CRM solutions that are completely free to use. They may have restrictions on them, such as limited features and support, but for small businesses looking to try out CRM, they can be an excellent starting point.

  • NGINX moves towards web server dominance with European expansion

    Web server NGINX powers more than 317 million sites around the globes, and has rapidly replaced Apache as the engine of choice for the world’s 100,000 busiest, counting Netflix, Airbnb and Dropbox among its high-profile clients.

    NGINX Inc – the company set up to commercialise the open source technology – has now set its sights on developing its business in Europe and recently opened a new EMEA headquarters in Cork, Ireland as a launching point to the region.

    NGINX began life as a web server written by a Russian engineer called Igor Syosev in 2002 while he was working as a system administrator for the portal site Rambler.

  • Fermat announces alpha release of blockchain-enabled open source project

    Fermat has made upgrades to the technology and architecture behind the decentralized and blockchain-enabled open source project Internet of People (IoP). Its goal is providing device-to-device communication independent of any entity of web server.

    Since its April 2016 launch, Fermat has added more than 60 national and regional chapters, each mining IoP tokens in a decentralized manner. Each chapter president is charged with advocating for the project in their community, running testnet nodes, organizing meet-ups, marketing, and token mining. Every chapter can run a single mining node and earn IoP tokens from the IoP blockchain as their reward.

  • Events

    • Be Ready To Attend SCALE x15 Conference in March 2-5, USA

      We just witnessed the end of FOSDEM 2017; The largest FOSS event in Europe. It held around 660 different events about a lot of different topics and aspects of open source software. You can check their summary here.

    • #LinuxPlaya Preparation

      As #LinuxPlaya draws near, we’ve been preparing things to the event. We first did a workshop to help others to finish the GTK+Python tutorial for developers. While some other students from different universities in Lima did some posts to prove that they use Linux (FEDORA+GNOME). You can see in the following list, the various areas where they had worked: design, robotics, education, by using tech as Docker and a Snake GTK game.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3 triggers a record of donations

      In this case, one image is better than 1,000 words, as the histogram represents donations during the first 10 days of each month, since May 2013, and doesn’t need any further comment. LibreOffice 5.3 has triggered 3,937 donations in February 2017, 1,800 more than in March 2016, and over 2,000 – sometimes over 3,000 – more than any other month. Donations are key to the life and the development of the project. Thanks, everyone.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Why I Love Free Software

      I’m a Linux desktop user, because Linux doesn’t try to lock me into their platform and services only to abandon me halfway through the journey.

      Instead of having my access to remote management features, convenient encryption features, and even how long I’m allowed to use my own device be restricted by how much I’ve paid for my operating system edition; I’m free to choose whichever edition I want based on my needs of the moment.

    • Here’s a sneak peek at LibrePlanet 2017: Register today!
    • What’s a cryptovalentine?

      Roses are red, violets are blue; I use free software to encrypt my online communication and you can too.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Bradley Kuhn Delivered Copyleft Keynote at FOSDEM

      At FOSDEM last week, Conservancy’s Distinguished Technologist Bradley Kuhn delivered a keynote “Understanding The Complexity of Copyleft Defense.” The speech reviews the history of GPL enforcement efforts, pointing out development projects such as OpenWRT and SamyGo that began thanks to GPL compliance work. Kuhn focused in particular on how copyleft compliance can further empower users and developers as more kinds of devices run GPL’d software, and he concluded his remarks urging developers to take control of their own work by demanding to hold their own copyrights, using mechanisms such as Conservancy’s ContractPatch initiative.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Yahoo releases deep learning software, RethinkDB resurrected, and more open source news
    • That Was The Week That Was (TWTWTW): Edition 1

      This is the first edition of TWTWTW, a weekly blog promoting interesting developments in the open source world. TWTWTW seeks to whet your curiosity. The name pays homage to the satirical British TV comedy programme aired in the early 1960s. Except satire isn’t the the raison d’etre for this blog. Instead, it provides a concise distilled commentary of notable open source related news from a different perspective. For the first edition, we present a brief catchup covering software, hardware, and a useful web service.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Wikipedia, open source and the truth

        In a world where fact is increasingly treated like fiction, and fiction is presented as fact, few online resources
        have managed to preserve and retain their credibility the way Wikipedia has.

        The online, open-source encyclopedia has become an indispensable reference tool for those in search of information, including journalists.

  • Programming/Development

    • DWARF Version 5 Standard Released

      The DWARF Debugging Information Format Standards Committee is pleased to announce the availability of Version 5 of the DWARF Debugging Format Standard. The DWARF Debugging Format is used to communicate debugging information between a compiler and debugger to make it easier for programmers to develop, test, and debug programs.

      DWARF is used by a wide range of compilers and debuggers, both proprietary and open source, to support debugging of Ada, C, C++, Cobol, FORTRAN, Java, and other programming languages. DWARF V5 adds support for new languages like Rust, Swift, Ocaml, Go, and Haskell, as well as support for new features in older languages. DWARF can be used with a wide range of processor architectures, such as x86, ARM, PowerPC, from 8-bit to 64-bit.

    • Things that won’t change in Python

      A lengthy and strongly opinionated post about Python features to the python-ideas mailing list garnered various responses there, from some agreement to strong disagreement to calling it “trolling”, but it may also lead the Python community to better define what Python is. Trolling seems a somewhat unfair characterization, but Simon Lovell’s “Python Reviewed” post did call out some of the fundamental attributes of the language and made some value judgments that were seen as either coming from ignorance of the language or simply as opinions that were stated as facts in a brusque way. The thread eventually led to the creation of a document meant to help head off this kind of thread in the future.

    • modulemd 1.1.0

      This is a little belated announcement but let it be known that I released a new version of the module metadata library, modulemd-1.1.0, earlier this week!

    • RPushbullet 0.3.1
    • A rift in the NTP world

      The failure of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) project could be catastrophic. However, what few have noticed is that the attempts to prevent that catastrophe may have created entirely new challenges.

Leftovers

  • Teen Edits Band’s Wikipedia Page To Bluff His Way Into VIP Section

    This teenager got seriously creative to get a better view at a music concert.

    Adam Boyd said he bluffed his way into the VIP area at the Albert Hall in Manchester, northern England, on Friday night after editing The Sherlocks’ Wikipedia page on his cell phone to say he was the lead singer’s cousin.

    He then showed the switched-up entry to a security guard, who let him slide into the roped-off section without issue.

  • Calculating contrast ratios of text
  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • A Typo in Zerocoin’s Source Code helped Hackers Steal ZCoins worth $585,000

      If yes, then you would know the actual pain of… “forgetting a semicolon,” the hide and seek champion since 1958.

    • Israeli soldiers hit in cyberespionage campaign using Android malware
    • Yahoo Hacked Once Again! Quietly Warns Affected Users About New Attack

      Has Yahoo rebuilt your trust again?

      If yes, then you need to think once again, as the company is warning its users of another hack.

      Last year, Yahoo admitted two of the largest data breaches on record. One of which that took place in 2013 disclosed personal details associated with more than 1 Billion Yahoo user accounts.

      Well, it’s happened yet again.

    • Insecure Android apps put connected cars at risk
    • Mobile apps and stealing a connected car

      The concept of a connected car, or a car equipped with Internet access, has been gaining popularity for the last several years. The case in point is not only multimedia systems (music, maps, and films are available on-board in modern luxury cars) but also car key systems in both literal and figurative senses. By using proprietary mobile apps, it is possible to get the GPS coordinates of a car, trace its route, open its doors, start its engine, and turn on its auxiliary devices. On the one hand, these are absolutely useful features used by millions of people, but on the other hand, if a car thief were to gain access to the mobile device that belongs to a victim that has the app installed, then would car theft not become a mere trifle?

    • [Video] Keynote: Security and Privacy in a Hyper-connected World – Bruce Schneier, Security Expert
    • RSA Conference: Lessons from a Billion Breached Data Records

      Troy Hunt sees more breached records than most of us, running the popular ethical data breach search service “Have I been pwned.” In a session at the RSA Conference this week, Hunt entertained the capacity crowd with tales both humorous and frightening about breaches that he has been involved with.

      One of things that Hunt said he is often asked is exactly how he learns about so many breaches. His answer was simple.

      “Normally stuff just gets sent to me,” Hunt said.

      He emphasized that he doesn’t want to be a disclosure channel for breaches, as that’s not a role he wants to play. Rather his goal is more about helping people to be informed and protect themselves.

    • How Google Secures Gmail Against Spam and Ransomware

      Google’s Gmail web email service is used by millions of companies and consumers around the world, making it an attractive target for attackers. In a session at the RSA Conference here, Elie Bursztein, anti-fraud and abuse research team lead at Google, detailed the many technologies and processes that Google uses to protect users and the Gmail service itself from exploitation.

    • IBM Reveals Security Risks to Owners of Previously Owned IoT Devices

      hen you sell a car, typically the new owner gets the keys to the car and the original owner walks away. With a connected car, Charles Henderson, global head of X-Force Red at IBM Security, found that the original owner still has remote access capabilities, even years after the car has been sold.

      Henderson revealed his disturbing new research into a previously unexplored area of internet of things (IoT) security at the RSA Conference here on Feb. 17. In a video interview with eWEEK, Henderson detailed the management issue he found with IoT devices and why it’s a real risk.

      “As smart as a connected car is, it’s not smart enough to know that it has been sold, and that poses a real problem,” Henderson said.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands of Filipino Catholics march against death penalty, war on drugs

      Thousands of Roman Catholics marched in the Philippines capital Manila on Saturday in the biggest gathering denouncing extra-judicial killings and a government plan to reimpose the death penalty for criminals.

      Dubbed a “Walk for Life” prayer rally and endorsed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the gathering came just days after the church launched its strongest attack against President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

      Organizers claimed as many as 50,000 people took part in the march toward Manila’s Rizal Park, while about 10,000 based on police estimates stayed to hear speeches.

      More than 7,600 people have been killed since Duterte launched his anti-drugs campaign seven months ago. More than 2,500 died in shootouts during raids and sting operations, according to the police.

      Amid mounting criticism about a surge in killings, Duterte said on Saturday that the campaign was “by and large successful”.

      Speaking at the Philippine Military Academy’s alumni homecoming in Baguio City, he said the drug problem was more complex than he initially thought, prompting him to seek military support.

    • Eight killed in Xinjiang knife attack: police shoot three attackers

      Eight people were killed in a violent attack in China’s restive region of Xinjiang on Tuesday, mainland media reported.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • End persecution of Zambian journalist Dr M’membe

      The Courage Foundation calls for an immediate end to all legal and political persecution against Zambian journalist Dr. Fred M’membe, his lawyer and his family.

      While he was giving a lecture in Jamaica, Dr M’membe’s home in Zambia was raided and his wife, Mutinta Mazoka M’membe, was arrested, detained for two nights and then released on bail. She’s due to face charges in court on 3 March.

    • Ecuadorians Tell Presidential Candidates They Want Assange Safe

      Ecuador was hit by a Twitterstorm on Thursday as people around the world joined a national campaign to pressure the South American country’s right-wing presidential candidates to retract their promises to kick famed whistleblower Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • What Wikileaks Docs Say About Ecuador’s Presidential Candidates

      In the final days of Ecuador’s presidential campaign, WikiLeaks republishes U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates.

      As Ecuador’s leading presidential candidate of the governing Alianza Pais party, Lenin Moreno, wrapped up his campaign with a massive rally in the nation’s capital, Quito, on Wednesday, WikiLeaks tweeted out portions of the U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates in Sunday’s election.

    • Turkey Arrests Journalist For Reporting On Hack

      Turkey, already in the midst of a crackdown on the media, has arrested a journalist for reporting on hacked emails that revealed apparent corruption in the country’s government. His colleagues say he may have been caught after sharing a group direct message on Twitter with a hacker group and several fellow journalists.

      Deniz Yucel, a Turkey correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, has been held in police custody since Tuesday, the paper has reported. Yucel is the seventh journalist jailed for reporting about the emails of Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, which were publicly released in October by the marxist hacktivist group RedHack, then indexed by WikiLeaks.

      If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate

      A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues.

      The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Trump, White House Apprentice

      It’s with a whiff of desperation that President Trump insists these days that he’s the chief executive Washington needs, the decisive dealmaker who, as he said during the campaign, “alone can fix it.” What America has seen so far is an inept White House led by a celebrity apprentice.

      This president did not inherit “a mess” from Barack Obama, as he likes to say, but a nation recovered from recession and with strong alliances abroad. Mr. Trump is well on his way to creating a mess of his own, weakening national security and even risking the delivery of basic government services. Most of the top thousand jobs in the administration remain vacant. Career public servants are clashing with inexperienced “beachhead” teams appointed by the White House to run federal agencies until permanent staff members arrive.

    • Congressman calls for probe into Trump’s use of Android phone

      In a letter to the House Oversight Committee, a Democrat from Los Angeles worries hackers could hijack Trump’s “prized Twitter account” through the personal phone he reportedly chooses to use.

    • Mitch McConnell Just Reached a New Low

      In ramming through Trump’s EPA pick, the majority leader committed an egregious cover-up and a “total abdication of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility.”

    • The man who brought down Nixon says Trump is even ‘more treacherous’

      Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein has attacked Donald Trump’s “lying” and said his attacks on the media are more treacherous than those of Richard Nixon, the president he helped bring down.

      Bernstein, whose reporting with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee helped exposed the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, has told his 26,000 twitter followers: “The most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying – always. Attacks on the press by Donald Trump [are] more treacherous than Nixon’s.”

      Apparently questioning Trump’s mental stability, Bernstein added: “Real news (not fake) is that Donald Trump is trying to make conduct of the press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged) conduct of POTUS [President of the United States].”

    • Leaked tape reveals Trump invited club guests to ‘come along’ during cabinet interviews

      Newly leaked audio from a November party at President Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., golf club reveals then president-elect Trump touting to guests his scheduled interviews on premises with potential cabinet members and White House staff.

      “We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” Trump says in the tape, obtained by Politico and published Saturday. “You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government.”

    • Uber exec broke ethics rule when lobbying about rights at Chicago airports
    • Is It Time to Call Trump Mentally Ill?

      A lot of people seem to be questioning President Trump’s mental health. This month, Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, went so far as to say he was considering proposing legislation that would require a White House psychiatrist.

      More controversial is the number of mental health experts who are joining the chorus. In December, a Huffington Post article featured a letter written by three prominent psychiatry professors that cited President Trump’s “grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality” as evidence of his mental instability. While stopping short of giving the president a formal psychiatric diagnosis, the experts called for him to submit to a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by impartial investigators.

      A practicing psychologist went further in late January. He was quoted in a U.S. News and World Report article titled “Temperament Tantrum,” saying that President Trump has malignant narcissism, which is characterized by grandiosity, sadism and antisocial behavior.

    • Trump tweets: The media is the ‘enemy of the American people’

      He had posted and then quickly deleted a slightly different version of the tweet just a few minutes earlier, which omitted ABC and CBS. He also included the word “SICK!” at the end of the original post.

      The tweet came one day after Trump held an adversarial and lengthy news conference, in which he berated the media as “very fake news” and dismissed news reports about his and his associates’ ties to Russia as a “ruse.”

    • Donald Trump says ‘fake news’ media is ‘enemy of the American people’

      Donald Trump has branded his critics in the US press “not my enemy” but the “enemy of the American people”, in a tweet that came a day after he launched a sustained attack on the media during a White House press conference.

      In his latest barb aimed at US journalists, the Republican billionaire took to Twitter to accuse reporters of publishing “fake news” and singled out several broadcasters for criticism.

    • Donald Trump’s administration is in ‘disarray’, warns John McCain at Munich Security Conference

      Donald Trump’s administration is in “disarray” and has “a lot of work to do”, a senior Republican figure has warned at a high-level meeting of defence and security chiefs in Germany.

      Senator John McCain, an outspoken critic of the US President, said Mr Trump was prone to contradicting himself and said his remarks should not be taken at face value.

      His warning was significant as other US officials speaking at the Munich Security Conference had sought to reassure America’s allies that the apparent chaos in Washington was being overblown.

      It followed a day after Mr Trump insisted his administration was running like a “finely-tuned machine”, amid a furore over the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

    • Everything Trump Did in His 4th Week That Actually Matters

      Signed a bill to allow coal-mining operations to put more pollution in streams. That’s really not an ungenerous reading of the bill Trump signed on Thursday. The legislation, as David Dayen outlined recently, used a heretofore rarely used mechanism instituted by the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA), by which Congress can junk recent regulations and prevent the executive branch from ever signing something similar in the future without Congress. By signing the bill, Trump eliminated an Obama rule that protected 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 square miles of forest from mountaintop-removal operations that dump debris rich with heavy metals into nearby ecosystems.

    • Finland grants asylum to Russian opposition leader

      Petrozavodsk businessman and Karelian Republic opposition leader Vasili Popov has been granted political asylum in Finland. He confirmed his status to a reporter on the public broadcaster Yle’s Novosti Russian-language news team on Friday.

      Before fleeing to Finland in the spring of 2015, Popov was a leader in the liberal Russian United Democratic Party known as Yabloko in the Karelian Republic, a federal subject of Russia.

      In August 2015, Yle reported that Russian authorities had declared Popov to be detained in absentia, as an international search warrant for his arrest was issued via the international police body Interpol. The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported at the time that Popov was arrested by Finnish police from his Joensuu home at the request of Russian authorities.

    • Popular newsletter uses open-source techniques to cover ‘WTF’ is happening with Trump
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • ACLU calls Hogan Facebook policy ‘censorship’

      The ACLU of Maryland contends Gov. Larry Hogan’s deletion of Facebook comments is tantamount to censorship.

      The civil rights organization sent the Republican governor a letter Friday outlining its legal argument that Hogan violated the First Amendment rights of his constituents when he deleted their comments from his official Facebook page and banned some people from posting.

    • Techdirt lawyers ask judge to throw out suit over “Inventor of E-mail”

      The motion holds that Techdirt’s allegedly defamatory statements are actually constitutionally protected opinion. “This lawsuit is a misbegotten effort to stifle historical debate, silence criticism, and chill others from continuing to question Ayyadurai’s grandiose claims,” write Masnick’s lawyers.

      The motion skims the history of e-mail and points out that the well-known fields of e-mail messages, like “to,” “from,” “cc,” “subject,” “message,” and “bcc,” were used in ARPANET e-mail messages for years before Ayyadurai made his “EMAIL” program.

      Ayyadurai focuses on statements calling him a “fake,” a “liar,” or a “fraud” putting forth “bogus” claims. Masnick counters that such phrases are “rhetorical hyperbole” meant to express opinions and reminds the court that “[t]he law provides no redress for harsh name-calling.”

    • PewDiePie calls out media “attack” in response to Disney fallout

      This week started with controversial PewDiePie news—and that’s how it’s going to end, too. The YouTube megastar, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted a response video today addressing The Wall Street Journal’s report about alleged anti-Semitic comments. Those comments cost him both a lucrative contract with Disney and his deal with YouTube Red.

      In his response, Kjellberg apologized for jokes that “went too far” and acknowledged that he offended people. But he also claimed that “old-school media” (in this case the Journal) attacked him personally for being a YouTube personality who makes a substantial living off the online video platform.

    • Kids Shouldn’t Use the Internet, Russia’s Site-Blocking Chief Says

      The head of Rozcomnadzor, the body that oversees website-blocking in Russia, made a shocking statement this week. According to Alexander Zharov, children under ten years of age shouldn’t use the Internet, and there’s “nothing good” about a three-year-old who uses a tablet to watch cartoons.

    • Calling time on the War, censorship and exceptional difficulty

      ‘Europe’s nightmare is over” was the dramatic first sentence of the Irish Independent’s editorial on the day when Victory in Europe was celebrated, marking the end of six years of “slaughter and desolation” on the continent. The paper suggested that it would be up to future historians to argue over whether “it was the tenacity and resources of the British, the colossal weight of American intervention, or the astonishing power of Russia” which had played the decisive role in Germany’s downfall. Looking back at it now it is easier to agree that it was a combination of all three.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Implementing Privacy Preserving Auction Protocols

      In this thesis we translate Brandt’s privacy preserving sealed-bid online auction protocol from RSA to elliptic curve arithmetic and analyze the theoretical and practical benefits. With Brandt’s protocol, the auction outcome is completely resolved by the bidders and the seller without the need for a trusted third party. Loosing bids are not revealed to anyone. We present libbrandt, our implementation of four algorithms with different outcome and pricing properties, and describe how they can be incorporated in a real-world online auction system. Our performance measurements show a reduction of computation time and prospective bandwidth cost of over 90% compared to an implementation of the RSA version of the same algorithms. We also evaluate how libbrandt scales in different dimensions and conclude that the system we have presented is promising with respect to an adoption in the real world.

    • Riseup moves to encrypted email in response to legal requests.

      After exhausting our legal options, Riseup recently chose to comply with two sealed warrants from the FBI, rather than facing contempt of court (which would have resulted in jail time for Riseup birds and/or termination of the Riseup organization). The first concerned the public contact address for an international DDoS extortion ring. The second concerned an account using ransomware to extort money from people.

    • How cryptocurrency will cripple today’s governments – and they won’t see it coming

      Cryptocurrency will cripple governmental ability to collect taxes, and they won’t see it coming. When it’s already happened, expect major changes to take place in how society is organized on a large scale – but also expect governments to act in desperation to retain control.

      As bitcoin launched in 2009, most early adopters saw its disruptive potential. While bitcoin has stalled for some time approaching a valid use of the term “stagnation”, cryptocurrency in a larger context is still just as disruptive. In 2011, I stated that bitcoin (cryptocurrency) will do to banks what e-mail did to the postal services. This is not just true, but it will be even more brutal to governments, and by extension, governmental services.

      Now, governments love anything that smells like innovation, because it means jobs, this magic word that smells of magic unicorns to anybody in government. Therefore, people who like innovation are nurturing this bitcoin thing, this cryptocurrency thing, this ethereum thing (as if governments made a difference, but still). Lots of startups in tip-of-the-spear financial technology means that their government may get a head start over other governments. They have no idea that cryptocurrency will radically scale back the power of government, not just their own one, but also all those other governments over which it seeks a competitive edge.

    • Op-ed: Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto is a political trainwreck

      Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has just published a 5,700 word “letter” on his profile, where he asserts that Facebook represents one of history’s “great leaps.” Though he covers a number of topics, what’s most interesting is how he positions Facebook as a force for political change in the coming years. His goals are lofty, sometimes even grandiose. That’s not the problem.

      The problem is a fundamental contradiction built into the way he hopes to create what he calls a “global community” by essentially gerrymandering the Internet.

    • Germans, do you own a Cayla doll? Kill it with fire

      IN GERMANY, people are outraged by the news that a doll that can listen to what a child says, record that information, connect to the internet and be hacked.

      We have heard of bad dolls before. Often they appear in horror movies like Child’s Play, sometimes they are just cursed and live on a shelf in your nan’s spare bedroom with eyes that follow you around. In this instance it is a doll called Cayla.

    • Your personal Facebook Live videos can legally end up on TV

      Man streams son’s birth on Facebook Live – sees footage on Good Morning America.

      Think you control what happens to your personal videos? Think again.

      One father who live-streamed his partner’s labour on Facebook last May, has found out the hard way: he saw the birth of his son replayed on Good Morning America and numerous other media outlets.

      This week, he lost a high-profile court battle against the broadcasters.

      If you don’t want this to happen to you, don’t make the same mistakes.

    • Mark Zuckerberg’s letter annotated: what he said and what he didn’t

      Mark Zuckerberg opens his missive with a grammatical ambiguity: who are “we”? Is this a letter to Facebook, or to the world? It can be read both ways. But regardless of the intended audience, there’s a subtext to the opening paragraph which informs the whole 5,700-word letter: for an increasing number of people, the answer to Zuckerberg’s question is “no”. Zuckerberg wants for more than Facebook to be an insanely profitable mega-corporation. He wants the company to be seen as a force for good in the world, and right now, he’s concerned that it isn’t.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Shares Facebook’s Plan to Bring the Global Community Together
    • Mark Zuckerberg’s Answer to a World Divided by Facebook Is More Facebook

      When I ask Mark Zuckerberg if the presidential election changed the way he sees Facebook—if he made poor assumptions, if Facebook functioned in ways he didn’t intend—he pauses.

      I’ve interviewed Zuckerberg before, and he tends to pause like this, gathering his thoughts in complete silence, sometimes turning to face the empty space across the room. But this dead air lasts particularly long. Five seconds. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. “I don’t know,” he finally says. “It’s a very interesting question.” Pause.

      “If you continue giving people voice and work to create a diversity of ideas and common understanding and strengthen the social fabric,” he says, not directly answering the question, “then over the long term we will go in the right direction regardless if you disagree on short-term things.”

    • Stalkscan Is A Creepy Tool That Exposes All Your Facebook Public Information In One Click

      A Belgian ethical hacker has created an online tool, named Stalkscan, that shows you how powerful Facebook’s search tool is and what kind of information is available on the social network publicly. All you need to do is type the URL of a person’s profile in the web interface and you’re good to go. The creator of the tool also outlines that the tool doesn’t violate Facebook’s privacy policies.

    • Data Selfie: This Free And Open Source Tool Shows How Facebook’s AI Tracks You All The Time

      How does Facebook know what to show to you? How does it make predictions and guesses your interest? Some of you might be having a rough idea that Facebook’s algorithms keep tracking your activity and user-interactions, but what’s the real deal?

    • Now sites can fingerprint you online even when you use multiple browsers

      Researchers have recently developed the first reliable technique for websites to track visitors even when they use two or more different browsers. This shatters a key defense against sites that identify visitors based on the digital fingerprint their browsers leave behind.

      State-of-the-art fingerprinting techniques are highly effective at identifying users when they use browsers with default or commonly used settings. For instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s privacy tool, known as Panopticlick, found that only one in about 77,691 browsers had the same characteristics as the one commonly used by this reporter. Such fingerprints are the result of specific settings and customizations found in a specific browser installation, including the list of plugins, the selected time zone, whether a “do not track” option is turned on, and whether an adblocker is being used.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It’s Not Ok

      Writer Shazia Hobbs was invited to Cleveland Police HQ, in Middlesborough, to speak at a conference titled ‘It’s Not OK’. The event was about breaking the silence on sexual violence and how to better protect victims. Shazia was representing the Halo Project Charity, an organisation that supports victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages and FGM Here’s what she had to say on the subject.

    • Two West Midlands Police officers charged over ‘plot to steal and sell drugs’

      Pc Wahid Husman and Pc Tahsib Majid, who were based in Perry Barr, are among a group appearing before magistrates today.

      The pair face charges including drug offences, conspiracy to steal and misconduct in a public office.

      The constables were immediately suspended from duty following their charge.

      Six other people were arrested in early morning raids across the West Midlands area on Tuesday morning.

    • In Somaliland, women are being raped as a result of extreme drought and lack of support

      “Two days ago four men came, grabbed me and started raping me. Most women and girls in the camp have been assaulted or raped by gangs,” begins Hodan Ahmedan, 23, sitting in her makeshift shelter where she has lived since she arrived from drought-ridden eastern Somaliland to a camp for internally displaced in Maxamed Mooge, Hargeisa.

      Cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are rife here. A lack of police presence, inadequate lighting, an absence of sanitary facilities and an increase in the number of female-only households has rendered this camp an ideal ground for SGBV. “The ground is really hard here so we can’t dig to make lavatories.

    • Right to Record Police Established in U.S. Fifth Circuit

      The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit covers the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the second most populous state. The court has issued a decision that clearly establishes the right to record police, which did not previously exist in the Fifth Circuit.

      The plaintiff, Phillip Turner, was recording a Fort Worth police station (6:35 YouTube) from a public sidewalk (known as a “First Amendment audit”) when officers approached him and asked for identification. Turner refused to ID himself and was eventually handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. Turner was released at the scene and later filed charges against three officers (amended to include the City of Fort Worth) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The officers moved to dismiss the case, claiming qualified immunity, which was granted by the district court. The Fifth Circuit has affirmed, reversed, and remanded portions of the district court’s decision in what can be considered an overall win for Mr. Turner (10:59 YouTube).

    • 1,00,000 Hindus rally against the Jihadis in Kolkata, say Donald Trump vindicates them

      In a major show of strength against Islamic Terrorism, around 1,00,000 Hindus of all race, color and gender marched and rallied through the streets of Kolkata in the state of West Bengal, India. On the occasion of the Foundation Day of the organization Hindu Samhati, the organizers recalled the sufferings of the Hindu community worldwide. Founded in 2008, Hindu Samhati is a Hindu organization working on ground in West Bengal and in the other states of Eastern India.

      In recent years there is a tremendous growth of Radical Islam in the Eastern part of India. There has been a series of attacks on the Hindu community. According to Tapan Ghosh, President and Founder of Hindu Samhati, who is also a Monk, “In 2016 attack against the Hindu community started with the burning of the Kaliachak Police Station of Malda by the Islamic Radicals (on 3rd of January). It ended with the misery of the Hindus in Dhulagarh in Howrah (on 14th December). In between these two incidents, Hindus of Bengal had to witness countless episodes of gruesome attacks and Jihadi atrocities throughout this year. Kaligram, Ramganz, Ilambazar, Tufanganz, Chopra, Naihati, Kharagpur, Shankrail, Mallarpur, Baduria, Mohammadbazar, Barchandghar, Jalangee, Toltoli and many more places observed similar occurrences. The sheer volumes of these events, the limitless atrocities and unparalleled aggression have become the eye-openers for the Hindus. The persecuted people in Eastern India are seeing the organization as their only hope”.

    • Pakistani Hindus lose daughters to forced Muslim marriages.

      Anila Dhawan, 17, was kidnapped last spring from her home in Hyderabad, forced to convert to Islam and marry her abductor.

      The police refused to intervene. Her kidnapper told them she ran away from home, and converted to Islam and married him voluntarily. But after her family pressured a court to intervene, she told judges the truth and they freed her.

      “Her life was threatened,” her attorney, Ramesh Gupta, said. “She wanted to go back to her parents and the statement (she made to the court) helped to sway the decision in her favor and she was freed to join her family.”

      Anila is one of many Pakistani Hindu girls kidnapped because of religious discrimination in a country that is 98% Muslim.

    • While a Londoner languishes in prison in Iran, Sadiq Khan thinks it’s a good idea to invite an Iranian director to the city

      “On Sunday 26 February, the night of the Oscars, we’re transforming Trafalgar Square into London’s biggest cinema,” says Sadiq Khan in a publicity video for the screening of Iran’s Oscar-nominated film, The Salesman.

      “I want to welcome people from all across the capital and beyond,” the Khan adds – “khan” in Persian is aptly the daddy, godfather, don, the head of the village – “to share in this celebration of London as an international hub of creativity and as a global beacon of openness and diversity.”

      But hold on – why is London doing this when Tehran is holding one of its citizens in jail over unclear charges and refusing her urgent medical care?

    • EU citizens ‘denied residency documents’

      EU citizens living in the UK say they are being denied a guarantee of permanent residency because they do not have health insurance.

      Under a little-known rule, EU citizens not in work or those looking for work must buy comprehensive insurance.

      One man told the Today programme his application had been rejected, despite living in the UK since the age of 13.

      Peers are now trying to change the law. The Home Office said securing the status of EU migrants was a priority.

      Since the referendum in June, many EU citizens have applied for documents guaranteeing the right to live permanently in the UK.

      But the documents can only be obtained by migrants who have consistently either worked, sought work, or bought the insurance for five years.

  • DRM

    • Source: Apple Will Fight ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation

      Apple representatives plan to tell Nebraska lawmakers that repairing your phone is dangerous.

      Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics “Right to Repair” legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill’s path through the statehouse.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Chinese Trademarks And The Emoluments Clause: Do They Intersect In The Trump Presidency?

        As the world continues to get used to an America with a President Donald Trump at its head, the binary nature of the current political climate has reared its own head in unfortunate ways. One example of this is the stunning speed with which many of those previously ignorant of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, as the Title of Nobility Clause is commonly called, have feigned familiarity with it. As one of my colleagues here termed it, the “emoluments hunting” going on is transparently political in nature, rather than representing a serious effort at protecting the public interest from the shadow of undue influence and sanctioned bribery over our highest political office.

    • Copyrights

      • Is Megaupload’s ‘Crime’ a Common Cloud Hosting Practice?

        Five years ago the US Government launched a criminal case against Megaupload and several of its former employees. One of the main allegations in the indictment is that the site only deleted links to copyright-infringing material, not the actual files. Interestingly, this isn’t too far off from what cloud hosting providers such as Google Drive and Dropbox still do today.

      • Study: 70% of Young Swedish Men Are Video Pirates

        A new study from Sweden has found that just over half of all young people admit to obtaining movies and TV shows from the Internet without paying, a figure that rockets to 70% among young men. With The Pirate Bay about to be blocked by one ISP with more to follow, can piracy rates be controlled?

      • Judge Splits $750 Piracy Penalty Between BitTorrent Peers

        A District Court judge in Seattle has taken a novel approach in a series of default judgments targeting alleged BitTorrent pirates. Since the defendants are accused of sharing files in the same swarm, they should also share the penalty among each other, the judge argues. According to the order, these cases are not intended to provide a windfall to filmmakers.

      • Copyright power matrix

        Copyright reform is the largest, loudest and most divisive battle in EU policy this year. It pits the full might of Paris and Berlin with Europe’s deep-rooted publishing industry, against internet search giants, pirates and the speed of technological change.

        The rules that govern who’s allowed to make copies of music, films, books and other media were last updated in 2001, before internet streaming existed and when piracy’s biggest villain was Napster’s MP3 file-sharing service. Now illegally downloading content is a habit for tens of millions of Europeans, who often struggle to find a legal version of the content they’re after. Or just don’t want to pay.

02.17.17

Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • US scientists fear America under Donald Trump will become like a totalitarian regime

      Scientists fear the United States under Donald Trump could become like the Soviet Union, in which the prevailing political ideology was so powerful that science was unable to contradict it with hard evidence.

      Speaking at the beginning of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston, its president, Professor Barbara Schaal, and chief executive, Dr Rush Holt, both expressed concern about the use of the phrase “alternative facts” by Trump administration officials.

      Professor Schaal also criticised the proposed hardline immigration ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, saying it would damage vital collaboration between scientists.

      She said people should protest if Mr Trump, who has described global warming as a hoax and appointed a string of sceptics to key positions in his cabinet, cut government climate science projects.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL project releases patch to fix critical bug
    • Microsoft’s monthlong patch delay could pose risks [Ed: Microsoft is in no hurry because there are back doors it knows about but keeps secret anyway]

      Microsoft has decided to bundle its February patches together with those scheduled for March, a move that at least some security experts disagree with.

      “I was surprised to learn that Microsoft wants to postpone by a full month,” said Carsten Eiram, the chief research officer at vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, via email. “Even without knowing all the details, I find such a decision very hard to justify. They are aware of vulnerabilities in their products and have developed fixes; those should always be made available to customers in a timely fashion.”

      Microsoft took everyone by surprise on Tuesday when it announced that this month’s patches had to be delayed because of a “last minute issue” that could have had an impact on customers. The company did not initially specify for how long the patches will be postponed, which likely threw a wre

    • Zero-day flaw around, but Microsoft updates delayed by a month
    • Microsoft misses regular security fix date

      Microsoft has delayed the release of a security update that would have fixed a vulnerability cyber thieves are known to be exploiting.

      The fix was to be released as part of Microsoft’s regular monthly security update for its Windows software.

    • How Google reinvented security and eliminated the need for firewalls

      In some ways, Google is like every other large enterprise. It had the typical defensive security posture based on the concept that the enterprise is your castle and security involves building moats and walls to protect the perimeter.

      Over time, however, that perimeter developed holes as Google’s increasingly mobile workforce, scattered around the world, demanded access to the network. And employees complained about having to go through a sometimes slow, unreliable VPN. On top of that, Google, like everyone else, was moving to the cloud, which was also outside of the castle.

    • No Firewalls, No Problem for Google

      On Tuesday at RSA Conference, Google shared the seven-year journey of its internal BeyondCorp rollout where it affirms trust based on what it knows about its users and devices connecting to its networks. And all of this is done at the expense—or lack thereof—of firewalls and traditional network security gear.

    • Android Phone Hacks Could Unlock Millions of Cars
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • United States asked Canada to help spy on candidates during 2012 French election: WikiLeaks

      Central Intelligence Agency documents released by WikiLeaks Thursday list Canada as one of several countries asked to assist the United States while they spied on the 2012 French presidential election.

      The three CIA tasking orders request that current French president Francois Hollande, then president Nicolas Sarkozy and current first round presidential front runner Marine Le Pen all be closely monitored.

      CIA officers were asked to uncover the secret strategies of the candidates, as well as information on internal power dynamics within the parties. Canada is listed as one of five countries working on human intelligence parts of the operation however there are no specifics on which parts of the operation, if any, Canada was involved in.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule

      President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

      The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

      The legislation is the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation. On Tuesday, he signed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.

      Both the mining and financial disclosure bills are the tip of a GOP push to undo a slate of regulations instituted in the closing days of the Obama administration. The House has passed several CRA resolutions, and the Senate has so far sent three of them to President Trump for his signature.

  • Finance

    • Nearly 80,000 working-age men have disappeared from the labour force

      The EVA study says that there are over 50,000 men who should be in their best working years (25–54) who do not have jobs and who are not actively seeking jobs. This does not include men who are studying or who are on disability pensions.

      The authors of the labour market analysis refer to this group as “the lost workmen”. In statistics, they fall under the category of “others not in the workforce”.

      In addition, there are over 28,000 unemployed men in the same age group who are looking for jobs, but are unlikely to ever return to the workforce.

      Even while unemployment levels decline, the numbers of lost workmen have grown steadily over the past few years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Greenwald: Empowering the “Deep State” to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

      Some supporters of Trump, including Breitbart News, have accused the intelligence agencies of attempting to wage a deep state coup against the president. Meanwhile, some critics of Trump are openly embracing such activity. Bill Kristol, the prominent Republican analyst who founded The Weekly Standard, wrote on Twitter, “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.” We talk about the deep state with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept.

    • Britain starting to reassess US as an ally, Scottish Tory leader says

      Britain is beginning to reassess how reliable an ally the US is, the Scottish Conservative party leader, Ruth Davidson, has said, in comments that contrast starkly with the official policy of the UK government.

      During an interview at the Women in the World summit in Washington, Davidson said: “At the moment, from the UK, we have always seen America as being a very strong, a reliable ally, and now, even after only 26 days or however long [Donald Trump’s] tenure has been so far in Pennsylvania Avenue, we are beginning to reassess how reliable an ally the United States is.

    • Deutsche Bank examined Donald Trump’s account for Russia links

      The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump has conducted a close internal examination of the US president’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia, the Guardian has learned.

      Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow.

    • More mainstream media mess-ups: The Muslim Olympian ‘detained because of President Trump’s travel ban’ was detained under Obama

      Reporters have done it again.

      The latest media misfire on the Trump administration involves Ibtihaj Muhammad, a New Jersey native who made headlines last year when she became the first female Muslim-American to win an Olympic medal for the United States.

      Muhammad, a lifelong American citizen, claimed in an interview last week that she was detained “just a few weeks ago” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. She said she was held for two hours without explanation.

      Her remarks on Feb. 7 earned her an entire news cycle, as several journalists ran with reports suggesting, and alleging outright, that the American Olympian had been ensnared in the president’s executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries.

    • (Jakarta vote) Civil servant insists non-Muslims must not lead Muslims

      Hadiyul Umam, 40, a civil servant, said voting for incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a minority Christian and ethnic Chinese, would go against everything he believes in.
      “As a Muslim, I believe that non-Muslims are not allowed to lead Muslims in this country, and personally, I do not like the way Ahok leads, which is not pro-poor people and his words were disrespectful and rude,” he said.
      Ahok’s blasphemy trial and the ease with which hard-liners attracted several hundred thousand to protest against him in Jakarta have undermined Indonesia’s reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam and shaken the centrist government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

    • Muslim convert carried axe to meeting with father over “religious differences”

      A Muslim convert was found carrying an axe through the streets to confront his Christian father over “religious differences”, a court heard.

      Newcastle Crown Court heard Clayton McKenna was taking the weapon – which he got from his mother’s shed – through Boldon Colliery in the early hours of the morning, to his father’s
      home in South Tyneside on July 18.

      The 22-year-old gave a series of “confused and contradictory” explanations when he was stopped by the police, including saying he was on his way to his father’s “to ask him to bow down to me” – a statement he now rejects.

    • 8 Iranian Girls Dressed Up As Men To Attend A Football Game, Got Caught And Were Thrown Out

      Eight Iranian girls who disguised themselves as boys to attend a football match despite an official ban were prevented from entering the stadium, an official was quoted as saying today.

      Iran argues that its ban on women attending football matches in the same stadiums as men is necessary to protect them from lewd language that might emanate from the terraces.

      “Eight girls dressed up as men to try to enter the Azadi stadium” in southwest Tehran on Sunday, the Tasnim news agency said.

    • Stoke Central’s Muslim voters warned they will go to hell if they do not vote Labour in anti-Ukip text
    • Ilford father Faisal Bashir who claims he was forced to move house after renouncing Islam is calling for more action on hate crime

      A MAN who claims he was forced to move house after renouncing his faith wants authorities to crack down on hate crime

      Fasial Bashir, of Mayville Road, Ilford decided to stop practicing Islam in the summer of 2014 over claims the religion was too “hateful” and “sending out the wrong message”.

      But when the 43-year-old stopped going to mosques in Ilford he claims he started getting harassment on a weekly basis.

    • Martial arts academy posts how-to video for defending against Trump handshake

      “Now I’m not suggesting you do this to the president,” he added, then demonstrating the “goose neck” wrist lock he says will defend against the hand shake.

      “As he grabs really hard and pulls you in, I go with it. I step in with the outside foot, I wrap around the elbow. As I do that, I’m going to block his arm from here, I bend the wrist in, the other hand wraps over the top of the knuckles and boom — now you have what we call a goose neck.”

    • United States asked Canada to help spy on candidates during 2012 French election: WikiLeaks

      Central Intelligence Agency documents released by WikiLeaks Thursday list Canada as one of several countries asked to assist the United States while they spied on the 2012 French presidential election.

      The three CIA tasking orders request that current French president Francois Hollande, then president Nicolas Sarkozy and current first round presidential front runner Marine Le Pen all be closely monitored.

      CIA officers were asked to uncover the secret strategies of the candidates, as well as information on internal power dynamics within the parties. Canada is listed as one of five countries working on human intelligence parts of the operation however there are no specifics on which parts of the operation, if any, Canada was involved in.

    • A Brief History of Hope (and How Trump Won)

      I haven’t run across anyone who voted for Trump who said “Well, that’s that, time to sit back and watch things get fixed.” A lot of these people voted for Obama, at least in 2008, and not because he was going to be America’s First Black President but because they really believed in his promise of Hope. The Bush years had worn out. We stayed scared enough, but then no post-9/11 attack came, the wars dragged on, and most of the stuff that was supposed to make us feel safe just ended up somewhere between inconvenient and bullying.

      People have no sense of being in control of their lives. They know they have a lot less money than they used to, they don’t see their kids doing better, but they see on TV that some few seem to have most of everything. They can figure if they have less and someone else has more where that more came from.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Split From Cyberwar Command Inevitable, Says Former Official
    • Security Lessons From Snowden
    • U.S. Spies vs. our Constitutional government
    • Obama admin expanded NSA’s wiretap power just before leaving office, and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows
    • China’s “citizen scores” used to blacklist 6.7m people from using high-speed rail or flying

      China’s nightmarish “citizen scores” system uses your online activity, purchases, messages, and social graph to rate your creditworthiness and entitlement to services. One way your score can be plunged into negative territory is for a judge to declare you to be a bad person (mostly this happens to people said to have refused to pay their debts, but it’s also used to punish people who lie to courts, hide their assets, and commit other offenses).

      More than 6.7 million people in China have been placed on a blacklist created in this manner. Once you’re on the blacklist, you are not allowed to buy high-speed rail tickets or plane tickets — and other people can see your ratings, and face social pressure to exclude you (their own scores are based in part on whether they associate with low-scoring individuals).

    • Italy Proposes Astonishingly Sensible Rules To Regulate Government Hacking Using Trojans

      As Techdirt has just reported, even though encryption is becoming more widespread, it’s not still not much of a problem for law enforcement agencies, despite some claims to the contrary. However, governments around the world are certainly not sitting back waiting for it to become an issue before acting. Many have already put in place legal frameworks that allow them to obtain information even when encryption is used, predominantly by hacking into a suspect’s computer or mobile phone. In the US, this has been achieved with controversial changes to Rule 41; in the UK, the Snooper’s Charter gives the government there almost unlimited powers to conduct what it coyly calls “equipment interference.”

      [...]

      It’s a remarkable list of technical and operational requirements that are surely unique in their attempt to minimize the key dangers of implanting clandestine surveillance software. Of course, it would be better if the use of government malware were avoided completely, and other methods were adopted. But realistically, the police and intelligence agencies around the world will be pushing hard for legislation to allow them to infect people’s computers and mobiles in this way, not least if encryption does become more of a problem.

    • Court: Unsupported Assertions And Broad Language Aren’t Enough To Support Cell Phone Searches

      Another court has stepped up to inform law enforcement that just because criminals are known to use cell phones doesn’t mean any cell phone possessed by a suspect is fair game — warrant or no warrant.

      This time it’s the Superior Court of Delaware making the point. In its suppression of evidence found on a seized cell phone, the Superior Court makes it clear that cell phones are used by everyone — not just criminals. Not only that, but if an officer is going to seek a warrant that effectively allows them access to the owner’s entire life, the warrant needs to contain more specifics and limitations than this one did.

      During a consensual search of an apartment where a homicide suspect (Qualeel Westcott) was staying, police came across heroin and three mobile phones. All three of the phones were seized. A warrant was obtained to search the content of the phones. But a warrant alone isn’t good enough. While a warrant is better than nothing at all, the warrant here — according to the court — barely exceeded “nothing at all.”

    • Check your privacy filters: Facebook could be the new LinkedIn
    • Did Facebook steal the design for its data center in Sweden?

      The suit was brought by British engineering firm BladeRoom Group (BRG), which in 2015 alleged “BRG spent years developing and refining the prefabricated, modular design and the transportation and construction techniques that Facebook blithely passed off to the world in 2014,” the company said in its federal lawsuit. The company said that Facebook “simply stole the BRG Methodology and passed it off as its own.” BladeRoom notes that Facebook shared some of the ideas for the Swedish data center on the Open Compute Project blog and did not “make any attempt to attribute or credit BRG for any of the elements of the innovative new approach” that Facebook “claimed” it had developed.

    • Man Who Used Facebook Live To Stream Birth Of Child Loses Bid To Sue All The News For Copyright Infringement

      The saga of Facebook Live marches on, I suppose. The social media giant’s bid to get everyone to live-stream content that mostly appears to be wholly uninteresting has nevertheless produced some interesting legal stories as a result. The latest of these is the conclusion of a string of lawsuits filed by a man who used Facebook Live to stream the birth of his child over copyright infringement against many, many news organizations that thought his act was newsworthy.

      It was in May of 2016 that Kali Kanongataa accidentally publcly streamed his wife birthing the couple’s son. He had intended for the stream to only be viewable to friends and family, but had instead made the stream viewable by pretty much everyone. Even after realizing he’d done so, Kanongataa kept the stream public, leading over 100,000 people to view the video — including some folks in several news organizations, who used snippets of the stream in news stories about the couple’s decision to stream this most intimate of moments.

    • Dad who live-streamed his son’s birth on Facebook loses in court

      A father who live-streamed his son’s birth on Facebook and proceeded to sue for copyright infringement several media outlets that used the clips has lost his case.

      US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled yesterday that the lawsuit filed by Kali Kanongataa must be thrown out, after the American Broadcasting Company and other defendants filed motions arguing that their use of the clips was covered by “fair use.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nation’s Police Chiefs Disagree With Trump’s New Tough On Crime Executive Orders

      President Trump’s three new law-and-order Executive Orders are designed to combat a largely-nonexistent crime wave and increase protections for one of the most-heavily protected groups in America: law enforcement officers. The orders also mixed crime prevention and national security into a single bowl, making criminal activity inseparable from threats to the nation — especially if foreigners are involved. In addition to his travel ban and his Two Minutes Hate reporting system, Trump also singled out illegal immigrants in these “law and order” orders, implying that they were to blame for much of the perceived crime problem.

    • Freshman Representative Serves Up Immigration Bill That Would Make The DHS Do Things It Already Does

      While CBP and DHS have been asking incoming foreigners for social media info for a while now, the process has been voluntary — or at least as voluntary as any process can be when one side holds all the power. New DHS Secretary John Kelly suggested this would expand further in the near future, moving from requests for social media handles to demands for account passwords.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Is in Danger. Tell the FCC Why We Need It

      Net neutrality is in grave danger. Back in 2015, advocates for the open Internet won a hard-fought battle to preserve net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic is treated equally and that providers cannot charge content providers for “fast lanes” for those who can afford it. Net neutrality is key to the work of activists and independent media outlets (like The Nation!), allowing them to reach people across the country without being drowned out by corporate media companies with big pockets.

    • T-Mobile Not So Subtly Hints That It Wants To Disrupt The Cable TV Industry

      While T-Mobile isn’t without its faults (like its opposition to net neutrality, or the time its CEO mocked the EFF), there’s little doubt that T-Mobile has been a good thing for the wireless industry. The company has managed to drag the industry kicking and screaming in an overall positive direction, including the elimination of the carrier-subsidized handset model, the elimination of annoying hidden fees, and the recent return to more popular unlimited data options. And its brash CEO John Legere, while sometimes teetering into absurd caricature, has at least managed to bring a sense of industry to a traditionally droll telecom sector.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Pro-Marijuana Student Organization Wins Court Case Over Using School Logos

        We’ve seen stories in the past in which higher educational institutions attempt to slap down students’ use of school iconography when it comes to advocating for marijuana legalization. Trademark law is the preferred bludgeoning tool in many of these cases, regardless of whether or not the uses in question actually pass the muster on the tests for Fair Use. Still, at least in most of these cases the schools are at least quick to act and staunch in their attempts to silence a completely valid political position by the student body.

        That’s not so in the recent dust up between a pro-marijuana student group and Iowa State University. In this particular case, the student group got approval from ISU to use school trademarks, only to have that approval rescinded once a bunch of politicians got involved. The organization created by students is called the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

    • Copyrights

      • Argentinian Copyright Office Proposes To Add Exceptions And Limitations To Copyright Act

        On 12 December, the Argentinian Copyright Office and the Ministry of Culture invited a group of stakeholders, among which was this author, to discuss the final draft of the Exceptions and Limitations Bill (Proyecto de Ley de Excepciones) to modify current Copyright Act no.11.723 of 1933. One wonders whether it would be better to draft from scratch a modern Copyright Act instead of patching up the old 1933 Act. Nevertheless, the bill is welcomed. Argentina, as this author has already expressed, has one of the most restrictive copyright laws in the world (see Propuestas para ampliar el acceso a los bienes públicos en Argentina – Estableciendo el necesario balance entre derechos de propiedad intelectual y dominio público, Maximiliano Marzetti, Buenos Aires, 2013).

      • US Federal Court Bars Online Publication Of Copyrighted Standards Incorporated Into Laws

        In a case pitting standards development organisations against internet content aggregators, a United States federal court ruled that Public.Resource.Org breached copyright by posting unauthorised copies of standards incorporated into government education regulations. Public Resource has appealed.

      • MPAA: Dealing With Kodi is the $64,000 Question

        While torrent sites have been a thorn in the side of the MPAA for more than a decade, there’s a new kid on the block. Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, MPAA chief Chris Dodd cited the growing use of the Kodi platform for piracy, describing the problem as the “$64,000 question.”

02.16.17

Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

Posted in News Roundup at 7:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why enterprises should embrace open source

    The techie cold war did eventually thaw with projects like MIT’s Project Athena and Stallman’s work with Emacs and GPL leading a transformation in the way people worked. Project Athena allowed all the disparate corporate systems to work together through common protocols, ultimately enabling businesses and home users the freedom to mix and match their hardware and software as they pleased.

  • Wickr Releases Crypto Protocol on GitHub

    Secure messaging service Wickr is opening its core cryptographic protocol to review by making the code available on GitHub. The move is a first for the company, which until now had kept its efforts proprietary.

  • Encrypted chat app Wickr opens code for public review

    Security researchers have wanted a peek at Wickr’s code since the secure messaging app launched in 2012, and now they’re finally getting that chance. Wickr is publishing its code for Wickr Professional, the subscription-based enterprise version of its free messaging app, today for public review.

  • Wickr, the encrypted messaging app, finally goes open source

    Finally, Wickr has released its core crypto code to the open source community.

    The end-to-end encrypted messaging service launched in 2012, long before Signal took off and WhatsApp rolled out encryption of its own.Yet Wickr became one of the last to publish its code to the open source community.

    The service’s use of encrypted and disappearing messaging, à la Snapchat, helped to gain users’ trust that their messages wouldn’t be stolen, leaked, or exposed to either hackers or federal agents.

    But the company’s choice to restrict access to its crypto code made it impossible for anyone to be sure that the service was free from vulnerabilities or backdoors, except for a very few select cryptographers and security auditors.

  • Open Source First: A manifesto for private companies

    This is a manifesto that any private organization can use to frame their collaboration transformation. Take a read and let me know what you think.

    I presented a talk at the Linux TODO group using this article as my material. For those of you who are not familiar with the TODO group, they support open source leadership at commercial companies. It is important to lean on each other because legal, security, and other shared knowledge is so important for the open source community to move forward. This is especially true because we need to represent both the commercial and public community best interests.

  • Container file system from Portworx goes open source

    Portworx, a provider of container data services for DevOps, has announced that it is open-sourcing a filesystem that is purpose-built for containers: the Layer Cloning File System (LCFS). Created to encourage increased innovation in a fundamental technology that boots all containers, LCFS aims to improve the speed of downloading, booting, tearing-down, and building containers.

    LCFS operates directly on top of block devices, as opposed to two filesystems that are then merged. The filesystem also directly manages at the container image’s layer level, effectively eliminating the overhead of having a second filesystem that is later merged.

  • [Older] Baidu’s deep learning framework adopts Kubernetes

    PaddlePaddle, Baidu’s open source framework for deep learning, is now compatible with the Kubernetes cluster management system to allow large models to be trained anywhere Kubernetes can run.

    This doesn’t simply expand the range of systems that can be used for PaddlePaddle training; it also provides end-to-end deep learning powered by both projects.

  • Why is IoT Popular? Because of Open Source, Big Data, Security and SDN

    Why is everyone talking about the Internet of Things (IoT)? It’s not because the IoT is a new concept — it’s not — but rather because the IoT intersects with several other key trends in the tech world, from open source and big data to cybersecurity and software-defined networking.

  • Announcing TensorFlow 1.0

    In just its first year, TensorFlow has helped researchers, engineers, artists, students, and many others make progress with everything from language translation to early detection of skin cancer and preventing blindness in diabetics. We’re excited to see people using TensorFlow in over 6000 open-source repositories online.

  • Google announces TensorFlow 1.0 with brand new machine learning tools
  • Google releases TensorFlow 1.0 with new machine learning tools
  • Google releases TensorFlow 1.0
  • Google’s TensorFlow hits v1.0 with upgrades to speed, flexibility, and production-readiness
  • Google TensorFlow Updated To v1.0 With New API Modules
  • Just finished your first TensorFlow app? Might be time for a rewrite…
  • Google Releases TensorFlow 1.0, Its Open Source Machine Learning Framework
  • ReactOS 0.4.4 Released

    Today marks the fifth release of the ReactOS 0.4.x series, as well as the fifth following the 4 month release cycle started by 0.4.0 itself. Progress has continued steadily, with a great deal of work going on in the background to improve ReactOS’ general usability and stability. Many of these improvements were on display at the FOSDEM convention in Brussels that took place on the 4th and 5th of this month. Certainly one of the more notable albeit less visible additions was the incorporation of basic printing support by Colin Finck. At present ReactOS is only capable of sending print commands to a parallel port printer, but this is the first step towards universal support and Colin should be applauded for his effort. A video demonstration of it can be viewed here.

  • ReactOS 0.4.4 Released with Initial Printing Support, Rendering Improvements

    A new stable maintenance update of the ReactOS 0.4 series of operating system that tries to recreate the design principles of Windows NT and offer binary compatibility is now available for download, versioned 0.4.4.

    Coming exactly three months after the release of ReactOS 0.4.3, a point release that ReactOS 0.4.4 implemented the Winsock library and fixed over 340 bugs, ReactOS 0.4.4 is here to add initial printing support, as well as various general stability and usability improvements, most of which were planned during the FOSDEM 2017 meeting.

  • Ivy League astronomers take exoplanet hunting open-source

    If you’ve ever wanted to join the ranks of career scientists and academics who hunt for exoplanets using the world’s most powerful telescopes, your day has come. This week, an international team of astronomers including a delegation from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Yale released to the public a huge set of exoplanet-detecting observations taken with the radial velocity method. To demonstrate the utility of the data set, they used it to find more than 100 exoplanets, all within 100 parsecs of us. There’s even one orbiting a near neighboring star to our own Solar System, GJ 411, which lies about 8.1 light years from Earth.

  • Why I’m Not a Full-Throttle FOSS Advocate

    I’m not this kind of hypocrite. I’m a pragmatic computer user. I use free software wherever I can, and open source as my #2 preference. But the main thing is that the software I use must be able to do the job.

  • Events

    • NorNet: An Open Source Inter-Continental Internet Testbed

      With new devices and applications creating interesting use cases for IoT, smart cities, vehicle networks, mobile broadband and more, we are creating new ways to use networked technologies, and we need to be able to test these in realistic settings across locations. In his LinuxCon Europe talk, Thomas Dreibholz, Senior Research Engineer at Simula Research Laboratory talked about how they are building NorNet using open source software as an inter-continental Internet testbed for a variety of networked applications.

    • NorNet — Building an Inter-Continental Internet Testbed Based on Open Source Software

      Thomas Dreibholz, Senior Research Engineer at Simula Research Laboratory, describes how his team is using open source software to build NorNet — an inter-continental Internet testbed for a variety of networked applications.

    • DevConf.cz 2017

      Friday was the first day of the conference. We got up bright and early (well, maybe not bright…) and headed over to the venue. I spent a fair amount of time on Friday attending talks.

      I started with the keynote, presented by a variety of speakers representing a wide range of Red Hat’s products. The keynote told a narrative of going from unboxed, racked servers to deploying code live from Eclipse to production on those servers (and all the steps in between).

      Next I attended “Generational Core – The Future of Fedora?” by Petr Sabata. Petr presented about Fedora’s modular future and how Factory 2.0 fits into the picture.

    • Facebook throws an open source hackathon

      Facebook’s Boston-area outpost is in Cambridge, close to MIT – they’ve just expanded from a smaller site and annexed a whole floor of a well-kept office building near Kendall Square Station. The first thing you see when you get off the elevator is a floor-to-ceiling pattern of blue lines that are meant to spell out the words “Ship Love” (Facebook’s unofficial motto) in binary.

    • 5 Tips on Enterprise Open Source Success From Capital One, Google, and Walmart

      Some of the world’s largest and most successful companies gathered this week at Open Source Leadership Summit in Lake Tahoe to share best practices around open source use and participation. Companies from diverse industries — from healthcare and finance, to telecom and high tech — discussed the strategies and processes they have adopted to create business success with open source software.

    • New ‘Open Source Days’ Program Launches as Part of OpenStack Summit in Boston

      The OpenStack Summit—the must-attend open infrastructure event—will feature a new program called “Open Source Days,” happening May 8-11 in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center. Open Source Days bring together adjacent open source communities with the goals to improve collaboration and technical integration throughout the diverse ecosystem of open source projects that OpenStack users rely upon.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Nightly and Wayland Builds Are Now Available for Download as Flatpaks

        About a month ago, we told you that Red Hat’s desktop engineering manager Jiří Eischmann was working on packaging the Mozilla Firefox Developer Edition web browser as a Flatpak for various GNU/Linux distros supporting the sandboxing technology.

        Five weeks later, the developer wrote today a new blog post to inform the Linux community that he managed to also package the Firefox Nightly and Firefox Wayland builds as Flatpak packages for distribution on Fedora 25 and Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating systems, as well as other OSes that offer Flatpak support, of course.

      • Nightly and Wayland Builds of Firefox for Flatpak

        When I announced Firefox Developer Edition for Flatpak over a month ago, I also promised that we would not stop there and bring more options in the future. Now I can proudly announce that we provide two more variants of Firefox – Firefox Nightly and Firefox Nightly for Wayland.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Top 10 FOSS legal stories in 2016

      The year 2016 resulted in several important developments that affect the FOSS ecosystem. While they are not strictly “legal developments” they are important for the community.

      For one, Eben Moglen, the general counsel of the Free Software Foundation, stepped down. Eben has been a leader on FOSS legal issues since the late 1990s and has been critical to the success of the FOSS movement. The FOSS community owes him a huge debt of gratitude, and I expect that he will continue to be active in the FOSS community. The success of FOSS adoption was dramatically illustrated when Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation and summarized in the article, Open Source Won. So, Now What? in Wired magazine.

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.18 Released With Garbage Collection Options, Ubuntu 16.10 Support

      Facebook’s team working on HHVM, their high-performance implementation of PHP and also what’s used by their Hack language, is now up to version 3.18.

    • Go 1.8 Release Notes

      The latest Go release, version 1.8, arrives six months after Go 1.7. Most of its changes are in the implementation of the toolchain, runtime, and libraries. There are two minor changes to the language specification. As always, the release maintains the Go 1 promise of compatibility. We expect almost all Go programs to continue to compile and run as before.

    • Go 1.8 Released With Various Performance Improvements

      Google today announced the release of the Go 1.8 programming language implementation that is coming with six months worth of features and changes.

      Go 1.8 has a few new 64-bit x86 instructions supported, Go 1.8 now uses its new compiler back-end on all architectures (with Go 1.7 their new compiler back-end was just used on 64-bit x86) and that should yield a 20~30% performance improvement for 32-bit ARM systems. But even x86 64-bit systems should see 0~10% performance improvements with Go 1.8.

Leftovers

  • SA govt outsources IT functions, 180 to lose jobs

    One hundred and eighty South Australian Government IT workers will lose their jobs after the state government announced today that all its IT functions would be outsourced to the American multinational firm Computer Services Corporation.

    The South Australian Government announced that CSC would provide and support desktop PCs, laptops and tablets to its agencies.

    It said that 400 jobs would be created in the state as a result of the contract being granted to the American firm.

  • Science

    • Ensuring people’s self-determination in the age of robotics and artificial intelligence

      Today, the European Parliament discusses the Delvaux report on “Civil Law Rules on Robotics“. Tomorrow, we will vote on it.

      The report includes the call for a general discussion “on new employment models and on the sustainability of our tax and social systems” as robots continue to displace workers. Because the Legal Affairs Committee included calling for debate on the possibility of introducing a general basic income, conservatives are asking to delete the entire clause. It remains to be seen if the provision will survive tomorrow’s vote.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Special Report: WHO Board Sets Review Of 10-Year Effort To Boost Medicines Access, Affordability

      Once considered a breakthrough in negotiations to address problems of making cutting-edge medical products and research available to poor countries, the decade-old World Health Organization Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPOA) is now undergoing review, with the WHO Executive Board calling for a report on the initiative and plans for its future next year.

    • Eating our way to collapse

      Abstract: Industrial agriculture is seriously damaging the environment, not to mention the health of citizens around the globe. With a limited window of time, reform is necessary if we want to continue to nourish, and not just feed, our people and our planet.

      Despite the fact that we presently produce double the amount of food needed for a population of seven billion, there are still calls from the United Nations and national governments to double global food production in order to avoid future famines. These calls are misguided at best, misleading at worst.

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • 10 Week Progress Update for PGP Clean Room

      This Valentine’s Day I’m giving everyone the gift of GIFs! Because who wants to stare at a bunch of code? Or read words?! I’ll make this short and snappy since I’m sure you’re looking forward to a romantic night with your terminal.

    • And hackers didn’t have much luck either with other flaws in the mobe OS

      Despite shrill wailings by computer security experts over vulnerabilities in Android, Google claims very, very few of people have ever suffered at the hands of its bugs.

      Speaking at the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Adrian Ludwig, director of Android security, said the Stagefright hole – which prompted the Chocolate Factory to start emitting low-level security patches on a monthly basis – did put 95 per cent of Android devices at risk of attack. However, there have been no “confirmed” cases of infections via the bug, Ludwig claimed.

    • This Android Trojan pretends to be Flash security update but downloads additional malware
    • Pwnd Android conference phone exposes risk of spies in the boardroom

      Security researchers have uncovered a flaw in conference phone systems from Mitel that create a means for hackers to listen in on board meetings.

      Boffins at Context Information Security managed to gain root access and take full control of a Mitel MiVoice Conference and Video Phone, potentially enabling them to listen to meetings without alerting the room’s occupants. The flaws also created a way to plant a remote backdoor on to an enterprise network.

    • Why do hackers focus so much on Android? It’s simple, really

      It seems that, despite what many thought was a supply and demand issue, Android is by far the most appealing, accessible and, essentially, antiquated arena for cyber-criminals to flourish in.

    • Google Touts Progress in Android Security in 2016

      Google has a daunting task of scanning 750 million Android devices daily for threats and checking 6 billion apps for malware each day as part of its management of 1.6 billion active Android devices. The numbers are staggering for Adrian Ludwig, director of Android Security; six years ago, when he joined Google, he said being responsible for the security of what would eventually be billions of Android devices seemed overwhelming.

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Capsule8 comes out of stealth to help protect Linux from attacks

      Capsule8 has emerged from stealth mode to unveil its plans for the industry’s first container-aware, real-time threat protection platform designed to protect legacy and next-generation Linux infrastructures from both known and unknown attacks. Founded by experienced hackers John Viega, Dino Dai Zovi and Brandon Edwards, Capsule8 is being built on the real-world experience of its founders in building and bringing to market defensive systems to protect against exploitation of previously unknown vulnerabilities. The company raised seed funding of $2.5 million from Bessemer Venture Partners, as well as individual investors Shardul Shah of Index Ventures and Jay Leek of ClearSky. The funding will help fuel the launch of the Capsule8 platform spring 2017.

    • Bruce Schneier Says Government Involvement in Coding Is Coming

      Security expert Bruce Schneier is painting a grim future for the tech community as the government will start to stick its nose into people’s codes.

      Schneier, present at the RSA Conference, said that until now everyone had this “special right” to code the world as they saw fit. “My guess is we’re going to lose that right because it’s too dangerous to give it to a bunch of techies,” he added, according to The Register.

    • How To Shrink Attack Surfaces with a Hypervisor

      A software environment’s attack surface is defined as the sum of points in which an unauthorized user or malicious adversary can enter or extract data. The smaller the attack surface, the better. We recently sat down with Doug Goldstein (https://github.com/cardoe or @doug_goldstein) to discuss how companies can use hypervisors to reduce attack surfaces and why the Xen Project hypervisor is a perfect choice for security-first environments. Doug is a principal software engineer at Star Lab, a company focused on providing software protection and integrity solutions for embedded systems.

    • Xen Project asks to limit security vulnerability advisories
    • Xen Project wants permission to reveal fewer vulnerabilities
    • Xen Project proposes issuing fewer advisories
    • Verified Boot: From ROM to Userspace

      Amid growing attacks on Linux devices, the 2016 Embedded Linux Conference demonstrated a renewed focus on security. One well-attended presentation at ELC Europe covered the topic of verified boot schemes. In this talk, Marc Kleine-Budde of Pengutronix revealed the architecture and strategies of a recently developed verified boot scheme for a single-core, Cortex-A9 NXP i.MX6 running on the RIoTboard SBC.

    • Yahoo’s Security Incompetence Just Took $250 Million Off Verizon’s Asking Price

      So last year we noted how Verizon proposed paying $4.8 billion to acquire Yahoo as part of its plan to magically transform from stodgy old telco to sexy new Millennial advertising juggernaut, which, for a variety of reasons, isn’t going so well. One of those reasons is the fact that Yahoo failed to disclose the two, massive hacks (both by the same party) that exposed the credentials of millions of Yahoo customers during deal negotiations. The exposure included millions of names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, hashed passwords (using MD5) and “encrypted or unencrypted” security questions and answers.

      As noted previously, Verizon had been using the scandal to drive down the $4.8 billion asking price, reports stating that Verizon was demanding not only a $1 billion reduction in the price, but another $1 billion to cover the inevitable lawsuits by Yahoo customers.

    • Updates on CyberSecurity, WordPress and what we’re cooking in the lab today.

      One of the most effective ways the Wordfence team keeps the WordPress community and customers secure is through something we call the ‘Threat Defense Feed’. This is a combination of people, software, business processes and data. It’s an incredibly effective way to keep hackers out and provide our customers with early detection.

    • The 7 security threats to technology that scare experts the most

      What happens if a bad actor turns off your heat in the middle of winter, then demands $1,000 to turn it back on? Or even holds a small city’s power for ransom? Those kinds of attacks to personal, corporate, and infrastructure technology were among the top concerns for security experts from the SANS Institute, who spoke Wednesday during the RSA conference in San Francisco.

      Some of these threats target consumers directly, but even the ones that target corporations could eventually “filter down” to consumers, though the effects might not be felt for some time.

    • OpenSSL Hit By New High Severity Security Issue

      OpenSSL has been hit by another “high” severity security vulnerability.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Customs to Solve Terrorism by Asking Tourists for Their Social Media Accounts

      The United States government seems to have a real thing for social media and terrorism, stoutly believing if only they could “take out” Twitter the global jihadi movement would collapse. Or something like that. Maybe it’s Instagram?

    • Bristol University evacuated after student accidentally makes explosive chemical used in terror attacks

      An emergency evacuation took place at the University of Bristol this term, it has been revealed, after a student accidentally made the same explosive that was used in the Paris terror attacks.

      An investigation by Bristol University found that triacetone triperoxide (TATP) was “unintentionally formed during a routine procedure”, it was reported.

    • Bristol University evacuated over accidental explosive

      A university was evacuated after a student made the same explosive used in the Paris terror attacks by mistake.

      Police, fire service and bomb disposal experts were called to the University of Bristol after triacetone triperoxide (TATP) was “unintentionally formed” in the chemistry laboratory on February 3.

      No one was injured and emergency services carried out a controlled explosion of the substance.

    • Journalists shot dead during Facebook Live video in Dominican Republic

      Two radio journalists have been killed in the Dominican Republic after gunmen opened fire during a news bulletin which was being broadcast on Facebook Live.

      Luís Manuel Medina, the presenter of the news programme Milenio Caliente – or Hot Millennium – was killed while on air on Tuesday morning. Producer and director Leo Martínez was shot dead in an adjacent office at the radio station FM 103.5.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Donald Trump’s White House staff ‘communicate through app which automatically deletes messages’

      Donald Trump’s White House staff are using a secret communications app which erases messages as soon as they are read, it has been reported.

      The alleged practice is thought to be due to concern over continuing leaks from staff to the media, which has been a source of growing frustration and often embarrassment for the Trump administration.

      The app ‘Confide’, deletes messages once they have been opened on a device, meaning that there is no record of them or their content thereafter.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Oroville Dam Has Cracks
    • NYC Mayor Considering Divesting From Banks Funding DAPL

      As groups supporting the Indigenous-led movement opposing the Dakota Access pipeline, we were heartened by your remarks on Friday indicating your openness to divesting the City’s pension funds from the banks that fund this destructive project. Many of the largest banks, which the City also uses for its business, are financing Energy Transfer Partners, Energy Transfer Equity and Sunoco Logistics to build the pipeline, threatening the drinking water of over 17 million people and contributing to further carbon emissions and climate change. Now, Trump is determined to force through Dakota Access. We urge you to follow through on your thoughtful statements by divesting New York City’s pension funds from the banks that are refusing to withdraw from financing the pipeline and also consider cancelling the city’s direct business with these entities.

  • Finance

    • Canada-EU Trade Deal Ratified By European Union; Now Needs Approval By All Member States’ National Parliaments

      As Techdirt reported last November, while TPP and TAFTA/TTIP appear to be dead, the trade deal between Canada and the European Union (CETA) has been slowly working its way through the system. Today, the European Parliament approved the deal, which means that the European Union has completed the formal ratification process. However, for certain aspects of the agreement, notably the corporate sovereignty chapter, further approval is now needed by the national parliaments of all the EU’s member states — which means another 30+ votes that must all go in CETA’s favor. That’s by no means certain, as resistance has been mounting in a few countries. One of them is Belgium, where the Walloon region won important additional rights that may still be invoked.

    • The Advent of the Modern-Day Shipping Container

      For thousands of years, methods of shipping products across the seas and oceans remained essentially the same. Products were brought to port in wooden crates, sacks, and kegs by wagons or, later, by trucks and trains. Ships were then loaded and unloaded crate by crate, sack by sack, and keg by keg. It was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Theft was a perpetual problem. Often a ship spent more time in ports, loading and unloading, than it would spend at sea.

      The advent of World War II brought new logistical challenges in supplying millions of U.S and allied troops overseas and innovative approaches were needed to efficiently supply the war effort. During this period, small, standardized boxes full of war material were introduced to increase the American convoys’ capacity to deliver wartime necessities.

    • Microsoft raises prices of some PCs by up to £400 due to Brexit

      Microsoft has increased the price of its Surface and Surface Book computers in the UK by more than 15%, or £400 for some models, due to sterling’s drop in the value post-EU referendum.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The rise of Trump has led to an unexpected twist in Germany’s election: A resurgent left

      The unconventional administration of President Trump may be causing consternation among American liberals. But here in Germany, the anchor of the European Union, Trump’s rise is helping fuel an unexpected surge of the left.

      What is happening in Germany is the kind of Trump bump perhaps never foreseen by his supporters — a boost not for the German nationalists viewed as Trump’s natural allies but for his fiercest critics in the center left. The Social Democrats (SPD) have bounced back under the charismatic Martin Schulz, the former head of the European Parliament who took over as party chairman last month and is now staging a surprisingly strong bid to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Netanyahu US visit: Donald Trump says he is ‘open’ to one-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

      US President Donald Trump has suggested he is open to the idea of a one-state, rather than two-state, solution to the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      Asked in a media conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday whether the US would continue its policy of support for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Mr Trump said: “I’m looking at two-state and at one-state, and I like the one that both parties like… I can live with either one.”

      “I thought the two-state [solution] looked easier for a while,” he added, before reaffirming he would let Israeli and Palestinian negotiators take the lead on the issue.

    • Report: Intelligence officials withhold information from Trump

      U.S. intelligence officials have not been sharing some sensitive information with President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

      Current and former officials told the news source that some information was withheld from Trump in fear that that it would be compromised or leaked.

    • President Trump Has Done Almost Nothing

      Just weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, you would think that everything had changed. The uproar over the president’s tweets grows louder by the day, as does concern over the erratic, haphazard and aggressive stance of the White House toward critics and those with different policy views. On Sunday, White House aide Stephen Miller bragged, “We have a president who has done more in three weeks than most presidents have done in an entire administration.”

      But Miller was dead wrong about this. There is a wide gap, a chasm even, between what the administration has said and what it has done. There have been 45 executive orders or presidential memoranda signed, which may seem like a lot but lags President Barack Obama’s pace. More crucially, with the notable exception of the travel ban, almost none of these orders have mandated much action or clear change of current regulations. So far, Trump has behaved exactly like he has throughout his previous career: He has generated intense attention and sold himself as a man of action while doing little other than promote an image of himself as someone who gets things done.

    • Trump continues trend of calling on conservative media

      At President Trump’s joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, he only took two questions from members of American media.

      The first question went to The Christian Broadcasting Network, which states its mission “is to prepare the United States of America and the nations of the world for the coming of Jesus Christ”; the second to Townhall.com, a website whose mission is to “amplify” conservative voices — particularly conservative talk radio.

    • Harrison Ford is being investigated by authorities for a bad decision but Donald Trump remains untouchable

      Most people hate flying. What’s to like? It’s a day-long gauntlet of tedious security screenings, overpriced microwavable meals and constant waiting. First, you wait to get your tickets. Then, you wait to get on the plane. Next, you wait for the plane to get onto a runway – unless Harrison Ford comes ploughing into your economy grade seat on his private plane. That ends your wait pretty quickly.

      It would be funny if it wasn’t true, but as of this morning, Han Solo is now being investigated for narrowly missing crashing his private plane into a crowded passenger jet because he accidentally touched down on the wrong airport strip. That near miss might appear to be the simple result of a harmless, momentary lapse in judgement – but it still faces serious investigation by the authorities.

      Donald Trump, however? He’s done his fair share of endangering Americans during his short term in office with his steamroller approach to diplomacy and his tweets about “trade wars” with China (not to mention his apparently laissez-faire attitude toward the use of nuclear weapons), but the laws of the land aren’t interested.

    • Damning reports emerge of Trump campaign’s frequent talks with Russian intelligence

      The Russian influence scandal engulfing the White House deepened dramatically on Tuesday night with reports that some of Donald Trump’s campaign aides had frequent contact with Russian intelligence officials over the course of last year.

      A report in the New York Times came nearly 24 hours after the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign over conversations with the Russian ambassador to Washington and misleading statements about them to the press and the vice-president, Mike Pence.

    • Let’s Play Journalism, and Make Fake News

      This journalism thingie has gotten so easy, anyone can do it. Let’s play make the fake news funtime!

      The elderly may remember the Old Journalism. Back in BT (Before Trump) journalists in mainstream outlets had to gather facts (i.e., true things) from sources (people with names who knew true things) that would withstand fact-checking (looking stuff up, or having a second source confirm stuff.) If you quoted something already established as a fact, you were obligated to link to it.

      There were notably exceptions. For example, in 2003, the New York Times simply “believed” everything it was told about Iraq having massive destructive weapons and typed it into the paper. FYI: The Times assisted in generating enthusiasm for the Iraq invasion, helping kill 5,000 Americans and perhaps one million Iraqis! Media such as the National Enquirer and gossip blogs would just make things up, aliens and Bigfoot and all that, but it was with a wink and everyone knew it was fake and for fun.

    • “Free” Press in 2017

      Three veteran journalists and media critics share their thoughts about the state of the “free” press in 2017; among the topics they address are the election-hacking allegations against Russia, President Trump’s attacks on the press, the “fake news” label, and the close ties between “new media” and the military/security branches of government.

    • Trump Supporters Support Trump: To Maintain ‘Balance,’ Media Resort to Tautology

      Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East has been a major story during the new administration’s early days. As one of Trump’s main campaign promises, this immigration policy has generated untold hours of TV coverage and news headlines.

      The policy’s sloppy language, bungled roll-out and punitive real-world impact on innocents have rightly been prominently reported by journalists. Much of the coverage has focused on the widespread backlash to the ban, which has manifested itself in numerous legal challenges and a nationwide series of rapid-response airport protests. Coupled with the new president’s record-low approval ratings, the refugee ban increasingly tells a tale of a White House struggling to impose an unpopular agenda.

    • ‘It Is Not at All Typical to Stifle Basic Scientific Information’ – CounterSpin interview with Andrew Rosenberg on Trump’s hostility to science

      Any administration would like to restrict what the public knows about its actions—an unpopular one, all the more so. Combine that with a frank hostility to government regulations and you have the present moment, with Trump White House efforts to make federal agencies limit what they tell the public, and efforts to give them less to talk about in the first place. It may not get the same sort of headlines, but the White House’s war on science could well yield casualties as great as other violent acts more traditionally defined.

    • CIA espionage orders for the last French presidential election

      All major French political parties were targeted for infiltration by the CIA’s human (“HUMINT”) and electronic (“SIGINT”) spies in the seven months leading up to France’s 2012 presidential election. The revelations are contained within three CIA tasking orders published today by WikiLeaks as context for its forth coming CIA Vault 7 series. Named specifically as targets are the French Socialist Party (PS), the National Front (FN) and Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) together with current President Francois Hollande, then President Nicolas Sarkozy, current round one presidential front runner Marine Le Pen, and former presidential candidates Martine Aubry and Dominique Strauss-Khan.

      The CIA assessed that President Sarkozy’s party was not assured re-election. Specific tasking concerning his party included obtaining the “Strategic Election Plans” of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP); schisms or alliances developing in the UMP elite; private UMP reactions to Sarkozy’s campaign stratagies; discussions within the UMP on any “perceived vulnerabilities to maintaining power” after the election; efforts to change the party’s ideological mission; and discussions about Sarkozy’s support for the UMP and “the value he places on the continuation of the party’s dominance”. Specific instructions tasked CIA officers to discover Sarkozy’s private deliberations “on the other candidates” as well as how he interacted with his advisors. Sarkozy’s earlier self-identification as “Sarkozy the American” did not protect him from US espionage in the 2012 election or during his presidency.

    • Trump smears NSA & FBI, says they’re “un-American,” act like Russians

      Of course, it’s the height of irony for Donald Trump to accuse anyone of leaking, when he welcomed Wikileaks’ and the FBI’s leaks about Hillary Clinton during the campaign. And the FBI played a large role in Trump’s election.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Court Says Google Has A First Amendment Right To Delist Competitor’s ‘Spammy’ Content

      Last summer, a Florida federal court reached some unusual conclusions in a lawsuit filed by SEO company e-ventures, which felt Google had overstepped its bounds in delisting a lot of its links. Google defended itself, citing both Section 230 and the First Amendment. The court disagreed with both arguments.

      As to Section 230, the court found that Google’s delisting efforts weren’t in “good faith.” The reason cited was e-ventures’ claim that the delisting was in “bad faith.” So much for this seldom-used aspect of Section 230: the “Good Samaritan” clause which states no third-party company can be found liable for actions it takes to remove content it finds questionable. And so much for “viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Apparently, Google’s long history of spam-fighting efforts is nothing compared to an SEO wrangler’s pained assertions.

      The court also said Google had no First Amendment right to handle its search rankings however it saw fit, which is more than a little problematic. While it admitted Google’s search rankings were protected speech, its statements about how it handled search engines weren’t. And, for some reason, the court felt that Google’s ads undermined its First Amendment protections because its desire to turn a profit somehow nullified its “editorial judgment.”

    • We Need The First Amendment For Assholes, Not For Nice Little Old Ladies Who Crochet

      Oh, and banning speech — or trying to shut it down — will either take it underground, where it’s more dangerous, or it’ll make it that much more popular.

    • Creative community in “self-censorship” mode: Tewari

      The creative community in India has adopted “self-censorship” in the last 30 months after the Modi Government came to power, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Manish Tewari said today.

      “Award wapasi (returning of awards by prominent figures against alleged growing intolerance) was a good push- back given by the country’s creative community to the current Government and its politics,” he said.

      The lawyer-politician was here to release his book `Decoding a Decade: The Politics of Policy making’.

    • Outside Looking In: A Russian Filmmaker Fights Censorship from Abroad

      From his base in Latvia, Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky hopes to break the state media spell that has gripped post-Soviet audiences. The documentary filmmaker is president of Russia’s biggest and most controversial documentary film festival, Artdocfest. Sitting in his office last fall, Mansky cut a figure that is half media mogul, half political operative. Earlier in the day, Artdocfest’s e-mail addresses that are hosted on Russian servers appeared to be have been compromised, causing the festival team to scramble to set new passwords. As Mansky’s technical staff pored over their computers, their boss fielded questions about Russia-Ukraine relations from a reporter at the radio station Echo of Moscow via Skype.

    • Fake News, Censorship & the Third-Person Effect: You Can’t Fool Me, Only Others!

      The aftermath of Donald J. Trump’s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton brought with it much handwringing in news media circles and on social media platforms about the dangers of fake news. Some blame fake news for causing Clinton’s defeat, with the erstwhile candidate herself calling it “an epidemic.”

      But there’s a major paradox when it comes to people’s beliefs about fake news.

      Specifically, many of us tend to believe that we can spot fake news — we won’t be fooled by it — but others out there, who are more naive and less media savvy than us, surely will be duped.

    • Campus censorship is a big deal

      Spiked’s annual Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) was released last week, to the usual cacophony of irritation from those on the receiving end of a Red ranking. Chief among the perpetually ticked-off, of course, was president of the National Union of Students (NUS), Malia Bouattia.

      The NUS always frets about the FSUR, because it collects in one place all the bans and regulations students’ unions inflict upon their members. Not only did Bouattia pen a ripsote to the FSUR in the Huffington Post the day before its 2017 findings came out, she also attempted another take-down in the Independent a few days later.

      In the latter, Bouattia claims that she can demonstrate ‘expertly’ that the project is flawed, suggesting that what spiked doesn’t understand is that students want to extend, not suppress, free expression. Free speech ‘is universal’, she says, but it ‘is not limitless’. To extend it to everyone means ‘sacrificing some of our rights’, preventing those who would suppress some people’s free expression from having theirs. In other words, you need to ban your way to free speech.

    • Polish Second World War Museum Director Vows to Fight Government Censorship

      The director of a major new war museum in Poland has vowed to fight against government censorship and try to bring his collection to the public.

      The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk is almost ready to open after eight years of preparation.

    • Federal District Judge Suspends Decision that Censored Folha
    • ‘Gag’ on Brazil media reporting blackmail attempt on Temer lifted
    • Brazil judge overturns ‘censorship’ of newspaper
    • O Globo and Folha de S.Paulo ordered to remove reports about Brazil’s First Lady
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Judge In Twitter Lawsuit Over Surveillance Disclosure Dings DOJ For Cut-And-Paste Legal Argument

      As you will hopefully recall, there is an ongoing case between Twitter and the government over exactly how specific or not the social media service can be regarding the number of government surveillance requests it receives. Most of the rest of the big internet companies reached a settlement with the DOJ, including rules how specific companies could be (not very) in revealing such requests. Those rules basically were an attempt by the government to get tech companies to play hide-the-ball on transparency issues, in which the more specific a service attempted to be about how many individuals would be impacted by government orders, the more additional orders had to be lumped into those specifics, rendering the information useless.

      Twitter, to its credit, was alone in saying that the proposed settlement wasn’t good enough, and continued its fight with the DOJ. Essentially, the fight is over whether Twitter can be specific when it discloses how many orders it has received, or whether it must only disclose “bands” or ranges of orders. Recent arguments made by both sides do a nice job of highlighting the absurdity of the government’s argument.

    • Donald Trump blames media, leaks for NSA Michael Flynn’s resignation

      US President Donald Trump on Wednesday blamed what he called the “fake media” and “illegal” leaks for the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had lied to top government officials about his contacts with Russia.

      At a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said that the media had treated Flynn “very unfairly”.

      Trump has asked for Flynn’s resignation because he had lost confidence in him after revelations the National Security Adviser had lied about his conversations with Russian officials, EFE news quoted the White House as saying.

    • Another day in office: Trump praises sacked NSA, abuses media, posts tweets
    • Merkel testifies on alleged US eavesdropping in Germany
    • Merkel Stresses Importance of German-U.S. Intelligence Cooperation
    • 1ST LEAD Merkel to field questions from committee probing NSA revelations By Friederike Heine, dpa
    • Merkel admits was unaware of extent of German-U.S. spy cooperation
    • Merkel says didn’t know Germany spied on allies
    • German Chancellor Criticizes US Espionage Against Her Country
    • Merkel to NSA inquiry committee: Did not know anything
    • Germany’s Merkel testifies on alleged US eavesdropping
    • Germany’s Merkel testifies on alleged US eavesdropping
    • Merkel to Explain to Investigation Why She ‘Didn’t Know About’ BND Espionage
    • Merkel testifies on NSA spying affair
    • Germany’s NSA inquiry committee under pressure
    • Germany’s NSA inquiry committee under pressure

      Two quotes are associated with Angela Merkel’s third term as chancellor. In the summer of 2015, when masses of refugees arrived in Germany, Merkel declared: “We can do this.” The other famous statement she made referred to the revelation that the NSA had monitored her personal mobile phone: “Spying among friends – that is simply not done.” If anyone searches the line in German on the internet, the Google results for the two lines differ greatly: There are about 1.6 million listings for the refugee policy quote and only 25,000 for the NSA scandal line.

      The great difference unexpectedly, but clearly, reflects the perceived public relevance of the two subjects. Refugees still play a large role – in politics and in everyday life. The fact that intelligence agencies systematically spy on private lives has more or less become a topic for experts. The uproar over Edward Snowden’s revelations dwindled down within a year, more or less.

    • New Report On Encryption Confirms There’s More Of It, But Still Not Much Of A Problem For Law Enforcement

      This is far from the encryption apocalypse promised by Comey and Vance. There’s an incremental increase taking place, not an exponential one. What could pose serious problems, though, is encryption-by-default on smartphones. As the report points out, if Android devices go the way of iPhones, 99% of the world’s phones would keep law enforcement locked out.

      But that’s only if law enforcement isn’t able to access data and communications through device manufacturer/service provider cooperation, third-party app developers, email providers, and other, more old-fashioned techniques. One sure way to beat device encryption is to obtain the passcode from the user. This won’t help much when the phone’s owner is dead or can’t be located, but compelling the production of a password is still far from settled, constitutionally-speaking. For phones secured with a fingerprint, owners are likely out of luck. A couple of courts have already reached the conclusion that providing a fingerprint isn’t testimonial and has no Fifth Amendment implications.

      CSIS could have put together a better estimate on how many investigations are thwarted by encryption, but law enforcement agencies — even those fronted by encryption opponents — aren’t interested in sharing this data with the public. The report points out that the problem remains mostly theoretical. Without data, all we have are assertions from law enforcement officials that something must be done. Failure to legislate backdoors or bans will apparently lead to a sharp uptick in criminal activity… except that’s not happening either. The report points out that there’s no data linking increased default encryption to increases in criminal activity.

    • Oh, Sure, Suddenly Now The House Intelligence Boss Is Concerned About Surveillance… Of Mike Flynn

      We’ve written a few times about Rep. Devin Nunes, who heads the House Intelligence Committee. He’s been a long-time vocal supporter of NSA surveillance. He insisted that there was no need for reform after the Snowden leaks and he actively misled the public and other members of Congress to shoot down an amendment that would have stopped so-called backdoor searches of “incidentally collected” information on Americans. Nunes falsely claimed that by blocking backdoor searches of the 702 database, it would have blocked things such as tracking whether or not the Orlando nightclub shooter had overseas contacts (it would not have done that at all).

      So it’s fairly hilarious to see that Nunes’ first reaction to the news of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s resignation was to demand answers on why Flynn’s calls with Russian officials were recorded.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Little Caesars founder quietly paid Rosa Parks’ rent for years

      Those who knew Mike Ilitch, the Little Caesars founder and Detroit Tigers owner who died last Friday, have spent the past few days fondly remembering his impact on friends, on Detroit residents, and on the sports community.
      Ilitch also had an impact on the daily life of one of the most iconic figures from the civil rights movement.

      For more than a decade, Ilitch had quietly paid for Rosa Parks’ apartment in downtown Detroit, according to CNN affiliate WXYZ.
      That story came to light thanks to Damon Keith, a Detroit native and federal judge.

    • Runoff Likely in Jakarta Election Seen as Test of Tolerance for Indonesia

      The Christian governor of the capital of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has been fighting for his political life in an election campaign charged with religious and ethnic undertones. After voters went to the polls Wednesday, it appeared that he would have to fight a little longer.

      Unofficial results from the balloting in Jakarta, the capital, indicated that the governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, held a small lead over his nearest challenger but was unlikely to win more than half of the vote. If the official results confirm that, a runoff will be held April 18.

      Mr. Basuki, who is ethnic Chinese, has been hobbled by a criminal trial on a charge of blasphemy against Islam, in connection with remarks about a Quran verse that he made last year.

    • The woman who returned from the dead to face an impossible choice

      The story began on the July 2, 1990. Fahire Kara, mother of 12, had travelled from her home in Batman, Turkey on pilgrimmage with her husband Abdoullah to Mecca. That day, their lives, like so many others, would change for ever.

      As thousands of pilgrims passed through a tunnel linking the Grand Mosque with the Mina Desert, a panic began, leading to a stampede. A total of 1,426 people were crushed to death or asphyxiated, including almost 450 Turks. Seriously injured, Abdullah stumbled through the carnage and piles of bodies, searching for his wife. He found her on the point of death, saying the Muslim creed to cleanse her soul.

      As rescuers arrived, the couple were separated as Abdoullah was rushed to hospital. On being discharged from hospital, Abdoullah once again began a grisly search for his wife, examining bodies in morgues and visiting hospitals, this time without success. He returned home in mourning.

    • Ruling parties agree on child marriage ban proposal

      The major parties making up Germany’s coalition government have agreed to a proposed law that would invalidate marriages involving children under 16.

      Leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD) and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Union parties said they had agreed on a proposed law to ban marriage for anyone under 18, according to a report on Tuesday by Die Welt.

    • Refugees Will Cost Sweden $32.7 Billion This Year—16x Over-Budget—Only 500 Have Jobs

      Sweden’s 318,000 “Syrian” refugees, or migrants, will cost the country a bare minimum of $32.7 billion USD in 2017.

      That’s 33% of Sweden’s central government’s annual budget, and 5.5% of their GDP—imagine if the US spent $1 trillion on refugees, same proportions.

      That’s just over $102,000 per refugee per year. For reference, the average annual income in Sweden is $41,000 a year.

    • Trump Tops Obama, Hands Over Full Torture Report To Court Previous Administration Refused To

      Credit where credit is due: Trump has done more to preserve the full CIA Torture Report than Obama ever did. On his way out the door, the DOJ fought on his behalf in federal court, arguing against an order to deposit the full report with the court clerk for preservation in the ongoing trial of Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, who has alleged he was waterboarded while detained by the CIA.

      Barack Obama did stuff one copy of the full report in his presidential archives before Trump took over, perhaps in response to fears that the incoming president might make the whole thing vanish. Trump did mention his support for the use of torture on more than one occasion, and it would have been somewhat inconvenient to have an official document laying around saying torture is bad and the US shouldn’t do it.

      Maybe it’s oneupmanship or maybe the Trump’s legal counsel feels it has too much on its plate already, but as the New York Times’ Charlie Savage reports, Team Trump is handing over a full copy of the Torture Report to the court as requested.

    • The Fifth Amendment Vs. Indefinite Jailing: Court Still No Closer To Deciding On Compelled Decryption

      If Rawls’ devices had been secured with a fingerprint, there’s a good chance he’d already have been forced to unlock his devices. There haven’t been a lot of decisions pertaining to the use of fingerprints to decrypt devices, but those we have seen indicate judges don’t view the taking/application of suspects’ fingerprints to be “testimonial.” Unlocking a device that contains evidence to convict a person apparently doesn’t undermine their right to not be forced to testify against themselves. The reasoning in a recent appeals court decision was that a fingerprint is not something stored in a suspect’s mind. Therefore, it’s not testimony. It’s, for lack of better words, a bodily “fact,” like the blood stored in a suspect or a suspect’s resemblance to a person described by eyewitnesses.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Huntsville, Alabama Is Suddenly Awash In Broadband Competition, Showing Why Comcast Is So Afraid Of Municipal Broadband

      For years, we’ved noted how incumbent ISPs have waged a not-so-subtle war on towns and cities looking to escape from the high prices and abysmal service of the country’s broadband duopoly (which is actually quietly becoming more of a cable monopoly without many noticing). Many of these cities have taken to either building fiber networks themselves — or striking public/private partnerships with companies like Google Fiber or Ting/Tucows — because the private sector has failed to deliver the service and connectivity they want at prices they can afford.

      This kind of grassroots revolution is precisely why large ISPs like Charter, Comcast and AT&T have spent the last decade lobbying for (and in most instances directly writing) protectionist bills across twenty different states banning local citizens from making these kinds of decisions for themselves. If you want to see precisely why these regional monopolists are so afraid, you need look no further than Huntsville, Alabama.

  • DRM

    • Apple Has Taken up Arms Against the New ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation – Wants Complete Hardware Control

      Gaining complete control for hardware and both software has landed Apple in hot water as the tech giant is now fighting a new ‘right to repair’ legislation. The legislation proposes that consumers and third-party repair shops will have the legal right to purchase spare parts as well as gain access to service manuals in order to mend a faulty component on any Apple product ranging from its iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, iMacs and more. Here are more details on the legislation.

    • Apple Wants To Stop You Fixing Your iPhone And iPad: Source Says It Will Testify Against ‘Right To Repair’ Legislation

      For a company that likes to portray itself as serving its users better than its rivals, this is shabby behavior. It not only forces people to spend money unnecessarily, it is harmful for the environment. Discarding old models is likely to lead to more toxic landfill, even though Apple says that it tries to recycle as much as possible. It’s sad to see an otherwise innovative player lining up with the dinosaurs on the wrong side of history for this issue.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New Gene-Editing Technology Whets Appetites In Health, Food Industry, Fuels Patent Fights

      A new discovery allowing easier and swifter genome editing, considered by some as a major game changer in the field of biology, is opening doors to new technological wonders in many areas, such as medicines and agriculture. Yesterday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a ruling on a case where two US university laboratories both claimed the invention of a genome editing technique. The USPTO decided that the two universities had made distinct discoveries. In Europe, patents from both universities on the technology are also challenged at the European Patent Office.

    • Copyrights

      • Dangerous: Judge Says It Was ‘Objectively Unreasonable’ For Cox To Claim DMCA Safe Harbors

        We’ve been covering the BMG v. Cox case since the beginning, and a bad decision just got made even worse — and more dangerous. If you’ve been following the case, you know that it’s on appeal right now (and a whole bunch of amici have weighed in), but in the meantime, the judge in the district court, Judge Liam O’Grady, has doubled down on his opportunity to chop up and mock the DMCA’s safe harbors by telling Cox it must pay $8 million to BMG in legal fees because its using the DMCA safe harbors as a defense was found to be “objectively unreasonable.”

        That’s crazy, for a variety of reasons, but we’ll get there. From the very beginning, this case was a joke, and it’s unfortunate that the court didn’t realize that early on. The case was filed back in 2014, and we pointed out that it was really BMG (and another publisher, Round Hill Music) acting as a proxy for copyright trolling operation Rightscorp, testing out the wacky legal theory that the DMCA requires that ISPs kick repeat infringers entirely off the internet. No one has ever interpreted the DMCA in this manner. Yes, 512(i) requires a repeat infringer policy, but it had always been widely recognized that that referred to services that hosted content, not network providers (e.g., YouTube is required to have a repeat infringer policy that kicks users off YouTube if they keep posting infringing works, but your ISP shouldn’t kick you off the internet for the same thing.)

      • Cloudflare Puts Pirate Sites on New IP Addresses, Avoids Cogent Blockade

        The Pirate Bay and dozens of other pirate sites that were blocked by Cogent’s Internet backbone are now accessible again. Cloudflare appears to have moved the sites in question to a new pair of IP-addresses, effectively bypassing Cogent’s blackhole. Whether Cogent has plans to block their new home as well is unknown.

      • 5 ways TV networks are responding to the growing cord-cutting movement

        As more people decide they don’t need cable, the TV networks are waking up to the fact that they can’t bet the farm on the same old business models, even as they depend on cable for most of their revenue.

        The latest earnings reports from companies like Time Warner, Viacom, and Disney provide a useful snapshot of how networks are responding to cord-cutting. Spoiler alert: The responses aren’t always consumer friendly.

02.15.17

Links 15/2/2017: Linux 4.9.10 and Linux 4.4.49

Posted in News Roundup at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 7 features Linux could borrow from other systems

    Linux (or, GNU/Linux, if you prefer) distributions are absolutely amazing—stable, fast, flexible. Your average Linux-based system is a veritable powerhouse of functionality—a tour de force of what computers can accomplish. But from time to time, other operating systems have some pretty great ideas. Here are seven of my personal favorites that Linux distributions might want to consider “borrowing.” Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.

  • Desktop

    • A musician’s transition from distro to distro

      I got news about Ubuntu Studio in 2007, and moved to it. As a musician and sound technician, I had used a digital Portastudio to record and mix because I enjoyed turning actual knobs when mixing. I used Ubuntu Studio for mastering in Audacity before I had the chance to upgrade all my studio equipment with a new laptop and sound card in 2010. I did a lot of research to get the best USB sound card and compatible laptop for recording. I was quite sad when I realized that even though it looked good on paper, everything didn’t quite work well in reality. I could only get the card work on 16 bit in Linux, but in Windows it would record with 24 bit and 96 KHz. I felt frustrated, I was back to a dual boot life.

      Then Ubuntu Studio 12.10 was released and my sound card and laptop finally played nicely together. What a joy! However, much had changed in my life with family and work, and I wouldn’t be doing much recording at home for quite some time. Instead I found out I could contribute to open source without being a programmer, which had never occurred to me before. Because I had so much joy and benefit from open source I wanted to give something back. I had participated in the Ubuntu Forums for a while and reached out to the Ubuntu Studio team.

      For a few years, I would contribute when I could with the little time I had available between family, work, sleep, and all the other things I wanted to dabble within the 24 hours available each day.

    • Why Munich should stick with Linux

      Once more, the drums are beating for Munich to turn its back on Linux and return to Windows. Oh please! Get a grip!

      A Munich administrative and personnel committee recommended an immediate start to the creation of a uniform, Windows 10-based client architecture that can be deployed across the council by the end of 2020.

    • Statement by The Document Foundation about the upcoming discussion at the City of Munich to step back to Windows and MS Office

      The Document Foundation is an independent, charitable entity and the home of LibreOffice. We have followed the developments in Munich with great concerns and like to express our disappointment to see a minority of politicians apparently ignoring the expert advice for which they’ve sought.

      Rumours of the City of Munich returning to Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office have been regularly leaking since the election of Mayor Dieter Reiter, who was described as a “Microsoft fan” when interviewed by StadtBild magazine in 2014.

      [...]

      In spite of the suggestions, on Wednesday, February 15, Munich City Council will discuss a proposal – filed by a minority of city councillors – to install Windows 10 and MS Office 2016 on all workstations by 2020. This would cost taxpayers close to 90 million euro over the next six years, with a 35% aggravation over the 66 million euro figure suggested by Accenture.

      [...]

      Based on the above considerations, The Document Foundation thinks that the proposal to be discussed on Wednesday, February 15, represents a significant step backwards for the City of Munich, with a substantial increase in expenditure, an unknown amount of hidden cost related to interoperability, and a questionable usage of taxpayers money.

    • TDF On Munich

      Beware politicians promising solutions to nonexistent problems. Read TDF’s post. Read the report from Accenture, M$’s “partner”. Even Accenture doesn’t believe the politicians’ solution. Monopoly is never the solution to diverse problems. Accenture advocates using web-applications. That provides independence from the OS and GNU/Linux would work for them. Sigh. Politics, the game that never ends.

    • Stay with Free Software, City of Munich!

      The city of Munich is currently considering a move away from Free Software back to Microsoft products. We consider this to be a mistake and urge the decision makers to reconsider.

      For many years now the City of Munich has been using a mix of software by KDE, LibreOffice and Ubuntu, among others. Mayor Dieter Reiter (a self-proclaimed Microsoft-fan who helped Microsoft move offices to Munich) asked Accenture (a Microsoft partner) to produce a report about the situation of the City of Munich’s IT infrastructure. That resulted in a 450-page document. This report is now being misused to push for a move away from Free Software. However the main issues listed in the report were identified to be organizational ones and not related to Free Software operating systems and applications.

      [...]

      The City of Munich has always been a poster child of Free Software in public administrations. It is a showcase of what can be done with Free Software in this setting. The step back by the City of Munich from Free Software would therefore not just be a blow for this particular deployment but also have more far-reaching effects into other similar deployments.

    • Munich’s great Linux desktop initiative may end [Ed: Misleading summary - if not altogether factually incorrect - from Microsoft Peter and now Andy Patrizio. Is Microsoft giving them marching orders? Longtime Microsoft propagandist Patrizio helps his bosses with Munich FUD.]
    • Munich May Ditch Linux Desktops For Windows [Ed: “End of an era,” it says. No. It’s not. It hasn’t even been decided yet. Old tactics again…]
    • Should you run Linux without a desktop environment?

      One of the best things about Linux is that there is a wide variety of desktop environments available to choose from for your computer. But not everybody uses a desktop environment like GNOME, Unity, etc. Some folks prefer to skip them entirely, for various reasons.

      A redditor recently asked about Linux users who skip desktop environments, and he got some interesting answers.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Lumina Adds Luster to Linux Desktop

      The Lumina Desktop Environment desktop is a standout in the crowded field of Linux graphical user interface choices.

      Lumina is a compact, lightweight, XDG-compliant graphical desktop environment developed from scratch. Its focus is on giving users a streamlined, efficient work environment with minimal system overhead.

      Lumina was first developed for the BSD family of operating systems (such as FreeBSD and TrueOS). It is gaining interest among Linux users, having been introduced for a growing number of Linux distros.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.5.1-2 for Wind River® VxWorks® Real-Time Operating System Released

        The Qt 5.5.1-2 release for VxWorks Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) release supports the new VxWorks 7 release SR 0480 (September 2016) on ARM-v7 with updates in the Qt Base, Qt Declarative and Qt Quick Controls modules. For full list of changes, please see the change log.

      • KDE Plasma 5.9.2 Desktop Rolls Out on Valentine’s Day with Multiple Bug Fixes

        It’s Valentine’s Day, and to celebrate this important event, the KDE developers demonstrate their love for KDE Plasma users by bringing them a new maintenance update for the KDE Plasma 5.9 desktop environment.

        Yes, we’re talking about KDE Plasma 5.9.2, the second point release to the latest KDE Plasma 5.9 desktop, which launched just two weeks ago for various GNU/Linux distributions, including KDE Neon and Arch Linux. Because of the new, fast release cycle, you see this new version just one week after the first update, namely KDE Plasma 5.9.1.

      • An Early Qt 5.9 Alpha Snapshot: Qt 5.9 Packing A Ton Of Features

        While Qt 5.8 was released less than one month ago, the Qt 5.9 Alpha release is on approach for landing.

        Jani Heikkinen today announced the first Qt 5.9 Alpha snapshot. This isn’t the formal Qt 5.9 Alpha release, but will become the official Alpha source package if there isn’t anything important that’s missing. Hit up that mailing list link if you are interested in testing.

      • First Qt 5.9 alpha snapshot available
      • KDE’s Plasma Discover Package Manager to Support Flatpak Packages and Repos

        It looks to us like Flatpak, the open-source application sandboxing and distribution framework for GNU/Linux systems is on its way to becoming the norm on most distributions.

        Not only that GNOME Software offers support for Flatpak runtimes, but it appears that KDE’s Plasma Discover graphical package manager will do too, as KDE developer Jan Grulich reports today on the upcoming availability of a Flatpak backend to implement support for handling Flatpak packages and repositories in the app.

      • KDE Discover flatpak backend

        As some of you might already know, I’ve been focusing lately on Flatpak and its integration into KDE. You can check my work on Flatpak KDE portals, which are being currently included in our KDE runtimes and repositories were migrated to KDE git so there has been made some progress since last time I talked about them. Recently I started looking into adding Flatpak support to KDE Discover, to have same support for Flatpak as Gnome has with gnome-software. From the begining it was a nightmare for me as I have never used any glib based library so that slowed me down little bit. I also went through gnome-software code to understand how flatpak integration is done there to get some inspiration. Things went well since then and I have already quite nice stuff to share with you. We currently support most common functionality, like listing available/installed flatpak applications in Discover with possibilities to install/remove/update and of course launch them. We also support flatpak bundles and flatpakref files already.

      • KDE Discover Making Progress With Flatpak Support

        KDE developer Jan Grulich already tackled Flatpak KDE portals support and one of his latest support has been integrating a Flatpak back-end into KDE Discover.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Nautilus 3.24 File Manager Enters Beta, Adds New Keyboard Shortcuts and Features

        We already told you the other day when we reported the availability of new development releases of GNOME Software and GTK+ that the GNOME developers are currently preparing to unleash the first Beta version of the GNOME 3.24 desktop.

        Since yesterday, a lot more apps and core components from the GNOME Stack have appeared on the project’s FTP servers, including the Nautilus file manager, which is used by default in numerous Linux-based operating systems that use the GNOME Stack, including Ubuntu, Fedora Workstation, Solus, and many others.

      • GNOME Calendar App to Finally Add a Week View in GNOME 3.24, Flatpak Support

        As part of the soon-to-be-released GNOME 3.24 Beta version, due later today or by the end of the week, the GNOME Calendar applications received its first development release.

        We’ve already told you that the GNOME developers are working hard these days to give us the first Beta preview of the upcoming GNOME 3.24 desktop environment, due for release on March 22, and we recommend reading our in-depth stories about what’s coming new in Nautilus (Files), GTK+ 4, and GNOME Software components.

      • GParted 0.28 Begins Read-Write LUKS Encrypted File-System Support

        For those using GParted as a way to visually manage your Linux disk partitions/file-systems, GParted 0.28 was released as a Valentine’s Day present for Linux users.

        The primary change with GParted 0.28 is that it adds partial read-write support for LUKS-encrypted file-systems. GParted 0.28 is now able to copy/resize/manipulate file-systems within LUKS volumes as well as moving closed LUKS sub-volumes. However, this GNOME Partition Editor isn’t yet able to create, open, or close LUKS encryption volumes.

      • GParted 0.28.0 Adds Partial Read/Write Support for LUKS Encrypted Filesystems

        Curtis Gedak announced today the general availability of GParted 0.28.0, a new stable update of the widely-used open-source partition editor for Linux-based operating systems.

        GParted 0.28.0 comes approximately four months after the release of GParted 0.27.0, and the most important feature it introduces is partial read/write support for LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup) encrypted filesystems, allowing users to resize or copy a file system enclosed in a LUKS volume. Additionally, it allows the move of closed LUKS volumes.

      • Watch: the New, Revamped Users Panel of the GNOME 3.24 Desktop Environment

        As we reported last year, the upcoming GNOME 3.24 desktop environment will come with a revamped GNOME Control Center component, and GNOME developer Felipe Borges now gives us a sneak peek into the new Users panel.

        GNOME Control Center’s Users panel got a new design recently, which represents the developers’ first attempt to move away from the old two-column panel and implement a single page concept, as you can see in the video attached below.

      • GTK+ 3.89.4 Released With More Vulkan Work, Wayland Fixes

        Matthias Clasen has issued the newest GTK4 development release with more feature work.

      • Dark Windows for Dark Firefox

        I recently set the Compact Dark theme as my default in Firefox. Since we don’t yet have Linux client-side window decorations yet (when is that happening??), it looks kind of bad in GNOME.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • ONF, ON.Lab launch Open Innovation Pipeline
  • A Networking Open Source Innovation Pipeline Can Accelerate Businesses
  • Open Networking Foundation Unveils New Open Innovation Pipeline to Transform Open Networking
  • Open Networking Foundation Announces Restructuring of Board of Directors to Align the Missions of ONF and ON.Lab
  • Open Source Accessibility Tools Help Streamline Inclusive Development

    IBM is embarking on a new era of open source accessibility by releasing tooling, samples and design patterns to help streamline the development of inclusive web and mobile applications.

    IBM has released two new projects on the developerWorks/open community, AccProbe and Va11yS, to help alleviate accessibility roadblocks during the agile development process, strengthen the user experience by adhering to industry standards, and reduce costs by ensuring accessibility is done right from the beginning.

  • Software-Defined Storage Opens Up: 10 Projects to Know

    Throughout 2016, the SDS (Software-Defined Storage) category achieved many new milestones and became increasingly tied to successful cloud deployments. With SDS, organizations can manage policy-based provisioning and management of data storage independent of the underlying hardware. They can also deploy free and open source SDS solutions. Many people are familiar with Ceph and are leveraging it within their OpenStack deployments, but Ceph is far from the only relevant open source SDS project.

  • What Is Open Source Software?
  • Interview: Cloud Foundry on its 2017 awareness-raising plans for open source PaaS

    The Cloud Foundry was originally developed in-house at VMware before being handed over to EMC/VMware spin-off Pivotal Software, which, in February 2014, put in motion a plan to establish an open governance model for the PaaS. This, in turn, paved the way for the foundation to be established in January 2015.

  • Events

    • Third free, open source software conference begins at Oman’s SQU

      In an effort to localise information technology, a conference aiming at supporting free and open source software began on Tuesday.

      Activities of the 3rd Free and Open Source Software Conference began at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) on Tuesday under the patronage of Dr. Ali bin Mas’oud Al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

    • SQU to host FOSSC-17 Oman on February 14 and 15 Join our daily free Newsletter
    • Copyleft in Commerce.

      How GPLv3 keeps Samba relevant in the marketplace

    • KiCad Project Status

      This talk will discuss the status of the current stable version 5 release of KiCad and road map for the version 6 release of KiCad.

    • Control Plane Engineering Is Key for Big Kubernetes Deployments

      If you’re interested in running a complex Kubernetes system across several different cloud environments, you should check out what Bob Wise and his team at Samsung SDS call “Control Plane Engineering.”

      Wise, during his keynote at CloudNativeCon last year, explained the concept of building a system that sits on top of the server nodes to ensure better uptime and performance across multiple clouds, creates a deployment that’s easily scaled by the ClusterOps team, and covers long-running cluster requirements.

    • Intro to Control Plane Engineering by Bob Wise, Samsung SDS

      Large, high-performance and reliable Kubernetes clusters require engineering the control plane components for demands beyond the defaults. This talk covers the relationship between the various components that make up the Kubernetes control plane and how to design and size those components.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Try out Firefox on Wayland easily

        Today I finally managed to compile and run a Firefox version, which was patched to work on Wayland natively. To achieve this, I used the forked and enhanced Firefox version of the Red Hat developer Martin Stransky.

        For all those who are unaware of the Wayland project, it’s an succesor to the very old, but still common X display server for Linux operating systems. Compared to X, Wayland is a lot smaller in its code base, written from scratch, far more secure and build up on the newest 3D graphic driver stack. Unfortunately not all big Linux applications support it yet. The work on Wayland compatibility for Firefox was already requested some years ago and it was not moving forward very fast. Fortunately, some days ago it looks like the first patches have been merged into master.

      • It’s Now Easier Trying Firefox Wayland Support On Arch Linux & Flatpak Distributions

        Jonas Heinrich took to a Firefox branch maintained by Red Hat developer Martin Stransky to getting it working on Arch Linux, getting the Firefox build into an AUR repository, and also producing a Flatpak build of the Wayland-patched Firefox.

        With his firefox-wayland-git package via AUR, Firefox can run without any usage of XWayland. This is as upstream Firefox continues getting closer to landing all of the Wayland support upstream so it will be an out-of-the-box experience in the hopefully not too distant future.

  • Databases

    • RethinkDB Resurfaces With Linux Foundation

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has bought the source code to the recently mothballed RethinkDB NoSQL JSON database. It relicensed the code under the Apache License, and contributed it to The Linux Foundation.

      As we reported recently, the news was announced in October that after more than seven years of development, the company behind RethinkDB was shutting down, although RethinkDB and Horizon would continue to be available, distributed under open source licenses.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • I love Free Software Day 2017

      In the Free Software society we exchange a lot of criticism. We write bug reports, tell others how they can improve the software, ask them for new features, and generally are not shy about criticising others. There is nothing wrong about that. It helps us to constantly improve. But sometimes we forget to show the hardworking people behind the software our appreciation.

    • GCC 7 To Have Better Test Coverage, Unit Testing

      Red Hat developer David Malcolm has shared the work he’s been doing on improving the GCC compiler’s internal testing to ensure the GNU Compiler Collection is working as anticipated and is generating correct code.

      GCC 7 has many new features while Malcom’s focus recently has been improving GCC’s own test suite to ensure the quality and correctness of the code being generated.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Award for Latvian Archives’ use of open source

      The Latvian National Archives have won the “Most Open Organisation” award for their extensive use of free and open source software for their online audiovisual archive. The system combines (Red Hat) Linux servers, the Apache web server, and content management system Drupal to offer access to Latvian documentaries, newsreels, cartoons and feature films from 1910 to the present day.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • How and Why to do Open Source Compliance Training at Your Company

      Education and communication are two essential building blocks in any open source software compliance program. Both help ensure that employees, as well as others outside the organization, possess a good understanding of the organization’s policies governing the use of open source software.

      Employee training serves as a venue to publicize and promote the compliance policy and processes within the organization and to foster a culture of compliance.

  • Programming/Development

    • Vala is not a Programming Language

      Vala provides you a way to write C/GObject/GInterface code using a different syntax. Vala doesn’t require to develop a “core library” in order to provide its features. Its “compiler” is not a compiler, is a C code generator.

      Vala can’t be compared with Rust, Go, Python, Java or C#, all of them provide their own “core library” in order to provide most of their features, allows you to create modules (like a library) to extend the language for their users consume. Their core generally is written in C, for very basic features, but almost in the language itself.

    • Vala 1.0?

      Yes is time to consider a Vala 1.0 release. Vala 0.34 code generator and bindings support LTS versions of GTK+ 3.22 and GLib 2.50. Next stable version of GTK+ will be 4.0 and GLib 2.x, but they have to traverse through 3.9x versions and any GLib 2.x on the way. Reaching that point we can consider Vala 2.0 release.

    • Using Scripting Languages in IoT: Challenges and Approaches

      Scripting languages (aka Very High-Level Languages or VHLLs), such as Python, PHP, and JavaScript are commonly used in desktop, server, and web development. And, their powerful built-in functionality lets you develop small useful applications with little time and effort, says Paul Sokolovsky, IoT engineer at Linaro. However, using VHLLs for deeply embedded development is a relatively recent twist in IoT.

    • Things Every Hacker Once Knew

      One fine day in January 2017 I was reminded of something I had half-noticed a few times over the previous decade. That is, younger hackers don’t know the bit structure of ASCII and the meaning of the odder control characters in it.

      This is knowledge every fledgling hacker used to absorb through their pores. It’s nobody’s fault this changed; the obsolescence of hardware terminals and the near-obsolescence of the RS-232 protocol is what did it. Tools generate culture; sometimes, when a tool becomes obsolete, a bit of cultural commonality quietly evaporates. It can be difficult to notice that this has happened.

      This document is a collection of facts about ASCII and related technologies, notably hardware serial terminals and RS-232 and modems. This is lore that was at one time near-universal and is no longer. It’s not likely to be directly useful today – until you trip over some piece of still-functioning technology where it’s relevant (like a GPS puck), or it makes sense of some old-fart war story. Even so, it’s good to know anyway, for cultural-literacy reasons.

    • Futhark: A Pure, Functional Language For GPU Computing

      Futhark was presented earlier this month at FOSDEM as a “purely functional array language” with its compiler able to “efficiently generate high-performance GPU code.”

      Futhark is a high-level, parallel-focused programming language that aims to compete with the performance of hand-written code targeting particular GPUs. Futhark hopes to be more portable across GPUs while tapping into the full GPU potential if you were writing finely-tuned code targeting a particular graphics processor. Futhark’s compiler currently translates this code into OpenCL for GPU execution, but I’m told by one of the attendees at FOSDEM for this event, Futhark is also working on an approach to turn their code into pure-OpenGL for execution on GPUs without OpenCL, CUDA, or Vulkan.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • [Older] Open Standards and Open Source in Telecom

      “Open standards” and “open source” are two terms that can often be confused. While regular readers of this blog are likely able to differentiate, for clarification’s sake, open source is the term used for software when the original source code is freely available and can also be redistributed and modified. But it doesn’t just reference access to the source code – distribution terms of open source software must comply with its own set of criteria.

      When telecommunications was in its infancy, standards were needed and established before any technology was released. As the development of new networks and technology grows, it will mean prototypes in open source, collaborative projects, which are challenges that we’ve discussed in a previous blog post. The development of new internet-enabled mobile devices and internet service providers have brought telecommunications to the forefront, as well as trends towards cooperation between the Open Standards and Open Source communities, as previously highlighted in our blog about the need for collaboration in mobile security.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Justice Alito Declares “Carbon Dioxide Is Not a Pollutant” in a Candid, Confused Speech

      Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito delivered a fascinating keynote speech at the Claremont Institute’s 2017 annual dinner on Saturday night. Alito, who received a Statesmanship Award from the conservative think tank, devoted much of his address to criticizing his bêtes noires, including environmental regulation, affirmative action, the “media elite,” the European Union, and emergency contraceptives.

    • How algorithms (secretly) run the world

      When you browse online for a new pair of shoes, pick a movie to stream on Netflix or apply for a car loan, an algorithm likely has its word to say on the outcome.

      The complex mathematical formulas are playing a growing role in all walks of life: from detecting skin cancers to suggesting new Facebook friends, deciding who gets a job, how police resources are deployed, who gets insurance at what cost, or who is on a “no fly” list.

      [...]

      O’Neil argues that while some algorithms may be helpful, others can be nefarious. In her 2016 book, “Weapons of Math Destruction,” she cites some troubling examples in the United States:

      - Public schools in Washington DC in 2010 fired more than 200 teachers—including several well-respected instructors—based on scores in an algorithmic formula which evaluated performance.

      - A man diagnosed with bipolar disorder was rejected for employment at seven major retailers after a third-party “personality” test deemed him a high risk based on its algorithmic classification.

      - Many jurisdictions are using “predictive policing” to shift resources to likely “hot spots.” O’Neill says that depending on how data is fed into the system, this could lead to discovery of more minor crimes and a “feedback loop” which stigmatizes poor communities.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cancer Rates Are Dropping — But Not In Rural Appalachia

      Just over a year ago, Natasha Lucas, an agent for the University of Kentucky’s Owsley County Extension Office, needed a local lung cancer survivor to speak at a popular annual cancer awareness event in Booneville, Kentucky. But she had a devil of a time finding one. It took weeks to track someone down, but as sad as that was, it wasn’t surprising. When it comes to lung cancer, Lucas said matter-of-factly, “there are just very few survivors.”

      [...]

      The Appalachian region technically comprises all or part of 13 states, according to the Appalachian Regional Commission: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. However, cancer clusters are often concentrated in the center, or the heart of Appalachia: southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. Researchers say the extraordinarily high cancer rates are the result of a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances. “On the surface, it’s lifestyle factors,” said Nengliang Yao, who led the Virginia study. But there are also economic, social and environmental factors, he said. “There are layers of risk for people to die early from cancer.”

    • Flint seeks meeting with Gov. Snyder on state aid for water bills

      Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said Monday she expects to meet with Gov. Rick Snyder either late this week or early next week to discuss her unhappiness with last week’s news that state credits to help residents pay their water bills are scheduled to end Feb. 28.

      Weaver said the city received too little notice about the change and understood the credits would continue until the end of March.

      “We know that there’s money there,” Weaver said of the State of Michigan, citing a Rainy Day Fund that is projected under Snyder’s recent budget to grow to $1 billion in the next fiscal year.

      “It’s not as though they don’t have the money.”

    • Flint council may try to subpoena governor over ‘war’ on water credits

      The Flint City Council said it may attempt to subpoena state officials, including the governor, to answer questions about the discontinuation of water credits for city residents — a move one councilwoman called “war.”

      Flint City Council members, public officials and residents spoke out Monday, Feb. 13, against a recent move by Gov. Rick Snyder’s office to end the city’s water bill credits, saying the decision was unfair to the Flint community.

      “Gov. Snyder wants these people to pay for water that they feel is not safe to drink,” said Councilwoman Jackie Poplar. “This is war. This is war … there is money to cover these bills.”

    • Exotic trip planned? Packing antibiotics may mean bringing home superbugs

      Those bitten by the ‘travel bug’ risk getting another type of bug—the drug-resistant kind. But trying to fight off those bacteria with drugs may make things a whole lot worse.

      In a series of studies, Finnish researchers confirmed that those traveling to exotic locations—places with poor hygiene and free-flowing antibiotics—often bring home drug-resistant bacteria in their intestines (with or without symptoms). But the people who took antibiotics while exploring those locales came back with the most extensively drug-resistant cargo.

      The findings, published in the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, suggest that taking antibiotics while abroad may be far more dangerous than most travelers know. After all, it’s common for world explorers to preemptively pack antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, for common ailments, like travelers diarrhea, the authors note.

    • NHS: Seven times ministers have promised the health service will ‘go paperless’

      One of Jeremy Hunt’s first tasks when he became health secretary in 2012 was to set the NHS a challenge to ‘go paperless’ by April 2018. That meant that any crucial health information on patients would be available to staff across the health service ‘at the touch of a button’ within three years, according to Hunt.

      Despite committing more than £1 billion out of a £4 billion transformation programme towards achieving the target, the deadline was abandoned by the end of 2016. The cancellation was revealed when comments from House of Lords select committee on the Long Term Sustainability of the NHS were published in February 2017.

      His pledge was far from the first time that a minister had committed the NHS to ditching paper and using digital tools instead. It had initially promised as far back as 1992 – a whopping 25 years ago.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Experts worried about ransomware hitting critical infrastructure

      Expect ransomware to grow more aggressive in the coming years, including higher ransom payments and attempts to go beyond attacking data — by shutting down entire computer systems to utilities or factories.

      “I see no reason for ransomware to stop,” said Neil Jenkins, an official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “It’s shown to be effective.”

    • RSA 2017: SophosLabs report examines Top 10 Android malware
    • Re-thinking Web App Security

      The implications of storing your data locally are quite profound.

    • ASLR^CACHE Attack Defeats Address Space Layout Randomization

      Researchers from VUSec found a way to break ASLR via an MMU sidechannel attack that even works in JavaScript. Does this matter? Yes, it matters. A lot. The discovery of this security flaw along with the practical implementation is really important mainly because of two factors: what it means for ASLR to be broken and how the MMU sidechannel attack works inside the processor.

    • The Biggest Risk with Container Security is Not Containers

      Container security may be a hot topic today, but we’re failing to recognize lessons from the past. As an industry our focus is on the containerization technology itself and how best to secure it, with the underlying logic that if the technology is itself secure, then so too will be the applications hosted.

      Unfortunately, the reality is that few datacenter attacks are focused on compromising the container framework. Yes, such attacks do exist, but the priority for malicious actors is mounting an attack on applications and data; increasingly for monetary reasons. According to SAP, more than 80 percent of all cyberattacks are specifically targeting software applications rather than the network.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Minister visits Malmö as shootings continue

      Sweden’s interior minister, Anders Ygeman, visited Malmö on Monday, just a day after another man was shot dead in the southern Swedish city.

      A 23-year-old man died in hospital after being shot outside a restaurant on the central Möllevången square at 6.40pm on Sunday. The man was known to police, with a series of previous convictions.

      He is the latest person killed in a spate of gun violence in Malmö this year. On January 3rd a 22-year-old man was shot dead in the Fosie district, just a week before a 16-year-old boy was killed in Rosengård.

      A janitor who was shot last week while clearing walkways from snow remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries.

    • Is Trump Headed for a War With China?

      Forget those “bad hombres down there” in Mexico that US troops might take out. Ignore the way National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran “on notice” and the new president insisted, that, when it comes to that country, “nothing is off the table.” Instead, focus for a moment on something truly scary: the possibility that Donald Trump’s Washington might slide into an actual war with the planet’s rising superpower, China. No kidding. It could really happen.

    • Russia has deployed missile in violation of treaty

      Russia has deployed a cruise missile in violation of a Cold War-era arms control treaty, a Trump administration official said Tuesday, a development that complicates the outlook for U.S.-Russia relations amid turmoil on the White House national security team.

      The Obama administration three years ago accused the Russians of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing and testing the prohibited cruise missile, and officials had anticipated that Moscow eventually would deploy it. Russia denies that it has violated the INF treaty.

      U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that the missile became operational late last year, said an administration official, who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the matter and demanded anonymity.

    • NSA’s exit could hit Trump’s Russia reset

      Michael Flynn’s resignation as the National Security Adviser to Donald Trump over his Russia contacts could reset the U.S. President’s attempts to reset ties with Moscow.

      Mr. Flynn said in his resignation letter that he held numerous phone calls with foreign diplomats and officials in course of his duties as the incoming NSA. At the core of the controversy is whether or not Mr. Flynn told the Russian ambassador in Washington that Mr. Trump would reverse the new sanctions that Mr. Obama was imposing on Russia for allegedly interfering in the U.S. elections.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Journalists who obtain leaked official material could be sent to prison under new proposals

      Campaigners have expressed outrage at new proposals that could lead to journalists being jailed for up to 14 years for obtaining leaked official documents.

      The major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act – to be replaced by an updated Espionage Act – would give courts the power to increase jail terms against journalists receiving official material.

      The new law, should it get approval, would see documents containing “sensitive information” about the economy fall foul of national security laws for the first time.

    • The Judge Who Sent Me to Prison and His Bachelorette Daughter, Rachel Lindsay

      In the latest in the string of bizarre and possibly supernatural incidents that have plagued me since childhood, it was announced Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that the star of the upcoming season of The Bachelorette is the daughter of Sam Lindsay, the federal judge who sentenced me to 63 months in prison in a case that was denounced as retaliation for my work in exposing government wrongdoing by outlets ranging from the New York Times to Der Spiegel to U.S. News and World Report, by NGOs including Reporters Without Borders and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, by former U.S. prosecutors, and by foreign members of parliament. Lindsay also ordered me to pay $800,000 in restitution to Stratfor, a State Department-linked firm that was revealed by Wikileaks to have conducted surveillance for Dow Chemical on Bhopal activists, among other things.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Judge denies request to halt Dakota Access pipeline work

      A federal judge on Monday refused to stop construction on the last stretch of the Dakota Access pipeline, which is progressing much faster than expected and could be operational in as little as 30 days.

      U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled after an hourlong hearing that as long as oil isn’t flowing through the pipeline, there is no imminent harm to the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes, which are suing to stop the project. But he said he’d consider the arguments more thoroughly at another hearing on Feb. 27.

    • Oroville Dam: Feds and state officials ignored warnings 12 years ago

      Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.

      The groups filed the motion with FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They said that the dam, built and owned by the state of California, and finished in 1968, did not meet modern safety standards because in the event of extreme rain and flooding, fast-rising water would overwhelm the main concrete spillway, then flow down the emergency spillway, and that could cause heavy erosion that would create flooding for communities downstream, but also could cause a failure, known as “loss of crest control.”

    • Dakota pipeline: US judge denies request to halt construction

      A US judge has rejected a request from two Native American tribes to halt construction on the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline.

      The final stretch of the $3.8bn (£3bn) pipeline is being built under a North Dakota reservoir.

      The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes have filed a lawsuit against the pipeline, saying it endangers their drinking water.

      They also say the pipeline will damage sacred burial sites.

    • Judge denies request to halt Dakota Access pipeline work

      A federal judge declined Monday to halt construction on the final disputed section of the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite the vocal objection of Native American tribes who claim the project threatens an important Indian country water source.

      U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s decision not to grant a temporary restraining order means that work may proceed toward the completion of the 1,172-mile system that will run from North Dakota to Illinois. Boasberg set a Feb. 27 hearing on a further request from the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to block the work, which has been shadowed by heated protests for months.

    • Vindictive Trump dragged on providing aid to 188,000 Americans displaced by Oroville dam crisis

      By delaying federal aid for days while he partied at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump failed evacuees threatened by a failing spillway in Northern California’s Oroville Dam complex. Some 188,000 people from counties that mostly supported him were evacuated when authorities said the risk of a sudden and dramatic overspill became too high, but Orange Julius remained silent for days after California governor Jerry Brown requested he declare a federal emergency in the state.

      This winter has been one of the wettest in recorded west coast history, and has slammed California’s aging infrastructure. While the welcome water has refilled reservoirs and left a massive snowpack, weather has also destroyed roads and left the State’s second largest reservoir in real danger of a catastrophic collapse, flooding the Feather River and destroying thousands of homes in the waters’ path. County officials made the difficult decision to evacuate around 188,000 residents on Sunday. Since then, conditions have improved, but not enough that it is safe to allow those evacuees to return home. More rain is expected on Wednesday.

    • There’s the threat of Oroville Dam. Then there’s Trump

      It all happened so quickly. Water poured down the rapidly eroding hillside of Oroville Dam on Sunday evening. Engineers with the state had to make a series of quick decisions to avert a catastrophic flood.

    • Oroville Dam: California officials ignored warnings a decade ago

      Environmental groups warned nearly 12 years ago that the nation’s tallest dam in California was an imminent disaster.
      They worried that heavy rain and fast-rising waters could overwhelm the main concrete spillway of the Oroville Dam, overflow the emergency spillway and flood communities downstream.

      They were ignored.
      And this weekend, some of their fears were realized.
      Ron Stork, policy director with Friends of the River, a Sacramento environmental group, said state and federal officials were told to reinforce the spillway.
      “We urged them to put concrete on the spillway — our argument was that without a proper spillway, the hillside would wash away and cause catastrophic flooding,” Stork said.

    • California Dam Emergency: 5 Dams That Did Fail

      More than 100,000 people were evacuated from below the United States’ tallest dam on Sunday, after an auxiliary floodway threatened to fail.

      The Oroville Dam in Northern California looked poised to release floodwaters from Lake Oroville into the Feather River, threatening thousands of homes and businesses. According to the Los Angeles Times, rains had filled the reservoir to capacity, sending water over the dam’s emergency spillway for the first time. On Sunday (Feb. 12), a hole developed in the spillway, prompting the evacuation order. As of Sunday evening, the reservoir level had dropped enough to ease the pressure on the spillway, but more rain was forecast, triggering a race against time to repair the dam’s spillways with sacks of rocks dropped by helicopter.

      The situation is still dangerous, officials emphasize, and a look back at some of the most notable dam failures in history shows what’s at stake. [Lessons From 10 of the Worst Engineering Disasters in US History]

    • An Oroville message: As climate shifts, so will water strategies

      Even when everything is going right, managing a dam is a juggling act. What the flooding this week at California’s Oroville Dam may be demonstrating is how that juggling act is growing even more complicated due to climate change.

      Many factors are at play in the ongoing emergency, which has caused more than 100,000 people downstream to be evacuated. Neglect of infrastructure has played a clear and primary role – with homes being evacuated because of signs that the dam’s emergency spillway is failing to safely carry even a portion of the overflow it’s licensed to handle.

    • Trump’s likely science adviser calls climate scientists ‘glassy-eyed cult’

      The man tipped as frontrunner for the role of science adviser to Donald Trump has described climate scientists as “a glassy-eyed cult” in the throes of a form of collective madness.

      William Happer, an eminent physicist at Princeton University, met with Trump last month to discuss the post and says that if he were offered the job he would take it. Happer is highly regarded in the academic community, but many would view his appointment as a further blow to the prospects of concerted international action on climate change.

  • Finance

    • Minister postpones airport strike until after winter vacation

      Justice and Labour Minister Jari Lindström has intervened to defer imminent strike action by airport ground and handling staff. The strike would most certainly have affected families planning trips abroad, but it has now been postponed by two weeks.

    • The Delusion That Trump Is “Good for Business”

      “California Farmers Backed Trump, but Now Fear Losing Field Workers,” read the headline on a New York Times story last week. Big agribusiness types in the Golden State who thought President Trump would reduce regulation and taxes are now coming to grips with the fact that his executive orders on immigration could destroy their business model, which relies on the availability of workers who are not in the country legally. And, no, the wages these farmers pay to radicchio pickers aren’t high enough to lure underemployed working-class citizens to the fertile fields of the Central Valley. Still, farmer Joseph Marchini hopes that because Trump is a businessman himself, he’ll somehow understand that farmers’ massive investments in agriculture rest on the status quo. “I’m confident that he can grasp the magnitude and the anxiety of what’s happening now,” Marchini told the Times.

      Expect to hear more of this, in sector after sector. Industry leaders and entrepreneurs who thought that Trump and his policies would be “good for business” are suddenly realizing that, actually, the president’s attitudes and herky-jerky policy moves will in fact be very bad for their particular businesses. And despite the available evidence, they’re still holding out hope that he will eventually help out their bottom lines.

    • European Parliament Passes CETA After Debate Over Whether It’s A Good Or Bad Deal

      After a somewhat tumultous debate, the European Parliament today in Strasbourg voted in favor of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. With 408 members of Parliament voting in favour and 254 against (33 abstentions) the 1598-page thick deal can become provisionally effective as early as April. The national parliaments still have to ratify it over the coming months, and possibly years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The New Twitter Detectives Want To Bring Down Trump Without Becoming Alex Jones

      Just after 3 a.m. last Friday morning, Huffington Post contributor and progressive advocate Alex Mohajer set to work on a brief investigative project on Twitter. Pulling together red marker–circled articles, graphs, and screenshots from numerous financial websites, he rifled off 16 tweets with prosecutorial zeal and one ambitious goal: to build a compelling case linking Donald Trump to Russia’s $11 billion sale of its oil giant, Rosneft.

      “It’s getting harder to ignore growing evidence that Trump was involved with Russian oil deal,” Mohajer wrote after compiling his tweets into a longer Twitter Moments thread. “CONCLUSION? Koch-backed front cos financed climate deniers/alt-right, took control of govt while Trump diverts attn for Exxon, Koch, Rosneft,” he wrote. A minute later he offered a hedge: “ALTERNATIVE CONCLUSION: I am batshit crazy and need some sleep! Good night world. I will be curious to see if others are able to confirm.”

    • The man just elected as Germany’s next president once called Trump a ‘hate preacher’

      Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s long-serving foreign minister who once called Donald Trump a “hate preacher,” was elected as the country’s 12th post-war president on Sunday by a special assembly in Berlin.

      Steinmeier, 61, representing the center-left Social Democratic Party, won 931 votes among the 1,239 delegates to the federal assembly, known as the Bundesversammlung, made up of state and federal politicians and celebrities. He will serve a five-year term in the largely ceremonial post.

      The election of the usually impeccably mannered diplomat, who spent seven of the last 11 years leading the foreign ministry, marked a setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats, who had failed to agree on their own candidate.

    • Why You Won’t Be Able To Trust Anything You See Or Hear Soon

      Regardless of where you are on the political hypercube, we can all agree that fake news has become a real problem. We might each have different ideas about which stories count as fake news, but we all agree that they’re a danger to democracy and breed sheep like a Nazi New Zealander.

      With investigative journalism being pushed out of our lives to make room for whatever Buzzfeed does, it can seem like you can’t trust anything but what your own eyes and ears take in. Well, because of recent technological advancements, please don’t believe that either.

    • Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, resigns over Russia lies

      In late January, acting Attorney General Sally Yates delivered a startling message to the Trump administration: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had lied to other top White House officials about his dealings with the Russian ambassador to the US and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Kremlin.

      Now those lies have cost Flynn his job: On Monday night, Flynn resigned amid growing questions about whether he had misled Vice President Mike Pence, and potentially the FBI, about his phone calls with the Russian envoy on December 29, the same day the Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Moscow for its interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

      [...]

      Flynn had long denied discussing sanctions in his call with Kislyak, but US officials had told the Washington Post and New York Times that Flynn explicitly talked about the sanctions and hinted that Trump might be willing to lift them. That kind of conversation could be a violation of an obscure federal law, the Logan Act, which prohibits people outside the executive branch from making foreign policy on behalf of the US administration.

    • Full text of Michael Flynn’s resignation letter

      President Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned on Monday, ending a brief stint in the position following reports he provided top White House officials — including Vice President — misleading information about his dealings with Russia’s ambassador shortly after sanctions were announced in the final days of the Obama administration.

      Last week, The Washington Post reported, citing nine unnamed intelligence sources, that Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak discussed the sanctions. Initially, Flynn said he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak, a denial passed on to the public by White House press secretary Spicer and Pence, among others. In past weeks, Flynn has said the conversation was general in nature, including holiday greetings. Flynn later adjusted his story.

    • Justice Department warned White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say

      The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said.

      [...]

      In the waning days of the Obama administration, James R. Clapper Jr., who was the director of national intelligence, and John Brennan, the CIA director at the time, shared Yates’s concerns and concurred with her recommendation to inform the Trump White House. They feared that “Flynn had put himself in a compromising position” and thought that Pence had a right to know that he had been misled, according to one of the officials, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

    • Donald Trump Is Selling Access to the ‘Winter White House’ for $200,000

      As President Donald Trump headed to his private resort in Florida this weekend—his second trip in two weeks, and probably not his last this month—ethics experts and multiple senators voiced serious concerns about the president’s conducting business in a bustling, elite, members-only club.

      Over the past 48 hours, Trump validated those concerns with gold-plated gusto. He hashed out a response to a North Korean missile launch on a busy patio, as people snapped photos and waiters cleared his salad. He hobnobbed with members and visitors at the club, making it clear that paying the $200,000 member fee at Mar-a-Lago was an easy way to parlay with the most powerful man on earth. And passersby were apparently able to get close to classified documents and the presidential limo whenever they pleased.

    • How to not do presidential opsec: Crisis management over dinner in public

      This weekend, as news of a ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) reached President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Trump got on his phone, and Abe consulted with staff. This didn’t happen behind closed doors, however; it took place as members of Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club watched on in the resort’s dining room. One club member even posed for photos with Trump’s aide-de-camp—the Air Force major carrying the president’s “nuclear football”—and posted pics of the scrum around Trump’s table on Facebook.

      Trump is comfortable conducting business over a meal. Last month, Trump approved a raid by US Navy SEALs in Yemen on an Al Qaeda compound not after a briefing in the White House situation room but rather over dinner with senior officials. These and other details of how the new president and his administration operate suggest that despite hitting Hillary Clinton hard for her security foibles, the Trump White House is not big on operational security (opsec).

      President Trump may not be making phone calls on his old, vulnerable Android device, but he keeps it close at hand. He regularly posts to Twitter from his Samsung phone based on his Twitter metadata. And we know he’s using an unsecured Android device because the secure one he’s been issued wouldn’t even allow Twitter to be installed.

    • Mar-a-Lago guest takes picture with nuclear ‘football’ briefcase

      A visitor to President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida posted a Facebook photo with a person he says is responsible for carrying the black bag that contains the nuclear launch codes for the president of the United States.

      “This is Rick…He carries the ‘football’ The nuclear football (also known as the atomic football, the President’s emergency satchel, the Presidential Emergency Satchel, the button, the black box, or just the football) is a briefcase, the contents of which are to be used by the President of the United States to authorize a nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers, such as the White House Situation Room,” the caption reads.

      The two images, one of which shows the man carrying the briefcase, is tagged at “Donald Trump Palm Beach Home.”

    • US officer in charge of Trump’s nuclear football ‘poses for photo with Mar-a-Lago guest’

      A member of Donald Trump’s private Florida club has posted an image of himself posing with a man he claimed carries the president’s nuclear football.

      Reports from Mr Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the weekend, said the two leaders had been briefed about a missile launch in North Korea, while they were eating. CNN said that the two leaders began to discuss how to respond in full public view, and images of the two men and their staffs were snapped by club members.

      Now, it has emerged that one of the members, Richard DeAgazio, posted an image with a member of Mr Trump’s entourage, he claimed was responsible for carrying the nuclear football – the briefcase that never leaves the president’s side and which allows him to authorise a nuclear strike. The Independent has blanked out the person’s face and left out his name.

    • Members of Trump’s Club Can Just Pose With the President’s Nuclear Codes Guy Now

      Do you have $200,000 and a fascination with the prospect of nuclear annihilation? You may want to look into purchasing a membership at Mar-a-Lago, the “winter White House,” where this weekend some guy posted a selfie with the Trump aide who carries the United States’ nuclear football.

      Richard DeAgazio, an investor and actor, posted several pictures from Mar-a-Lago this weekend showing President Donald Trump and his entourage. One post, first reported by the Washington Post, read, “HOLY MOLY !!! It was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan.”

    • Trevor Noah talks Trump, censorship in candid interview

      The Daily Show host expressed concern that a culture of segregation and oppression was brewing under President Donald Trump.

      The Daily Show host Trevor Noah joined Talk To Al Jazeera on Saturday, the day after his autobiography, Born a Crime, won the Debut Author and Outstanding Biography/Autobiography prizes at the American National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) Image Awards.

    • Get Ready For ‘Leak Investigations’ In The Trump White House

      As we discussed over and over again during the past eight years, the Obama White House — despite a first day pledge to be “the most transparent administration in history” — was actually quite famous for its extreme secrecy, combined with a seriously paranoid view of anyone leaking anything unflattering to the White House. As we detailed, the Obama White House declared any unflattering leaks as “aiding the enemy.” And, of course, the Obama administration went after more leakers/whistleblowers with Espionage Act claims than all other Presidents in history combined.

    • Jakarta governor election a ‘litmus test’ of Indonesian Islam

      Millions of Jakarta residents will go to the polls on Wednesday in a vote that is being seen as a “litmus test” of Indonesian Islam.

      In the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, the incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, better known as Ahok, is battling to retain his seat.

    • The Embarrassment of President Trump

      This can’t go on much longer, can it? In the past, the nation has had do-nothing Presidencies, and scandal-ridden Presidencies, and failed Presidencies, but until Donald J. Trump came along there hasn’t been a truly embarrassing Presidency. Trump himself looks out of place (that squinty-eyed frown, meant to bespeak firmness, or serious purpose, doesn’t succeed), and it’s easy to understand why he looks that way. He’s living a bachelor’s life in an unfamiliar house, in a so-so neighborhood far from his home town, surrounded by strangers who have been hired to protect him but cut him off from any sort of real privacy. His daughter Ivanka is close by, in the Kalorama neighborhood, but she has her own life to live, and her own problems—most recently, Nordstrom’s decision to stop carrying her fashion brand. His wife, Melania, is two hundred miles away, in Trump Tower; for the time being, according to the family’s public statements, she’s there to look after her son, Barron, who’s finishing the school year in familiar surroundings.

      [...]

      After little more than three weeks, Trump’s behavior is no more erratic than it used to be, but in the context of the Presidency it seems so. This year’s “Saturday Night Live” season has been very funny, but the most startling moment was not a sketch but a depiction of something real: Trump’s obsessive tweeting, four years ago, about the end of the relationship between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. It’s been fascinating to watch him change policies in the twinkling of a tweet, as with his briefly confrontational China policy, inaugurated in December with a telephone call to Taiwan’s leader, and then reversed; or to witness his cobra-like lunges at newfound enemies, including the Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, who revealed that Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, had told him that he found the President’s attacks on the courts “demoralizing.” Trump just can’t seem to stop himself. Three months after the election, which he won, he’s still talking about those mythical fraudulent voters, and still calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” When he again alleged voter fraud recently, in a room filled with senators, it got awkward; one attendee told Politico that “an uncomfortable silence” filled the room.

    • The House Oversight Committee wants to know more about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago briefing

      Over the weekend, the president received a controversial intelligence briefing on a public Mar-a-Lago terrace — and now, the House Oversight Committee wants to know whether the unusual setting resulted in a security breach. In a letter sent by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the House Oversight Committee today asked Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus for more information on possible security risks incurred by the public briefing.

      Among other demands, the letter asks for more information about cellphones being used while the president was discussing the news.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DuckDuckGo Ups Ante: Gives $300K to ‘Raise the Standard of Trust’

      For the seventh year in a row, the search engine that promises not to stalk your online moves puts its money where its mouth is, this year by donating $300,000 to organizations that work towards online privacy.

    • Scottish Sheriff Awards Couple Compensation For ‘Distress’ Caused By Neighbor’s Use Of CCTV

      We’ve written plenty about CCTV here on Techdirt, and its creeping normalization around the world, but particularly in the UK. So it’s good to read a story on the legal news site outlaw.com about a rather unusual ruling from a Scottish court pushing back against the use of an intrusive CCTV system. It concerns a dispute in Edinburgh between the individuals Nahid Akram and Debbie and Tony Woolley. The latter couple live above a guest house run by Akram.

      [...]

      Although he is talking about surveillance in the physical world, his concerns have obvious parallels in the online world, which is under growing government surveillance, not least in the UK. Already, some people are starting to restrict their digital movements and their conversations as they are “aware that they are being recorded and do not know the extent of the coverage.” The question is: why should such “distressing” surveillance be punished in the real world, but permitted in the digital one?

    • India’s database with biometric details of its billion citizens ignites privacy debate

      “Indians in general have yet to understand the meaning and essence of privacy,” says Member of Parliament, Tathagata Satpathy.

      But on Feb. 3, privacy was the hot topic of debate among many in India, thanks to a tweet that showed random people being identified on the street via Aadhaar, India’s ubiquitous database that has biometric information of more than a billion Indians.

    • Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

      Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

      American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

    • The high cost of being digital

      AT THE 2010 TechCrunch conference, Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, described his ambition for the company. It would, he said, collect and analyse data about its users until “we know more or less what you are thinking about”. This would offer a “new future [in which] you’re never lost… never lonely… never bored… never out of ideas”.

      Recent years have seen not just more data of more kinds being produced, but a fundamental shift in our experience of the world: our news, entertainment, routes home, products and potential romantic partners are data-driven: evolving in real time, and wrapping us in personalised market segments of one.

      These services are enormously convenient. The idle thoughts and urgent worries we express in searches are autocompleted and autocorrected; information, products and opportunities tailored to our interests surround us. But questions about the effects of letting commercial services in on our most critical and intimate choices are growing ever louder and more urgent.

      In Data for the People, Andreas Weigend, former chief scientist at Amazon and consultant to a host of data-driven businesses, sets out to explain how many of these technologies work, how companies profit from them, and the ways in which he believes the balance of power needs to be shifted back in favour of users.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Filming a Protest? 6 Tips to Capture the Action

      As sensational headlines become currency in the age of internet and “fake news,” short documentaries are playing an increasingly important role in the dissemination of nuanced perspectives, and filmmakers have a unique ability to capture and share actions as they happen.

    • Bureau of Indian Affairs Working on Lease for Montana Prison

      The Bureau of Indian Affairs says it could secure a lease in coming months to operate a vacant Montana prison, which closed after the agency dropped its previous contract with the detention facility.

    • Jakarta election pits Christian against rising tide of Muslim extremism

      This week’s hotly contested election for governor of this capital region is exposing the fault lines of tolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

      The incumbent is a Christian of Chinese ethnicity — Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known by his nickname, Ahok — the first non-Muslim governor of Jakarta in 50 years. He took over the post in 2014, when then-governor Joko Widodo was elected president.

      Most agree Ahok has done a good job of reducing corruption, cleaning up pollution and improving infrastructure in this crowded and chaotic city of more than 10 million.

    • Upset About Border Patrol Cruelty? It Didn’t Start Under Trump

      But here’s the thing: none of this is new, unfortunately. Yes, the specifics of the executive order are new, and the awful plan and rollout by the administration are new, but CBP being arbitrarily cruel to people is not at all new. We’ve reported on it many times in the past. Last week, On the Media put together a collection of stories that it had done in the past about egregious behavior by CBP at the border, almost all of which we covered in the past — and all of which occurred under President Obama.

    • Prosecutors And Anti-Sex Trafficking Advocates Aren’t Happy With The Government’s Treatment Of Backpage

      Kamala Harris — former California Attorney General and current US Senator — may have failed in her attempt to take Backpage down, but her dubious legacy lives on. The same day the US Supreme Court denied certification to an appeal of a decision in favor of Backpage and its Section 230 protections, Backpage shut down its adult ads rather than face additional prosecution/persecution from misguided politicians like Harris.

      While all those who went after Backpage pat themselves on the back for making NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER in the battle against sex traffickers, those involved in the day-to-day work of tracking down sex traffickers down aren’t nearly as thrilled.

      As has been noted here on multiple occasions, shutting down a service used by some for illegal activity just buries the illegal activity even deeper underground. Backpage’s adult ad closure means traffickers will be moving to other venues — ones not being actively watched by law enforcement, no doubt including sites they’re not even aware of. As for sex workers who used Backpage to advertise adult services, they’ve simply moved their ads to other sections of the site. So, all the grandstanding has done nothing to harm sex traffickers. It has done a bit of damage to sex workers. But it’s caused the most harm to law enforcement.

    • Walk of shame: Sweden’s “first feminist government” don hijabs in Iran

      In a statement that has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook, UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights NGO in Geneva, expressed disappointment that Sweden’s self-declared “first feminist government in the world” sacrificed its principles and betrayed the rights of Iranian women as Trade Minister Ann Linde and other female members walked before Iranian President Rouhani on Saturday wearing Hijabs, Chadors, and long coats, in deference to Iran’s oppressive and unjust modesty laws which make the Hijab compulsory — despite Stockholm’s promise to promote “a gender equality perspective” internationally, and to adopt a “feminist foreign policy” in which “equality between women and men is a fundamental aim.”

      In doing so, Sweden’s female leaders ignored the recent appeal by Iranian women’s right activist Masih Alinejad who urged Europeans female politicians “to stand for their own dignity” and to refuse to kowtow to the compulsory Hijab while visiting Iran.

    • Brothers burst into pizza shop and hit family members with bat and hammer in honour attack

      TWO brothers carried out a brutal ‘honour attack’ with a baseball bat and hammer as a family dined at a pizza shop.

      Burnley Crown Court heard Khalil Hussain, 24, and Munir Ali Hussain, 35, burst into Planet Pizza in Croft Street, Burnley, to settle an ‘honour feud’.

      Prosecutor Andy Evans said the sustained attack on several members of another family left one man unconscious and others ‘fearing for their lives’

    • Malaysia: Youth group tells Muslim women to avoid using emoticons, perfume on V’tines day

      IN a bid to prevent gestures that lead to pre-marital sex, a Muslim youth group in Malaysia has called on Muslim women to avoid using emoticons and using fragrance in an anti-Valentines day message.

      The two items were part of the seven things Muslim women were advised to avoid when meeting men who were “non-mahram”, or not their kin, even when not celebrating the day to commemorate love, the Malay Mail Online reported.

      In it’s step-by-step guide, the National Muslim Youth Association (Pembina) also warned the women against going out with men at “inappropriate” times by dealing with them only in daytime, and to keep their text messages simple.

    • Edward Snowden’s New Job: Protecting Reporters From Spies

      When Edward Snowden leaked the biggest collection of classified National Security Agency documents in history, he wasn’t just revealing the inner workings of a global surveil­lance machine. He was also scrambling to evade it. To com­municate with the journalists who would publish his secrets, he had to route all his messages over the anonymity soft­ware Tor, teach reporters to use the encryption tool PGP by creating a YouTube tutorial that disguised his voice, and eventually ditch his comfortable life (and smartphone) in Hawaii to set up a cloak-and-dagger data handoff halfway around the world.

    • Amnesty International uncovers phishing campaign against human rights activists

      Over the course of the last year, a number of human rights organizations, labor unions, and journalists were targeted in a “phishing” campaign that attempted to steal the Google credentials of targets by luring them into viewing documents online. The campaign, uncovered by Amnesty International, is interesting largely because of the extent to which whoever was behind the attack used social media to create a complete persona behind the messages—a fictional rights activist named Safeena Malik.

      Malik translates from Arabic as “King,” so Amnesty International refers to the spear-phishing campaign in a report posted to Medium today as “Operation Kingphish.”

      The party or parties behind the operation created Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles for “Safeena Malik” using a young woman’s photos, which were apparently harvested from another social media account. “It appears that the attackers may have impersonated the identity of a real young woman and stole her pictures to construct the fake profile,” wrote Nex, a security researcher working with Amnesty International, “along with a professional biography also stolen from yet another person.”

    • FBI Arresting More Americans For Targeting Muslims, Than Muslims For Targeting Americans

      We’ve been pretty damn clear that we think the Trump administration’s targeting of people from a few countries by banning them from entering the US is both inhumane and misguided. We were proud to sign on to an amicus brief opposing it and happy that the 9th Circuit agreed — though the case is far from over. As I’ve noted repeatedly, to me it’s an issue of basic humanity and decency, but some have insisted on making arguments about how certain people are somehow out to get us and we need to protect ourselves from them. I know that, these days, it’s considered silly to rely on things like facts for an argument, but it seemed worthwhile to actually explore some facts on this particular topic.

      We’ll start with a post at Lawfare, by Nora Ellingsen. And we should start out by noting that Techdirt and Lawfare have a pretty long history of… well… not agreeing on much. The site is generally supportive of the intelligence community and supportive of actions taken to protect “national security.” We tend to be more skeptical. Ellingsen worked in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division for five years, specifically working on international terrorism investigations inside the US. Since leaving the FBI to go to law school, she’s been tracking counterterrorism cases in the US, using DOJ data. And she’s gone through that data to try to determine if there’s any truth to the idea that people from those countries represent a big ongoing threat.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile Backs Off Added Fee For HD Streaming As Unlimited Data Wars Heat Up

      While the U.S. wireless industry isn’t quite as competitive as it’s portrayed as (non-price competition is generally the law of the land), T-Mobile has still managed to disrupt the sector with a crazy idea: giving users what they want. That was again made evident this week when Verizon was forced to bring back sort-of unlimited data after spending the last several years telling consumers they didn’t really want such simple, straightforward plans. Verizon’s long-standing belief that it can tell consumers what they’re supposed to want took a notable blow this week by any measure.

      Shortly after Verizon announced it was returning to unlimited data, T-Mobile once again upped the ante, announcing it would no longer be charging an extra fee to stream HD video over the company’s LTE Network. According to the announcement, T-Mobile not only stopped charging a premium for HD quality (the de-prioritization of which you may recall T-Mobile lied was happening at several points), but also eased up on the restrictions surrounding tethering (using your phone as a modem).

    • What is Verizon Unlimited? Here’s everything you need to know (Updated)
    • The Unlimited Data Party Will Last Until the Big Four Become the Big Three

      Verizon is finally bringing back unlimited plans. Yes, the plans come with catches. But they’re great news for Verizon customers who want to stream or upload lots of video. At least as long as the company faces enough competition to keep up the pressure—in other words, as long as the big four don’t become the big three.

      [...]

      But the competition might not last. T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, has been trying to sell the wireless carrier for years, and T-Mobile’s aggressive pricing has always looked in part like a ploy to grow its subscription base to make itself more attractive to potential acquirers. If Deutsche Telekom were finally able to sell T-Mobile, its new parent might get stingier with pricing and pizzas. If not, its current parent might do the same.

    • Is this the end of »mere conduit«?

      But this doesn’t make sense.

      You cannot have a rule stating that ISP:s have no legal liability for the consequences of traffic relayed via their networks – unless illegal. That is the same as saying that ISP:s do have legal liability for the consequences of traffic relayed via their networks. And this is the opposite of what is stated in the eCommerce directive.

      And even though the ISP in question have not been charged with any criminal offense – it is to be considered liable, as the verdict states that it will have to pay a hefty fine unless blocking The Pirate Bay. (The ISP also had to pay the copyright owners legal fees.)

    • How to talk to your non-tech friends about Net Neutrality

      Net Neutrality is being discussed again, and it’s important that your friends understand why this concept is crucial. Instead of explaining it in typical technical terms, it’s usually better to draw parallels to if we hadn’t had infrastructure neutrality in other fields. Roads are frequently mentioned; I find electricity to be a much better example to get the point across.

      Imagine if all your kitchen appliances only worked with one power company. The electricity they provided was somehow coded so that only their fridge, their freezer, their stove, and their washing machine could be used when their power is in your outlets.

    • Internet 3.0: How we take back control from the giants

      AT THE heart of the internet are monsters with voracious appetites. In bunkers and warehouses around the world, vast arrays of computers run the show, serving up the web – and gorging on our data.

      These server farms are the engine rooms of the internet. Operated by some of the world’s most powerful companies, they process photos of our children, emails to our bosses and lovers, and our late-night searches. Such digital shards reveal far more of ourselves than we might like, and they are worth a lot of money. They are not only used to target advertising and sell stuff back to us, but also form the building blocks for a new generation of artificial intelligence that will determine the future of the web.

      “Very big and powerful companies own a huge chunk of what happens on the web,” says Andrei Sambra, a developer with the World Wide Web (W3) Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the main standards organisation for the web. But we – the ones producing this valuable data – have lost control.

    • Comcast, AT&T Are Paying Minority Groups To Support Killing Net Neutrality

      For years, we’ve noted how one of the greasier lobbying tactics in telecom is the use of minority groups to provide the illusion of broad support for what’s often awful policy. Such groups are given cash for a shiny new event center in exchange for parroting any policy position that comes across their desks, even if it dramatically undermines their constituents. As a result, we’ve shown how time and time again you’ll see minority coalitions like the “Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership” supporting awful mergers or opposing consumer-centric policies like more cable box competition or net neutrality.

      [...]

      While there’s no debate that a Congress-made net neutrality law would be the ideal solution, you may have noticed that Congress is so awash in telecom campaign contributions that crafting a law unriddled with fatal loopholes has been impossible. As a result, the best path forward for those that actually care about net neutrality is to leave the existing rules in place. But since that’s not what ISPs want, they’re pushing Congress to pass a new law — one that will claim to be “solving” net neutrality — but will actually work to kill it through “compromise.”

  • DRM and ‘Right to Repair’

    • Counterpoint: As Denuvo Lauds Its Weeks-Long Control, 20 Year Old Game Still Selling Due To Its Modding Community

      I’ve covered the saga of Denuvo DRM regularly as of late. The once-vaunted anti-piracy tool, thought to be the end of video game piracy altogether, has instead had its protection window reduced to somewhere between a week and some weeks. Despite the headwinds of reality, the folks behind Denuvo have bravely soldiered on, proclaiming the tool still useful for protecting the ever-important early-release window of new video games.

      And that’s where I think a counterpoint needs to be made. The idea that the most important time in the sales cycle for a new video game is its initial release is almost gospel within the industry. And it’s not without its logic, I suppose. Many, many games experience the vast majority of their sales upon initial release. But what if that wasn’t the case? And what if by simply embracing the gaming community and releasing control over the product, instead of trying to cling to it with tactics like DRM, the sales cycle for a game became so long that it changed the math?

      What if more games were like Quake, in other words. And I mean the original Quake, released by id Software some twenty years ago. The game has continued to sell throughout these past two decades, but is going through something of a comeback recently. Why? Well, it’s because the modding community that has developed around the game has kept it fresh and relevant.

    • Source: Apple Will Fight ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation

      Apple representatives plan to tell Nebraska lawmakers that repairing your phone is dangerous.

      Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics “Right to Repair” legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill’s path through the statehouse.

      The legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public.

    • Apple Planning to Fight Proposed ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation

      Apple is preparing to fight proposed “Right to Repair” legislation proposed in the Nebraska state legislature, reports Motherboard. The legislation aims to make it easier for both customers and indie repair shops to repair electronics, similar to how car repair works.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Kenya Works With Communities On Genetic Resources And Traditional Knowledge Protection

      Excessive degradation and over-exploitation of plant biodiversity in Kenya has led to depletion of some species and narrowed their genetic base. Apart from the conservation challenge, utilisation and sharing of benefits from plant genetic resources and traditional and associated knowledge among communities has also remained opaque despite constitutional guarantees.

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Blockade Signals Copyright Industry’s Death Throes, ISP Boss Says

        After a court ruled yesterday that The Pirate Bay must be blocked in Sweden, reaction has been polarized. While copyright holders celebrated, the boss of ISP Bahnhof criticized the move, deriding the court action as signaling the death throes of the copyright industry. Interestingly, the company also teased a potential workaround.

      • Canada Remains a “Safe Haven” for Online Piracy, Rightsholders Claim

        The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups are calling out Canada, claiming that it remains a “safe haven” for copyright infringers and pirate sites. The new “notice and notice” system is ineffective, they say, and the broader legal copyright regime fails to deter piracy.

      • EU Court Of Justice: EU Is Competent To Ratify Marrakesh Treaty

        The European Union ratification of a treaty allowing an exception to copyright for the benefit of visually impaired people might be yet one step closer as the Court of Justice of the EU found today that the EU has exclusive competence to conclude it.

      • The Pirate Bay Must Be Blocked in Sweden, Court of Appeal Rules

        A Court of Appeal has ordered The Pirate Bay and streaming portal Swefilmer to be blocked by an ISP in Sweden. The landmark ruling, in favor of Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, and the Swedish film industry, will see local ISP Bredbandsbolaget forced to block the sites for the next three years.

      • Pirate Bay sank in Sweden as court orders ISP-level ban

        SPLICE THE MAINBRACE AND FEED THE PARROT, we have piracy news for you. The Swedish courts have ordered a ban on the Pirate Bay at an ISP level.

        That might not sound like a big deal, but it might be one of those domino scenarios. TorrentFreak reports that the courts have sided with copyright people, including Sony, in an appeal against an earlier ruling, and decided that ISPs that do not block access to the torrent site should be fined.

02.14.17

Links 14/2/2017: Linux Lite 3.4, GNU Health 3.0.6

Posted in News Roundup at 11:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Video: State of Linux Containers

      In this video from the 2017 HPC Advisory Council Stanford Conference, Christian Kniep from Gaikai presents: Best Practices: State of Linux Containers.

    • VC Investor Martin Casado on the Future of Software-Defined Networking

      Software-defined networking’s biggest accomplishment last year was achieving market traction and validation, says Martin Casado, a general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. But there are still many challenges ahead for the industry at large and the organizations that aim to drive SDN forward.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.10-rc8

      Hey, it’s another week, and I could have released the final 4.10.

      It’s not been all that busy, although we did have a number of small
      last-minute regression fixes (some just reverting stuff that caused
      problems and needed more thought, others fixing things). But nothing
      out of the ordinary, and I wouldn’t have felt bad about just doing the
      final release today.

      But I decided that there’s also no huge overriding reason to do so
      (other than getting back to the usual “rc7 is the last rc” schedule,
      which would have been nice), and with travel coming up, I decided that
      I didn’t really need to open the merge window. I’ve done merge windows
      during travel before, but I just prefer not to. If it was the second
      week of the merge window when the big bulk of stuff had been merged,
      that would be one thing, but that’s not how the schedule turned out.

    • Linux 4.10-rc8 Kernel Released, Final Pushed Out By One Week
    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Delayed by a Week, Last Release Candidate Is Now Available
    • Linus Torvalds decides world doesn’t need a new Linux today

      Those waiting for the milestone that would have been version 4.10 of the Linux kernel have another week to wait, after Linus Torvalds decided not to release the final version this week.

      “Hey, it’s another week, and I could have released the final 4.10,” Torvalds posted to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, adding that “… I wouldn’t have felt bad about just doing the final release today.”

    • Ten Exciting Features Of The Linux 4.10 Kernel

      The Linux 4.10 kernel didn’t end up being released today, but was pushed back by an extra week. However, in looking forward to next weekend, here are ten of the features that excite us about Linux 4.10.

    • WireGuard Is Still Looking Good As A Linux VPN Tunnel

      We’ve been talking about WireGuard for months and it’s hoping to go mainline in the Linux kernel this calendar year. Earlier this month at FOSDEM was a status update on the project.

      WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld presented on this project that he’s been developing over the past year. For those that haven’t been following WireGuard up to now, this VPN tunnel is implemented in less than four thousand lines of kernel code, is designed to be very secure, keeps track of minimal state, has a minimal attack surface, provides a solid crypto base, is designed to be very performant, and has other benefits.

    • Automotive Grade Linux Continues Rapid Growth

      Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a Linux-based, open platform for the connected car, today announced that six new members have joined Automotive Grade Linux and The Linux Foundation. DrimAES joins AGL at the Silver level while ARM, Elektrobit, RealVNC, Telenav and Tuxera join AGL at the Bronze level.

    • Why Microsoft Won’t Use the Linux Kernel for Windows

      There are a number of reasons why Microsoft won’t use the Linux kernel for Windows. For one there is a huge difference in the technical aspects of the Linux Kernel and the NT kernel.

      Another reason would be the issues of licensing involved if Microsoft has to switch over to using the Linux kernel for windows. Thirdly, there are things done on Windows that can’t be done on any other operating system.

    • Linux Enhanced BPF (eBPF) Tracing Tools

      This page shows examples of performance analysis tools using enhancements to BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) which were added to the Linux 4.x series kernels, allowing BPF to do much more than just filtering packets. These enhancements allow custom analysis programs to be executed on Linux dynamic tracing, static tracing, and profiling events.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Vulkan 1.0.40 Released With Fixes, SMPTE 2086 HDR Metadata Support
      • Intel’s Linux Graphics Driver To Enable Atomic Support By Default

        The patch landed in Intel’s drm-intel-next-queued branch this week for enabling atomic support by default on the hardware platforms where it’s fully supported.

        Following this mailing list discussion, atomic support is now being turned on by default for the Intel Linux DRM driver while it’s disabled-by-default support has been in good shape since Linux ~4.9. Though due to the timing of this change-over, this looks like it will be a change for Linux 4.12 as Intel’s 4.11 DRM feature work is already over with the 4.11 merge window being imminent.

      • X.Org Server 1.20 Breaks The Video Driver ABI

        Just a quick note for anyone who routinely builds the latest X.Org Server from Git, the video driver ABI has been broken again, thus you’ll need to rebuild your dependent DDX drivers assuming they have been modified for this new ABI.

      • Mesa 17.0.0 Officially Released

        Mesa 17.0 ships with many big changes and improvements — see that article for an overview. In the past week I’ve also published Intel benchmark results with ANV Vulkan having noticeably better performance, RADV/RadeonSI being much faster, and Nouveau Maxwell improvements.

      • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 17.0.0
      • The beginning of the end of the RadeonHD driver.

        Soon it will be a decade since we started the RadeonHD driver, where we pushed ATI to a point of no return, got a proper C coded graphics driver and freely accessible documentation out. We all know just what happened to this in the end, and i will make a rather complete write-up spanning multiple blog entries over the following months. But while i was digging out backed up home directories for information, i came across this…

      • Almost A Decade Later, RadeonHD Stories Still Coming To Light

        This September will mark 10 years since the public launch of the RadeonHD DDX driver (xf86-video-radeonhd) that was developed by SUSE during the Radeon X1000 and HD 2000/3000 days in conjunction with ATI/AMD. While we’ve talked about what started AMD’s open-source strategy in the past and dozens of other RadeonHD articles, new stories are still coming to light.

      • R600/RadeonSI GLSL/TGSI On-Disk Shader Cache Revised

        Last week Collabora’s Timothy Arceri posted TGSI shader cache patches for Mesa that so far benefit the R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers but could also help out the other Gallium3D drivers too. The second version of those patches have now been published.

      • RADV Gets More Improvements For Mesa 17.1-dev, Lower Dota 2 CPU Usage

        While Mesa 17.0 was just released, new feature development continues building up for Mesa 17.1.

        David Airlie landed a few more RADV patches into mainline Mesa Git. One of the changes is for detecting command buffers that don’t do any work and then discard them. Airlie mentioned, “If a buffer is just full of flushes we flush things on command buffer submission, so don’t bother submitting these. This will reduce some CPU overhead on dota2, which submits a fair few command streams that don’t end up drawing anything.

      • Mesa 17.0.0 Released

        It’s been a busy few week for Mesa related news, and today is no exception as Mesa 17.0 is now officially available. Mesa 17.0.0 is the first release with the new year-based versioning system (it would’ve been Mesa 13.1.0 otherwise).

      • Mesa 17.0 Officially Released with OpenGL 4.5 Capability for Intel Haswell, More

        Today is a great day for Linux gamers as Collabora’s Emil Velikov proudly announced the general availability of the Mesa 17.0.0 3D Graphics Library for all GNU/Linux operating systems.

        Yes, Mesa 17, not Mesa 14, nor 15 or 16, as the development team has decided to skip them all and jump from the Mesa 13 series straight to version 17 according to a newly adopted versioning scheme based on the current year, something that will happen at the beginning of each new year.

      • Mesa 17.0.0 has officially released and it’s well worth updating

        The Mesa developers have announced the release of Mesa 17.0.0 and it’s a truly incredible release. You should probably update as soon as possible.

        For those that don’t know what Mesa is: you will be using Mesa if you’re on Intel graphics, most likely with an AMD GPU and also some older NVIDIA models. You are not using Mesa if you install AMD/NVIDIA proprietary drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • More Power Consumption / Perf-Per-Watt Figures For Intel Kabylake On Linux

        In yesterday’s Core i3 2100 “Sandy Bridge” vs. Core i3 7100 “Kabylake” comparison I included all of the power consumption and performance-per-Watt results. If you are looking for additional power numbers from other Kabylake CPUs, here is some additional data.

      • Windows 10 vs. Linux With AMDGPU+RadeonSI, NVIDIA Pascal, Lots Of Games Coming

        There’s going to be fresh AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce Windows 10 vs. Linux comparisons on Phoronix in the week ahead. Here are the early details and a RFC for our patrons.

      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Gaming Performance With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060/1080

        It’s been a while since last testing Windows 10 vs. Linux on different, newer Linux game ports with a variety of GPUs, but that changed this week. As mentioned this weekend, I’ve been working on a large, fresh Windows vs. Linux gaming performance comparison. The results available today are for NVIDIA with testing a GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 on Windows 10 Pro x64 and Ubuntu 16.10 x86_64 with the latest drivers and using a variety of newer Direct3D 11/12 / OpenGL / Vulkan games.

  • Applications

    • 5 Linux Music Players You Should Consider Switching To

      There are dozens of Linux music players out there, and this makes it difficult to find the best one for our usage. In the past we’ve reviewed some of these players, such as Cantata, Exaile, or even the lesser known ones like Clementine, Nightingale and Quod Libet.

      In this article I will be covering more music players for Linux that in some aspects are even better than the ones we’ve already told you about.

    • Ardour 5.6 released

      Another two months of development has rolled by, involving more than 600 commits by developers, and it’s time for us to release Ardour 5.6. Although there are no major new features in this release, there is the usual list of dozens of bug fixes major and minor, plus some workflow and GUI enhancements. There has been a significant rearrangement of the transport bar to try to use space more efficiently and effectively. The new design also permits session navigation while using the Mixer tab, and there are numerous optionally visible elements. Similarly, the Preferences dialog was rearranged to try to make it easier to find and browse the many, many available options. Other interesting new features: session archiving, a new General MIDI default synth for MIDI tracks, and direct and immediate control of routing for heavily multichannel (typically multitimbral) synth plugins.

    • Ardour 5.6 Open-Source DAW Improves Unloading of Large Sessions, Adds Many Fixes

      A new important update of the Ardour open-source and cross-platform DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software has been released this past weekend for Linux-based operating systems, as well as macOS and Microsoft Windows platforms.

      Ardour 5.6 comes two months after the release of the previous version, and it looks like it’s yet another big update implementing numerous improvements and fixing some of those nasty bugs reported by users lately. For example, the transport bar has been greatly revamped to use space more effectively and efficiently, and there’s a new design that allows for session navigation while the Mixer tab is in use.

    • Ardour 5.6 Digital Audio Workstation Released

      Available this weekend is the newest release of the Ardour digital audio workstation software for Linux, macOS, and Windows.

      Ardour 5.6 features some speed-up improvements in different areas, a mini-timeline was added to the toolbar, there’s the ability to archive a session, various editor improvements, restored save-as support to work as intended, and more. There are also action/binding changes, scripting improvements, plugin improvements, and a wide-range of fixes.

    • Roundup of Recent App Updates: Harmony, Komorebi, Alduin

      Time for our weekly round up of recent app updates that weren’t quite big enough to merit their own dedicated post

      If you’re averse to Electron apps you’re advised to look away now. If an app you love got an update this week chances are it’s because we didn’t know about it, rather than we hate the app.

    • Xfce’s Parole Media Player Gets First Update In Over a Year

      Parole 0.9.0 brings a number of new features to Linux desktops, including a new mini-mode, working ‘play’ and ‘replay’ icons in the content area, and the window title and content title show the filename if no corresponding ID3 tag is detected.

    • After a Year in Development, Parole Media Player 0.9 Arrives with New Mini Mode
    • Xfce Parole Media Player 0.9 Released

      Xfce developers have restored work on their Parole Media Player as the primary media player for this lightweight desktop environment.

    • Write Markdown with 8 Exceptional Open Source Editors

      By way of a succinct introduction, Markdown is a lightweight plain text formatting syntax created by John Gruber together with Aaron Swartz. Markdown offers individuals “to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML)”. Markdown’s syntax consists of easy to remember symbols. It has a gentle learning curve; you can literally learn the Markdown syntax in the time it takes to fry some mushrooms (that’s about 10 minutes). By keeping the syntax as simple as possible, the risk of errors is minimized. Besides being a friendly syntax, it has the virtue of producing clean and valid (X)HTML output. If you have seen my HTML, you would know that’s pretty essential.

    • Telegram on Mobile and openSUSE

      Small Messaging Service, or SMS, is a very common and popular way to communicate today. It is a convenient way to transmit a short message. It has seemingly evolved into a way to carry on conversations throughout the day… but it is so 2007…

      [...]

      Privacy: The people behind Telegram are not making money off of your data and take privacy quite seriously. They have received a “generous donation” by an individual and have quite enough money for the time being. Maybe eventually they will have a paid service but not now.

    • NixNote An Unofficial Evernote Client For Linux/Ubuntu/Fedora

      Evernote is arguably the most popular and powerful note-taking tool available. You can save notes in different forms like text, pictures, videos, voice memos and web pages. There are clients available for the web, desktop operating systems (Windows and Mac) as well as mobile devices (Android and iOS) but none for the Linux desktop. There are a few third-party options available including GeekNote, Everpad and NixNote.

    • The minority yields to the majority!

      As previously mentioned I contribute to the NetSurf project and the browser natively supports numerous toolkits for numerous platforms. This produces many challenges in development to obtain the benefits of a more diverse user base. As part of the recent NetSurf developer weekend we took the opportunity to review all the frontends to make a decision on their future sustainability.

    • Best Linux Email Clients

      Finding the best Linux email client is largely a matter of taste. That said, there are specific email clients for Linux that are better than others. In this article, I’ll share some of the best Linux email clients available.

    • Ktube Media Downloader Is a Powerful App to Download YouTube Videos on Ubuntu

      Keshav Bhatt, the developer of the open-source Snapcraft GUI app and many other tools, is informing Softpedia today about the availability of Ktube Media Downloader 1.0.

      Ktube Media Downloader appears to be the successor of Ultimate Media Downloader, another video downloader utility that the developer created a long time ago. However, the new app is a lot more powerful, featuring a modern and dark graphical user interface, and lots of attractive new features.

    • Linuxbrew – A Common Package Manager For Linux And Mac OS X

      If you have used Mac OS, you will certainly have known about Homebrew, a package manager that allows you to install, remove, and update Unix tools and open source applications and packages. Homebrew is a free and open source package management system specially designed for Apple’s Mac OS operating system. It is written using Ruby programming language, and it comes preinstalled with Mac OS. As you might know, it is one of the open source project that both the largest number of contributors and issues closed of any project on GitHub. If you ever looking for a similar package manager like Homebrew for your Linux operating system, you should try Linuxbrew.

    • Babe Is a Promising New Qt Music Player
    • Proprietary

      • Microsoft loves Linux. But not Skype for Linux

        First, let me make it plain that if Microsoft had decided to junk Skype for Linux at the time when it decided to redesign the client, I would have no complaint. A commercial company is free to produce what software it wants and drop whatever does not net it a return.

        When Linux users were critical of the alpha client in its early days, I took up cudgels on behalf of Microsoft, something I rarely do.

        But after deciding to keep offering a client for Linux, it should not be left at this very basic stage. Is it too much to ask that after six months, one does not have to input one’s credentials every third time one starts up the client?

      • Skype Say Linux App Will Work Past March 1 (For Now)
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Frameworks 5.31 Adds Qt 5.8 Support for C++ Highlighting, over 70 Bug Fixes

        KDE announced this weekend the general availability of the monthly maintenance update to their open-source KDE Frameworks project, a collection of over 70 add-on libraries for Qt 5 providing common functionality for many KDE apps.

        KDE Frameworks 5.31.0 is here with a total of 72 changes across most of its components, including Attica, which now supports display_name in categories, the Breeze icons, the framework integration, as well as KArchive archive manager and KAuth.

      • Kdenlive 16.12.2 Open-Source Video Editor Released with GPU Improvements, More

        Now that the second maintenance update to the KDE Applications 16.12 software suite for KDE Plasma desktops arrived, it’s time for the Kdenlive developers to tell us all about the new features implemented in Kdenlive 16.12.2.

        >From the release notes, it looks like Kdenlive 16.12.2 is a small bugfix release adding a total of 20 changes, as the development team is currently concentrating all of their efforts on the refactoring of the timeline with its highly anticipated professional-grade feature and an extra layer of stability.

      • Review: KDE neon 5.9.1

        It has been a while since I’ve done a review of a Linux distribution. Lately, I’ve seen a few reviews of KDE neon (the second word being intentionally written in lowercase), and some of them have praised it as being much better than Kubuntu (the traditionally KDE spin of Ubuntu). That got my attention, so I figured I should check it out.

      • KDE neon + Kernel 4.8

        We are currently looking to roll out Kernel 4.8 and I’d love to get some informal testing done first. Everyone who wants to help with testing the 4.8 Kernel please install and reboot afterward:

      • 6 Reasons Why I Love Using KDE Connect on Ubuntu

        I love using KDE Connect on Ubuntu with the app’s indicator applet. It’s the easiest way to connect my Android phone to my Linux desktop.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • New Users Panel

        The GNOME Control Center redesign goes on. This release we are happy to announce the new Users Panel design. As you can see in the preview video below, we are moving away from a two column panel into a single page concept. These changes make the panel way clearer specially with the new shell.

      • Google Code In at coala

        We have always been active in engaging newcomers and teaching people about Open Source. It is only natural that we think and work towards helping pupils all over the world take this step and learn about contributing to open source. (If you are a teacher and reading this, reach out to us on coala.io/chat – we’re very interested in working with you and are also starting an initiative in germany to connect to schools.)

      • Recipes by mail

        Since I last wrote about GNOME recipes, we’ve mainly focused on completing our feature set for 3.24.

      • GNOME Software 3.24 to Handle APT & Snap URLs for Easy Installation of Packages

        The GNOME developers are currently preparing to unleash the first Beta milestone of the upcoming GNOME 3.24 desktop environment, due for release on February 15, 2017.

      • GTK+ Implements Window Focus Tracking and Window Properties for Ubuntu’s Mir

        The GTK+ development team just released a few moments ago a new stable and development release of the widely-used GTK+ open-source toolkit for GNOME and GNOME-based desktop environments and related apps.

        GTK+ 3.22.8 is now the most stable and advanced build of the toolkit, and will soon be available for most GNU/Linux distributions that use it. While it’s only a small maintenance update, it adds a few interesting improvements for Ubuntu’s Mir display server, such as window focus tracking, window properties, and modal hint support.

      • On Vala

        Of course, and with reason, I’ve been called out on this by various people. Luckily, it was on Twitter, so we haven’t seen articles on Slashdot and Phoronix and LWN with headlines like “GNOME developer says Vala is dead and will be removed from all servers for all eternity and you all suck”. At least, I’ve only seen a bunch of comments on Reddit about this, but nobody cares about that particular cesspool of humanity.

      • A GNOME Developer’s Arguments On Vala Being A “Dead” Language

        Longtime GNOME developer Emmanuele Bassi has pleaded his case that Vala is a “dead” language and that new applications/developers should look at alternatives or first work on improving this GNOME-centered language.

        There’s previously been efforts to use more Rust code in GNOME than C/Vala and developers expressing their disappointment/frustrations in Vala. Emmanuele Bassi recently tweeted, “PSA: if you want to write a new @gnome application, don’t use Vala; if you’re already using it, consider porting to a non-dead language.”

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is Open Source?

    Open source software is everywhere. It underpins virtually the entire technology sector, with every single element of IT relying on at least one open source component.

    For those who aren’t aware, free and open source software (commonly abbreviated to FOSS) is software and tools that are made freely available online. Not only are they free to download, install and use, the creators also publish the source code for these programs – their ‘DNA’. This means anyone can recreate, tweak, improve or modify them as they see fit.

  • Opening the Software Heritage archive

    We posted this while I was keynoting with Roberto at FOSDEM 2017, to discuss the role Software Heritage plays in preserving the Free Software commons. To accompany the talk we released our first public API, which allows to navigate the entire content of the Software Heritage archive as a graph of connected development objects (e.g., blobs, directories, commits, releases, etc.).

    Over the past months we have been busy working on getting source code (with full development history) into the archive, to minimize the risk that important bits of Free/Open Sources Software that are publicly available today disappear forever from the net, due to whatever reason — crashes, black hat hacking, business decisions, you name it. As a result, our archive is already one of the largest collections of source code in existence, spanning a GitHub mirror, injections of important Free Software collections such as Debian and GNU, and an ongoing import of all Google Code and Gitorious repositories.

  • 13 best free and open source inventory management systems 2017: How to save money and improve service for your customers

    Inventory management is the process of specifying and quantifying the shape and percentage of goods you hold in stock. By knowing what you have, and where, you can save money and improve your service to customers.

    There are myriad free inventory management software systems to choose from, many of which are free to use. We have highlighted 13 that are worth considering for your business.

  • Raptor Engineering Hopes To Bring OpenBMC To An ASUS Motherboard

    While Raptor Engineering was unsuccessful with their Talos Secure Workstation effort to build a high-end, libre POWER8 workstation, they are now backing a more realistic effort: opening the Baseboard Management Controller of an ASUS server motherboard still on the market.

    They are hoping to replace the proprietary baseboard management controller firmware with an open-source solution using OpenBMC. They are hoping to do this not only for the sake of having a fully-free server/workstation motherboard but also for addressing security holes in the proprietary firmware and add missing features while also allowing Coreboot to interact with this BMC.

  • Open source human body simulator trains future doctors

    SOFA an open source human body simulator used for training medical students and for preparing medical interventions, is being used by an increasing number of research centres and companies, says Hugo Talbot, coordinator of the SOFA consortium. He demonstrated SOFA (Simulation Open Framework Architecture) last week at Fosdem, Europe’s largest free software conference, in Brussels (Belgium).

  • Growing Your Open Source Community With Twitter

    Engagement in an open source community leads to collaboration, says Jason Hibbets, community evangelist at Red Hat. And social media is one good tool that projects can use to help increase engagement in their communities, he adds, “because you can reach a broad audience at pretty much no-to-low costs.”

    Hibbets will discuss how Red Hat has increased engagement with one such social media tool, Twitter chats, in his talk at Open Source Leadership Summit in Lake Tahoe on Feb. 16, 2017. Here, he shares with us some of his reasoning behind why engagement is important, some best practices for increasing engagement, and a few lessons learned from Red Hat’s Twitter chats.

  • 10 Open Source Challenges

    For the open source movement, things seem to be going better than ever. Desktop Linux still hasn’t caught on the way advocates had hoped, but within the enterprise, open source is becoming the norm.A Black Duck survey found that 65 percent of enterprises increased their use of open source software in 2016, and open source software is dominating in areas like big data analytics, containerization, development tools, cloud infrastructure, the Internet of things (IoT) and others.

    However, if the community is going to continue to thrive, it will need to find a way to deal with some very big challenges.

    As open source usage has increased, projects have sometimes struggled to scale with demand. And as enterprise developers incorporate more open source code into their own applications, their organizations face headaches related to security, compatibility, licensing and more.

    This slideshow highlights ten open source challenges that could pose an existential threat to the movement itself.

  • Unleashed: Open source tech for pets and animals

    I was discussing open source technology with my cat this morning and he brought up a good point: “Why don’t you do an article on open source tech for animals?”

    You know, Donald’s right. Animal open source tech deserves a spotlight. Afterall, animals appear in many open source brands, and pets, like mine at least, lend lots of support while I’m trying out new software, building gadgets, or just writing about this stuff.

  • What’s your favorite open source animal?

    Open source brands and logos often feature animals. In the image above you might be able to think of one or a few open source projects those animals might represent.

    In one of Jeff Macharyas’s latest articles, he highlights six open source projects with iconic brands, with some background on what the animal is and where it came from.

    In this poll, we came up with a few more to add to his list for you to vote on: Which is your favorite?

  • Four major advantages to using open source software in the enterprise

    With WordPress, Firefox and Linux now the virtual infrastructure for many millions of Internet users globally, and the likes of Apache and database management system MySQL widely embraced by corporations, open source (OS) software has long since passed a tipping-point moment. Yet despite growing familiarity with what OS means — and usage even by the EU and the US government — doubts among many businesses about the quality and reliability of OS software persist.

    Such concerns tend to cluster around three perceptions. The first is that because many OS products were built by the wider developer community — projects and foundations without the resources of a software giant with a history of producing proprietary programs — they cannot then be truly enterprise grade; indeed, they must be of inferior quality and reliability.

    That, in turn, feeds a second perception that because an OS product is usually free, or low-cost, to use, then the organization or team behind it will inherently lacks the economic basis to offer the sort of 24/7 “real time” customer support enterprises expect, especially during the implementation process and its aftermath. In particular, they fear that the project or team in question may vanish into the shadows a couple of years down the line, leaving them at the mercy of bugs and hackers.

  • ToaruOS 1.0 Released, Hobby OS/Kernel Written From Scratch Over 6+ Years

    In the past on Phoronix we have mentioned ToaruOS a few times. It’s a “hobby” kernel and operating system written mostly from scratch yet supports Mesa, GCC, Python, and more. It’s been in development since 2011 while now the operating system’s 1.0 release finally took place.

    The ToaruOS developer wrote in about the Toaru 1.0 release that took place at the end of January. He wrote, “After six years of development, I am very happy to finally announce the 1.0 release of ToaruOS. While I would not consider this “complete” – there is still much work to be done – it is time to refocus my development, and with that comes the time to declare a stable release. ToaruOS 1.0 has been the result of over half a decade of effort, with contributions from a dozen people besides myself.”

  • ToaruOS 1.0 Open Source OS Released After 6+ Years Of Development

    Hobbyist operating systems are seen as one of the more advanced projects taken up by the computer enthusiasts. While some developers use some existing kernel and other resources, others design everything from the scratch. ToaruOS is also one such hobby operating system/kernel, which is mostly written from the scratch.

  • Fund Open Source Software Research to Enhance ICT for Development (ICT4D) and ICT for Dollars (ICT4$)

    I owe part of my IT education to the Open Source community. I enhanced my programming skills using Open Source programming languages; I garnered a better understanding of operating systems through my study and research of the Linux kernel; I understood the inner workings of software by having access to their code; and in college, I used learning materials from computer science classes made available by MIT Open Courseware. But this article is not about how I benefited from open source software. I only mentioned my experience with Open Source Software (OSS) to stress the plethora of opportunities that it provides and the impact it can have on our ICT sector, and the country as a whole. Hence, the subsequent paragraphs provide insights into the positive impact that Open Source Software can have on a developing country like Liberia. The article is also a call to both the public and private sectors to invest in Open Source Software or OSS in order to enhance Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) and Information and Communications Technology for Dollars (ICT4$).

  • 15 Open Source Artificial Intelligence Tools

    One of the hottest areas in technology right now is the Artificial Intelligence (AI). Big like IBM, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon investing lots money in the R&D to take the AI to next level. Even companies like Samsung last year take over a start-up to roll out it’s of AI assistant Bixby. Given the level of interest, here are some for tools for Building the next generation of AI algorithms.

  • What’s moving and shaking in the open-source community?

    Open source software has its roots in the very birth of software and computing itself. The field was first pioneered by scientists, researchers and academics with information and knowledge being freely and widely shared. Over the years open-source has matured and behind this maturity is a community of developers, collaborating and sharing to make better innovations faster. Successful open source projects like Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL and many others are growing super-linearly. As 2017 gathers steam, the open-source community is also rapidly developing. This year, as businesses focus on rightsizing their resources, containers will become more common as they give businesses the ability to leverage highly portable assets or resources, which makes the move into micro-services much easier.

  • 9 relevant topics for community leaders today

    In 2009, Jono Bacon brought the first Community Leadership Summit to the free and open source world. Five years later, Donna Benjamin hosted an off-shoot event, CLSx at linux.conf.au in Perth. 2017 marks the third year for CLSxAU at LCA.

    This year the event hosted nearly 30 attendees, each participating in one or more of nine discussion sessions.

  • Free as in puppy: The hidden costs of free software [Ed: This repeats Sun and Microsoft FUD against FOSS; Proprietary software has these costs too, and MORE]

    The following sections represent common areas for software costs to sneak in. This is by no means a comprehensive list.

  • What happens when we just assume positive intent?

    I never make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never understood the concept, never felt motivated to change with the calendar, and always been cynical of the effectiveness of “resolving” to change.

    Instead, I like to continually examine my habits and think about how I can improve on a more frequent basis. That said, 2016 has been an interesting year, and the beginning of 2017 I think is a good opportunity to think about how to be intentional about my behavior in all aspects of my life.

    So here’s my 2017 open organization resolution: When it comes to leading in an open organization, I want to be more intentional about understanding and considering my own motivations and the motivations of others, and encouraging my colleagues to do the same.

  • DevOps Poetry Slam: 5 poems on the art of DevOps
  • Events

    • The Call for Papers for LIBER’s 2017 Annual Conference in Greece — from 5 to 7 July — is now open.

      Implicit in the concept of access to knowledge is the idea of sustainability. As the idea that we should move towards a more open approach to conducting and disseminating research takes hold it is incumbent on libraries to ensure that in this shifting environment that the accessibility, usability, and long term availability of research outcomes are taken care of. This is a proactive role requiring leadership, vision, innovation and a flexible approach to partnering with researchers and infrastructure.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Had A Crazy Week Landing Servo, WebRender & More Into Firefox Repo

        This was one of the busiest weeks in Firefox’s history with having more than ~10,000 change-sets affecting ~97,000 file changes.

        Landing into the mainline codebase of Firefox Nightly’s mozilla-central repository was vendoring the Servo project, WebRender, the ECMAScript ECMA-262 conformance test suite, and various Rust dependencies.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • Postmortem of database outage of January 31

      This incident caused the GitLab.com service to be unavailable for many hours. We also lost some production data that we were eventually unable to recover. Specifically, we lost modifications to database data such as projects, comments, user accounts, issues and snippets, that took place between 17:20 and 00:00 UTC on January 31. Our best estimate is that it affected roughly 5,000 projects, 5,000 comments and 700 new user accounts. Code repositories or wikis hosted on GitLab.com were unavailable during the outage, but were not affected by the data loss. GitLab Enterprise customers, GitHost customers, and self-hosted GitLab CE users were not affected by the outage, or the data loss.

    • SQLite Release 3.17.0 On 2017-02-13
    • SQLite 3.17 Released With More Performance Improvements

      SQLite 3.17.0 was released today as the newest version of this widely-used embedded database library.

      With many recent releases we’ve seen a focus on performance improvements and with SQLite 3.17 it is no different. SQLite 3.17 features approximately 25% better performance when using the R-Tree extension, which was achieved by using more compiler built-ins and other optimizations. SQLite 3.17 also features more general performance improvements and uses around 6.5% less CPU cycles.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3: A week in stats

      We announced LibreOffice 5.3 one week ago, and a lot has happened in the meantime! Here’s a summary of downloads, web page views, social media activity and other statistics. We’ve also compared these to the LibreOffice 5.2 first week stats to see how the project and community is progressing…

    • Experimenting with LibreOffice 5.3

      I finally installed LibreOffice 5.3 to try it out. (This is actually version 5.3.0.3.) This version comes with a new interface called MUFFIN, which I wrote about as LibreOffice updating its user interface.

  • CMS

    • ‘Think WordPress’ Documentary Trailer

      Open source activism takes many forms, including the creation of documentaries that celebrate and explain open source solutions. Two bold women in France, Deborah Donnier and Emilie Lebrun are working on a 50-minute documentary in French that celebrates and explains WordPress.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Clangd: LLVM’s Clang Gets A Server
    • GhostBSD 11.0 to Ship with Whisker Menu as Default Application Menu for Xfce

      The GhostBSD developers have announced this past weekend the availability of the first Alpha development release of the upcoming GhostBSD 11.0 open-source, BSD-based operating system.

      GhostBSD 11.0 development is ongoing, and a first Alpha build is now ready for public testing, for early adopters and anyone else who wants to help the GhostBSD developers polish the final release of the operating system by fixing the remaining bugs. This Alpha adds the missing Xfce .xinitrc configuration file and theme engine.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Baofeng Handy Talkie Meets GNU Radio

      There was a time when just about every ham had a pricey VHF or UHF transceiver in their vehicle or on their belt. It was great to talk to friends while driving. You could even make phone calls from anywhere thanks to automatic phone patches. In 1980 cell phones were uncommon, so making a call from your car was sure to get attention.

    • Understanding The Complexity of Copyleft Defense

      After 25 years of copyleft enforcement and compliance work, is copyleft succeeding as a strategy to defend software freedom? This talk explores the history of enforcement of the GPL and other copyleft licenses, and considers this question carefully. Attendees who have hitherto not followed the current and past debates about copyleft licenses and their enforcement can attend this talk and learn the background, and can expect to learn enough to provide salient and informed feedback of their own opinions about the processes behind upholding copyleft.

    • GNU Health 3.0.6 patchset released

      We provide “patchsets” to stable releases. Patchsets allow applying bug fixes and updates on production systems. Always try to keep your production system up-to-date with the latest patches.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study of German weather data made easy with Rdwd

      Rdwd, an open source software solutions developed at at the Institute of Earth and Environmental Science at Potsdam University (Germany) is making it easy to study records made public by the German weather service (DWD, Deutsche Wetterdienst).

    • Government finally launches digital transformation strategy

      The long-awaited strategy for the Government Digital Service was finally launched today, more than a year since it was promised, providing an outline of how it intends to reach the ambitious goal of using its £450 million budget to save £3.5 billion by the end of 2020.

      Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer MP announced the proposals at the annual conference of public sector think tank Reform.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • How We Talk About Free Software Legal Tools

      Companies are using more free software than ever, but often with little or no understanding of the licenses or the community norms that are part of the package. When it comes to talking about free software legal tools, we need to control the message. This talk will offer ideas on how we should craft and deliver our message around the adoption of free software legal tools.

      Companies are using more free software than ever, but often with little or no understanding of the licenses or the community norms that are part of the package. When it comes to talking about free software legal tools, we need to control the message. If we let other entities fill in the gaps in our outreach strategy, a lot of context and nuance will be lost. A poor or incomplete message hinders our ability to gain more widespread acceptance of free software tools and practices.

    • Supporting Conservancy Makes a Difference

      There are a lot of problems in our society, and particularly in the USA, right now, and plenty of charities who need our support. The reason I continue to focus my work on software freedom is simply because there are so few focused on the moral and ethical issues of computing. Open Source has reached its pinnacle as an industry fad, and with it, a watered-down message: “having some of the source code for some of your systems some of the time is so great, why would you need anything more?”. Universal software freedom is however further from reality than it was even a few years ago. At least a few of us, in my view, must focus on that cause.

      I did not post many blog posts about this in 2016. There was a reason for that — more than any other year, work demands at Conservancy have been constant and unrelenting. I enjoy my work, so I don’t mind, but blogging becomes low priority when there is a constant backlog of urgent work to support Conservancy’s mission and our member projects. It’s not just Conservancy’s mission, of course, it’s my personal one as well.

    • The decline of GPL? [Ed: So Bacon is citing Microsoft proxies like Black Duck whose sole initial purpose was to attack the GPL… Microsoft-connected anti-FOSS firm.]

      It seems that in recent years that trend has continued. Aside from the Black Duck research, a license study in GitHub in 2015 found that the MIT license was a dominant choice. Even observationally in my work at XPRIZE (where we chose a license for the Global Learning XPRIZE), and my work as a community leadership consultant, I have seen a similar trend with many of my clients who feel uncomfortable licensing their code under GPL.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • A $100,000 grant would help the University System of Maryland promote open-source textbooks

        Some students spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks every semester, but the Textbook Cost Savings Act of 2017, sponsored by Maryland state Sen. Jim Rosapepe, could help students save a lot of that money.

        The bill would provide a $100,000 grant to the University System of Maryland’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation to promote the use of open source materials in place of traditional textbooks. The money would be used to foster the use of open education resources, or OERs, among the system’s 12 institutions, said MJ Bishop, director of the Kirwan Center.

      • The Met Goes Public Domain With CC0, But It Shouldn’t Have To

        The ongoing digitization of the vast wealth of material sitting in museums and archives around the world is one of the greatest projects of the digital age — a full realization of the internet’s ability to spread knowledge and culture to all. Or it would be, if it weren’t for copyfraud: for every museum genuinely embracing open content and the public domain, there’s another claiming copyright on public domain images and being backed up by terrible court rulings.

        And so it’s fantastic to see The Metropolitan Museum of Art joining the former camp with a new Open Access policy that is putting images of 375,000 works online with a CC0 public domain declaration. The Met actually partnered with Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Pinterest and others to help make this happen, and has even announced its first Wikimedian-in-residence who will head up the project to get these images into Wikimedia Commons and onto Wikipedia.

        This is all great, but here’s the annoying thing: it should be totally unnecessary. These are digitizations of public domain works, and there’s no reasonable basis for granting them any copyright protection that would need to be divested with a CC0 mark in the first place. They are not creative transformative works, and in fact they are the opposite: attempts to capture the original as faithfully and accurately as possible, with no detectable changes in the transfer from one medium to another. It might take a lot of work, but sweat of the brow does not establish copyright, and allowing such images to be re-copyrighted (in some cases hundreds or even thousands of years after their original creation) would be pointless and disastrous.

      • The Met Makes 375,000 Public Domain Images Available

        The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Tuesday that more than 375,000 of the Museum’s “public-domain artworks” are now available for unrestricted use.

        “We have been working toward the goal of sharing our images with the public for a number of years,” said Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Met, in a statement. “Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5,000 years of world culture and our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care.”

        The image collection covers photographs, paintings, and sculptures, among other works. Images now available for both scholarly and commercial purposes include Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware; photographs by Walker Evans, Alfred Steiglitz, and Dorothea Lange; and even some Vincent van Gogh paintings.

      • Ambra, the PLOS Journal Publishing Platform, is Open Again

        As part of our commitment to Open Science, PLOS is pleased to announce that Ambra™, the engine behind PLOS journals, is once again open source. Head over to ambraproject.org to read more and get started.

  • Programming/Development

    • RcppTOML 0.1.1

      Following up on the somewhat important RcppTOML 0.1.0 releaseas which brought RcppTOML to Windows, we have a first minor update 0.1.1. Two things changed: once again updated upstream code from Chase Geigle’s cpptoml which now supports Date types too, and we added the ability to parse TOML from strings as opposed to only from files.

    • The Next Big Blue-Collar Job Is Coding

      When I ask people to picture a coder, they usually imagine someone like Mark Zuckerberg: a hoodied college dropout who builds an app in a feverish 72-hour programming jag—with the goal of getting insanely rich and, as they say, “changing the world.”

    • Looking into what Rust can do that other languages can’t … or can they
    • PHP vs. Node.js: An epic battle for developer mind share

      It’s a classic Hollywood plot: the battle between two old friends who went separate ways. Often the friction begins when one pal sparks an interest in what had always been the other pal’s unspoken domain. In the programming language version of this movie, it’s the introduction of Node.js that turns the buddy flick into a grudge match: PHP and JavaScript, two partners who once ruled the internet together but now duke it out for the mind share of developers.

      In the old days, the partnership was simple. JavaScript handled little details on the browser, while PHP managed all the server-side tasks between port 80 and MySQL. It was a happy union that continues to support many crucial parts of the internet. Between WordPress, Drupal, and Facebook, people can hardly go a minute on the web without running into PHP.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Yale University college honouring slave advocate renamed for pioneering woman scientist

      One of America’s most celebrated universities is renaming a residential college established in memory of a white supremacist to instead honour a pioneering woman scientist.

      After years of debate, officials at Yale University said they were changing the name of Calhoun College, which was named for a 19th Century alumni who advocated slavery. Instead, the college will now honour Grace Murray Hopper, a mathematician who studied at Yale in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral. She died in 1992.

      “We have a strong presumption against renaming buildings on this campus,” the university’s president, Peter Salovey, said on Saturday.

    • Official University Messages – Message Detail
    • How the Anti-Vaxxers Are Winning

      It’s looking as if 2017 could become the year when the anti-vaccination movement gains ascendancy in the United States and we begin to see a reversal of several decades in steady public health gains. The first blow will be measles outbreaks in America.

      Measles is one of the most contagious and most lethal of all human diseases. A single person infected with the virus can infect more than a dozen unvaccinated people, typically infants too young to have received their first measles shot. Such high levels of transmissibility mean that when the percentage of children in a community who have received the measles vaccine falls below 90 percent to 95 percent, we can start to see major outbreaks, as in the 1950s when four million Americans a year were infected and 450 died. Worldwide, measles still kills around 100,000 children each year.

      The myth that vaccines like the one that prevents measles are connected to autism has persisted despite rock-solid proof to the contrary. Donald Trump has given credence to such views in tweets and during a Republican debate, but as president he has said nothing to support vaccination opponents, so there is reason to hope that his views are changing.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trump’s F.D.A. Pick Could Undo Decades of Drug Safeguards

      President Trump’s vow to overhaul the Food and Drug Administration could bring major changes in policy, including steps to accelerate the process of approving new prescription drugs, setting up a clash with critics who say his push for deregulation might put consumers at risk.

      Mr. Trump has been vetting candidates to run the agency, which regulates the safety of everything from drugs and medical devices to food and cosmetics. Among them is Jim O’Neill, a former official at the Health and Human Services Department who is an associate of the Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump supporter Peter Thiel. Mr. O’Neill has argued that companies should not have to prove that their drugs work in clinical trials before selling them to consumers.

      Other candidates also have called for reducing regulatory hurdles.

    • Doctor who exposed Flint water crisis to speak at IWU

      The pediatrician who exposed the Flint water crisis will be the Founders Day speaker on Wednesday at Illinois Wesleyan University.

      Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will give her talk, “The Flint Water Crisis: A Journey for Justice,” at 11 a.m. in Presser Hall’s Westbrook Auditorium, 1210 N. Park St. The talk is free and open to the public.

      Hanna-Attisha, director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint, was alerted that Marc Edwards, a water engineer and Virginia Tech University professor, had found high lead levels in the water of Flint residents’ homes.

    • Antibiotic abuse: the nightmare scenario

      Imagine a world in which even the slightest scratch could be lethal. Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, and organ transplants are no longer possible. Even simple surgery is too risky to contemplate, while epidemics triggered by deadly bacteria have left our health services helpless.

      It is science fiction, of course – but only just. According to many doctors and scientists, the rise of antibiotic resistance across the planet could soon make this grim scenario a reality. And if it does, humans will have to face up to challenges that would once have seemed unthinkable. The question is: when – and how – might this horrific medical ordeal unfold for the human race?

    • Hepatitis C Patent Challenges In India, Argentina To Allow Generic Production

      Resistance to high prices for hepatitis C drugs is ongoing as five new challenges against patents have been filed in India and Argentina, according to sources. Those challenges aim at allowing the production and distribution of affordable generic versions of new hepatitis C medicines (direct-acting antivirals).

    • USDA blacks out animal welfare information

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today removed public access to tens of thousands of reports that document the numbers of animals kept by research labs, companies, zoos, circuses, and animal transporters—and whether those animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. Henceforth, those wanting access to the information will need to file a Freedom of Information Act request. The same goes for inspection reports under the Horse Protection Act, which prohibits injuring horses’ hooves or legs for show.

      The agency said in a statement that it revoked public access to the reports “based on our commitment to being transparent … and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals.”

    • Updated: USDA responds to outcry over removal of animal welfare documents, lawsuit threats

      In this letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, the animal welfare organization reminded the government that under the terms of a 2009 legal settlement with HSUS, USDA had agreed to make public some of the records it has now scrubbed from its public database. HSUS, its lawyers write, “is exercising its rights under [the 2009 settlement] and intends to take further action unless USDA agrees to reconsider this bizarre reversal of the agency’s longstanding policy” of making inspection records and others publicly available.

    • GOP fights ObamaCare PR war

      Republicans are facing a new public relations war in their effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

      The GOP Congress has repeatedly approved legislation to repeal ObamaCare, but those proposals went nowhere with President Obama in the White House.

      Now that Republicans also hold the White House, the challenge for the GOP is taking the long-promised action in a way that won’t backfire politically.

    • Officials: Flint to get water filters 3 more years

      The state of Michigan plans to provide Flint residents with water filters and replacement cartridges for about three more years amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water.

    • End to water credits brings protestors to Flint City Hall – ABC 12
    • Granddad, World’s Oldest Public Aquarium Fish, Dies at Shedd, His Home Since 1933

      Granddad, an Australian lungfish considered the oldest fish in any public zoo or aquarium around the world, was euthanized Sunday at the Shedd Aquarium after “a rapid decline” in the animal’s health.

      The world-famous fish was an aquarium resident since 1933 and was the last of a trio of ancient animals residing at Chicago-area institutions. That group also included R1, a dwarf African crocodile who lived at Lincoln Park Zoo from 1930 to 2010; and Cookie, an 83-year-old Major Mitchell’s cockatoo who died last August at Brookfield Zoo.

    • How we are all cooking rice incorrectly – and could be endangering our health

      Millions of cooks are endangering their health by cooking their rice incorrectly, scientists believe.

      Putting more water in the pan or even steeping it overnight is the best way to flush out traces of the poison arsenic, they found.

      The chemical contaminates rice as a result of industrial toxins and pesticides which can remain in the soil for decades.

      Experts have long debated what level of arsenic is safe, with new limits set by the EU in 2016.

  • Security

    • Opening Cyber Salvo in the French Elections

      On Feb 1st, 2017, Wikileaks began tweeting about the candidates in the French election coming up in a few months. This election (along with Germany’s later this year) is a very highly anticipated overt cyber conflict, one that many people in the intelligence, infosec and natsec communities are all paying attention to. We all saw what happened in the US and expect the Russians to meddle in both of these elections too. The outcomes are particularly important because France and Germany (“Old Europe”) are the strong core of the EU, and Putin’s strategic goal is a weak EU. He’s been dealt a weak hand and his geopolitical strategy is to weaken his opponents, pretty straight forward.

    • Kaspersky says businesses hit by fileless Windows malware

      Fileless Windows malware is infecting enterprise systems in 40 or more countries, with more than 140 institutions having been hit, according to the anti-virus company Kaspersky.

      The malware has not been given a name yet, but Kaspersky says it is similar to Duqu 2.0 that attacked its own network and stayed undetected for more than six months.

      It said an unnamed bank found the malware in late 2016 after it detected Meterpreter code in the physical memory of one of its Windows domain controllers. Meterpreter is an advanced, dynamically extensible payload that uses in-memory DLL injection stagers and is extended over the network at runtime.

    • Hack my car? Most believe it can happen

      Most Americans have some concerns that self-driving cars can be hacked to cause crashes, disable the vehicle in some way or even be used as weapons by terrorists, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.

      And large percentages of people are at least slightly concerned that these kinds of vehicles can be hacked to gain access to personal data.

      However, more than half have these same cybersecurity concerns about conventional vehicles, say Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute.

      Using an online survey of more than 500 Americans, the researchers asked respondents how concerned they are about hackers gaining access to personally owned self-driving (both with control over the gas pedal, brake and steering, and without) and conventional vehicles.

    • ‘Top 10 Spammer’ Indicted for Wire Fraud

      Michael A. Persaud, a California man profiled in a Nov. 2014 KrebsOnSecurity story about a junk email purveyor tagged as one of the World’s Top 10 Worst Spammers, was indicted this week on federal wire fraud charges tied to an alleged spamming operation.

    • Chap scripts remote Linux takeover for sysadmins

      Linux sysadmins with a sense of adventure: Tokyo-based developer Hector Martin has put together a set of scripts to replace an in-use Linux system over SSH.

      Over at GitHub, Martin’s Takeover.sh is the kind of no-safety-net we imagine El Reg’s readers will love.

    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Reproducible Builds: week 94 in Stretch cycle
    • Reality Based Security

      The way cybersecurity works today someone will say “this is a problem”. Maybe it’s IoT, or ransomware, or antivirus, secure coding, security vulnerabilities; whatever, pick something, there’s plenty to choose from. It’s rarely in a general context though, it will be sort of specific, for example “we have to teach developers how to stop adding security flaws to software”. Someone else will say “we can’t fix that”, then they get called a defeatist for being negative and it’s assumed the defeatists are the problem. The real problem is they’re not wrong. It can’t be fixed. We will never see humans write error free code, there is no amount of training we can give them. Pretending it can is what’s dangerous. Pretending we can fix problems we can’t is lying.

    • Ensuring Secure Practices around Open Source [Ed: Latest FUD from Microsoft-connected anti-FOSS firm, Black Duck]
    • RSA 2017: SophosLabs sees spike in Linux-IoT malware
    • Sophos: IoT Malware Growing More Sophisticated
    • Linux IoT, Android and MacOS expected in 2017, SophosLabs
    • Hackers using Linux flaws to attack IoT devices
    • Linux Security Fundamentals: Estimating the Cost of a Cyber Attack
    • Recent WordPress vulnerability used to deface 1.5 million pages

      Up to 20 attackers or groups of attackers are defacing WordPress websites that haven’t yet applied a recent patch for a critical vulnerability.

      The vulnerability, located in the platform’s REST API, allows unauthenticated attackers to modify the content of any post or page within a WordPress site. The flaw was fixed in WordPress 4.7.2, released on Jan. 26, but the WordPress team did not publicly disclose the vulnerability’s existence until a week later, to allow enough time for a large number of users to deploy the update.

    • Simple Server Hardening

      These days, it’s more important than ever to tighten up the security on your servers, yet if you were to look at several official hardening guides, they read as though they were written for Red Hat from 2005. That’s because they were written for Red Hat in 2005 and updated here and there through the years. I came across one of these guides when I was referring to some official hardening benchmarks for a PCI audit and realized if others new to Linux server administration were to run across the same guide, they likely would be overwhelmed with all of the obscure steps. Worse though, they likely would spend hours performing obscure sysctl tweaks and end up with a computer that was no more protected against a modern attack. Instead, they could have spent a few minutes performing a few simple hardening steps and ended up with a more secure computer at the end. So in this article, I describe a few hardening steps that provide the most bang for the buck. These tips should take only a few minutes, yet for that effort, you should get a much more secure system at the end.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Bangladesh booksellers warned not to offend Muslims

      Bangladesh’s largest bookfair began in Dhaka on Wednesday with police warning organisers against selling books that hurt “religious sentiment” in the Muslim-majority country.
      But the fair has incurred the wrath of Islamist extremists who hacked and critically injured a top secular writer in 2004 and killed a US-based atheist blogger moments after he signed books for readers in 2015.
      Last year a 73-year-old publisher was arrested and his stall at the fair was shut down after a book called ‘Islam Debate’ triggered protests by Islamists who said the work was offensive to Muslims.
      Police said they have tightened security for the annual fair, which is being organised at a park on the campus of Dhaka University, the country’s main secular bastion.
      Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia visited the fairground on Tuesday, asking the authorities to “scrutinise” the books before they are cleared to be displayed at stalls.

    • Think Betsy DeVos is a lightning rod? Try her brother, Erik Prince of Blackwater.

      This week’s controversial confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the nation’s education secretary confirmed another thing:

      It’s a new day for the Prince family – notably Erik Prince, DeVos’ brother.

      Prince, 47, is best known for founding Blackwater U.S.A., a private military company born in Moyock, N.C., just a half-hour drive from downtown Norfolk.

      Prince and Blackwater were Bush-era favorites, reaping billions in security contracts during the Iraq war. Under the Democrats, they fell from grace, becoming a symbol of America’s heavy boot overseas.

      Bitterly, Prince sold Blackwater and moved to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, accusing Washington of throwing his company under the bus.

      DeVos was almost as embattled as her brother before Tuesday, when she won her post by the slimmest margin in Cabinet nominee history: a single, tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence.

    • 13,000 people hanged in secret at Syrian prison, Amnesty says

      Thousands of people have been hanged at a Syrian prison in a secret crackdown on dissent by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a report by Amnesty International alleges.
      The human rights group says as many as 13,000 people have been executed at Saydnaya prison, north of the capital Damascus in a “hidden” campaign authorized by senior regime figures.

    • Swedish police chief car explodes in Stockholm

      A Swedish police officer’s personal car exploded outside his home early Monday in an attack, authorities said, as they expressed concerns over rising violence against law enforcement officials.

      “Each time a member of the judiciary or the Swedish police is subjected to threats or attacks, it is one too many,” Swedish chief of police Dan Eliasson said in a statement.

      No one was injured in the attack, which occurred just after midnight in the leafy Stockholm suburb of Taby.

    • Six Red Cross workers in Afghanistan killed in ambush

      Six Afghan Red Cross aid workers have been killed in an ambush in the country’s north while travelling to a remote area to deliver humanitarian aid.

      Three vehicles carrying eight International Committee of the Red Cross employees were travelling through Dasht-e Leili, a desert in Jowzjan province, when they came under fire, according to the provincial governor, Lotfullah Azizi. Three drivers and three other personnel were killed, and two are missing.

    • Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty in call with Russia’s Putin

      In his first call as president with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of the call.

      When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

    • Iraq war allegations probe to end

      A probe into allegations made against Iraq war veterans will be shut down within months, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has announced.

      The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) will close in the summer and around 20 remaining cases will be given to the Royal Navy Police, he said.

      MPs have branded the probe, which has spent £34m but led to no successful prosecutions, an “unmitigated failure”.

      The IHAT was set up in 2010 to examine allegations made by Iraqi civilians.

      The decision to close the team comes after a public inquiry exposed the behaviour of a human rights lawyer in charge of many of the abuse allegation cases.

    • New report shows the real face of Islamic State terror converts

      The Australian Strategic Policy Institute recently released a report titled The American Face of ISIS, which it commissioned in the hope of better understanding terror converts in Australia.

      The larger number of converts in America charged with an Islamic State-related incident or travelling to the Middle East in order to fight with the terrorist group provided more statistical certainty than could be achieved using Australian data only. The report is to be followed with a study of the societal traits of Australians charged with terror-related incidents.

    • Yes, It’s Legal To Designate The Muslim Brotherhood A Terrorist Organization

      As President Trump moves towards designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, we’re hearing all the reasons he can’t or shouldn’t.

      The latest tactic has been to assert that designating the Muslim Brotherhood is not possible, or simply illegal, because it does not conform with the letter of the law regarding Foreign Terrorist Designations. This is a specious claim, but made with such confidence that it requires a serious examination to debunk.

    • Forgotten mass grave in the U.P. finally gets recognition

      They were considered the lowest of the low, the dregs of the world. And when they died, they were thrown into an unmarked pit and forgotten.

      A hundred years ago, life in Upper Peninsula towns like Sault Ste. Marie was tough. People died young, people died suddenly, and they often died in horrendous ways. Many worked themselves to death, or drank themselves to death, or were killed on the job in unsafe conditions. And if they didn’t have a family, or if their family didn’t have any money, they wound up buried in a potter’s field, the quaint old term for a mass grave.

    • Undercover Panorama report reveals prison chaos

      Chaos in one of the biggest prisons in the country has been revealed in secret filming for the BBC.

      An undercover reporter spent two months at HMP Northumberland, which houses up to 1,348 male inmates, for Panorama.

      He discovered widespread drug use, a lack of control, door alarms that did not go off in one block and a hole in an internal security fence.

      The Ministry of Justice said it would investigate the “extremely serious allegations” at the Acklington jail.

    • Ministers came ‘within hours’ of suspending UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia

      Government ministers reportedly came within hours of suspending controversial UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia, official documents have shown.

      On 12 February last year, Sajid Javid, the then Business Secretary, threatened to end the exports by the end of the day, The Observer reports.

      Court documents show that Mr Javid wanted both former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon to back continuing the exports, otherwise he would suspend them.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador presidential hopeful promises to evict Julian Assange from embassy

      Julian Assange will be given a month’s notice to leave the Ecuadorian embassy if the country’s main opposition candidate wins the presidency in next week’s election.

      In an interview with the Guardian, Guillermo Lasso, of the rightwing Creo-Suma alliance, said it was time for the WikiLeaks founder to move on because his asylum was expensive and no longer justified.

    • The Guardian view on official secrets: new proposals threaten democracy

      The Law Commission’s purpose is to review the state of the law in England and Wales and where necessary to suggest how it should be updated. It is one of those rarely noticed constitutional cogs, an important institution that does important work. The law that relates to official secrets is indeed dated and, in a digital age of global publication, it is also technologically obsolete. Yet this is not at the heart of the proposals the commission is making. Instead, it proposes powers that would herald a new journalistic ice age. Anyone that published an intelligence- or foreign affairs-related story based on a leak would be open to criminal charges. Reporters, as well as the whistleblowers whose stories they tell, would be under threat of sentences of up to 14 years, regardless of the public interest and even if there were no likelihood of damage.

    • Whistleblowers keep us safe. We can’t allow them to be silenced

      The Law Commission is an important body with a proud history. Set up in 1965 to provide independent advice to government on law reform, it describes itself as non-political and has often made meticulous recommendations on overlooked but vital areas of the statute book, from criminal and family law to that governing property, trusts and other areas of commerce. Its status, value and prestige have been greatly enhanced by a succession of judicial chairs, usually of the high court and then promoted to the court of appeal.

      Yet in an age of high-octane media and politics, legislative policy has been driven more by kneejerks and soundbites than reason and research. The commission has felt neglected, with too many reports unimplemented by parliament, and it may be concerned for its long-term future. Some years ago I was visited in my Liberty office by commission officials concerned about their declining brand and influence, and with a healthy curiosity as to how better to communicate with the world beyond Whitehall. So the government’s invitation to the commission in 2015 to look at what is bureaucratically called the “protection of official data” must have caused considerable excitement.

    • With So Much Public Interest In Our Judicial System, It’s Time To Free Up Access To Court Documents

      Like hundreds of thousands of Americans, I am closely following the “airport cases” around the country. In order to keep abreast of the latest developments in one of the fastest-moving cases, Washington v. Trump, I built a Twitter bot that scrapes the public docket mirror hosted by the Ninth Circuit and tweets about new documents and links as soon as they’re added.

      This case leads a legal push that has attracted incredible amounts of public attention. There have been tens of thousands of protestors, dozens of organizations and companies that submitted amicus briefs (including Techdirt’s think-tank arm, the Copia Institute), and over 135,000 people who tuned into the audio-only livestream of the Ninth Circuit oral arguments (which was also broadcast live on multiple news channels).

    • European Parliament Demands Transparency In Expert Groups And Protection For Whistleblowers

      The European Commission is reforming the way it populates its “expert groups” which has been criticized as unbalanced and non-transparent for years. But the European Parliament is not satisfied. In a report on its own initiative passed in Strasbourg today practically unanimously (663 in favour, 16 against, 13 abstentions), the Parliament requested the Commission make public how it decides the composition of expert groups and explain which interest groups are to be represented and how geographical and political interests will be balanced.

    • After Passing Worst Surveillance Law In A Democracy, UK Now Proposes Worst Anti-Whistleblowing Law

      Last November, the UK government finally passed the Snooper’s Charter, officially known as the Investigatory Powers Act. That was largely because everyone in the UK was too busy arguing over the Brexit mess to notice that Theresa May had finally achieved her goal, and pushed through what the Open Rights Group called “the most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy.” Now that May has provided the police with the ability to rummage through a year’s worth of every Brit’s browsing history without a warrant, and given permission for the intelligence agencies to break into any computer and demand backdoors to be installed for any software or online service used in the UK, it seems she has a new target: whistleblowers. The Guardian reports on big changes the authorities want to make to the laws protecting government secrets, doubtless with an eye to dissuading any future Snowden/Guardian-type partnerships in the UK…

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hungry Venezuelans killing flamingos and anteaters for food, biologists say

      Biology student Luis Sibira stumbled across the first set of gory remains last November: eight pink flamingos, their breasts and torsos sliced out, leaving their heads, spindly legs and vivid feathers scattered across the marshy ground at Las Peonias Lagoon in western Venezuela.

      Flamingo hunting is both illegal and unusual at the lagoon, less than 200 miles from the Colombian border. Sibera, who had been studying the pink birds that nest there for years, had never seen anything remotely like that before.

      Since then, though, he’s seen at least 20 similar cases, most recently in January, when he found several carcasses hidden under shrubs, with a shotgun shell nearby.

    • No Data Manipulation at NOAA

      Top Republicans on the House science committee claim a former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist “confirmed” that his NOAA colleagues “manipulated” climate data for a 2015 study. But that scientist denies that he accused NOAA of manipulating data.

      Rep. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and two subcommittee chairmen issued a Feb. 5 press release — “Former NOAA Scientist Confirms Colleagues Manipulated Climate Records” — as part of an ongoing dispute over the validity of a paper published in the journal Science in June 2015 by NOAA scientists.

    • Trump’s Pipeline and America’s Shame

      The Trump Administration is breaking with tradition on so many fronts—renting out the family hotel to foreign diplomats, say, or imposing travel restrictions on the adherents of disfavored religions—that it seems noteworthy when it exhibits some continuity with American custom. And so let us focus for a moment, before the President’s next disorienting tweet, on yesterday’s news that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be restarted, a development that fits in perfectly with one of this country’s oldest cultural practices, going back to the days of Plymouth Rock: repressing Native Americans.

      Just to rehash the story briefly, this pipeline had originally been set to carry its freight of crude oil under the Missouri River, north of Bismarck. But the predominantly white citizens of that town objected, pointing out that a spill could foul their drinking water. So the pipeline’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, remapped the crossing for just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. This piece of blatant environmental racism elicited a remarkable reaction, eventually drawing representatives of more than two hundred Indian nations from around the continent to a great encampment at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers, near where the pipeline was set to go. They were joined, last summer and into the fall, by clergy groups, veterans groups, environmental groups—including 350.org, the climate-advocacy organization I co-founded—and private citizens, who felt that this was a chance to begin reversing four centuries of literally and figuratively dumping on Native Americans. And the protesters succeeded. Despite the German shepherds and pepper spray let loose by E.T.P.’s security guards, despite the fire hoses and rubber bullets employed by the various paramilitary police forces that assembled, they kept a nonviolent discipline that eventually persuaded the Obama Administration to agree to further study of the plan.

    • When fire gives Mother Nature a helping hand

      Cities and fire usually don’t mix.

      But this spring, strategically selected portions of Belle Isle and William G. Milliken State Park in downtown Detroit will be set on fire in what’s known as a “prescribed burn” – deliberately set and carefully controlled fires that actually help the growth of trees, wildflowers and native grasses while improving habitats for wildlife.

      “With nearly 20 million acres of forests covering more than half of Michigan’s landscape, forests clearly are a critical part of our state’s environment and economy,” said Carol Rose of the Michigan Wildlife Council.

    • Government accused of trying to kill off UK solar industry before it can become cheapest form of electricity

      The Government has been accused of trying to kill off Britain’s solar energy industry just as it is about to become one of the cheapest suppliers of electricity – with no need for any kind of state subsidy.

      In fact, according to the Government’s own projections, only onshore windfarms could provide cheaper power within the next decade or so – and the Conservatives pledged in the party’s election manifesto to “halt their spread”.

    • Dakota Access oil pipeline: Standing Rock Sioux tribe ‘running out of options’ to stop project going ahead

      The leader of a Native American tribe attempting to block the Dakota Access oil pipeline has said the Standing Rock Sioux may have exhausted legal options to stop the project after the company building it won federal permission to tunnel under the Missouri River.

      Legal experts agreed the tribe faces long odds in convincing any court to halt the $3.8 billion project led by Energy Transfer Partners LP, which could now begin operation as soon as June.

      The US Army said on Tuesday it would grant the final permit for the pipeline after an order from President Donald Trump to expedite the project. The army owns the land through its Corps of Engineers.

      “We’re running out of options, but that doesn’t mean that it’s over,” David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “We’re still going to continue to look at all legal options available to us.”

    • Sound of crickets ‘could become a thing of the past’

      The first comprehensive assessment of Europe’s crickets and grasshoppers has found that more than a quarter of species are being driven to extinction.

      According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the insect group is the most threatened of those assessed so far in Europe.

      Europe harbours more than 1,000 species of grasshopper and cricket.

    • Standing Rock Sioux Ask Court to Halt Dakota Access Pipeline Construction

      The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has joined a motion filed Thursday by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe seeking a temporary restraining order to stop construction of the final section of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which began earlier this week.

      In a declaration filed with the motion, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault, II, writes that it is “vitally important to our people that our rights be heard by this Court before Dakota Access drills under Lake Oahe.”

    • Central New Yorkers standing in solidarity against Dakota Access Pipeline

      On Saturday a rally was held in the heart of Syracuse, all standing in solidarity against the Dakota Pipeline.

      Central New Yorkers came together at Perseverance Park as part of an international effort to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      Throughout the crowd chants could be heard including, “We Stand with Standing Rock,” while signs read things like “All Pipelines Leak, All Oil Peaks” and “Water if Life.”

    • 65% of British public support new Clean Air Act, says survey

      More than half of the British public believe air pollution levels across the UK are damaging to their health and almost two-thirds back proposals for new laws to tackle the issue, according to research.

      Canvassing the views of 1,670 adults, the survey found that 58% believed the current levels of air pollution in the UK to be either harmful or very harmful to health, a figure that rose to 73% among Londoners. What’s more, 65% of those polled said they would support a new Clean Air Act to tackle the issue.

      The study, undertaken by YouGov, was commissioned by the environmental law organisation ClientEarth on behalf of the campaign for a new Clean Air Act.

  • Finance

    • Rio Olympic venues already falling into a state of disrepair

      Just six months on from the 2016 Games, a number of Rio’s major Olympic venues have fallen into a state of disrepair. Since the Paralympics closing ceremony, the Maracana Stadium has been looted, the key Games precinct has been shut down and the city’s Olympic golf course is struggling.

      The most alarming visual deterioration can be seen at the Maracana, where worms have damaged the now-threadbare playing surface, windows inside the stadium have been smashed, copper wire stolen from walls and ceilings, and a reported 10% of the 78,000 seats have been torn up. Late in January local electric utility company Light cut off power to the stadium in response to unpaid bills, claimed to be in the region of three million reals (USD$940,000).

    • Tesla employee writes of low wages, poor morale; company denies claims

      In a Medium post published today, Tesla employee Jose Moran detailed working conditions at the company’s Fremont factory and called for the factory workers to unionize with United Auto Workers (UAW).

      Tesla currently employs more than 5,000 non-union workers at its Fremont, California-based factory. Moran wrote that the workers are often faced with “excessive mandatory overtime” and earn between $17 and $21 hourly, compared with the national average of $25.58 hourly for most autoworkers in the US. The Tesla employee noted that the astronomical cost of living in the Bay Area makes $21 an hour difficult to live on.

    • Betsy DeVos Teaches the Value of Ignorance

      “Government really sucks.” This belief, expressed by the just-confirmed education secretary, Betsy DeVos, in a 2015 speech to educators, may be the only qualification she needed for President Trump.

      Ms. DeVos is the perfect cabinet member for a president determined to appoint officials eager to destroy the agencies they run and weigh the fate of policies and programs based on ideological considerations.

      She has never run, taught in, attended or sent a child to an American public school, and her confirmation hearings laid bare her ignorance of education policy and scorn for public education itself. She has donated millions to, and helped direct, groups that want to replace traditional public schools with charter schools and convert taxpayer dollars into vouchers to help parents send children to private and religious schools.

    • Betsy DeVos Has Been Confirmed. Now the Fight Really Begins.

      Several years ago, billionaire Republican donor Betsy DeVos wrote that she’d “decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence.” Instead, she and her family would concede the point: “We expect a return on our investment.”

    • Congressman: Rarely used law could make Trump tax returns public

      A New Jersey congressman says a rarely invoked 1924 law could be used to examine President Donald Trump’s tax returns for possible conflicts of interest and Constitutional violations.

      Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat who serves on the Ways and Means Committee, has asked the committee’s chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, to order the Treasury Department to provide tax returns to the committee. Brady’s office did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

    • Tories to ‘secretly’ pass Ceta treaty

      CAMPAIGNERS protested outside Parliament yesterday against a government “cover-up” for refusing a Commons debate on a trade deal that puts “democracy and public services up for sale.”

      The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (Ceta) is a “secretly negotiated” trade deal between Canada and the European Union that will “undermine our democracy and destroy our basic rights,” campaign group Ceta Blockers argued.

    • Feeling ‘Pressure All the Time’ on Europe’s Treadmill of Temporary Work

      After graduating with degrees in accounting and finance from a university in Finland, Ville Markus Kieloniemi thought he would at least find an entry-level job in his field. He studied potential employers, tailoring his applications accordingly.

      He wound up churning through eight temporary jobs over the next three years. He worked variously as a hotel receptionist and as a salesman in men’s clothing stores, peddling tailored suits and sportswear.

      “It’s hard to manage your finances or even get housing, let alone start a career,” said Mr. Kieloniemi, 23, who added depth to his résumé by accepting unpaid office jobs and internships in New York and Spain, mostly at his own expense. “You feel pressure all the time.”

    • The tiny bank running Saudi Aramco’s world record IPO

      Moelis & Company is about to become a very big name on Wall Street.

      The small investment bank has been hired by Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, to be the sole independent advisor on its huge public offering, according to two people familiar with the matter.

      In winning the lucrative and prestigious assignment, Moelis will have beaten off competition from some of Wall Street’s biggest banks.

      Moelis (MC) will advise Aramco on who to pick as underwriters for what is expected to be the biggest IPO in history if it happens, as expected, next year.

      Saudi Aramco and Moelis declined to comment.

    • Islamic finance body drafts new standard for centralised sharia boards

      Feb 9 A global body for Islamic finance has issued a draft standard on centralized sharia boards, aiming to improve corporate governance in the industry and increase the consumer appeal of sharia-compliant financial products.

      The proposed rules come at a time when Islamic banks are trying to widen their appeal to consumers in core markets of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, while opening up entirely new ones – particularly across Africa.

      Islamic banks have traditionally established internal sharia boards, employing scholars to rule on whether their products are religiously permissible.

    • Brexit four times worse for UK economy than previously believed, say MIT economists

      Britain’s departure from the European Union could cause output losses of as much as 9.5 per cent, according to new research.

      Calculations using models that incorporate productivity measures show a negative impact on gross domestic product per capita of almost four times that of previous estimates, according to John Van Reenen, a professor of applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management who supported the campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.

    • Who are you calling Malthusian?

      My concept of a Malthusian economy involves two characteristics. First, living standards are negatively related to the size of population. This would occur if we had some sort of fixed factor of production. Typically, one might say it was agricultural land, but you could just say resources if you like. It isn’t even important that they are truly fixed. So long as the resources are inelastic, whether due to a physical limit or because bringing them into use is prohibitively expensive, you’d satisfy the first characteristic of a Malthusian economy.

    • Mexico ready to retaliate by hurting American corn farmers

      Mexico is ready to hit the U.S. where it hurts: Corn.

      Mexico is one of the top buyers of American corn in the world today. And Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, who leads a congressional committee on foreign relations, says he will introduce a bill this week where Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sales of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale have soared since Trump’s win

      When Kellyanne Conway went before NBC’s Meet the Press and described statements made by Press Secretary Sean Spicer as “alternative facts”, it had the unintended consequence of driving up sales of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Since President Donald Trump has been sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, another dystopian novel has begun climbing the charts: Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.

    • Want to Make a Lie Seem True? Say It Again. And Again. And Again

      You only use 10 percent of your brain. Eating carrots improves your eyesight. Vitamin C cures the common cold. Crime in the United States is at an all-time high.

      None of those things are true.

      But the facts don’t actually matter: People repeat them so often that you believe them. Welcome to the “illusory truth effect,” a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth. Marketers and politicians are masters of manipulating this particular cognitive bias—which perhaps you have become more familiar with lately.

    • Newspaper Accidentally Uses Alec Baldwin ‘SNL’ Photo Instead of Donald T