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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 30 min ago

Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

3 hours 57 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Haiku OS Gains Rudimentary Support For Haswell Graphics

    Haiku, the open-source operating system that maintains compatibility with the defunct BeOS, now appears to have basic support for Haswell graphics.

  • Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts

    Linux and *BSD have completely changed the storage market. They are the core of so many storage products, allowing startups and established vendors alike to bring new products to the market more rapidly than previously possible.

    Almost every vendor I talk to these days has built their system on top of these and then there are the number of vendors who are using Samba implementations for their NAS functionality. Sometimes they move on from Samba but almost all version 1 NAS boxen are built on top of it.

  • Yahoo to stop development on YUI library

    Yahoo has announced its decision to halt the development of Yahoo User Interface library (YUI), its open-source JavaScript library for writing HTML application interfaces. In the announcement, the company cites the rise in popularity of Node.JS, which has changed how developers build HTML applications, as have recent changes in package management and web application frameworks.

  • Cray’s Commitment to Lustre and OpenSFS

    At Cray, we are a big user and investor in Lustre. Because Lustre is such a great fit for HPC, we deploy it with almost all of our systems. We even sell and deliver Lustre storage independent of Cray compute systems. But Lustre is not (yet) the perfect solution for distributed and parallel-I/O, so Cray invests a lot of time and resources into improving, testing, and honing it. We collaborate with the open-source Lustre community on those enhancements and development. In fact, Cray is a leader in the Lustre community through our involvement in OpenSFS.

  • Netflix open sources internal threat monitoring tools
  • Genode OS 14.08 Has New GUI Architecture, Pluggable VFS

    Genode OS 14.08 also brings pluggable VFS file-system support, C run-time support for time functions, a port of the CPU jitter random number generator, a new port of OpenVPN, networking support for VirtualBox, and much better integration of the Qt5 tool-kit.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • 74 Countries and Counting: Mozilla’s Maker Party Increases Web Literacy Across the Globe

        Back in July we kicked-off Maker Party, our annual campaign to teach the web around the world. Throughout this two-month campaign we have seen people on nearly every continent increase their web literacy by writing their first line of code, making their first app, taking steps to protect their privacy, or creating engaging content for others to enjoy, share or remix. They’re all coming together thanks to the individuals and organizations that are helping us grow a movement by teaching their friends, family and communities through hands-on making and learning events.

      • Mozilla Marches Ahead with Ads for Firefox

        This November, Mozilla is up for renegotiation with Google for placement of Google search as the default search in Firefox and for the related subsidies that Google pays Mozilla, which reached almost $300 million last year. That comprised the majority of Mozilla’s income. With Chrome establishing itself as a leader in the browser wars, its unclear what relationship Google will continue to pursue with Mozilla.

      • Firefox OS Smartphones Change The Mobile Landscape Across India

        The launch of two Firefox OS phones in India in the same week marks an exciting moment in Mozilla’s mission to promote openness and innovation on the Web, and an opportunity to empower millions of Indians wanting to buy their first smartphones. Firefox OS will enable users to obtain lower-cost devices that offer telephony, messaging and camera and rich capabilities like built-in social integration with Facebook and Twitter, the Firefox browser, FM radio and popular apps.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Docker on Eucalyptus

      Docker has created a lot of buzz in the news over the last year. At Eucalyptus, we really understand the need that Docker addresses regarding the DevOps culture. In recognizing that, we have come up with a series of blogs and videos that demonstrate how to deploy, use and maintain Docker on a Eucalyptus — while still proving that Eucalyptus is the best on-premise AWS compatible cloud environment.

    • SUSE’s Flavio Castelli on Docker’s Rise Among Linux Distros

      Docker has only gained traction since its launch a little over a year ago as more companies join the community’s efforts on a regular basis. On July 30, the first official Docker build for openSUSE was released, making this distribution the latest among many to join the fray. I connected with Flavio Castelli, a senior software engineer at SUSE, who works extensively on SUSE Linux Enterprise and has played a major role in bringing official Docker support to openSUSE. In this interview, he discuses the importance of bringing Docker to each Linux distribution, the future of Docker on SUSE Linux Enterprise, and other interesting developments in the Docker ecosystem.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • Education
    • Open source communities start to buzz about edX

      Open source software is hugely important to us here at edX, since it’s what we do all day, every day. Two weeks ago, the O’Reilly company hosted their annual OSCON convention in Portland, Oregon—a convention focused on open source software. Of course, we had to be there. So, my edX colleague James Tauber and I packed our bags and headed to Oregon for a week of learning and teaching to meet wonderful people, and to get excited about open source. We even gave a presentation about edX!

  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 26 new GNU releases!

      This month, we welcome Raman Gopalan as a new co-maintainer of GNU gengen (with its author Lorenzo Bettini), Marcel Schaible as the new maintainer of GNU gperf, and Sergey Poznyakoff adds yet another new package, direvent, to his long list. I’d also like to specially thank Assaf Gordon (the author and maintainer of GNU datamash, new last month) for a significant amount of effort with all aspects of Savannah; new Savannah volunteers are always needed, and welcome. Thanks to all.

    • Gimp 2.8.12 arrives with improvements, install it on Kubuntu
    • MediaGoblin version 0.7.0 out with new features

      Media publishing platform, MediaGoblin, has hit version 0.7.0. With this update new features include initial support for federalisation, a responsive CSS system, a featured media option, bulk uploading via the command line and a blogging media type.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Why we use open source – Australia’s Immigration agency explains

      Why choose open source? “In some ways, [the open source software used by the agency] is effectively more capable” than commercial products, he said. “In terms of cost-effectiveness, [it] wins hands down: no license/maintenance fees, extensible architecture [and] global open source R&D.” The team uses an open source software package called ‘R’.

  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Quick Test: PHP 5.6 Against Facebook’s HHVM
    • PHP 5.6.0 Released
    • Git 2.1 Released: What’s New

      Two-and-a-half months after Git 2.0, a new version of Git has been released. Though a minor update, the list of new features and improvements is large.

      The complete release notes can be found on git repository and provide full details about what can be found in Git 2.1. What follows provides a minimal selection of new features in Git 2.1.

    • Lazy declarative programming in C++11

      make does it, Haskell does it, spreadsheets do it, QML can do it and below I explain how to do it with C++11: declarative programming. And not just any declarative programming, but my favorite kind: lazy evaluation.

    • Checking On The Performance Of PHP 5.6

      Having not ran any PHP 5.6 development build in quite some time, this morning after the official PHP 5.6.0 official release I was running some tests to ensure the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org wouldn’t run into any problems when deployed on the latest version of PHP. Overall, everything is good and for those running the Phoronix Test Suite using any recent version of our open-source benchmarking software should be good for PHP 5.6.

Leftovers
  • Google’s Smith Is Top Candidate for U.S. Chief Technology Officer

    Google Inc. (GOOG) executive Megan Smith is close to heading to the White House.

    Smith, 49, who was most recently a vice president at Google’s X lab, is a top candidate for the role of U.S. chief technology officer, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Thirsty cyclists mistake soap for soft-drink

      The makers of “Omo”, a new clothes washing detergent, are considering changing their labelling after accidentally poisoning unsuspecting riders particpating in the “Fredagsbirken” race in Rena, near Oslo . The product was available as part of a sampling campaign by Lilleborg, sponsors of the event.

      All competitors were given a free sample of “Omo Aktiv & Sport”, together with their starting numbers before the race, reported Hamar Arbeiderblad.

    • Newsweek’s Monkey Meat Ebola Fearmongering

      But the problems of the piece were bigger than just the cover. The piece is built around the idea that illegally imported “bushmeat”–what we would call “wild game” if it were being eaten in the United States–could carry the deadly Ebola virus.

  • Security
    • Interview With Richard Kenner of AdaCore

      Q: In doing some research it seems that some of the hoopla surrounding Heartbleed came from the fact that Cloudfare announced they had fixed it, but only for their customers, is that correct?

      A: No, not at all. Once the existence of the bug was disclosed, the fix was absolutely trivial to anybody with technical knowledge because the code in question was Open Source. Anybody who wanted to fix it could very easily do so. This is very different from the later bug in Microsoft software that, even though the details were well known, only Microsoft could fix because the bug was in proprietary code that only Microsoft could change.

    • Friday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
  • Finance
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Labor Almost Invisible on TV Talk

      As the Labor Day holiday approaches, ask yourself how often you see unions represented on corporate-owned television. On the highest-profile public affairs shows, the answer is basically never.

    • Trust the New York Times to Tell You Not to Trust Twitter

      Using Twitter to follow the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, Bilton said he saw “thousands of one-sided accounts, many of which were grossly inaccurate.”

  • Censorship
    • Katherine Heigl Drops Her Lawsuit Against Duane Reade

      Back in April, I wrote to inform you of the crazy-pants lawsuit filed by Katherine Heigl after Duane Reade, a drug store chain, tweeted out a photo of Heigl shopping at one of its stores. Under the auspices of publicity rights and the corollary idea that celebrities are simply better people with more legal privileges than the rest of us, Heigl wanted six-million dollars for the following tweet.

  • Privacy
    • The executive order that led to mass spying, as told by NSA alumni

      One thing sits at the heart of what many consider a surveillance state within the US today.

      The problem does not begin with political systems that discourage transparency or technologies that can intercept everyday communications without notice. Like everything else in Washington, there’s a legal basis for what many believe is extreme government overreach—in this case, it’s Executive Order 12333, issued in 1981.

      “12333 is used to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US,” whistleblower John Tye, a former State Department official, told Ars recently. “My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.”

    • Surveillance Protesters Picket GCHQ

      The small number of protesters on Friday were reportedly outnumbered by the police and members of the media, according to the BBC. There was minor disruption at the Cheltenham site on Friday morning, as GCHQ staff were driven by bus into the site itself, instead of the usual practice of being dropped off outside.

    • If Social Media ‘Silence Debate,’ What Do Corporate Media Do?

      The study–or the Times recap, more to the point–is likely to get a lot of I-told-you-so attention from people who take a dim view of Twitter and the like. So it’s worth making two points.

    • Australian Federal Police Redaction Failures Expose Targets, Officers And Investigations

      Australian intelligence and law enforcement agencies are pushing for access to more personal data and other records with a minimum of court oversight. The most recent development tells us they should be trusted as much with this additional info as the guy standing in front of an empty barn asking for more horses. If they can’t keep what they already have safe and secure, why on earth would you give them access to more?

    • FISA Court Twists PATRIOT Act To Pretend It’s Okay To Spy On Americans Based On Their Constitutionally Protected Speech

      Thus, while depressing, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find out that when a Section 215 request came to him concerning activity of a US person that was entirely protected by the First Amendment, Bates figured out a way to give the FBI the go ahead to spy on the person anyway. Because terrorism.

    • Washington Law Enforcement Hides Stingray Purchase And Use From Everyone, But It’s OK Because They’re Fighting Crime

      More news of secret surveillance has been uncovered, thanks to FOIA requests. Police in Tacoma, Washington have a Stingray device and have been using it, unbeknownst to pretty much everyone in the area. And it’s not just a recent development. According to information obtained by The News Tribune, this dates back more than a half-decade.

    • Kaspersky Publishes (Then Deletes) Article Claiming ‘If You’re Doing Nothing Wrong, You Have Nothing To Hide’

      At least at the time I’m writing this, you can still see the full text via Google’s cache, though that may go away soon. The really ridiculous part is actually the final paragraph. The main part of the article lists out five areas where there are benefits to sharing your info (more on that in a second) and then it comes to this ridiculous conclusion:

      Apart from these five reasons, there are many more why you shouldn’t be paranoid and try to conceal your location while online. Remember if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide. There is almost to zero chance that you would be of interest to any secret service on the planet. The only nuisance to you will be advertisement robots – and there are more effective tools against them than online anonymity.

    • DOJ Pretends No Fly Guidelines Haven’t Been Leaked, Claims ‘State Secrets’ To Avoid Revealing Them To The Judge

      Back in July, we wrote about the Intercept releasing a leaked copy of the US law enforcement guidelines for putting someone on the no fly list. There have been a series of lawsuits recently concerning the no fly list, and the government has basically done everything possible, practically to the point of begging judges, to avoid having those cases move forward. So far, that’s failed miserably.

    • Feds balk at court’s order to explain no-fly list selection process

      The Obama administration is fighting a federal judge’s order requiring it to explain why the government places US citizens who haven’t been convicted of any violent crimes on its no-fly database.

  • Civil Rights
    • Police Can’t Find A Bunch Of The Military Weapons And Vehicles That The Pentagon Has Been Handing Out

      Turning police departments into military bases has been one of the side effects of the 1033 program. This program routes military weapons and vehicles (as well as ancillaries like office equipment and medical supplies) to police forces, asking for nothing in return but a small donation and the use of the words “terrorism” or “drugs” on the application form. The program has been extremely popular and the US government can rest easy knowing that its excess inventory won’t go to waste.

    • 10 Acts Of Jihad In America That Americans Haven’t Heard About

      The ridiculousness is our notion that we will stop the jihad commanded by Islam by repurposing Cinnabon workers, dressing them up in faux cop uniforms, and stationing them at airports to feel us up and violate our Fourth Amendment rights.

    • Los Angeles cops do not need to hand over license plate reader data, judge finds

      The two groups want one week’s worth of data during Ramadan last year.
      A Los Angeles Superior Court judge will not force local law enforcement to release a week’s worth of all captured automated license plate reader (ALPR, also known as LPR) data to two activist groups that had sued for the release of the information, according to a decision issued on Thursday.

    • Is It Torture Now? ISIS Apparently A Fan Of CIA’s Waterboarding Techniques

      Among the many, many, many problems with running a torture program (beyond being morally problematic and with no history of effectiveness) is the fact that it makes it easier for others to justify torture programs as well. It’s now come out that ISIS has been waterboarding prisoners, including reporter James Foley whom they recently beheaded. Waterboarding, of course, was one of the CIA’s favorite torture techniques. And, of course, people had warned for years that having the CIA waterboard people would only encourage others to use the technique against Americans.

    • Counter-Strike Player’s Twitch Stream Captures His Own SWATting… And Some Questionable Police Behavior

      One of the more unfortunate side effects of police militarization isn’t directly the fault of law enforcement agencies or their enablers at the Pentagon. But it is related. Thanks to the Drug War, nearly every town in the US has a SWAT team or one minutes away, whether they need one or not. This has led to the rise of SWATting — calling in a false report in order to send a charged-up SWAT team to raid someone’s home.

      [...]

      At the beginning, the SWAT team does the usual cop thing of everyone yelling at the same time because that apparently works better than having a point person designated to deliver concise, well-enunciated instructions. (Note: it does work better than other situations where officers have yelled contradictory instructions over each other ["Stand up!! Lay on the ground!!].) Bonus points for swearing because no one takes guys with assault rifles and Kevlar vests seriously unless they use variations of the word “fuck.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • How big telecom smothers city-run broadband

      Janice Bowling, a 67-year-old grandmother and Republican state senator from rural Tennessee, thought it only made sense that the city of Tullahoma be able to offer its local high-speed Internet service to areas beyond the city limits.

    • Thomas Stocking of gandi: FCC’s fast lane may kill the Internet as we know it

      Thomas Stocking is chief operating officer of US operations at gandi and I met him during LinuxCon Chicago. We talked about gandi’s no bullshit policy, how a France based company is offering services across the globe, how gandi is defending the Internet and how they engage with the Linux & Open Source community.

    • NY Times Endorses Tim Wu For Lieutenant Governor, But Chickens Out On Endorsing His Running Mate, Zephyr Teachout

      We’ve written a little bit about the campaign of Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu for Governor and Lt. Governor of NY — in particular about incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo’s petty attempt to bankrupt the campaign with a bogus attack on Teachout’s residency. That required a significant waste of time and resources, eventually leading a judge to toss out Cuomo’s frivolous challenge. Teachout and Wu have long histories of being really in touch with the internet generation, and being true anti-corruption reformers. While their campaign may be a longshot (big time “outsiders” against the quintessential insider), they’ve certainly managed to make some noise.

  • DRM
    • Cell Phone Kill Switches Mandatory in California

      The law only affects California, but phone manufacturers won’t sell two different phones. So this means that all cell phones will eventually have this capability. And, of course, the procedural controls and limitations written into the California law don’t apply elsewhere.

    • Keurig’s Coffee DRM Already Cracked By Competitors; Will There Be A Lawsuit?

      Earlier this year, we wrote about Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, maker of the infamous Keurig single cup coffee makers, and its plan to DRM its next generation coffee pods. The original pods were going off patent, and competition was rising. So, of course, the solution is to come up with something new… and lock it down to make it less useful for consumers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Obama nominates new intellectual property chief

      President Obama nominated a longtime trademark and copyright lawyer to be the White House’s new intellectual property enforcement officer.

      The White House announced on Thursday evening that Danny Marti was the president’s nominee for the post, which is tasked with coordinating ways to protect intellectual property with companies and other government officials.

      Marti, who is currently a managing partner at the Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton law firm in Washington, was greeted warmly by industry groups when his name was announced on Thursday.

    • President Obama Finally Gets Around To Nominating A New IP Czar

      While we’re still waiting for the White House to actually nominate a new head of the US Patent and Trademark Office, the other big administration “intellectual property” job has also been vacant for over a year: the “Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator” (IPEC) job, frequently referred to as the “IP Czar.” That job was previously held by Victoria Espinel, who left a year ago and immediately jumped to a lobbying job with the BSA, the copyright maximalist trade group run by Microsoft.

    • ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Maker Looks to Sanction Lindsay Lohan for Suing

      Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto V, has told a judge that Lindsay Lohan’s publicity rights lawsuit is a publicity grab.

    • Reporter Annoyed To Discover He Doesn’t Own Facts; Suggests ‘Global Paywall’ For Reporters Like Himself

      Every so often we see this kind of thing: a reporter (who may very well do amazingly good work) gets upset to realize that other news sites and aggregators pick up on some of his stories and write about them — potentially even getting more attention than the original. In this case, it’s reporter Matthew Taub, who is annoyed that other sites got the glory for his investigative reporting on… on a guy dressing up as a clown and running around a Brooklyn cemetary…

    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
      • As Expected, Aereo Pleads Its Case For Survival
      • Aereo Tells Judge It Can Beat Lawsuit Despite Supreme Court Ruling

        The digital company also renews a challenge to the irreparable harm faced by TV broadcasters

      • If You’re A Copyright Maximalist ‘Piracy’ Must Be The Answer To All Problems

        Tom Giovanetti is a wacky sort of copyright maximalist, who insists that “copyright is property, no questions asked” and never misses an opportunity to defend stronger and stronger copyright. Every so often he pops off with something totally nonsensical like the time he insisted that copyright could never be used for censorship. He recently spouted off, comically, about how “piracy” is “killing movie franchises.” Now, this might be a surprise to anyone who, you know, actually pays attention to Hollywood. Because nearly every top grossing film these days is… part of a movie franchise. Let’s take a look at the top performers of 2014 so far:

      • George Lucas Wants Desperately To Preserve Old Movies… Unless They’re His; So Fans Are Trying To Do It Instead

        Kevin Carson points us to a fascinating story in The Atlantic about fans trying to recreate the “original” version of Star Wars (“Episode IV — A New Hope for the folks who feel like being pedantic) from 1977. As various fans have pointed out repeatedly (mainly each time Lucas went back and “edited” Star Wars again), back in 1988 Lucas spoke to Congress about the importance of preserving original versions of movies, and avoiding the constant attempts to update and modernize them in ways that might erase the original versions.

      • UK Police Accuse Domain Name Registrar of Facilitating Criminal Activity

        City of London Police have increased the pressure on domain name registrars who do business with file-sharing sites. With a “notice of criminality” the police hopes to pressure the companies into taking action, or else.

      • Four ISPs Sued For Failing To Block Pirate Movie Sites

        VAP, the anti-piracy association of the Austrian film and video industry, has sued four local ISPs after they failed to act on a request to block streaming portals Movie4k.to and Kinox.to. The IFPI says it is preparing legal action against the ISPs for their failure to block The Pirate Bay.

      • Warner Bros. Sues New York Bar For Playing 80-Year Old Song

        Warner Bros. has filed a lawsuit against a small bar from Amityville, New York, for playing one of their songs without permission. The track in question is not a recent pop song, but the 80-year old love song “I Only Have Eyes for You” which first appeared in Warner’s 1934 movie “Dames.”

      • Dotcom Loses Bid to Keep Assets Secret from Hollywood

        Kim Dotcom has lost his appeal to keep his worldwide assets hidden from Hollywood in advance of a Court of Appeal hearing in October. The Court ordered the Megaupload founder to hand the information to Hollywood lawyers, although they must obtain permission to further share the information.

      • Is copyright trolling a thing in Finland now?

        I got a nasty letter(in English here) in the mail. I was being demanded 600 euros for alleged copyright infringement. I operate a TOR exit node and an open wireless network. I’m also an active member of the Pirate Party and have been a municipal election candidate in Turku, Finland.

      • Leaked Draft Reveals Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy Plans

        A leaked draft prepared for government submission has revealed Hollywood’s Australian anti-piracy strategy. Among other things, the paper says that providers should be held liable for infringing customers even when they only “reasonably suspect” that infringement is taking place.

Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

Thursday 28th of August 2014 10:46:38 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Considering Legacy UNIX/Linux Issues

    Gah, so frustrating! Ten years ago I wrote a rather popular book called Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, and I’m working on a new edition—a Tenth Anniversary release. There are lots of new scripts, entirely new chapters and updates to the older stuff. Fortunately, Bash hasn’t evolved that much in the last decade, so just about everything still works fine (although there are some scripts I’m now realizing can’t handle spaces in filenames—something I talked about years ago in this very column).

  • It’s All Linux Under the Hood

    The user friendly distros have done a great job of accommodating this new set of Linux users. It’s now entirely possible for a new Linux user running something like Ubuntu or one of its derivatives to never once open a terminal and still have a pretty decent experience. Some of these new users, who might have initially come to Linux only to breath new life into an old computer until they can afford a new Windows box, might be curious enough to delve under the hood enough to discover that what they’re using isn’t merely a free OS that works on obsolete hardware, but a powerful and highly configurable operating system that puts Windows to shame on almost every level.

  • OS Battle: Linux Takes 1.7% Desktop Marketshare

    We have another metric in showing a 1.7% Linux desktop market-share, which isn’t far off from other figures we’ve seen in the past indicating Linux desktop usage at under 2%.

  • China Promotes Linux-Based Operating System Against Windows, Android
  • Desktop
    • Why Linux Isn’t a Desktop Alternative

      The year of the Linux desktop has become a joke, referred to ironically when mentioned at all. Under the circumstances Linus Torvalds showed either courage or naivete when he admitted last week at Linuxcon that he still wants to see Linux become popular on the desktop.

      However, neither Torvalds nor anyone else should stay up nights waiting for the event. Most users have no awareness of the possibility, or set impossible standards for it, even though, for a minority, the year of the Linux desktop happened years ago.

    • Linux Doesn’t Need to Own the Desktop

      The simple fact is that Linux has changed the world and been a tremendous success outside the desktop, and there is nothing wrong with that. Android is hardly the only Linux-based platform that has made a big mark. Linux is huge on servers, in embedded technology, and is a constant prompt for innovation on emerging platforms. Ubuntu is the most popular platform for building OpenStack deployments on. Supercomputers all over the world run Linux, and Chrome OS is based on it.

    • Five big names that use Linux on the desktop

      It’s not just Munich city council that uses Linux on the desktop. A number of household names have also opted for open source.

    • Six Advantages of Choosing Linux over Windows

      Linux is multi-functional and efficient. Everyone shells out money for a computer. On top if it spending more on an operating system is not a feasible option for many if there are alternatives. Windows requires users to pay licensing fees and other extended fees, whereas Linux is free. It is charged a minimal fee when bought from other distribution companies. Hardware requirements are not a problem for Linux whereas Windows requires a higher set of specifications for hardware if it has to run, and be compatible on the users’ computer systems. The poor efficiency of Windows consumes a large space and the processing speed slows down drastically. With Windows users can not use old computers if they are aiming at good back up.

    • Linux on the desktop isn’t dead

      At LinuxCon this year, the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, was asked what he wanted for Linux. His response? “The desktop.” For years, the call to Linux action was “World Domination.” In certain markets, this has happened (think Linux helping to power Android and Chrome OS). On the desktop, however, Linux still has a long, long way to go.

      Wait… that came out wrong. I don’t mean “Linux has a long, long way to go before it’s ready for the desktop.” What I meant to say is something more akin to “Linux is, in fact, desktop ready… it just hasn’t found an inroad to the average consumer desktop.”

  • Server
    • IBM doubles down on Linux

      Less than a year after their announcement that they planned to invest a billion dollars in the Linux platform, IBM continues to ramp up their Linux play by rolling out Linux on Power System servers across 54 of the IBM Innovation and Client Centers worldwide. This comes almost two years after IBM announced that they had ported Linux to the Power Server platform.

    • Popularity (or lack of it) Of That Other OS on Servers

      According to Netcraft, it’s been many years since M$’s OS was so unpopular on servers…

  • Kernel Space
    • Appliance maker Electrolux joins IoT-focused AllSeen Alliance

      The group is one of the more diverse consortiums, with members ranging from consumer electronics and chipset manufacturers to retailers and service providers. Primarily, work revolves around the AllJoyn open-source framework, which AllSeen said acts as a universal translator for objects and devices to interact.

    • Linux hits 23 – the Time Machine that changed the world!

      Linux reached the entirely respectable age of 23 this week, more or less.

    • 2014 Kernel Internship Report (OPW)

      For the past year and a half, the Linux kernel has participated as a project under the FOSS Outreach Program for Women (OPW). OPW provides a three month paid internship for women (cis and trans) and genderqueer or genderfluid people. After a month-long application process, the selected OPW interns are paired with an open source mentor to work on a project. As of August 2014, there are eleven Linux kernel OPW alumni, and five interns that are just finishing up their internships.

    • Another Intel Linux Power Regression Is Being Investigated

      Power regressions are still easy to come by with the Linux kernel and other areas of the open-source stack… Multiple users have been reporting of a recent power increase on newer versions of the Linux kernel, which seem to track down to the Intel i915 DRM driver.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Re-Clocking Your NVIDIA GPU With Nouveau On Linux 3.17

        If you are trying to re-clock your NVIDIA GPU with the Nouveau driver when using the Linux 3.17 kernel, there’s an extra step involved, but still your mileage may vary and the re-clocking is still mostly for Kepler GPUs.

        With the Nouveau driver changes for Linux 3.17 there are no magic breakthroughs when it comes to re-clocking — allowing the GPU’s core and memory clocks to run at their rated frequencies and voltages rather than any (often much lower) values programmed by the video BIOS at boot time. With Linux 3.17 came re-clocking for Kepler GPUs and now it works, but generally not all performance levels/states properly function. If you are running a GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” GPU or other generations of NVIDIA hardware aside from the few integrated mobile chipsets, chances are you’re out of luck in being able to tap the full potential of the GPU when using this open-source, reverse-engineered NVIDIA GPU.

      • 20-Way Radeon Comparison With Open-Source Graphics For Steam On Linux Gaming

        When it comes to Linux gamers wanting a discrete graphics card backed by open-source drivers, the only solution right now to truly recommend for those serious about performance and making use of the hardware is really AMD Radeon graphics. While Nouveau has been making much progress, until re-clocking and other issues are worked out the performance can be unbearably slow depending upon the particular graphics processor or run into other problems. (Of course, when talking about proprietary graphics drivers on Linux, the story is entirely different, or if considering integrated Intel HD Graphics.) For those pursuing a AMD Radeon GPU for their own Steam Box/Machine build and hope to use the open-source Gallium3D drivers, here’s some Steam on Linux gaming benchmarks from almost two dozen different GPUs.

      • Nouveau On Oibaf PPA Is Back To Running Well

        Upstream Nouveau was unaware of this issue that was affecting my entire assortment of NVIDIA GeForce hardware so it was then quickly assumed to be an issue with the Oibaf PPA that constantly is packaging the latest open-source Linux GPU drivers. On top of mainline Mesa Git, recently there’s been the the Gallium3D Direct3D 9 patches (Gallium-Nine). While none of my testing was relying upon the Gallium-Nine D3D9 support, it was wreaking havoc on the system anyhow.

      • Radeon DRM Queues More Changes, RV6xx UVD For Linux 3.18

        With the DRM merge window for drm-next now closing earlier going forward than in past kernel releases, another Radeon DRM-Next pull request was already submitted for Linux 3.18.

        Alex Deucher of AMD had already sent in a pull request to add Radeon userptr support for Linux 3.18 after it just missed the Linux 3.17 merge window due to the user-space support not being tried and tested. In Alex’s latest pull request to DRM subsystem maintainer David Airlie, there’s more changes than the first.

      • Mesa Has A New Release Manager

        Mesa has a new release manager to allow the two existing managers from Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center to get back to more driver wrangling rather than release wrangling.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 14.08

      The overall theme of version 14.08 is the introduction of a new scalable GUI architecture that takes security as the most fundamental premise. It is unique in the way that the security of graphical applications and thereby the privacy of the user depends on only a few components of very little complexity. We strive for low complexity to reduce the likelihood for bugs and thereby the attack surface of the system. When using a secure microkernel such as NOVA, Genode’s trusted computing base for graphical applications is orders of magnitude less complex compared to contemporary operating systems. To illustrate the rigidity of this claim, the security-sensitive parts of the GUI stack do not even depend on a C runtime. With the current release, we maintain our focus on security while taking the scalability of the GUI architecture to a level that meets the expectations of general-purpose OSes. Thanks to its component-based design, the new GUI stack provides a great deal of flexibility with respect to its behaviour and style. Section New GUI architecture provides the rationale behind the development, the big picture of the architecture, and details about the current implementation.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • PLASMA ACTIVE PORTED TO KF5

        The GSoC might have come to an end, but I am very happy with the progress that we have made porting the Plasma Active to KF5. In my previous blogposts i have describe some of the stuff which they have been ported. So at the moment a lot of the basic features have come back to the Plasma Active, so yes it is at a usable state Smile One of the big changes is that Nepomuk has been replaced with Baloo. Despite the fact that a lot of the Nepomuk stuff has been ported, there are still some things left, for example the timeline and tag support on the active-filebrowser.

      • Meet Cornelius Schumacher – Akademy Keynote Speaker

        At Akademy 2014, outgoing KDE e.V. Board President Cornelius Schumacher will give the community keynote. He has attended every Akademy and has been amazed and inspired at every one of them. If you want more of what KDE can bring to your life, Cornelius’s talk is the perfect elixir.

        Here are glimpses of Cornelius that most of us have never seen. They give a sense of what has made him a successful leader of KDE for several years.

      • GSoC: Thumping the Malaria and voyaging in cosmos with KStars

        Let’s talk about my project now. KStars is desktop planetarium application under KDE Education Projects. I developed QML based cool interface to enable users to browse through image database of community of astrophotographers (i.e. astrobin.com) which contains more than 1,20,000 (number is increasing everyday) real time and very high resolution images along with various information related to them (i.e. Date on which image was captured, Bortle Dark-Sky Scale, RA Centre, DEC Centre, Telescope or Camera used, Description added by astrophotographer etc). I am sure that this browser will enthrall school children by showing them real time images of stars and galaxies located at hundreds of light year far from earth.

      • Akademy 2014: What I Plan To See
      • KDevelop master is now frameworkified
      • What’s new in porting script ? clean-includes.sh
      • New class in kcoreaddons: Kdelibs4ConfigMigrator
      • The KDE Randa 2014 meeting, in easy-digestible video format!

        In case you were wondering what was going on in Randa, here are some first hand impressions. The video was produced by Françoise Wybrecht (alias Morgane Marquis) and Lucie Robin, and the people in it are the actual participants of the event. It was also created using KDenlive, one of the awesome Free Software tools a team has been working on at the Randa meeting itself. The video introduces the faces and personalities of the contributors and their different backgrounds and origins. Many thanks to our brand new ad-hoc media team for producing this video!

      • Plasma Active Is Mostly Ported To KDE Frameworks 5

        With this year’s Google Summer of Code over, Antonis Tsiapaliokas shared a status update concerning the state of KDE’s Plasma Active being ported to KF5.

        Much progress was made this summer in porting Plasma Active to KDE Frameworks 5 and it’s now in a usable state. All basic functionality of Plasma Active should work in a KF5 world but parts of Nepomuk and other components are still being ported over.

        Antonis Tsiapaliokas says he continues to continue on with this work around the end of September after his university exams. More details can be found in Tsiapaliokas’ blog post and the KF5 Plasma Active porting video that’s embedded below.

      • KDE Mover-Sizer brings handy Linux desktop tricks to the PC

        Resizing and repositioning windows on the PC desktop is such a fundamental task that you’ll almost do it without thinking. Move the mouse to the title bar/ border, click, drag, release. Very basic, very simple — but there might still be room for improvement.

        KDE Mover-Sizer is an open source, portable tool which brings a common Linux desktop trick to Windows. Instead of having to move your mouse cursor to the title bar or border, you just hold down the Alt key, then left-click anywhere inside a window and drag to move it, right-click and drag to resize it.

  • Distributions
    • The Linux Desktop-a-week Review: elementary OS’s Pantheon

      First of all, I get why so many people say it is a “Mac clone.” I do. It has the same standard layout that Mac OS X has been using for several years: a dock on the bottom, menu bar up top. But that’s really about where the similarities end. My guess is that people who call this a Mac clone haven’t actually had the chance to use the system extensively and were going on screenshots alone.

    • New Releases
    • Slackware Family
    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat CTO unexpectedly quits, amid rumors of executive ‘friction’

        No-one among the rank and file at Red Hat seem to have seen this coming. In a move the Linux giant’s staffers said was “shocking” and a “punch in the gut,” long-time Red Hat chief technology officer Brian Stevens has resigned.

        In a short press release, the company announced: “Brian Stevens will step down as CTO.”

        In the same release, Red Hat’s president and chief executive Jim Whitehurst said, “We want to thank Brian for his years of service and numerous contributions to Red Hat’s business. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

      • Brian Stevens to Step Down as CTO of Red Hat
      • Red Hat Shake-up, Desktop Users, and Outta Time
      • Red Hat eyes up the cloud with CloudForms 3.1

        Red Hat Inc., might already be a superpower where Linux is concerned, but it has no intention of resting on its laurels. It has ambitions to become a major player in the cloud as well, and to that end it’s launched an open hybrid cloud management solution called Red Hat CloudForms 3.1, unveiled yesterday at the VMworld 2014 event in San Francisco.

      • Fedora
        • Fedora 21 Will Try To Release Before Thanksgiving

          Today was another FESCo meeting but fortunately no further Fedora 21 delay was announced today, but it could happen with the F21 alpha change deadline being today and the developers trying to get an approved build.

        • DNF Makes It A Step Closer To Replacing Yum On Fedora

          DNF 0.6.1 was released today and this updated open-source package manager picked up a few more features as it’s still in pursuit of replacing Yum on Fedora systems.

          The DNF 0.6.1 release adds full support for the history redo command with integration for the repository-packages commands. DNF 0.6.1 also adds new configuration options pertaining to GPG keys/checking and there’s many bug-fixes.

    • Debian Family
      • $99 Parallella Supercomputer has Successful Launch After 18 Months

        There is also an unofficial Debian 7.0 image and it should be possible to run just about any distro that has an armhf architecture build. Provided that is that the aforementioned kernel and device tree are located in the BOOT filesystem on the SD card, along with an FPGA configuration bitstream.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 14.10 Beta 1 (Utopic Unicorn) to Arrive in a Couple of Days

            “So Beta 1 is this week and I’ll be taking care of the builds and paperwork. Could participating flavours please get in touch here or on IRC? In the mean time, I’m going to assume a participation similar to Alpha-2 and configure cron, propose-migration and the tracker accordingly, then build a first candidate for each of your flavours,” wrote Canonical’s Stéphane Graber.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn), Beta 1 preview: No big changes

            Despite optimistic 2011 predictions of a fully converged cross-platform OS running Mir and UnityNext (8) by 2014, Ubuntu 14.10 is set to retain X Windows and Unity 7. Based on this beta, it seems there will be no big changes in 14.10, although upgrading is always worthwhile.

          • Ubuntu Next with Unity 8 and Mir on the Desktop – Screen Tour

            Canonical is planning to bring the Unity 8 to the desktop, but it will take a while until this task is accomplished. Until then, users can test the new Ubuntu Next images, which incorporate Unity 8 and the Mir display server.

            Ubuntu developers have been working very hard on the new Unity 8 desktop environment, but their progress has been limited so far on the mobile phones. With the work that’s being done for Ubuntu Touch RTM and Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn), the implementation of the new desktop is now on a back burner.

          • Squid 3 Exploit Closed in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            Canonical has published details in a security notice about a Squid 3 vulnerability in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems that has been found and fixed.

            The Ubuntu developers have closed a small problem with Squid, which could have been made to crash, if it received specially crafted network traffic.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) beta-1 released!

            The first beta of the Utopic Unicorn (to become 14.10) has now been released!

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
    • Imagination Launches MIPS-Based “Creator CI20” Development Board For Linux And Android, Free For Developers

      Today, Imagination is announcing the launch of a MIPS development board called the MIPS Creator CI20, with support for Linux (running Debian 7 currently, but other distro images are supported) and Android 4.4 KitKat (coming soon).

      According to Imagination, this MIPS developer board is merely the first step in the company’s campaign to get more people to build cool stuff on top of the MIPS CPU architecture. The dev board is targeting open source communities, schools, hobbyists or anyone who might want to try out the MIPS platform. It’s basically a direct competitor to the likes of the ARM-based Raspberry Pi and Texas Instruments’ BeagleBone development boards.

    • Device Tree Overlay Support Lands Upstream

      This means that we should soon have Capemgr support in newer kernels and we are trying to get a jump on that now.

    • New MIPS Creator CI20 development board for Linux and Android debuts
    • Phones
      • Samsung’s Tizen Mobile OS Failing to Impress Device Makers, Pundits

        Samsung’s Tizen mobile operating system is under fire. Some industry pundits have called the operating system, which is open-source and designed to take on Android, a failure, even though it has reached the market in only a few minor mobile products and really hasn’t had a chance to show its worth. Just recently, in fact, Huawei, a top China-based device and telecommunications equipment maker, said that it researched the possibility of using Tizen but found that it couldn’t serve its needs. The company said that it sees Tizen failing eventually with no chance of competing against the likes of Android and others. Samsung, the company behind Tizen, has been silent on the complaints about its operating system. While the company has acknowledged that it has faced some challenges in design, it’s still saying publicly that it can make Tizen a mainstream option in the mobile space. Samsung has even said Tizen could be an ideal choice for wearables, where the company has already brought the operating system to some of its devices. The truth, however, is not as simple as Samsung would have the market believe. This eWEEK slide show looks at the reasons why Tizen may have a hard time proving itself as a viable alternative to Android or any other mobile operating system.

      • Tizen Samsung Smart Camera NX1 with a new UI coming next month?

        Samsung Electronics has been making steady headway in the world of cameras, and possibly leading the pack when it comes to Smart Cameras with its features that it offers. We heard a while ago that samsung where going to be releasing another flagship Smart Camera following the release of the Samsung NX30 camera.

      • Android
        • New Google Nexus Leak Confirms 192-Core, 64-bit Apple Rival

          Last September Apple AAPL +0.16% caused a stir when it announced iOS 7 and the accompanying iPhone 5S would support 64-bit operation. The move to this much faster architecture gave it the jump on 32-bit rivals Android and Windows Phone and brought Apple’s products in-line with desktop and laptop-class computing. But now Android has caught up and may well go speeding past.

        • HTC announces the Desire 510 Android phone but doesn’t mention its 64-bit processor

          Apple stole a march on Android when it released the iPhone 5S with a 64-bit processor, and Android manufacturers have put the pedal to the metal in a race to catch up and make their products 64-bit. AnandTech reports that HTC has announced the Desire 510, its first 64-bit Android phone.

        • HTC Announces Desire 510: First 64-bit Android Phone

          While normally one might expect high end phones to get the latest and greatest features first, this time we see a bit of a surprising reversal. The Desire 510 is HTC’s first 64-bit phone, and the first announced device with Snapdragon 410. For those that aren’t familiar with Snapdragon 410, it has four Cortex A53 CPU cores running at 1.2 GHz, along with an Adreno 306 GPU which suggests that it is a mild modification of the current Adreno 305 GPU that we see in the Snapdragon 400. Overall, this should make for a quite fast SoC compared to Snapdragon 400, as Anand has covered in the Snapdragon 410 launch announcement.

        • Free Android Apps August 2014: Google Play Store Titles for This Week

          There are actually good new Android apps in the Google Play Store that seemed to slide off under the radar. In this news, we’re going to mention some of the best, often ignored, Free Android Apps that you might want to check out. Perfect for those who are actually bored or disappointed with their present apps.

Free Software/Open Source
  • SelekTOR 3 now Open Source.

    If you have been following my blog or the SelekTOR news posts here at Dazzleships you will know that I intended to take SelekTOR open source under the GPL 2 license and also discontinue the Windows version well I can now report that this has come to pass.

    SelekTOR for Linux V3.06 and all its source code including the Netbeans build forms are now available for download on the SelekTOR page.

  • Kano’s Alejandro Simon: If This, Then Do That

    The OS has been available since February. It is open source. We tried to release a new version of it every two or three weeks. Anybody who runs Rasperry Pi can use it. So we already have users. They share content and discuss features and exchange idea on our forums. So far, we have sold 18,000 kits since last year, through the Kickstarter campaign via preorder. We are now in production and have most of the different pieces in place. We will start shipping by the beginning of September, hopefully. We do the materials and the hardware and the components and the packages ourselves. Finally, it is all coming together.

  • Netflix Open Sources More of its Useful Utilities
  • Netflix open sources internal threat monitoring tools
  • Chef engineer leaves the company after receiving death threats from its open source community

    A release engineer from Chef, the company providing commercial support for the open-source Chef configuration management tool, said in a blog post Wednesday that he is leaving the company after being harassed by members of the Chef community for his contributions to the open source project.

    Seth Vargo (pictured above) wrote that because he has “received numerous abusive emails and two death threats” in addition to other offensive behavior regarding his open-source contributions to the Chef community that were outside of his official work for Chef, he will not only be leaving Chef but will be taking a sabbatical from software engineering.

  • Chef pledges to better police open source community after engineer resigns following death threats
  • Events
    • New Vault Conference to Promote Open Source Cloud Storage

      The Linux Foundation, a non-profit consortium that promotes Linux and open source software, announced Vault on Thursday. The purpose of the conference, according to the group, is to help guide the direction of open source storage development as organizations increasingly move data to the cloud, creating new types of security and privacy challenges.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Mid-cycle meetups for OpenStack developers and users

      Taking place twice a year, OpenStack’s summits provide a great deal of the face-to-face interaction between developers, vendors, and users. But what about the rest of the year? Many projects opt to host mid-cycle meetups to bridge the gap to collaborate, make plans for the future, and knock out major tasks.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • CMS
  • Education
    • Kids aren’t the only ones learning to share

      This one is fundamental. If we look at the four software freedoms we can see very clearly how important the concept of sharing is. To clarify, obviously these four freedoms are not a part of all open source, but they do hold value as a reference when thinking through the concept of sharing.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing
    • 4 things you didn’t know about civic crowdfunding

      Crowdfunding is everywhere. People are using it to fund watches, comic books, even famous film directors are doing it. In what is now a $6 billion industry globally, I think the most interesting, disruptive, and exciting work that’s happening is in donation-based crowdfunding.

      That’s worth, very roughly, $1.2 billion a year worldwide per year. Within that subset, I’ve been looking at civic projects, people who are producing shared goods for a community or broader public. These projects build on histories of community fundraising and resource pooling that long predate the Internet; what’s changed is that we’ve created a scalable, portable platform model to carry out these existing practices.

    • Open Data
      • penStreetMap: the Next Truly Indispensable Open Project

        Last year, I described OpenStreetMap (OSM) as the “open source of maps”. On the occasion of the project’s tenth anniversary, I’d like to explore this important example of open collaboration in a little more detail, and explain why I think it is destined to become the next absolutely key open project.

        First, some history. To celebrate OSM’s anniversary, TechCrunch has an excellent interview with the project’s founder, Steve Coast.

  • Programming
    • PHP 5.6 Major Update Officially Released

      PHP 5.6, an HTML-embedded scripting language with syntax borrowed from C, Java, and Perl, with a couple of unique PHP-specific features thrown in, is now available for download.

      The PHP 5.x branch includes a new OOP model based on the Zend Engine, a new extension for improved MySQL support, built-in native support for SQLite, and many more features. This branch of PHP has been in the works for quite some time and it’s nice to see that the stable version is now out.

Leftovers
  • MenuetOS Updated With SMP Threads & Onscreen Keyboard

    MenuetOS, the operating system written in Assembly and now primarily focused on 64-bit x86 systems and fits on a 1.5MB floppy disk image, is out with a new release.

  • Security
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Feds warn first responders of dangerous hacking tool: Google Search

      In a restricted intelligence document distributed to police, public safety, and security organizations in July, the Department of Homeland Security warned of a “malicious activity” that could expose secrets and security vulnerabilities in organizations’ information systems. The name of that activity: “Google dorking.”

      “Malicious cyber actors are using advanced search techniques, referred to as ‘Google dorking,’ to locate information that organizations may not have intended to be discoverable by the public or to find website vulnerabilities for use in subsequent cyber attacks,” the for-official-use-only Roll Call Release warned. “By searching for specific file types and keywords, malicious cyber actors can locate information such as usernames and passwords, e-mail lists, sensitive documents, bank account details, and website vulnerabilities.”

    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • The danger of retaliation

      Like Al-Qaida, the Islamic State is a monster partly of our own making.

    • Op-Ed: Tripoli bombed for third night by unidentified aircraft

      For a third night unidentified aircraft struck targets in Tripoli. The attacks came just hours after the Misrata militia claim they have finally gained control of the Tripoli International AIrport from the rival Zintan brigades.

    • How to Provoke a Crisis

      There is no one more capable at provoking a crisis than the U.S. national-security establishment. They are absolute experts at doing so. They have to be. Their survival and ever-increasing tax-funded bounty depends on it.

      Consider, for example, a recent altercation between a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet near the coast of Japan.

    • ‘The Congress Shall Have Power … to Declare War’

      President Obama is compelled to get permission before striking Syria, but if he violates the law by unilaterally ordering a strike it won’t be the first time.

    • BT alleged to have supplied high-speed fibre-optic cable to aid US drone strikes

      The government has been asked to investigate whether BT is aiding drone strikes with a specially built military internet cable connecting US air force facilities in Northamptonshire to a base for unmanned craft in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.

      Evidence is mounting that the $23m (£13m) fibre-optic circuit built by BT in 2012 was installed to facilitate air strikes in Yemen and Somalia by US air force drones, according to a complaint filed by the human rights group Reprieve.

      The circuit runs from RAF Croughton, a base where US air force personnel staff a command, control, communications and computer support hub for global operations organised by the US military.

  • Finance
    • Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-Stakes Chess Match for Argentina

      Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank. That play, if approved by the Argentine Congress, will allow the country to continue making payments under its 2005 settlement, avoiding default on the majority of its bonds.

    • Detroit water shut-offs for overdue bills to begin once more

      More than a month after Detroit was criticized for turning off water to people who had not paid their bills, the water shut-offs are beginning again.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Privacy
    • Spy on enemies, not Senate

      Revealing too much about the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities would undermine national security. But that doesn’t mean the CIA shouldn’t have to answer to Congress.

      And it certainly doesn’t mean the CIA should spy on Congress.

      Legislative oversight of the CIA is a legal, logical and necessary way for federal lawmakers to assure that the agency operates within proper limits. That’s how the American public, through our elected representatives, keeps track of what the CIA is doing in our name.

    • Former CIA Director Michael Hayden Trying To Pretend CIA Torture Report Is Just A ‘Democrat’ Political Ploy

      We’ve been covering the pending release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report, which is currently undergoing a fight over what should or should not be redacted. We also covered the NY Times report about how former CIA boss George Tenet (who helped mentor current CIA boss John Brennan) is both implicated by the report… and has been leading the campaign to discredit the report.

  • Civil Rights
    • CIA acted to shape Portugal’s post-revolutionary political scene

      The US State Department approved its first clandestine operational plan for Portugal on 27th September 1974 with the stated aim of “avoiding the communists taking power” according to documents publicly released on their 40th anniversary.

    • Congressman Guns for High-Performance Body Armor Ban

      A California congressman wants to ban everyday Americans from owning high-performance body armor.

      Rep. Mike Honda, a Democrat, tells U.S. News law enforcement officers need an edge over criminals and rampaging madmen, whom he says can “wreck havoc with impunity” wearing the gear.

      Honda’s “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” introduced July 31, would prohibit civilians from buying or owning armor – including vests, shields, helmets and other items – rated Type III or higher on the National Institute of Justice’s penetration resistance scale.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Net Neutrality Is ‘Marxist,’ According to This Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

      A mysterious conservative group with strong ties to the Koch brothers has been bombarding inboxes with emails filled with disinformation and fearmongering in an attempt to start a “grassroots” campaign to kill net neutrality—at one point suggesting that “Marxists” think that preserving net neutrality is a good idea.

      The emails, which come with subject lines like “Stop Obama’s federal Internet takeover,” come from American Commitment, an organization that is nonprofit in name only and has been called out time and time again by journalists and transparency organizations for obscuring where it gets its funding.

      In an email I received, American Commitment president Phil Kerpen suggests that reclassifying the internet as a public utility is the “first step in the fight to destroy American capitalism altogether” and says that the FCC is plotting a “federal Internet takeover,” a move that “sounds more like a story coming out of China or Russia.”

  • DRM
    • GOG Looking To Extend It’s DRM-Free Message To Movies/TV

      If you like PC games, chances are you already know all about GOG, or Good Old Games. The GOG website has done more to extend the life of gently-aged games by building a platform for old games that will work on new machines while having one singular principal dominate their products: there shall be no DRM.

    • GOG To Start Selling Movies And TV Shows

      Well this is interesting: GOG.com, the digital retailer best known for selling old games without DRM, is branching out into film and TV.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Kim Dotcom Battles to Keep Cash Sources Private

        With Hollywood hovering in the background looking for cash, last month the High Court ordered Kim Dotcom to reveal in detail where he’s getting all his money from. The Mega founder isn’t ready to give in though, and is putting up a fight ahead of an appeal hearing in October.

      • LA Police: Online Piracy Funds Drug Dealers and Terrorists

        The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sees piracy as one of its top priorities. In a highly tainted news report the Assistant Sheriff claims a direct link between piracy, organized crime and terrorism. But are the alleged pirates who inspired the report really hardcore criminals? Let’s find out.

We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

Thursday 28th of August 2014 09:18:20 PM

Summary: The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents’ demise

Software patents are gradually losing their grip on the industry, not just in the world at large but also in the US (genesis of software patents). A few days ago an interview was published in which Simon Phipps (OSI) spoke about the goal of eradicating software patents and explained the latest turn of events as follows: “The Supreme Court in their judgment created a very clear test to work out whether a software patent was going to be valid or not. What they said was that, they said that there could still be software patents, but that simply taking something that is not patent‑eligible like an algorithm and then claiming that it’s patentable because it runs on a computer is not sufficient to actually establish patentability.

“They said that to get a software patent, the software that you have has got to improve the computer significantly. Because of that, the standard for getting software patents has been dramatically increased by the Alice decision.

“The federal circuit court then referred to the Alice decision, and decided not even to proceed to find out if there had been infringement on the Digitech case because they declared that the image processing software was not a significant improvement to the computer. Rather, it was a computer implementing a non‑patent‑eligible technique.”

Based on the article “Appeals court knocks out computer bingo patents” and some that are citing it, yet another software patent has just dropped dead. “Silly software patents are finally on notice at the Federal Circuit,” says the summary and lawyers do some legal analysis (not challenging the ruling but interpreting it). Progressive sites like TechDirt use a clever headline and say: “Another day, another story of stupid software patents getting stomped out of existence thanks to the Supreme Court’s Alice v. CLS Bank ruling. As we’ve been noting, this ruling is looking like it’s going to invalidate a ton of software patents (and that’s a good thing). The latest one dumped was an attempt to patent bingo online. Yes, bingo. The lower court had already rejected the patent using previous Supreme Court rulings against patenting “abstract ideas.” Now, with the Alice ruling in hand, the Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) completed the stomping out of the bingo patent.”

Based on this same site, citing the post “Patent Troll Landmark Technology Sues eBay For Challenging Its Patents; EBay Responds With Anti-SLAPP Motion”, there is bullying over the suggestion that some patents need re-examining. To quote: “Over at Popehat, there’s a fascinating story about the depths to which patent trolls will go to “protect” their business models. The story involves Landmark Technologies, a troll we wrote about earlier this year for its rather aggressive take on patent trolling. Landmark holds patent 6,289,319: ‘Automatic Business and Financial Transaction Processing System.’ Or, as the EFF puts it more succinctly: paying with a credit card online. eBay recognized that Landmark’s trolling was bad news, and filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a re-exam of three patents. The USPTO initially recognized eBay’s request, noting that there were “substantial” questions about the patentability in those patents. While it eventually left two of the patents alone, it dumped many of the claims in a third patent.”

Remember how back in early August an invalidated patent caused much trouble for that aggressor called Apple.

There is a real opportunity here for change. Patents on software can now be eliminated. Rather than actively fight software patents Google is just promising not to sue. What a wasted opportunity and misguided strategy.

Back in 2013, Google announced its plans to not sue anybody who had implemented open-source versions of its MapReduce algorithm. Since then, the company has expanded what it calls its “Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge” to a number of other patents. Today it is announcing its largest expansion of this program to date, with the addition of 152 additional patents. This brings the total number of patents included in this program to 245.

Google ought to do more to end software patents, not just acquire some and then promise not to sue.

Meanwhile down in New Zealand, a lawyers’ site claims that changes are coming:

On 13 September the new Patents Act will come into force – whether you’re ready for it or not. So, too, will the Patents Regulations 2014 which were ratified by an Order in Council on 11 August.

Everything, then, is set. This article thus serves as something of a recap on the extent of the changes under the new regime.

Many of the provisions of the new Act are the same as the current Patents Act 1953. There will then be some continuity for patentees and businesses. However, two very significant changes are being implemented which concern how IPONZ examiners consider patent applications and the limits placed on the patentability of software.

IPONZ examiners will shortly have to examine patent applications to determine whether the claims made in respect of, for example, a product involve “an inventive step”. The inclusion of the law of “inventive step” in the new Act represents a higher threshold for hopeful patentees to meet.

There was lobbying by proprietary software giants to bring software patents to this island, but they have not been exceptionally successful. This is of course good news that reminds us that the end of software patents as elusive as we once assumed it to be.

Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

Thursday 28th of August 2014 09:01:19 PM

Summary: A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software

Why do so many FOSS sites cover VMware and VMWorld when all it’s about is proprietary software and EEE (embrace and extend) against FOSS? Remember that it was Paul Maritz, Vice President at Microsoft who later became the CEO of VMware, saying that he wanted to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” VMware is not a friend of FOSS and it is also a GPL violator, based on strong evidence that was never quite revisited in recent years. VMware is about exploiting FOSS while giving nothing in return.

Maritz and his influence linger on because, as even a Microsoft-friendly site put it, this is “embrace and extend” all over again. It looks like VMware is ‘embracing’ FOSS, but it’s embracing it like a python embraces a lamb. From the summary:

VMware’s VMworld announcements are a case study in the “embrace and extend” approach used so well by Microsoft. The big difference is VMware doesn’t want to and couldn’t add the “extinguish” to the cloud (hybrid or otherwise).

Larry Dignan is wrong in that last part. Having been an involuntary user of VMware in some places at work, it seems clear that VMware and their effect on VMs is similar to that of Oracle in databases. Many who insist on FOSS compromise for proprietary software and if the openwashing PR works (many thing of Oracle and VMware as ‘Linux-friendly’ due to marketing), then better options like PostgreSQL or MySQL (and KVM) get ignored or only scarcely explored.

VMware should generally be considered a proprietary software snake crawling inside the FOSS yard, offering nothing more than back doors at hypervisor level (remember that VMware and RSA, the NSA’s back door ally, are owned by the same company). Watch this new article titled “VMware CEO details offensive strategy for containers, open source”.

In other news, Sonatype, which has a consistent track record of FOSS licensing FUD, uses its spun credentials to make itself seem like FOSS while bashing FOSS in the FOSS-hostile IDG. Sonatype should spend more time explaining to the public the grave dangers posed by proprietary software EULAs and licensing costs, not to mention gangsters/lobbyists such as the BSA.

Lastly, but not leastly (no, it’s not really a word), watch this coverage of a Mono release. This article does not cover the issues around patents, Microsoft and a lot more. Instead it quotes the Microsoft boosters from Xamarin as follows:

The developers are saying that “Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. A growing family of solutions and an active and enthusiastic contributing community are helping position Mono to become the leading choice for development of cross platform applications.”

Mono is a great example of a FOSS mole. Mono and the company behind it are basically a Microsoft Trojan horse inside FOSS. The goal of Xamarin and of Mono is to make Microsoft richer, more dominant, more omnipresent, and in great control over all software. Xamarin hardly even cares for free/libre operating systems. It’s all about C# and other proprietary, heavily-patented Microsoft frameworks. Follow the money to better understand what drives Xamarin and what its true goals are. Look at who the company hires and what its staff says.

Writing about Microsoft’s pretense of embracing FOSS (like a wolf guarding the hen house), Jim Lynch cited us calling this whole thing “digital imperialism” the other day. He wrote: “I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn’t now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.

“I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it’s easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media. ”

All that Microsoft can offer Munich is the return to blue screens of death, surveillance (espionage against Germany), a higher overall bill (in the long run), and fewer German jobs. Last week we noted that the one man who caused all the commotion in Munich (a self-professed Windows fan) was potentially a mole. People like John Dvorak are currently trying to exploit this deception to provoke and perhaps even troll GNU/Linux users.

Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

Wednesday 27th of August 2014 04:28:02 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Why we need an open-source movement for the web

    Now consider open source, the software that powers all these web companies. Open source has a built-in guarantee that users are in control. Always.

    This matters, because open source “is where innovation happens,” as Red Hat’s Gunnar Hellekson opines. From Hadoop to Android to Mesos to MySQL, much of the world’s best software is available for free.

  • prPIG Joins the Open Source Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), the premiere organization that promotes and protects open source, announced today that the Puerto Rico Python Interest Group (prPIG) has joined the OSI as an Affiliate Member. prPIG’s support of open source software development and its advocacy for the adherence to the open source definition are supporting software innovation in Puerto Rico. prPIG’s affiliation with OSI will help build a sustainable software development community in Puerto Rico, that will drive technological and social innovation.

  • What makes your developers stick around?

    Chawner begins by relating a tale that is probably familiar to many in the open source world. It is the story of Richard Stallman’s battle with a closed source Xerox printer. The printer was subject to frequent paper jams, but because the source code was not available, he could not modify the printer’s software to report the jams to inconvenienced users waiting on their print jobs. This event, along with a general trend towards closed source software, caused Stallman to start the GNU Project and found the Free Software Foundation. The story of that troublesome printer and the subsequent developments in the free software and open source movements led Chawner to explorer her research questions in an attempt to understand participant satisfaction with FLOSS projects.

  • Tux Paint: Doing FOSS Right

    Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking highly of the software, if this page of testimonials is any indication. In fact, the publication “This Old Schoolhouse” recently echoed many other reviews in their article in the June 2012 edition. In the article, Andy Harris, the Tech Homeschooler, wrote, “Tux Paint is just about the most kid-friendly program I’ve ever seen. It’s designed so the adult can set it up, and even very young children can enjoy it thoroughly. It also has sophisticated enough features for siblings and parents to enjoy.”

  • Linux at 23, Desktop Feedback, and GIMP 2.8.14 Released

    The top story tonight is the releases of GIMP 2.8.12 and 2.8.14. Linux celebrated 23 years yesterday and the community had a bit to say about “the desktop.” And finally tonight we have a couple of gaming announcements and Bruce Byfield on the KDE Visual Design Group.

  • Open Source Software: Sailing Into Friendlier Seas

    Open source software is now a force drawing enterprises and developers like a magnet.

    The factors pulling adopters into the open source fold are changing, though. Also changing are the attitudes of software developers and corporate leaders about the viability and adaptability of open source.

  • Netflix Open Source Security Tools Solve Range of Challenges
  • Things I Learned about Open Source…The Hard Way
  • Shortlist of open source software used at NASA lab

    The offer was too good to be true. Three whole weeks at the NASA Glenn Research Center and an invitation to come back. I could scarcely believe it when I read the email. I immediately forwarded it to my parents with an addition of around 200 exclamation points. They were all for it, so I responded to my contact, Herb Schilling, with a resounding “YES!”

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google Chrome 37 Stable Arrives with Better Unity Integration in Ubuntu

        Google Chrome 37 is now the current stable version of the Internet browser from Google. It’s a release that’s more focused on security than anything else, but there are a few new features. It won’t feel different from the 36.x branch that users have just upgraded from, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to update the software.

    • Mozilla
      • First Firefox OS Smartphones Available in India this Week
      • Mozilla Adding Granular App Permissions to Firefox OS

        Mozilla is set to add a feature to its mobile Firefox OS that will give users the ability to revoke any application’s permissions on a granular basis.

        Firefox OS is the open source operating system that Mozilla built for smartphones. The software runs on a variety of devices from manufacturers such as Alcatel, ZTE and LG. The devices mainly are available outside of the United States, although there’s at least one Firefox OS phone sold in the U.S. The operating system is meant to be flexible and includes many of the security and privacy features that Mozilla has built into the Firefox browser over the years, namely support for Do Not Track.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • VMworld Brings New VMware OpenStack, Docker, and Hardware Technologies

      VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger kicked off his company’s VMworld 2014 conference with a message – Be Brave. Gelsinger’s message was intended for attendees but is also a message that is reflective of his company’s approach to the rapidly evolving Software Defined Data Center landscape.

    • VMware Misses Docker Opportunity
    • An introduction to Apache Hadoop for big data

      Apache Hadoop is an open source software framework for storage and large scale processing of data-sets on clusters of commodity hardware. Hadoop is an Apache top-level project being built and used by a global community of contributors and users. It is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

    • OpenStack can stand on its own, whatever happens to Rackspace

      Four years ago, Rackspace and its early partners came up with an idea for an open source private alternative to Amazon Web Services –and OpenStack was born. Today, the future of Rackspace is murky, but the open source project it helped create is strong enough to stand on its own, whatever happens to one of the founding members.

    • Red Hat Enhances its Linux OpenStack Platform

      Red Hat has introduced updates for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5, the latest version of its enterprise-focused OpenStack platform built on the Icehouse release. An updated installer and new high availability platform security capabilities are designed to let administrators more easily protect a healthy and fault-tolerant OpenStack deployment.

    • The NSF Pours $20 Million Into Experimental Cloud Test Beds

      Never underestimate the impact that the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) can have on technology. After all, way back when there was no commercial web, it was the NSF that–under pressure from entrepreneurs–opened up the gates for the commercial web to become a low cost way for organizations and individuals to become networked.

    • VMware Debuts OpenStack Open Source Cloud Computing Distribution
  • Education
    • Do kids learn about open source in school?
    • Zuckerberg-backed Panorama Teams With Harvard To Open Source Its Student Survey

      Panorama Education, the Y-Combinator education startup backed by the likes of Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education, Google Ventures and other notable investors, is today announcing a partnership with Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education that speaks to how the startup is evolving its core business model. The pair have teamed up to launch Panorama Student Survey, Panorama’s signature school survey delivered as a free, open source product.

    • Back to school! 5 excellent open education resources

      It’s back to school for many kids in the United States, and soon to be so for many others around the world. While open source software and hardware are used less often to teach kids in grade school about the world, open principles are. They are what you might think of as the most natural methods of teaching. And, they are what we call the open source way.

      Think: sharing, collaboration, transparency, and failing faster.

      When I was a kid, these were the methods practiced by my teachers and taught to the students to use among their groups. To many adults, they are still the principles that guide them in their grown up world of business.

  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight

      Welcome to MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight! It’s been longer than usual for our releases, but we assure you this is because we’ve been traveling back and forth across the timeline picking up cool technology that spans a wide spectrum of space and time. But our time-boat has finally come into the harbor. Get ready… we’ve got a lot of cargo to unpack!

  • Project Releases
  • Public Services/Government
    • US Military To Launch Open Source Academy

      Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Mississippi will offer open source training and Linux certification for military personnel and civilians in groundbreaking new program.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • New wiki to help you grow a better garden

      Have you ever tried to grow your favorite summer vegetable or garden herb and something went wrong? Maybe it was poor planting, a disease, or a pesky insect. Likely, you searched the Internet and found some answers, but millions of pages of information remains unviewed and unread on the subject. Maybe you need to troubleshoot problems or want definitive answers to questions like when to plant for your area or exactly when to fertilize.

      This is how the idea for OpenFarm sprouted. The knowledge for all these answers is out there, it’s just not in one place.

    • Open Access/Content
      • PACER Deleting Old Cases; Time To Fix PACER

        For years, we’ve talked about the many problems with PACER, the horribly designed and managed electronic court records system that the federal court system uses here in the US. Beyond being clunky, buggy, horribly designed and slow — it’s also expensive. With some exceptions, it’s 10 cents per page you download, and also 10 cents per search.

  • Programming
    • Checking Out C++14

      C++ has continued to garner more market share from C and the latest C++14 standard will help to continue this trend (see “C++14 Adds Embedded Features”). Most C/C++ developers are using compilers that support both but C still takes precedence for many for a variety of reasons. Support for legacy code is one reason. Corporate mandates are another. Unfortunately many stay away because of perceived complexity, inefficiency or that fact that it is an object oriented programming (OOP) language.

    • R programming language gaining ground on traditional statistics packages

      The R programming language is quickly gaining popular ground against the traditional statistics packages such as SPSS, SAS and MATLAB, at least according to one data statistician who teaches the language.

      “It is very likely that during the summer of 2014, R became the most widely used analytics software for scholarly articles, ending a spectacular 16-year run by SPSS,” wrote Robert Muenchen, in a blog post summarizing his analysis.

    • Programming with OpenCL 1.2

      printf-style debugging and the ability to partition computing devices into subdevices make OpenCL 1.2 a very useful upgrade.

    • Julia Language v0.3 Improves Technical Computing

      For the uninformed, Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic language centered around technical computing. The Julia high-performance JIT compiler is LLVM-based and features a large math function library, supports highly parallel execution, and is MIT licensed.

  • Standards/Consortia
Leftovers
  • Feds: Red light camera firm paid for Chicago official’s car, condo

    The former chief executive officer of Redflex, a major red light camera (RLC) vendor, has been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from a contract with the City of Chicago.

    On Wednesday, in addition to former CEO Karen Finley, government prosecutors also indicted John Bills, former managing deputy commissioner at the Department of Transportation, and Bills’ friend Martin O’Malley, who was hired as a contractor by Redflex.

  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Lands Dumb Criminal In Cuffs

    For those of you who have just woken up from a two-week coma, there are a couple of things you should know. People in Missouri are really pissed off. Iraq is being Iraq. ISIS isn’t a fictional spy agency on Archer any longer. And, finally, there’s this thing going around where people are pouring buckets of ice water over their heads in order to raise money for ALS, which it has successfully done to the tune of millions of dollars.

  • Science
    • Experiments explain why some liquids are ‘fragile’ and others are ‘strong’

      Only recently has it become possible to accurately “see” the structure of a liquid. Using X-rays and a high-tech apparatus that holds liquids without a container, Kenneth Kelton, PhD, the Arthur Holly Compton Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was able to compare the behavior of glass-forming liquids as they approach the glass transition.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Federal Judge Overturns Kaua’i Pesticide and GMO Law

      U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overturned Kaua’i County’s law regulating the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) this week. He ruled that it was preempted by Hawai’i state law, although not by federal law.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • The World as WaPo Would Like It to Be

      So much of our discussion of public policy consists of absurd accusations from the right matched with self-serving justifications from the somewhat-less-right. The most obvious example of this is the perennial think piece on Obama’s foreign policy, which is invariably analyzed as being either foolishly pacifistic or prudently diplomatic.

    • Myth of ‘Limited’ US Airstrikes in Syria

      The US is once again on the warpath against Syria after the beheading of US citizen James Foley was released on the internet a week ago.

    • World War Three?

      Is the US about to attack Syria? President Obama has approved air surveillance of Syria to monitor possible ISIS activity, but the flyovers could be a precursor to eventual airstrikes.

    • US drones begin surveillance flights over Syria

      Barack Obama gives go-ahead for intelligence operation which could pave way for air strikes against Islamic State in Syria

    • We Have No Idea What’s Going on Inside Syria

      The AP reports today that President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a move that could be the first sign of the U.S. expanding its operations against ISIS to the other side of the porous Syria-Iraq border. It makes sense that such a mission would begin with an extensive intelligence-gathering effort. That’s because, compared with other areas of the world, the U.S. military knows very little about what’s happening in Syria.

    • U.S. Lays Groundwork for Syria Strike
    • US launches reconnaissance flights over Syria
    • Iran Arming Iraqi Kurds Against Islamic State

      Iran has provided weapons and ammunition to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, said the region’s President on Tuesday in a joint a press-conference with the Iranian foreign minister.

    • Possible airstrikes in Syria raise more questions

      The intelligence gathered by U.S. military surveillance flights over Syria could support a broad bombing campaign against the Islamic State militant group, but current and former U.S. officials differ on whether air power would significantly degrade what some have called a “terrorist army.”

    • Is the Pentagon preparing to launch air strikes against ISIS in Syria?
    • Gaza live: Long-term ceasefire agreement arrived at, says Hamas official

      A senior Hamas official says a ceasefire has been reached with Israel to end a seven-week war that has killed more than 2,000 people.

    • A ‘leak’ in Hamas’s once-tight system yields crucial leadership kills for Israel

      The alleged money man died in a pile of burnt cash. He was riding in a car in Gaza City when the Israeli missile struck. The blast tore apart the vehicle, ripping open bags of American dollars and blowing the bills across the street. An unidentified witness told the New York Times that security soon collected the dollars billowing across the road and searched the car for more.

    • US bills fly after Israel hits Hamas finance big

      Hamas’ finance chief was killed by a pinpoint missile strike that ripped open his car — and scattered US currency on the streets of Gaza City.

      Bills burned by the blast lay amid the debris near where Muhammad al-Ghoul, who handled “terror funds,” was killed.

    • The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

      On September 30, 2011, Anwar al-Aulaki, a radical Islamist cleric and an American citizen, was killed in a targeted drone strike in Yemen.

      Among the many legal questions raised by such an act, a most important and intriguing one relates to the legal status of certain CIA activities given the existence of 18 USC 119, a federal statute which prohibits the (actual or attempted) murder of an American citizen by another American citizen outside of the United States.

      The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memorandum providing the Obama administration’s rationale for the strike was released last week, the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the ACLU and the New York Times.

    • Washington’s Latest War Fever

      War fever is running high again in Official Washington with pols and pundits demanding that President Obama order a major military intervention in Iraq and Syria to stop the violent jihadists of ISIS, a group that got its start with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as ex-CIA analyst Paul Pillar recalls.

    • What makes you an extremist and at what point will you be breaking the law?

      Will criticising British foreign policy be seen as something that defines how ‘extreme’ you are. If you are a Muslim and chose to state this openly will you be labelled a ‘radical’?

    • Avenging James Foley: Tit for Tat Is Not a Solution

      The ghastly killing of journalist James Foley — more than merely savage — was quite calculated to induce terror and to influence. And it did. Indeed, to discuss his death in a broader political context at this point may seem distasteful, clinical, and disrespectful to the dead and his family.

    • How the Brutalized Become Brutal

      An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire halting the Gaza war held into Monday morning, allowing Palestinians to leave homes and shelters as negotiators agreed to resume talks in Cairo. ()

      The horrific pictures of the beheading of American reporter James Foley, the images of executions of alleged collaborators in Gaza and the bullet-ridden bodies left behind in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are the end of a story, not the beginning. They are the result of years, at times decades, of the random violence, brutal repression and collective humiliation the United States has inflicted on others.

      Our terror is delivered to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. It is, to us, invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

    • China deploys armed drone to multinational drills

      China’s air force said it deployed an armed drone to multinational anti-terrorism drills on Tuesday, underscoring the country’s rapid progress in developing unmanned aerial vehicles.

    • What does the US wants in Irak?

      The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration –and echoed by the U.S. media– to provide an excuse for the president to attack Iraq again. President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress has been completely silent.

    • The Evil of U.S. Aggression against Iraq

      How can anyone still be an interventionist after what has happened in Iraq?

    • New Iran-Contra book shows how US-Iran ties were scuttled

      The scandal that became known as Iran-Contra is a distant memory for most Americans and Iranians. But an important new book provides fascinating details about US ignorance about Iran, which contributed to the largely botched effort to free US hostages in Lebanon and hindered a possible breakthrough in US-Iran ties 30 years ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Pierre Trudeau caused ‘friction’ with U.S. over Arctic policy designed to boost Canadian nationalism

      Pierre Trudeau’s bid to enhance Canadian sovereignty and promote economic development in the Arctic created some “friction” with the United States, says a declassified CIA report.

    • Pierre Trudeau’s Arctic policy sparked international friction: CIA report
    • Trudeau approach to North irked U.S. — CIA
    • Energy ballet-2: Syria, Ukraine and “Pipelineistan”

      As much as Iran, Russia, the US and the EU are involved in a sophisticated nuclear/energy ballet, Syria and Ukraine are also two key power play vectors bound to determine much of what happens next in the New Great Game in Eurasia.

      And both Syria and Ukraine also happen to be energy wars.

      The Obama administration’s Syria master plan was “Assad must go”; regime change would yield a US-supported Muslim Brotherhood entity, and a key plank of Pipelineistan — the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline — would be forever ditched.

    • Associated Press Profile Of Koch Brothers Whitewashes Their Fossil Fuel Ties

      Extensive reporting from the Associated Press on the Koch brothers’ financial background and political influence glossed over the duo’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and ignored their efforts to dismantle action on climate change.

      On August 25, the Associated Press published a “primer on the Koch brothers and their role in politics,” headlined “Koch 101,” along with a lengthy overview of the history of the Koch family. A primer on the influence of Charles and David Koch is sorely needed: Their political organizations are reportedly expected to spend nearly $300 million during this year’s election cycle, yet most Americans still haven’t heard of the highly influential brothers.

    • WaPo Bemoans a Climate Debate It Helped ‘Devolve’

      Some of the most high-profile media climate deniers–George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Robert Samuelson–are all Post columnists who have done their part to contribute to the “shape of the climate debate.” Krauthammer most recently (2/20/14) mocked the idea that the science of climate change was “settled,” and that scientists who warn of the disastrous effects of climate change are “white-coated propagandists.” Krauthammer went on TV this year to mock climate change science as “superstition.”

  • Finance
    • World Bank Project Manager in Court for ‘Stealing’ $87k

      Daniel Roberts, a World Bank Project Manager assigned with Ministry of Finance has been forwarded to the court for an attempted Theft of Property and Economic Sabotage in the tune of US$87,486 by the National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Councils in poorest areas suffering biggest budget cuts, Labour says

      The poorest areas of England have endured council cuts under the coalition worth 16 times as much per household as the richest areas, research has claims.

      Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, said his figures showed the government had “failed to apply the basic principle of fairness” when allocating money to local government.

    • The rise of ‘Obama Inc.’

      The presidency of Barack Obama has catapulted a network of former advisers into lucrative positions.

    • An austerity revolt has broken the French government. Will the EU follow?

      If there were any lingering doubts about the seriousness of the crisis hanging over the future of the euro – and potentially of the European Union itself – the shock announcement of the dissolution of the French government should remove them.

    • Washington’s using less than a percent of the power it has to boost federal tech pay

      Under U.S. law, federal agencies are allowed to pay above and beyond normal salary rates for would-be employees who are extraordinarily talented, especially in the fields of science and technology. So-called Critical Position Pay Authority was used, for example, to bump the 2011 salary of the director of the National Institutes of Health — a geneticist who is both a best-selling author and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — from $155,000 to just shy of $200,000.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Censorship
    • Prof Loses Job Offer Over Israel Hate Tweets. Media Howls About ‘Academic Freedom’

      You would think in uber-liberal academia, a leftist professor could get away saying anything. But apparently you can go too far. Earlier this month, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rescinded its offer to Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American former Virginia Tech professor, for a tenured position in the American Indian Studies department. Why?

      Because of dozens of tweets Salaita made from his Twitter account preaching hatred of Israel and bashing America’s ties to the Jewish homeland. At the news of his hiring earlier in the Summer, the university started to get backlash from students, parents and donors who did not appreciate Salaita’s aggressively unfriendly attitude towards Israel. So the Univ. of Illinois’ Chancellor Phyllis Wise wrote to Salaita, stating he was no longer welcome as a professor at the university.

    • EasyDNS Tries To Balance Bogus Requests To Take Down Legit Foreign Online Pharmacies Against Truly Rogue Pharmacies

      We’ve written a few times about domain registrar/hosting company EasyDNS, which has been pretty vocal about how law enforcement and industry groups have recently started targeting registrars and hosting comapnies as “the soft underbelly” for censorship and coercive control. While we’ve covered this issue frequently as it relates to things like copyright, the real ground zero for this may be around online pharmacies. The online pharmacy space is a bit complicated — because there are really a few different kinds. There are US-based accredited/approved pharmacies, there are overseas accredited/approved online pharmacies… and then there are flat-out rogue pharmacies dealing in illegally obtained or counterfeit medicines. Obviously the last one is in a different category altogether from the first two, but US drug companies like to conflate legal foreign online pharmacies with the rogue ones.

    • University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages on Dorm Wifi

      “Finally, I can do whatever I want!” thought every incoming college freshman ever. But for some unlucky students arriving on campus this fall, that sought-after right of passage applies to just about everything except internet usage.

      Northern Illinois University enacted an Acceptable Use Policy that goes further than banning torrents, also denying students access to social media sites and other content the university considers “unethical” or “obscene.”

    • University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages On Dorm WiFi

      My understanding is that there was once a theory that America’s public universities were havens of free speech, political thought, and a center for the exchange of ideas. I must admit that this seems foreign to me. I’ve always experienced universities primarily as a group-think center mostly centered around college athletics. That said, if universities want to still claim to be at the forefront of idea and thought, they probably shouldn’t be censoring the hell out of what their students can access on the internet.

    • ‘Anarcho-Capitalist’ Stefan Molyneux, Who Doesn’t Support Copyright, Abuses DMCA To Silence Critic

      Either way, if you’re going to go around claiming that you’re against intellectual property and an “anarcho capitalist,” it’s going to look pretty sketchy when you use a federal law like copyright to censor someone else’s speech that is critical of you.

    • Can We Create A Public Internet Space Where The First Amendment, Not Private Terms Of Service, Rules?

      The other issue is that most sites are pretty much legally compelled to have such terms of use, which provide them greater flexibility in deciding to stifle forms of speech they don’t appreciate. In many ways, you have to respect the way the First Amendment is structured so that, even if courts have conveniently chipped away at parts of it at times (while, at other times making it much stronger), there’s a clear pillar that all of this is based around. Terms of service are nothing like the Constitution, and can be both inherently wishy-washy and ever-changeable as circumstances warrant.

    • Internet Uncertainty

      Tufecki should know. As a fellow at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, she focuses on the politics of free speech in social media. Over the years she’s traced this push and pull with particular attention to the Middle East and North Africa (Tufecki is a native of Turkey).

  • Privacy
    • NSA Makes Metadata (Including Info On Americans) Available To Domestic Law Enforcement Via ‘Google-Like’ Search

      The latest report from The Intercept on documents obtained from Ed Snowden (and, yes, they make it clear that these are from Snowden, rather than the purported “second leaker”) is about a “Google-like” search engine that the NSA built, called ICREACH, which lets the NSA share a massive trove (at least 850 billion) of “metadata” records not just with others in the NSA or CIA, but with domestic law enforcement and other government agencies including the FBI and the DEA. The database includes records collected via Executive Order 12333, which we recently noted a State Department official revealed as the main program via which the NSA collects its data (and which is not subject to oversight by Congress).

    • This Is What Happens When You Sleep Through an Earthquake

      The largest earthquake to hit California’s Napa Valley in 25 years struck near the Bay Area early Sunday morning. The 6.0-magnitude quake hit at 3:20 a.m. local time near American Canyon, about 6 miles southwest of Napa, at a depth of 6.7 miles. Nearly 90 people were injured—and countless more woken up, disturbed, and generally freaked out. Thanks to the quantified self phenomenon—the always-on activity and sleep trackers many people now wear—we know more than ever about the psychic effects of such an event.

    • Anti-spy technology remains hot a year after NSA leaks

      More than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents describing the breadth and depth of US surveillance, policy makers continue to debate the legal framework for such monitoring.

      Yet a number of technology startups are blazing ahead to create a range of products that promise to restore people’s privacy online. Silent Circle, WhisperSystems, and Wickr offer a variety of services, from private instant messaging to secure data storage to encrypted phone calls. Other companies, such as Blackphone, have focused on creating a secure smartphone for the privacy-conscious.

    • ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media Surrounding Snowden Revelations

      A “spiral of silence” has arisen on social media since government spying revelations emerged from Edward Snowden last year, according to a new study.

      Pew Research found that people were less likely to post their views or concerns about NSA surveillance on Facebook and Twitter than in person due to fears that their views are not widely shared.

      Around 86% of people surveyed for the study – which questioned 1,801 US adults in August and September last year – said that they were willing to have an in-person conversation about the surveillance program, but only 42% of Facebook and Twitter users were willing to post about it online.

    • Pew: There’s a ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media
    • Facebook users self-censor on controversial topics in real life, too

      If you didn’t see a lot of talk about Ferguson and Michael Brown on your Facebook feed, maybe that’s because your Facebook friends were afraid you’d disagree.

      The Pew Research Center on Tuesday said a study of nearly 2,000 adults on an earlier hot-button political issue – the massive leak by Edward Snowden of documents that showed the National Security Agency had spied on U.S. citizens – found those surveyed were less willing to discuss the issue in social media than they were in person, and that social media did not provide an alternate platform to talk about the story if they weren’t willing to discuss it in person.

    • When it comes to Facebook, we all just want to be popular, study finds
    • All of Your Facebook Friends Already Agree With You
    • If You Want an Engaging Debate About Ideas, Stay Off Social Media, Study Warns

      The technology many of us use to stay in touch with friends is poorly suited to creating meaningful debate and discussion, argues a new study which examined how revelations of widespread NSA media surveillance played out on Twitter and Facebook. Conducted by Rutgers University and the Pew Center for Research, the study points out that since social media functions as a bonding tool between groups and individuals, those who hold dissenting views are hesitant to express them. Groups formed on social media tend to be like-minded so contradicting people’s opinions can result in exclusion which, psychologically speaking, is not a good feeling.

    • “Obese Intelligence”: The NSA Search Engine. “Over 850 Billion Records about Phone Calls, Emails, Cellphone Locations, and Internet Chats”

      The revelations have a few implications, the most obvious one confirming the seamless transition between intelligence work on the one hand, and the policing function on the other. The distinction between intelligence communities whose interests are targeting matters foreign to the polity; and those who maintain order within the boundaries of a state in a protective capacity, prove meaningless in this form. The use of ICREACH makes it clear that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are regular clients and users of the system.

    • UK privacy laws might need a technology reboot, says top UK judge

      UK SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT Lord Neuberger is pushing for an update to UK privacy laws.

      Neuberger was speaking in Hong Kong when he turned to the topic of privacy laws in the light of technology advances. He said that technology leaps forward while the legal system shuffles. He suggested that because of this, some sort of overhaul to UK privacy laws will be necessary.

      The judge spoke of the “astonishing advances” and “enormous challenges” presented by technological progress and the need to make adjustments before real problems occur.

      He said that technology developments have radically changed how content moves around, and how easily it can be transmitted, recorded and manipulated.

    • The EU ‘cookie law’: what has it done for us?

      It’s now more than two years since the cookie law began to be ‘enforced’ in the UK, but has it changed anything?

    • ‘Truthy’ joins NSA, IRS in watching you

      Americans’ telephone conversations already are being monitored by the National Security Agency and their health-care policies by the Internal Revenue Service. Now there’s “Truthy,” a government-funded project at Indiana University that will watch their Tweets for “political smears” and “social pollution.”

    • NSA’s metadata search engine used by US, foreign agencies

      The NSA has secretly built a “Google-like” search engine to be used by various US government agencies and intelligence agencies of the Five Eyes countries to sift through phone call, email, and Internet chat metadata, as well as cellphone locations collected and stored in a number of different databases.

    • Banks to meet with Treasury Department on cyber threats: sources

      Bankers and bank regulators have become more vocal lately about concerns that cyber attacks could put customer data and the stability of the financial system at risk.

    • Larry Page believes private medical histories shouldn’t be private

      Bloggers are all a-twitter about Charlie Rose’s recent interview of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) co-founder Larry Page at a TED conference in Vancouver, Canada. Page, enduring the softball-quickly-followed-by-frustrating-interruption style of Rose, still managed to eke out responses of intense bloggy interest. When asked about government surveillance, Page lamented the “tremendously disappointing” behavior of the NSA. Sounds noble, but it may end up sounding duplicitous. Recent testimony by NSA general counsel stated Google had full knowledge of data harvesting activities from day one, despite the company making denials to the contrary for months.

    • New French surveillance law: From fear to controversy

      America’s NSA scandal has been making headlines all over the world since it first came to light back in July. Somehow, though, France’s surveillance program has managed to fly under the radar for the most part.

    • Russia’s bid to expose users highlights law enforcement’s tricky relationship with Tor

      On Friday, Russia’s Ministry of the Interior (MVD) awarded a contract for $110,000 to an unnamed Russian contractor with top security clearance to uncloak Russian users of the surveillance-evading Tor browser. This is the Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) response to the surge of Russian Tor users from 80,000 to 200,000 due to the restrictions by the Russian government on free use of the internet, such as the new law that requires all Russian bloggers to register.

      The NSA and the FSB want to puncture Tor anonymty and expose the identities of the people using it because the Tor browser erases identifying browser fingerprints. Almost everyone who uses the internet has a unique traceable fingerprint. An Internet user can check his or her own internet uniqueness in a few seconds with Panopticlick, a one-click test created by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). Most people find themselves to be pretty unique; 1 in 4.5 million to be exact. Go ahead, try it.

    • Aussie, Kiwi spies hooked into NSA metadata search engine
    • What is the meaning and what is the use of ‘metadata retention’?

      Privacy and individuals’ ability to remain anonymous are important protections against persecution, bullying, intimidation and retaliation. These can be perpetrated by other people, private businesses and, perhaps most seriously, the state and its police and intelligence agencies.

    • Documents: Tacoma police using surveillance device to sweep up cellphone data

      The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away.

      You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone.

    • Tracking everywhere: Private companies offer worldwide spying tools
    • Cell Phone Tracking Surveillance Systems Hit the Dictator Market

      Dictators around the world can now exploit a fundamental feature of cell phones, leaving individuals at risk of having their whereabouts monitored wherever they go.

    • It’s not just the NSA: Phone surveillance tech lets any government track your movements
    • Report: Surveillance Companies Are Secretly Selling Tech That Tracks Your Phone’s Location

      Cellular carriers already know where you are thanks to your phone. On paper it makes sense: Service providers like AT&T need to know your location in order to relay calls and texts, determining your position from cell towers. But now, according to a new report in the Washington Post, surveillance companies are selling advanced tracking systems that take advantage of this technology, making it possible even for small governments to track users anytime, anywhere–for days or even weeks at a time with stunning accuracy.

    • Surveillance and the Creative Mind

      In a world where many aspects of our daily lives are written or recorded and transmitted digitally, our raw thoughts and casual observations are increasingly open to scrutiny and vulnerable to interception. Our behavior is frequently documented, whether it is by government agencies, corporate entities, news organizations, or fellow citizens. This means that every iteration of an evolving idea, off-hand comment, and emotional outburst could be recorded. Given how often we all misinterpret each other, especially in writing, the exponential increase in documented human behavior is cause for concern.

      [...]

      The American climate of fear about terrorism has combined with this technological shift into a potent mix that stifles debate and free expression.

    • Hands-on: Pwn Pro and Pwn Pulse, mass surveillance for the rest of us

      At Black Hat and Def Con earlier this month, the penetration testing tool makers at Pwnie Express unveiled two new products aimed at extending the company’s reach into the world of continuous enterprise security auditing. One, the Pwn Pro, is essentially a souped-up version of Pwnie Express’ Pwn Plug line of devices; the other, Pwn Pulse, is a cloud-based software-as-a-service product that provides central control of a fleet of Pwn Pro “sensors.” Combined, the two are a whitehat’s personal NSA—intended to discover potential security problems introduced into enterprise networks before someone with malevolent intent does.

    • Satire: NSA Quits Spying on Americans Out of Disgust

      Citing an endless river of filth, vacuous conversations, idiotic Tweets and endless cat videos, the NSA announced it is “freaking done” with spying on Americans.

      The NSA decision came only hours after thousands of analysts, following similar threats at CIA, said they planned to quit and apply for jobs as Apple Geniuses and Best Buy Geek Squad Support workers.

  • Civil Rights
    • Michael Brown, According to the New York Times

      A Times editor defended this assessment of Brown by explaining that it was a reference back to the opening scene of the piece, where Brown talks to his stepfather about seeing the image of an angel in a storm cloud. Of course, this reference was plainly obvious to anyone reading the piece.

    • The FBI’s Criminal Database Is Filling Up With Non-Criminals And No One In Law Enforcement Seems To Care

      America has long held the position as the world’s foremost imprisoner of its own citizens. Around 2 million people are incarcerated in America, giving us nearly one-fourth of the world’s total prison population. Spending any length of time in prison is a good way to destroy your future. But even if you never spend a day inside — or even end up facing charges — there’s a good chance you’ll still be facing a bleak future should you ever have the misfortune to be booked.

    • As Arrest Records Rise, Americans Find Consequences Can Last a Lifetime
    • Kelly McParland: The Ferguson shooting will have the usual result; more guns, not fewer

      According to the New York Times, the White House is having “second thoughts” about the policy of arming U.S. police to the teeth. The images from Ferguson, Missouri – of police kitted out like paratroopers with sniper rifles and armoured cars – is causing consternation in Congress. President Barack Obama has ordered a “comprehensive review.”

    • Ferguson PD Confirms Officer Wilson Shot at Brown as He Ran Away

      As Charles Johnson at LGF says, this is a “big admission”. Although the autopsy suggests none of these shots struck Michael Brown, it explains why more than one eyewitness described his having been shot in the back. Several eyewitnesses said that after these shots were fired, Brown turned around with his hands in the air.

    • Police Officers Facing Potential Felony Charges After Using Government Databases To Screen Potential Dates

      The basic issue is this: many, many people have access to personal information that the government demands you provide in exchange for essential items like driver’s licenses, vehicle/home titles, etc. Connected to these databases is one used to house information on every person booked by police (notably, not every person convicted or even every person charged).

    • Tell Congress: no more weapons of war for local police.
    • Officials: Girl accidentally kills gun instructor

      A 9-year-old girl accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use an automatic Uzi, authorities said Tuesday.

      Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, died Monday shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff’s officials said.

    • 4 Weird Decisions That Have Made Modern Cops Terrifying

      We’re pretty much begging cops to be our heroes. Think about it: Every major blockbuster movie is about a brave hero enforcing an important moral code: John McClane, Transformers, every superhero — even if they’re going outside the law, they’re still doing the exact job a cop is supposed to have: upholding the law and protecting the innocent. In fiction, they’re the ideal we strive for.

    • Tomgram: Anya Schiffrin, Who Knew We Were Living in the Golden Age of Investigative Journalism?

      Almost a decade ago, I spent more than a year freelancing for a major metropolitan newspaper — one of the biggest in the country. I would, on an intermittent basis, work out of a newsroom that appeared to be in a state of constant churn. Whoever wasn’t being downsized seemed to be jumping ship or madly searching for a life raft. It looked as if bean counters were beating reporters and editors into submission or sending them out of the business and into journalism schools where they would train a new generation of young reporters. For just what wasn’t clear. Jobs that would no longer exist?

    • ‘Approved Responses to the Civil Unrest in Ferguson’
    • US courts trash a decade’s worth of online documents, shrug it off

      The US Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has removed access to nearly a decade’s worth of electronic documents from four US appeals courts and one bankruptcy court.

      The removal is part of an upgrade to a new computer system for the database known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER.

      Court dockets and documents at the US Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 11th, and Federal Circuits, as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, were maintained with “locally developed legacy case management systems,” said AOC spokesperson Karen Redmond in an e-mailed statement. Those five courts aren’t compatible with the new PACER system.

    • The Police Aren’t So Brave When Someone Has a Weapon

      Compare these stories with two instances of UK police—only about five percent of whom are armed—handling men with knives in an admirably brave (and restrained) fashion: in one, an officer Tasers a man with two knives from just a few feet away, while in the other, 30 cops—the visible ones clearly unarmed—spend nearly six minutes trying to apprehend an aggressively unhinged man holding a machete. If folks with whittling knives, bats, and steak knives are given mere seconds before fatal shots are fired, this guy deserved a millisecond. And yet, the cops brought him in alive—and took him to a mental health facility.

    • Putting Body Cameras On Cops Won’t Fix Misconduct, But It’s A Good Start

      Prompted by the fatal shooting of Ferguson resident Mike Brown, a We the People petition asking the federal government to require body cameras for all law enforcement officers has roared past the 100,000 signature threshold required for a White House response. (Theoretically.)

    • New Orleans Police Officer Turns Off Body Camera Minutes Before Shooting Suspect In Forehead

      In New Orleans, Armand Bennet, 26, was shot in the forehead during a traffic stop by New Orleans police officer Lisa Lewis. However, the police department did not reveal until much later that Lewis turned off her body camera just before shooting Bennett. Bennett survived and has now been charged under prior warrants for his arrest. It also reviewed that Lewis had had a prior run in with Bennet who escaped about a week earlier.

    • Dating On Duty: Officers Accused Of Screening Dates Using Police System

      Court documents show that Fairfield Police Officers Stephen Ruiz and Jacob Glashoff used company time and equipment to search for women on internet dating sites.

      The documents also show that two used the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System – a statewide police database – to screen the women they liked.

    • Obama Review Of Military Gear Handed To Law Enforcement; Thinks Real Problem Is ‘Training And Guidance’

      Not that local law enforcement agencies couldn’t throw an impressive Victory Day parade. The 1033 program, which sends military vehicles, weapons and equipment downstream to law enforcement agencies for pennies on the dollar, has shifted $4.3 billion from the Dept. of Defense to hundreds of police departments across the United States since 1997. Here’s what the President is actually interested in seeing.
      “Among other things, the president has asked for a review of whether these programs are appropriate,” said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the internal assessment. The review also will assess “whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.”

    • Calif. Lawmaker Votes for More Regs for Ride-Sharing, Then Gets Busted for DUI

      Courtesy of California political reporter John Hrabe, California Assemblyman Ben Hueso, a Democrat representing the San Diego area, was arrested in the wee hours of the morning for allegedly driving under the influence. This came just hours after voting for legislation that would force more regulation on ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber.

    • Uber, Lyft, Sidecar fight to block new California regulations
    • California Lawmaker Votes To Kill Uber… Then Caught Driving Drunk Just Hours Later
    • Federal Law Requiring Annual Report on Excessive Force by Police has been Ignored for 20 Years

      The circumstances of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, have brought that one police shooting into the national conscience. But many other Americans are killed by police and their deaths go unnoticed and mostly uncounted, despite a Congressional mandate.

    • Federal Law Ordering US Attorney General To Gather Data On Police Excessive Force Has Been Ignored For 20 Years

      Are police officers getting worse or is this apparent increase in excessive force nothing more than a reflection of the increase in unofficial documentation (read: cameras) and public scrutiny? What we do know is that as crime has gone down, police forces have escalated their acquisitions of military gear and weapons. With options for lethal and less-lethal force continually expanding, it seems that deployment of force in excess of what the situation requires has become the new normal, but it’s tough to find hard data that backs up these impressions.

      One of the reasons we don’t have data on police use of excessive force is because compiling this information relies on law enforcement agencies being forthcoming about these incidents. Generally speaking, it takes FOIA requests and lawsuits to obtain any data gathered by individual police departments. This shouldn’t be the case. In fact, as AllGov reports, this lack of data violates a federal law.

    • Rep. Mike Honda Introduces Bill Banning Civilians from Buying Body Armor
    • Ferguson Police Officer Justin Cosma Hog-Tied And Injured A Young Child, Lawsuit Alleges

      A Ferguson police officer who helped detain a journalist in a McDonald’s earlier this month is in the midst of a civil rights lawsuit because he allegedly hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mail at the end of his driveway.

      According to a lawsuit filed in 2012 in Missouri federal court, Justin Cosma and another officer, Richard Carter, approached a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway in June 2010. Cosma was an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at the time, the lawsuit states. The pair asked the boy if he’d been playing on a nearby highway, and he replied no, according to the lawsuit.

    • As Police Get More Militarized, Bill In Congress Would Make Owning Body Armor Punishable By Up To 10 Years In Prison

      We’ve been writing an awful lot lately about the militarization of police, but apparently some in Congress want to make sure that the American public can’t protect themselves from a militarized police. Rep. Mike Honda (currently facing a reasonably strong challenger for election this fall) has introduced a bizarre bill that would make it a crime for civilians to buy or own body armor. The bill HR 5344 is unlikely to go anywhere, but violating the bill, if it did become law, would be punishable with up to ten years in prison. Yes, TEN years. For merely owning body armor.

    • ‘Revenue Generating’ Traffic Cameras Forcing Governments To Refund Millions Of Dollars

      Technology saves time and labor, but is as ultimately fallible as the humans it displaces. Thanks to the efficiencies of technology, mistakes can now be made faster than ever. Municipalities which have turned over traffic enforcement to cameras probably hoped to generate funds much faster than it could with an un-augmented police force. Instead, they’re finding themselves issuing refunds, deactivating faulty cameras, fighting with contractors and investigating corruption. Not much of a payoff.

    • Justice Dept. Official: We Could Get Lois Lerner’s Emails From Backups, But It’s Too Hard So Naaaaaah

      I try not to go for conspiracy theories generally, but this ongoing IRS nonsense involving conveniently disappearing emails potentially pertaining to the scandal involving targeting certain groups is making my skeptics beacon go off. The official story essentially involves a computer (server?) crash that obliterated the email data of several email accounts that would otherwise be of great interest to those trying to figure out who in the Obama administration knew what about how the IRS was operating. That crash somehow also involves the destruction of any local backups these IRS folks are required to keep as part of their job.

    • Lack Of Diversity In St. Louis Area Police Departments Is Just Flat-Out Embarrassing

      In the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, a light was shone on the unbelievable lack of racial diversity within the Ferguson police department. It was revealed that while Ferguson’s population is 67% African-American, only three of the town’s 53 full-time police officers are black. The complete disconnect between the racial makeup of the community and the demographics of law enforcement patrolling Ferguson’s streets has been cited as a prime example of the simmering racial tensions in the town that boiled over in the aftermath of Brown’s killing.

    • “Police State U.S.A.: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality”

      Anybody tuning in to the media coverage of the daily protests of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri can’t help but notice the intimidating police presence that makes the city look more like a battlefield than a suburban enclave.

    • EDITORIAL: Journalism a tough but essential job
    • Why The Obama Administration Wants This Journalist In Jail

      President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 promising a new era of unprecedented transparency in his administration. But when he leaves office, reporters may remember him for an effort that has largely turned out to be the opposite — and for being what one affected reporter has called the “greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

    • Here’s The Story Of A Spectacular CIA Screw-Up That Could Cause Journalist James Risen To Land In Jail

      For the last five years, New York Times journalist James Risen has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Obama administration over his refusal to reveal an inside government source. While that case (and the motivations behind it) is compelling, the leaked story that got Risen in trouble in the first place is one of the most spectacular CIA screw-ups in the agency’s history.

    • The Road to Ferguson and the Necessity of Anti-Imperialist Spirit

      “Since Obama was first elected in 2008, the ‘hope and change’ President has overseen the largest number of Pentagon arms and intelligence giveaways to local police in US history.”

    • CIA reform? Don’t hold your breath
    • Guantánamo Torture Victim Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Harrowing Memoir To Be Published In January 2015 – OpEd
    • In Senate-CIA fight on interrogation report, another controversy

      The background of a key negotiator in the battle over a Senate report on the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques widely denounced as torture has sparked concerns about the Obama administration’s objectivity in handling the study’s public release.

      Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is a former defense lawyer who represented several CIA officials in matters relating to the agency’s detention and interrogation program. Now he’s in a key position to determine what parts of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,300-page report will be made public.

    • Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies

      The neocons – aided by their “liberal interventionist” allies and the U.S. mainstream media – are building new “group thinks” on the Middle East and Ukraine with many Americans having forgotten how they were duped into war a dozen years ago, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Cheney’s Legacy: Honesty Still in Short Supply

      As the world marks the centennial of World War I, the guns of August are again being oiled by comfortable politicians and the fawning corporate media, both bereft of any sense of history. And that includes much more recent history, namely the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq and widened conflict throughout the Middle East. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago today.

      [...]

      Why did Kerry mislead the world on August 30 in professing to “know” that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical attack near Damascus on August 21? It is crystal clear that he did not know. Typically, Kerry adduced no verifiable evidence, and what his minions leaked over the following weeks could not bear close scrutiny. (See Robert Parry’s “The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”)

    • Former head CIA lawyer defends torture in Der Spiegel interview

      In an August 20 interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, former acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo defends his role as the legal architect of the US government’s international campaign of detention and torture.

      In the interview, Rizzo, who worked at the CIA from 1976 to 2009, declares that although the torture programs he approved “seemed harsh, even brutal,” he does not regret his support for their implementation.

    • Federal Cybersecurity Director Found Guilty on Child Porn Charges

      One of these techniques involved the used drive-by downloads to infect the computers of anyone who visited McGrath’s web sites. The FBI has been using malicious downloads in this way since 2002, but focused on targeting users of Tor-based sites only in the last two years.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Why Internet Access Monopolies Harm Innovation

      When antitrust stories make headlines—as the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger has—even well-intentioned analysis often confuses harm to competitors with harm to competition. Viewing antitrust law through a “competition” lens, as opposed to a “competitors” lens, is not intuitive: consumers are harmed not by being denied access to existing services, but by being denied new ones.

    • How the web lost its way – and its founding principles

      When Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web 24 years ago he thought he’d created an egalitarian tool that would share information for the greater good. But it hasn’t quite worked out like that. What went wrong?

  • DRM
    • Kill Switches on Smartphones Now Mandatory in California

      California Governor Jerry Brown signed historic legislation Monday, mandating that every smartphone sold in California after July 1, 2015, be equipped by default with a kill switch, a feature that can render the device useless if stolen.

      Proposed by state senator Mark Leno and endorsed by a bevy of law-enforcement officials, the new law — the first of its kind in the nation — is designed to curb cell-phone theft in cities like San Francisco, where more than 65% of all robberies involve stolen phones, or Oakland, where it’s 75%.

    • The Califonia Kill Switch Bill Has Been Signed into Law

      The California kill switch bill is a bill that requires all smartphones that have been manufactured after July 1, 2015 to include anti-theft measures if they are to be sold in the state of California.

    • California bill requiring kill-switch on smartphones becomes law

      On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a piece of legislation mandating that all smartphones come with kill-switch software automatically installed so that a user can remotely wipe his or her device if it gets stolen. The bill will affect all smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015 to be sold in California.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Guy Claims Patent On Photographing People In Races And Then Selling Them Their Photos; Sues Photography Company

      The folks over at EFF have yet another story of patents gone wrong. This time it’s from a guy named Peter Wolf, who owns a company called Photocrazy, that takes photos of sporting events like running and bike races, and then offers to sell people their photos by matching up their bib numbers. This kind of thing has been around forever, but because Peter Wolf paid a lawyer and said some magic words, he got some patents (specifically: 6,985,875; 7,047,214; and 7,870,035).

    • Ryan Seacrest’s Typo Blows Off Injunction, Sells Thousands Of Possibly-Infringing Keyboards

      Ryan Seacrest’s Typo (because it is never to be referred to simply as “Typo” in headlines or opening paragraphs), maker of physical keyboard accessories for iPhones, was sued by RIM (maker of formerly-popular Blackberry phones) for patent infringement earlier this year. The ailing phone manufacturer took issue with the keyboards made by Ryan Seacrest’s Typo, which it felt veered a bit too close to “looking damn near like a Blackberry keyboard.”

    • Intellectual Property Casebook Now Available As A Free Download

      About a month ago I wrote about James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins of the Center of the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School releasing a free download of an Intellectual Property Statutory Supplement (which normally big publishers try to sell for around $50). As noted, this was a kickoff for an even bigger project, an open coursebook in intellectual property. That Open Intellectual Property Casebook is now available. You can download the whole thing for free. If you want a nice printed copy, it’ll currently run about $24 on Amazon — which is about $135 less than other IP case books. The entire book weighs in at nearly 800 pages, so there’s a lot in there if you felt like delving into a variety of topics around copyright, trademark and patent law — including specific efforts by Congress around those laws and the way that the courts have interpreted them.

    • Copyrights
      • Total Wipes A Total Failure: Sends Increasingly Ridiculous DMCA Notices To Wipe Out Unrelated Content

        TorrentFreak has a fun, if ridiculous, post about the near total failure of a digital music distribution company named Total Wipes to “wipe out” certain content via entirely bogus DMCA notices. In what appears to be one of the more egregious attempts out there to issue automated DMCA takedowns without anyone bothering to look at the sites in question, Total Wipes tried to remove all sorts of websites in trying to “protect” a track called “Rock the Base & Bad Format.” It appears that, as a part of that, any site that its automated systems turned up that had both “rock” and “base” on it was targeted for takedown. That was especially problematic for news stories about the death of DJ E-Z Rock, whose most famous track was “It Takes Two,” done in partnership with Rob Base. Note the problem: Base and Rock. That meant that Total Wipes targeted news stories about Rock’s death. It also targeted stories about rock climbing and a “rock” music festival on a military “base.”

      • Copyright Trolling Lawyer Abusing DMCA To Try To Silence Critics

        Nearly three years ago, Fight Copyright Trolls had an interesting post about a copyright lawyer named Mike Meier who “flipped sides” from defending people who had been hit with copyright troll demands to becoming something of a troll himself. It featured two screenshots, showing how Meier’s website quickly flipped from looking to help people who’d received a demand letter to a site that looked similar… but was clearly on the other side.

      • German Regulator Rejects German Newspapers’ Cynical Attempt To Demand Cash From Google

        Back in June we wrote about the ridiculous and cynical attempt by a number of big German newspaper publishers, in the form of the industry group VG Media, to demand 11% of Google’s gross worldwide revenue on any search that results in Google showing a snippet of their content. We noted the hypocrisy of these publishers seeking to do this while at the same time having done nothing to remove themselves from Google’s search — and, in fact, using Google’s tools to help them rank higher in search results. In other words, these publishers know that ranking high helps them… and yet then still demanded cash on top of that.

      • We the goondas

        Have a smartphone? Run for cover. Bizarre as this might sound, the cops are going to come after you if you so much as forward a song to a friend. Forget actually doing it, any plans to do so could land you in serious trouble too. You could be labelled a ‘goonda’ in the eyes of the State and find yourself behind bars.

      • Indian State Says You Can Be Jailed If They Think You’ll Infringe Copyrights Or Share ‘Lascivious’ Content In The Future

        Over the weekend, Engadget had a post claiming that India has said it’s illegal to “like” blasphemous content. The headline there somewhat misstates what’s actually happening, but what’s actually going on is no less ridiculous. It is not all of India, but rather the state of Karnataka (which includes the city of Bangalore), which has passed a new law officially called “The Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-Grabbers and Video or Audio Pirates (Amendment) Bill, 2014″ though it is being locally referred to as the Goonda Act. The main thing it has done is taken offenses under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Indian Copyright Act, 1957, and let the government take people into preventative custody if they think you’re going to break one of those laws.

      • Amazon and Hachette feud could rewrite the book on publishing

        The battle between Amazon and the French publisher Hachette is not just a spat about the price of books. Their row over ebook prices, which led to the online retailer freezing out pre-orders of Hachette books and has provoked angry words from authors such as Donna Tartt and Phillip Pullman, could determine the next chapter of the publishing industry.

      • City Of London Police Turn Down Torrentfreak’s FOIA Request Because It Would Take Too Long To Fulfill

        The City of London Police (notably, not the London Metropolitan Police and you will rue the day you ever make that mistake) have been both a law unto themselves and the UK’s foremost copyright cops… which would make them a copyright law unto themselves… or something. Name another law enforcement agency that has single-handedly done more to pursue the Pirate Bays of the world. I follow this sort of stuff pretty closely and no one else even comes close. Here’s a very brief rundown of the City of London’s efforts in the service of King Copyright.

      • Fast & Furious 6 Pirate Sentenced to 33 Months Prison
      • Crime And Punishment? 33 Months In Jail For Filming And Uploading Fast & Furious 6

        As a whole bunch of folks sent in, over in the UK, a guy named Philip Danks has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for camcording Fast and Furious 6 and then uploading it to the internet. As is all too often the case, the UK authorities more or less let the movie industry, in the form of FACT (the Federation Against Copyright Theft) run the entire investigation. FACT employees were involved in all facets, including controlling most of the interview after Danks was detained. If that seems… questionable, you have a point.

      • Rightscorp’s New PR Plan: The More Ridiculous It Gets (Such As By Claiming To Hijack Browsers), The More Press It Will Get

        Over the last few months, there’s been tremendous press attention paid to a little nothing of a company called Rightscorp, which has basically tried to become the friendlier face of copyright trolling: signing up copyright holders, sending threat letters to ISPs, hoping those ISPs forward the threats to subscribers, and demanding much smaller fees than traditional copyright trolls (usually around $20). The idea is by being (just slightly) friendlier, and keeping the fees much lower, they might be able to “make it up in volume.” The company has been subject to big profiles in Ars Technica, which calls it “RIAA-lite,” and Daily Dot, which referred to it as a “boutique anti-piracy firm.” Frankly, the only thing that Rightscorp has shown itself to be good at is getting press coverage — often through outrageous claims, such as saying it found a loophole in the DMCA that lets it send subpoenas to identify ISP subscribers without filing a lawsuit. Lots of copyright trolls think they’ve found that loophole, only to discover a court already rejected it.

FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

Wednesday 27th of August 2014 09:07:03 AM

Summary: In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft

A Microsoft Windows (exclusively) infection is having a colossal impact on businesses right now, but corporate press coverage fails to name Windows [1, 2, 3], not to mention any possibility of blaming it. The name of an operating system is only mentioned for negative news when it’s not Windows. This is typical and it matches a pattern we have covered her under the “call out Windows” banner. IDG, the liars’ den, put it like this:

The Target data breach was one of the largest in recent memory, resulting in tens of millions of credit and debit cards being compromised. In the last couple of weeks, SuperValu said that at least 180 of its stores had been hit by a data breach and earlier this week UPS said 51 of it UPS Store locations had been hit.

We wrote about this last week because Windows was not being named, despite it being a critical part of this scenario. Instead, there was deflection to FOSS. It helped distract from Windows, which is insecure by design. It is an architectural problem because since 15 years ago, by some estimates, Windows has been a back doors carrier (for the NSA). Here is one British writer complaining about the approach Microsoft takes to composition as well:

In August last year, one-time-sysadmin and now SciFi author Charles Stross declared Microsoft Word ”a tyrant of the imagination” and bemoaned its use in the publishing world.

“Major publishers have been browbeaten into believing that Word is the sine qua non of document production systems,” he wrote. “And they expect me to integrate myself into a Word-centric workflow, even though it’s an inappropriate, damaging, and laborious tool for the job. It is, quite simply, unavoidable.”

To make matters worse, it facilitates surveillance and sabotage, as more stories from last years served to show (Snowden Files at the Guardian for instance). For security reasons Germany and Russia have moved back to typewriters; we can assume they were using Office and Windows beforehand.

Trust the spinners of Microsoft to create and disseminate some “Heartbleed” FUD, an OpenSSL bug that Microsoft likes to hype up and use to generalise so as to create an illusion that FOSS is inherently less secure. This has become Microsoft’s main propaganda against FOSS, based on just one single bug. The FUD started on the day that XP support (patches) came to an end; this timing is unlikely to be a coincidence for reasons we outlined before.

Jason Thompson writes an offensive piece titled “After Heartbleed, Is Open Source More Trouble Than It’s Worth?”

It starts with the following important disclosure:

Jason Thompson, formerly of Q1 Labs, is the vice president of worldwide marketing at SSH Communications Security.

Marketing for proprietary software (for Windows)? This is the type of thing we saw last week when issues in proprietary VPN software were unfairly blamed on OpenSSL. As we pointed out last week, there is also an attack on Android security (usually rogue apps at to blame) and then there is the recent security FUD against Android from former employees of Microsoft. Mind this new article which highlights Microsoft’s hypocrisy:

The Biggest Problem with the Windows Store: Scams Everywhere

Windows 8′s “Windows Store” is a great idea, but unfortunately, it’s a disaster. It’s full of scam apps, designed to trick you into buying an app you don’t need.

Our friends over at the How-To Geek recently wrote a great piece about the biggest problem with the Windows Store, and how Microsoft has apparently done nothing to address it (despite claiming they would over a year ago). For example, here’s what happens if you search for VLC, a popular free video player

Microsoft is creating some new FUD against Google at the moment and Google has responded as follows:

In Worldwide Partner Conference 2014, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) claimed that more than seven hundred and eighty five customers have switched to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Office 365 from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Apps. Microsoft didn’t give any proofs for this claim, but shown a slide having the names of the pronounced customers who made the switch. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) immediately started investigating this claim and has recently come up with a response. According to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), 5,000+ companies sign up for Google Apps on a daily basis and thousands of these companies switch from Microsoft. In a Forbes article, Ben Kepes mentioned Google’s response and said that it was already expected that Google will come up with a befitting response on Microsoft’s claims.

Microsoft is a malicious, criminal company. Its ability to manipulate the press into writing negative stories about the competition is quite flabbergasting. Microsoft’s key strategy right now is badmouthing the competition. AstroTurf and press manipulation is how that's done, as we showed in the previous post.

Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

Wednesday 27th of August 2014 08:44:42 AM

Shameless lies spun as “news”

Summary: Media in Microsoft’s pocket is telling Microsoft’s lies and deceives the public for Microsoft’s bottom line

There is Microsoft spin the media which continues to disturb because it is quite shallow and very easy to spot. Just watch Microsoft Peter with his latest shameless vapourware (Microsoft ads disguised as “journalism”). That’s positive advertising as opposed to negative advertising (against the competition), but it is still advertising and it should have no room in journalism.

The Microsoft-funded (through ads) propaganda apparatus CBS says “Gmail” to make a widespread Internet issue sound like Google’s. This, in a sense, is like anti-Google advertising. It is a bit like The Intercept associating Google — with the word “Google-like” — when speaking about NSA search of people’s personal data. It is not just CBS though (notorious for NSA and CIA connections). A writer who was typically writing for the CBS-owned ZDNet UK is now moving on a bit. A few days ago we saw Simon Bisson, a longtime Microsoft booster with conflicting interests that ought to make him unsuitable to cover Microsoft matters, showing up in IDG. It is a new site and the article is unsurprisingly a Microsoft-serving one, following a longtime tradition (his bio at IDG completely omits his connection to Microsoft this time around). It is a puff piece/advertising/spam for a de facto extension/proxy of Microsoft, working with Microsoft and funded by ‘former’ Microsoft executives to promote Mono and .NET.

The only thing worse than that was this piece from IDG trying to portray Microsoft as “open source” (openwashing). Microsoft is trying to crush all FOSS projects from within, so IDG helps with puff pieces like this one titled “Does Microsoft Really Love Open Source?” It is just an assortment of quotes from Microsoft and Microsoft propaganda entities like Directions on Microsoft. Here is an example:

“Compared to 10 years ago, it’s mind-blowing that Microsoft is doing what [it's] doing now,” says Wes Miller, a research vice president at Directions on Microsoft. “If you look at open source projects like Hadoop or Docker (both of which Microsoft is involved in), in the past Microsoft would have tried to crush them with its own closed source product.”

Microsoft-linked and Microsoft-friendly sources to piece together quite a propaganda piece which omits the fact that the above is intended to promote proprietary Windows. If anything, it show Microsoft subverting FOSS to tie it to proprietary. Here is one comment I received about this article:

Rabellino points to how Microsoft has helped bring Linux support to Azure in what he deems the right way. “We could have made proprietary drivers, but no, we’ve open sourced them,” he says. The same is true of the way Microsoft has helped bring Hadoop support to Windows and Node.js support to Azure.
Seriously, WTF?! What about the UEFI? this is made to help GNU/Linux too, isn’t it? c’mon…

About Microsoft becoming friendly to FOSS one person told me: “Of course it does!! don’t you see how open is the Windows source? oh, wait…”

In less disturbing news, here is an example of potential Microsoft spin, portraying Microsoft as a gainer by comparing it only to the biggest loser, the patent troll BlackBerry.

As a reader is ours put it: “LosePhone is not rising, BB is just falling that much.”

Very clever way to create Microsoft spin; find a contender that falls even quicker. This is essentially what we often find in the media, namely pro-Microsoft deception which if remains unchallenged might recur until it is widely accepted.

According to this article and this other new article, BlackBerry has 44,000 patents that it can use against Android/Linux one day. Just watch the latest on what Apple does to Samsung’s software side. It is a direct attack on Android itself:

Supreme Court ruling won’t kill Apple’s ‘slide to unlock’

In June, the US Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case, tweaking patent law in a way that suggests a lot more patents should be thrown out as overly abstract.

Samsung hoped that case would allow it to knock out two patents that Apple had successfully used against it in the long-running patent war between the two smartphone leaders. Last month, Samsung lawyers filed papers arguing that Apple’s patents on universal search and “swipe-to-unlock” are exactly the type of basic ideas that the US Supreme Court wants to see rejected.

Of course one could relate this whole patent strategy to Microsoft’s hatred of FOSS and also note that Microsoft, under Nadella, recently sued Samsung like Apple had done. It is an attack on Free software using software patents. To call Microsoft friendly towards Open Source requires either a propagandist or a liar. Sounds like a job for IDG!

Microsoft’s Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

Tuesday 26th of August 2014 04:26:30 PM

Summary: A new report about Microsoft’s admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft’s criminal aspects

Microsoft does not like paying tax. Microsoft is above the law, so why should it bother paying tax? Just like Bill Gates it is robbing the public while pretending to have little to do with national deficit, Microsoft is actually looting the US and many other parts of the world where it uses similar tricks. India found Microsoft guilty half a decade ago.

Last week when we wrote about Chile we mentioned reports about Microsoft’s colossal tax evasion. Professor Diane Ravitch, who has been watching Gates for years and called for investigation against him, responded as follows:

That kind of money, repatriated to the United States, could underwrite prenatal care for low-income women, provide early childhood education for all low-income children, underwrite medical clinics in low-income communities, and save public education in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, where it is in dire peril. Imagine $550 billion invested in the well-being of our children! Imagine using that money to reduce our child poverty rate, which is currently the highest among the advanced nations of the world.

The comments are worth seeing too. To quote the first comment: “Perhaps it’s time for Bill Gates teflon coated self be put in jail for tax evasion, after he coughs up back taxes…..One can have hope or fantisize”

The other comments focus on Gates’ corrupt characters and are hardly any favourable than the above.

Links 25/8/2014: China’s Linux Revolution Imminent

Tuesday 26th of August 2014 01:08:33 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Does open source boost mental health?

    Walk into any makerspace around the world and you’ll encounter this infectious optimism. You’ll see people playing with their Raspberry Pis, their Arduinos, their CNC machines, and their 3D printers. You’ll encounter people intently focused on assembling something, their mind so engaged as to be in a state of flow.

  • What does an open design studio look like?

    I’m really interested in open source philosophies. I like the camaraderie of the communities and the open collaboration. I like being able to have a direct effect on the development of products that I use. I like the idea of the freedom behind the licensing. I like the idea of supporting the underdog fighting picaresquely against the corporate giants. I like that the whole point of open source is being allowed to see (and modify) the code. In simple terms, with open source as a development model it allows access to a product’s plans/blueprints through using a permissive license.

  • Need PCI Compliance? Try Open Source

    In a recent presentation, security professionals unveiled a proposed Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance model that is based on open source technology. The system is designed, they said, to help reduce expenses, enhance scalability and make it easier to manage the technological infrastructure that supports PCI compliance.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Big Data
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Free Nvidia CUDA 6.5 Packs ARM64 Support

      Improved debugging for CUDA Fortran applications (preview) is also here; this includes new debugging support for Fortran arrays (Linux only), improved source-to-assembly code correlation, and improved documentation.

    • Emacs verus notification area, again

      Ages and ages I wrote about letting Emacs code access the notification area. I have more to say about it now, but first I want to bore you with some rambling thoughts and some history.

      The “notification area” is also called the “status icon area” or the “systray” — it is a spot that holds some icons that are under control of various applications.

    • PHP 5.5.16 Officially Released
    • Out in the Open: How Animated GIFs Can Turn You Into a Web Coder

      Basically, all the site’s image effects are stored by a community of developers, much like any other open source software. Anyone can not only use these effects, but build their own and share them with the community by way of the code hosting and collaboration site GitHub. “Since everyone likes glitch art and animated GIFs, it’s a creative outlet for developers to create something new that’s outside their usual field,” say Jen Fong-Adwent, the creator of revisit.link. “But it’s also a way for new people to learn basics.”

    • Programming in Rust

      Discover Rust, the systems programming language developed by Mozilla that’s fast, and wants to be better than C and C++!

Leftovers
  • Security
    • Extra staff for OpenSSL group after Heartbleed drama

      ABOUT four months after the discovery of the Heartbleed bug, the group overseeing the widely used OpenSSL software has added a new full-time staffer and is preparing for a comprehensive code audit.

      Steve Marquess, co-founder and president of the OpenSSL Software Foundation, said the organisation’s team of 14 now had two full-time employees — one started this week — and planned to add two more by the end of the year.

    • Security advisories for Monday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND JOURNALISM

      Last week, Turkish media reported that “the former employee at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that British and American intelligence and Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).” Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organization that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest.”

      NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.

      According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders.” Leaks revealed that ISIS leader and cleric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi received intensive military training for a whole year at the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.”

      Indeed, this is a scandalous claim, one that has been seen on numerous Turkish news websites worded differently. Daily Sabah first reported it with a small news article, and later Daily Sabah columnist Haşmet Babaoğlu wrote about it in the first paragraph of one of his articles. The first paragraph of his article titled “Who benefits from ISIS’s existence in the Middle East?” stated, “Regardless of whether you are enthusiastic about conspiracy theories or not, Global Research’s claim that ‘former National Security Agency (NSA) systems analyst Edward Snowden recently revealed that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was trained by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence and spy agency’ is a topic worthy of debate.”

      It seems to me that the current phenomena gives more striking signals than conspiracy theories, however.

      [...]

      The news first appeared in French on July 9 on a Hezbollah website with Lebanon’s Hezbollah-sponsored channel, Al Manar, claimed as the source. After a short while, the news was translated into English, but, the source was now claimed to be Iran’s Fars News Agency. According to the news article, former analyst of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, proved with leaked documents that ISIS was a MI6, CIA and Mossad joint project. However, there were no indications of when and where Snowden made those remarks.

      [...]

      The best way to prevent this is to present the source. When we read Babaoğlu’s column, we see that he mentioned a website called www.globalresearch.ca. The site belongs to an organization called The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). They identify themselves as “an independent research and media organization based in Montreal. The CRG is a registered non-profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada.” They claim that their mission is to uncover “the unspoken truth.”

      Babaoğlu presented the news article of Global Research as a source, but what about their source? The claim was not based on evidence; however, this does not render his article worthless. After all, in his article, he speaks of who benefited from recent developments in the Middle East after ISIS’s appearance with actual events. There are views mentioned of several experts as well. Not to mention, there are no inconsistencies and factual errors in the article.

    • Hayden: It’s Just a Matter of Time Before ISIS Attacks America
    • ISIS attack on West ‘a question of timing’: Former CIA chief
    • How Much of a Threat is Isis to the West?
    • Daily Kos: ISIS ‘Politicians’ Are No Threat to U.S., So ‘Stop Freaking Out’ About Them

      In a Sunday-morning post, Daily Kos blogger Mark Sumner argued that the “threat ISIS represents to the United States” is “[e]xactly none” and urged us not to overreact now the way we supposedly did after 9/11 and consequently “hand over freedoms for an illusion of safety. The NSA reading your email and listening in on your phone, idiots mistaking a dropped t-shirt at the Mexican border for the prayer rug of invading Muslims, TSA workers who know you more intimately than your spouse. Those are bin Laden’s victories.”

    • Edward Snowden the Most Wanted Man in the World
    • Venice Film Festival: Latin American Film Birdman to Open

      One of the movies that tackles these topics is “Good Kill”, from the U.S. director Andrew Niccol. This film explores the guilt of a man that controls militar drones to kill Taliban people.

    • Gaza live: Hamas finance official killed in Israeli strikes

      The Israeli army has released what it says is a page from a seized Hamas training manual that would appear to support its case that Palestinian militants deliberately use the cover of residential areas for combat operations.

    • Gaza live: Hamas manual backing civilians as shields found, claims Israel

      Israeli Army says it has found manual showing Hamas tactic of using civilians as shields

    • Gaza live: We will arm Palestine, says Iran as conflict spirals

      Tehran will “accelerate” arming Palestinians in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander said on Monday.

      “We will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response,” said General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of aerial forces of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, in a statement on their official website sepahnews.com.

    • Three killed in Brazil prison riot

      Two prisoners were beheaded and another one died after being thrown off the roof in a riot that erupted in a jail in southern Brazil.

    • Militants Release U.S. Writer Held in Syria Since 2012

      U.S. freelance writer Peter Theo Curtis, who was abducted in Syria and held by militants from al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, was unexpectedly freed Sunday. Curtis went missing in October 2012 after crossing into northern Syria from Turkey. Negotiations for his release were mediated by Qatar, and the United Nations facilitated his handover in the Golan Heights Sunday evening. Curtis’s release came just days after the Islamic State posted a video online showing the execution of U.S. journalist James Foley. After the video was released, reports emerged that European countries and organizations had paid ransoms averaging over $2.5 million to negotiate the release of more than a dozen citizens held with Foley. The terms of Curtis’s release are unclear, but U.S. officials denied paying a ransom. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, “The U.S. government does not make concessions to terrorists.”

    • Iran TV shows off allegedly downed Israeli drone
    • Iran Shoots Down ‘Israeli Drone’ Near Nuclear Site
    • Iran says it downed Israeli drone near nuclear site
    • Iran ‘will arm Palestinians’ after Israel drone downed
    • Israel targets 2 Gaza mosques in latest airstrikes
    • Netanyahu Warns Gazans to Leave Hamas Sites
    • Gaza tower block collapses after Israeli air strike

      A block of residential apartments in Gaza City has collapsed following an Israeli airstrike on Saturday night. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the building was being used as a command centre by Hamas, but local residents say it was purely residential.

    • Syrian govt ‘ready to cooperate’ with US on IS militants

      Any US air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria must be coordinated with the country’s government, according to the Syrian foreign minister.

    • Washington Foreign Policy Hands Make The Case For The Unthinkable: An Alliance With Assad

      Revenge of the realists. “It is not in our interest to defeat Assad as long as groups like ISIS will be winners.”

  • Finance
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Privacy
    • Casualties of Cyber Warfare

      American and Chinese companies are getting caught in the crossfire of the brewing cyber war.

    • Germany spying on Turkey for ‘38 years’

      German foreign intelligence agency has been tapping Turkey for almost four decades, reports Focus amid the ongoing spy scandal between Berlin and Ankara. Some German officials defend the practice, saying that not all NATO allies can be treated as friends.

    • Facebook Messenger Hoax: Illegal Conversations Are Being Automatically Sent To Police

      A new Facebook Messenger hoax claims that illegal conversations being held over private messenger conversations are being analyzed and automatically sent to police. The hoax specifically targets users of the new Facebook Messenger app, and it claims that 250 have already been arrested for their illegal conversations.

    • Spying blind: How polls provide cover for domestic espionage

      Using inappropriately vague and misleading questions, polls have found an American public evenly divided in their support of NSA domestic espionage — and on whether Edward Snowden’s role in revealing the breadth and depth of it makes him a patriot or a traitor. Closer scrutiny indicates these divisions are more likely the result of systemic methodological biases in the polls than an expression of genuine opinion. This points to a far more troubling problem: Bad polls subvert a fair and balanced public debate on mass government spying, resulting in potentially anti-democratic remedies.

    • What others say: USA Freedom Act a testimony to informed public debate

      A little more than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government was collecting and storing the telephone records of millions of Americans, Congress is poised to end the program and provide significant protection for a broad range of personal information sought by government investigators.

      Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has proposed a version of the bill that is significantly more protective of privacy than one passed by the House in May. Like the House bill, Leahy’s proposal would end the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone “metadata” — information about the source, destination and duration of phone calls that investigators can “query” in search of possible connections to foreign terrorism.

    • A closer look at the issue of the NSA and building spyware into apps
    • The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google

      The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.

      The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration as key participants.

      ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      Earlier revelations sourced to the Snowden documents have exposed a multitude of NSA programs for collecting large volumes of communications. The NSA has acknowledged that it shares some of its collected data with domestic agencies like the FBI, but details about the method and scope of its sharing have remained shrouded in secrecy.

    • Corporations Spy on Nonprofits With Impunity

      Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see in the daily papers: Corporations conduct espionage against U.S. nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.

      Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.

      The evidence abounds.

      For example, six years ago, based on extensive documentary evidence, James Ridgeway reported in Mother Jones on a major corporate espionage scheme by Dow Chemical focused on Greenpeace and other environmental and food activists.

      Greenpeace was running a potent campaign against Dow’s use of chlorine to manufacture paper and plastics. Dow grew worried and eventually desperate.

      Ridgeway’s article and subsequent revelations produced jaw-dropping information about how Dow’s private investigators, from the firm Beckett Brown International (BBI), hired:

      • An off-duty DC police officer who gained access to Greenpeace trash dumpsters at least 55 times;

      • a company called NetSafe Inc., staffed by former National Security Agency (NSA) employees expert in computer intrusion and electronic surveillance; and,

      • a company called TriWest Investigations, which obtained phone records of Greenpeace employees or contractors. BBI’s notes to its clients contain verbatim quotes that they attribute to specific Greenpeace employees.

      Using this information, Greenpeace filed a lawsuit against Dow Chemical, Dow’s PR firms Ketchum and Dezenhall Resources, and others, alleging trespass on Greenpeace’s property, invasion of privacy by intrusion, and theft of confidential documents.

    • FBI scuttles contested $500 million, no-bid deal with Motorola

      In the face of multiple vendor protests, the FBI has cancelled plans to hand industry giant Motorola Solutions Inc. a sole-source contract worth up to $500 million, saying that it will reassess how to upgrade the bureau’s antiquated nationwide two-way radio network.

      The FBI had argued, in a justification for skirting competitive bidding requirements, that switching to another vendor would force the purchase of a complete new system costing $1.2 billion. The existing Motorola network has proprietary features that can’t interact with non-Motorola equipment, so the FBI said, sticking with Motorola would extend the use of equipment worth $300 million.

    • For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe

      Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent.

  • Civil Rights
    • Behold, John Brennan’s Scary Memo!
    • Liberal candidates never seem to satisfy liberal voters’ expectations: Farmer

      It seems the worst thing that can befall a liberal is to actually win an election for public office. Just ask President Obama or, better still, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

      Each man’s election was hailed by liberals as a kind of Second Coming, the arrival of Nirvana, the ultimate rejection, even repudiation, of their predecessors, George W. Bush and Michael Bloomberg, and of conservatism itself.

    • The Reclamation of Torture

      Torture ConceptTorture is making a comeback. Not the practice, at least in this country, but the word. For a decade, politicians and the media fenced the term off to keep it from contaminating their description of American behavior. But gradually, the word is being reclaimed. We should pay close attention to this development, for as we rediscover words that were once taboo, we define anew what it means to be an American.

    • The Ignored History of the Migrant Refugee Crisis

      Friday July 25 will not make history as the first time a war criminal was greeted at the White House. Nevertheless, this was the day that Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, who has been condemned for his role in the torture and murder of civilians by the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission as well as journalists and academics, sat down with President Obama. Along with the Presidents of El Salvador and Honduras, the Heads of State gathered to discuss the causes of the massive northern exodus from Central America, as well as the 50,000 migrants—largely women and children—that have already been detained by the US government for crossing the border. The silence about the literal skeletons in Molina’s closet reveals a much larger historical legacy that has been ignored in the discourse around the border crisis.

    • Mubarak resisted US pressure to give up the Sinai: The Secret Files

      Towards the end of his tenure, ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resisted pressures from Washington to cede Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula to help create a Palestinian state, former senior members of Mubarak’s ruling party told Asharq Al-Awsat.

    • Russia’s Humanitarian ‘Invasion’

      Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Americans are back on the war bandwagon

      Boosting US military involvement in Iraq will make matters worse.

    • Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws

      As part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report on police militarization, the Massachusetts chapter of the organization sent open records requests to SWAT teams across that state. It received an interesting response.

    • Cornel West: “He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency”

      Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and one of my favorite public intellectuals, a man who deals in penetrating analyses of current events, expressed in a pithy and highly quotable way.

      [...]

      And we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. It’s like, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that!” I tell you this, because I got hit hard years ago, but everywhere I go now, it’s “Brother West, I see what you were saying. Brother West, you were right. Your language was harsh and it was difficult to take, but you turned out to be absolutely right.” And, of course with Ferguson, you get it reconfirmed even among the people within his own circle now, you see. It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.

    • Cop Assigned To Ferguson Protests Threatens Attorney General Holder

      “AG Holder is in St. Louis Today. I should go in early and punch him in the nose for so many different reasons.” – Tweet by Sgt. Mike Weston, Velda City Police

    • Student’s Story About Shooting A Pet Dinosaur With A Gun Ends In Suspension, Arrest

      It would appear that Stone was only “disturbing” school officials who seemed intent on finding some evidence of his desire to shoot people and was understandably frustrated that they wouldn’t believe it wasn’t some sort of threat. Whatever disturbance Stone caused was limited to a single office. There was no reason for anyone to claim, much less believe, that his written assignment, or his behavior inside that office, was “disturbing” his classmates, other classes or anyone else not directly involved.

    • Women need protection from undercover officers

      Imagine the scenario. You meet someone and, from the outset, the attraction is mutual: silently shared smiles, lingering glances. You bond over shared interests and worldviews, and exchange telephone numbers. You start sleeping together and – as your pulse quickens every time the phone rings – you realise you are falling for each other. Days are spent together, walking in parks, trips to the cinema, romantic meals; time apart becomes difficult. Eventually, your partner moves in, and for years you share everything. Maybe you even have a child together. Then – suddenly – they appear depressed and become distant. One day, they are gone, leaving only an apologetic note on the kitchen table. You then discover everything you knew about them was false. They have invented a fake identity; their backstory, opinions, entire life, all a lie. They are undercover police officers, and were sent to spy on you and your friends.

    • Handcuffed Black Youth Killed Himself, Says Coroner

      A coroner’s report obtained exclusively by NBC News directly contradicts the police version of how a 22-year-old black man died in the back seat of a Louisiana police cruiser earlier this year — but still says the man, whose hands were cuffed behind his back, shot himself.

      In a press release issued March 3, the day he died, the Louisiana State Police said Victor White III apparently shot himself in an Iberia Parish police car. According to the police statement, White had his hands cuffed behind his back when he shot himself in the back.

    • Cops admit to false reports in Malmö protest

      Police withdrew statements that ambulance personnel were attacked at the anti-Nazi demonstrations on Saturday, and reported themselves for investigation after trampling protesters.

    • Give Killer Cops a Break, Says NYT

      The message of a New York Times piece by Michael Wines and Frances Robles (8/22/14) was clear: Police officers who shoot unarmed civilians need to be be given the benefit of the doubt.

    • NRA News Praises White Vigilante Patrols That Shot African-Americans After Hurricane Katrina

      Cam Edwards, host of the National Rifle Association’s news show, claimed that after Hurricane Katrina residents of the New Orleans neighborhood Algiers “were looking out for each other by walking the streets armed with firearms.” But according to a federal hate crimes indictment and numerous media reports, after Katrina white gun-toting vigilantes in Algiers targeted African-Americans with racially motivated violence.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Police Freeze Mega Shares in Money Laundering Investigation

        New Zealand authorities have placed 18.8% of the Kim Dotcom-founded cloud hosting service Mega under restraining order. The actions involve multi-millionaire William Yan, one of Mega’s largest shareholders, who is alleged to be involved in money laundering. Mega itself is not suspected of wrong-doing.

      • Witness Offered $3.50/Hr to Testify Against Pirate Bay Founder

        Witnesses are being summoned to appear in the trial of Gottfrid Svartholm set to take place in September. A Cambodia-based former colleague of the Pirate Bay founder has been offered $3.50 per hour to attend, but heated emails with Danish authorities indicate he will not be traveling.

Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

Monday 25th of August 2014 09:13:21 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • China Developing Its Own OS To Take On Apple, Microsoft, and Google

    If it hasn’t been made clear enough in recent months that China would love nothing more than to cut down on its reliance to American technology companies, its just-announced decision to create its own operating system should remedy that. At first, this OS will target the desktop, but eventually, it’ll make its way to smartphones and other mobile devices.

  • Desktop
    • Specialization and the Linux Desktop

      Our benevolent dictator for life recently claimed that he was still aiming at Linux being as prevalent on the desktop as it is in the datacenter or in the cloud. The statement was meant with roaring applause from the crowd, and a few healthy, and a few not so healthy, doses of skepticism from the press. Recently, IT World asked “Does it still make sense for Linus to want the desktop for Linux?”, and Matt Asay from Tech Repubic asked “Can we please stop talking about the Linux desktop?”. Both publishers are critical of the claim that there is still room for Linux on Personal Computers, and point to Android as a Linux success story. What both articles miss though is that the flexibility of Linux, and the permissiveness of it’s open source license may be the thing that saves Linux on the desktop, just not in the way we were expecting.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linus Torvalds is my hero, says 13 year old Zachary DuPont

      Zachary DuPon is a 6th grader who will turn 13 years old soon. He used to be an Arch Linux user and is looking forward to installing Gentoo Linux soon.

      The story of Zach goes like this – his school organized a project where students were asked to write a letter to their heroes, while most kids wrote to celebrities, Zach wrote to the ‘real’ hero of the modern technology world – Linus Torvalds.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Preview Of AMD Radeon R9 290 Hawaii Open-Source Performance

        Coming up next week is a comparison of the Radeon R9 290 graphics card against various other graphics cards on the latest open-source driver. Additionally, there will be a RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst driver comparison for the Radeon R9 290 graphics card. Unfortunately there will be no Radeon R9 290X graphics tests for lacking that GPU and having bought the R9 290 myself. For those that are anxious to see how the R9 290 performs on the open-source driver, I uploaded some initial standalone results this weekend for you to facilitate your own comparisons.

      • Open-Source AMD HSA Should Come To Fruition This Year

        AMD’s open-source OpenCL support has been lagging behind the proprietary drivers, but Bridgman says they’re trying to improve upon that too. In particular, it seems they may try to open-source more of their proprietary OpenCL driver implementation. Bridgman said, “For OpenCL not sure yet — we’re trying to get more people working on it and open up more code from our proprietary implementation, so rate of progress should improve but I don’t know how much yet.”

      • Preview Of AMD Radeon R9 290 Hawaii Open-Source Performance

        Coming up next week is a comparison of the Radeon R9 290 graphics card against various other graphics cards on the latest open-source driver. Additionally, there will be a RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst driver comparison for the Radeon R9 290 graphics card. Unfortunately there will be no Radeon R9 290X graphics tests for lacking that GPU and having bought the R9 290 myself. For those that are anxious to see how the R9 290 performs on the open-source driver, I uploaded some initial standalone results this weekend for you to facilitate your own comparisons.

    • Benchmarks
      • Intel Bay Trail Performance With Linux 3.16/3.17 & Mesa 10.3

        The Bay Trail HD Graphics tests for this article came down to:

        - Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS with all available stable release updates.

        - The updated Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS state with then enabling the Oibaf PPA for Mesa 10.3-devel.

        - The Oibaf’ed Ubuntu LTS configuration with then installing the Linux 3.16 stable kernel.

        - The above configuration but then upgrading to the experimental Linux 3.17 kernel in Git form.

      • Radeon Graphics Yield Mixed Results With Linux 3.17 Kernel

        This article serves as a comparison of the stable Linux 3.16 kernel against the latest Linux 3.17 Git kernel when testing a range of graphics cards from the Radeon HD 5770 through the Radeon R9 270X. The system setup was maintained the same through testing and Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS was used as a host but with upgrading to the Mesa 10.3-devel and xf86-video-ati 7.4.99 Git using the Oibaf PPA. With Linux 3.16.0 and Linux 3.17 Git, the following AMD graphics cards were tested on the Intel Core i7 4790K rig:

        - Radeon HD 5770
        - Radeon HD 6870
        - Radeon HD 6950
        - Radeon HD 7850
        - Radeon HD 7950
        - Radeon R9 270X

      • Preview: OS X 10.10 Yosemite vs. Ubuntu Linux GPU Performance

        At the request of many Phoronix readers, here’s our first tests of Apple’s OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” operating system as we see how the OpenGL performance compares between it and Ubuntu Linux with an updated kernel and Mesa.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Releases in the Future

        Long post about releases ahead, brace yourselves!

        Last week we released KDE Applications and KDE Platform 4.14.

        KDE Applications, KDE Platform and KDE Workspaces were sometimes collectively referred as the “KDE Software Compilation” or “KDE SC” in short form, which is arguably a bad name, but it is what it is.

      • My TODO List for LaKademy 2014
      • Release of libmygpo-qt 1.0.8 (Qt5 support inside )

        I’m happy to announce the release of a new version of my project libmygpo-qt. It again has been a while, over one year since the last release. And although it took so long, this release doesn’t include many new features, except one: support for building the library with Qt5.

      • How to contribute to the KDE Frameworks Cookbook

        Im a way, the book will partly provide an alternative way to consume the content provided by KDE TechBase. Because of that, the HTML version of the book will integrate and cross-link with TechBase. The preferences of what kind of documentation should be in the book or on TechBase are not yet written in stone, and will probably develop over time. The beauty of Free Software is that it also does not matter much – the content is there and may be mixed and remixed as needed.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • gnome 3 followup

        A quick followup from my previous post about using gnome shell for a week from a sysadmin view. I got a number of responses on irc and via email. Some of them providing handy hints and solutions or at least work arounds to some of the issues I ran into. I am happy to report that everyone who offered me suggestions/workarounds/tips were very polite and many were in agreement that some of these were issues that should get fixed or implemented.

  • Distributions
    • Why I don’t distro-hop: Because work. And pain.

      In any Linux distribution I use, I’d love to have full functionality with the open Radeon graphics driver. I’d also love a packaged Catalyst driver that works with GNOME 3. I can’t get the former with anything just yet, and I can’t get the latter in Fedora due to Wayland code in GNOME 3 that doesn’t yet play with Catalyst. Since I tend to run Xfce instead of GNOME, this isn’t a deal-breaker.

    • Manjaro 0.8.10 Receives New Update Pack and New Kernels

      Manjaro 0.8.10, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and 100% compatible with Arch, has received a new update pack that brings some very important updates and changes.

    • Slackware Family
      • Salix Fluxbox 14.1 Beta 1 Is Light Distro Based on Slackware

        “It’s time to revive our Fluxbox edition! Here is a first beta that is mostly untested for now, so feel free to try it out and post your findings.The Fluxbox edition is designed to bring a minimalist environment to your desktop. The default desktop layout is comprised only from the Fluxbox panel and the right click menu will bring up the Fluxbox menu, so it should be really light on resources. The file manager that is used is PCManFM.”

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • The Ubuntu Touch Image #203 Is Quite Fast And Stable

            The developers have started the work for the RTM (release to manufacturing) version of Ubuntu Touch, which will get only bug-fixes.

            Ubuntu Touch is developed on three branches: Utopic, which is the “stable” branch, the development branch utopic-devel and the RTM branch, which, unlike the two others, is not available for public yet.

            So, if you want an Ubuntu Touch version that receives all the new features in time, got for the “stable” branch. And for an Ubuntu Touch with less bugs and crashes, try the Ubuntu RTM.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn Now Uses Kernel 3.16.1

            Due to the fact that the Kernel Freeze will arrive in seven weeks, most likely, Ubuntu 14.10 will not ship with the newest version of Kernel 3.16.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Hits Feature Freeze

            Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) is going to pass through several development stages and the Feature Freeze is just one of them. This means that developers can no longer get new features and major changes into the system, unless it’s important enough to get an exemption.

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Is Open Source Becoming the De Facto Standard in the Data Center?

    Is open source positioned to become the next mode of standardization in the virtualization world?

  • Islamic State militant group used less restrictive social network

    The Islamic State extremist group began using a social networking website with less restrictions on users after other social media sites, Twitter and YouTube in particular, removed content related to the group.

    The social network called Diaspora lets users control their own personal data rather than storing the information itself, and it allows users to designate their own servers to host their data.

  • Events
    • ownCloud to organize Developer Conference in Berlin

      ownCloud is one of the most important free software projects around because we all are moving to the cloud for easy access to our data anywhere, anytime. The ‘so-called’ cloud has it’s own advantages, but it also compromises one’s ownership and control of the data. The moment you put your data on someone else’s cloud you lose the control and ownership over your own data.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Did Brendan Eich Contribute to Firefox’s Decline?

        This may sound like analyzing yesterday’s news, but I think it’s important, and more than that I need to put this here as a resource to point certain people to.

        As we probably all know Brendan Eich [co-]creator of the JavaScript scripting language, co-founder of the Mozilla project, the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, and ex-chief technical officer of Mozilla Corporation was promoted to chief executive officer (CEO) of Mozilla on March 24, 2014 only to resign on April 3, 2014 due to controversy over his $1,000 donation to the unconstitutional California Proposition 8 in 2008.

  • Freedom
    • on the Dark Ages of Free Software: a “Free Service Definition”?

      Free Software community is winning a war that is becoming increasingly pointless: yes, users have 100% Free Software thin client at their fingertips [or are really a few steps from there]. But all their relevant computations happen elsewhere, on remote systems they do not control, in the Cloud.

  • Misc.
Leftovers
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • 9-year-old trains to be ‘caliphate’ jihadi

      In Raqqah, heavily-armed jihadists are seen celebrating on US armoured vehicles seized during their advances in Iraq, while sharia police patrol streets and markets with rifles over their shoulders. Patrol chief Abu Obida orders traders to remove a poster showing “infidels,” then blithely tells a man to change the fabric on his wife’s veil.

    • US weighs direct military action against ISIS in Syria

      The Obama administration is debating a more robust intervention in Syria, including possible American air strikes, in a significant escalation of its weeks-long military assault on the Islamic extremist group that has destabilized neighbouring Iraq and killed an American journalist US, officials said.

    • The Republican Embrace of ISIL-Type Violence

      Remember when two cops were shot by homegrown white conservative terrorists in Las Vegas and Paul Waldman at the Washington Post, wrote, “It’s long past time for prominent conservatives and Republicans to do some introspection and ask whether they’re contributing to outbreaks of right-wing violence”?

      Remember when Republicans rejected the idea that their rhetoric could incite violence, let alone that it is violent?

      And think again about how Muslims should get a bullet in the head and pro-immigration Republicans should be shot and hanged.

      Remember these instances of violent right-wing rhetoric?

    • British, American special forces forming hunter killer unit ‘Task Force Black’ to smash Islamic State

      Britain’s elite special forces along with US special forces are forming a unit called Task Force Black to hunt down the killer of James Foley and smash the Islamic State.

      According to the Mirror and as reported by the Sunday People, the undercover unit’s aim will be to “cut the head off the snake” by hitting the command structure of the Islamist terror group responsible for a trail of atrocities across Iraq and Syria.

    • Op-Ed: Mystery plane bombs Tripoli again for a second night

      Most reports do not mention Haftar’s links to the CIA nor do the most recent reports I have read mention Haftar’s own remarks to the effect that these bombings are a joint effort with the international community.

    • What’s the truth behind Malaysian Flight 17 downing?: CIA Analysts Won’t Back White House Claims of Russian Culpability

      With the US continuing to push its submissive European “allies” towards an ever more confrontational stance towards Russia over the crisis in Ukraine (a crisis initially provoked by the US itself through CIA and State Department actions that led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government), the world appears headed towards a dangerous renewed Cold War between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.

      A central part of that campaign by Washington has been the effort to blame the downing of Malaysian Flight 17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew, on Russia, or failing that, on pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. This campaign has used innuendo, falsified evidence and, weirdly, spurious and sometimes absurd “evidence” circulating in various social media — all of which which people like Secretary of State John Kerry and president Obama himself have tried to say “prove” that Russia, or at least a Russian-provided high-altitude BUK anti-aircraft missile, was responsible for the downing.

    • Here’s How The Kremlin’s English-Language Propaganda Organs Are Spinning Russia’s Incursion Into Ukraine

      The current situation in Ukraine is reaching a head as Russian armour and aid trucks are freely flowing over the boarder, an act that Ukraine has called a “direct invasion.”

      For the first time in months of crisis, NATO accused Russia of directly intervening in Ukraine’s restive east, where Kiev has been fighting Russian-supported separatists.

    • Reports Of ISIS Beheadings Are Horrifyingly Common

      During the first two weeks of August, Islamic State fighters killed 700 members of the al-Sheitaat tribe in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Many of them were beheaded, the organization said. Islamic State militants had been battling the tribe since seizing two oil fields in Syria in July.

    • Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Hamas

      “Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Sexton explained. “It was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a cleric and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood himself.”

      Sexton said Yassin founded in Hamas in 1987, during the first intifada.

      “In 1988, Hamas established a charter, a mission statement,” Sexton continued. “It said that its goal is to raise the flag of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Well, that’s a problem, because when they say Palestine, they mean Israel.”

    • How Snowden Complicates the Prevention of Future Leaks

      George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and the most prominent members of their teams feel differently, of course, which helps explain why Snowden became a whistleblower in the first place. The national-security state is its own worst enemy, doing more to undermine its own legitimacy than its critics ever could.

    • The truth about Iraq’s liberation

      US air strikes on Iraq are part of a criminal scheme to safeguard western control of the country’s oil, writes Dahlia Wasfi

    • US must consider partnering with Assad to defeat IS: former CIA agent

      The Obama administration is still weighing up how to respond to the Islamic State terrorist group after the beheading of American journalist James Foley. Pressure is growing on president Obama to do more than the current strategy of airstrikes on IS targets in Iraq. Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Martin Dempsey said IS can only be defeated by countering Sunni militancy in Syria. The World Today spoke to former CIA counter-terrorist officer Patrick Skinner.

    • Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed

      There are extraordinary elements in the present U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the U.S. is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The U.S. would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.

    • ‘Germans fed up with NATO allies & US wars’ – Frmr Defense Secretary
  • Transparency Reporting
    • When Google Met WikiLeaks Note

      A pungent account by Assange of the banality of corporate evil, as he terms Google. Assange says the exchange with Eric Schmidt and colleagues may be his best interview — which composes about half the volume.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • FRACK TO FRONT

      Earlier in the summer, SchNEWS broke the story of the infamous Infrastructure Bill. The new law, still winding its way through parliament, will allow for any public land to be ‘transferred’ via a Government body to private developers.The Infrastructure Bill is still very much happening, and it’s got even uglier. We’re talking compulsory fracking uglier.

  • Finance
    • In Detroit, Water Crisis Symbolizes Decline, and Hope

      Nearly 19,500 Detroiters have had their water service interrupted since March 1. The Water and Sewerage Department, under pressure to reduce more than $90 million in bad debt, ordered shutoffs for customers who owed at least $150 or had fallen at least two months behind on their bills. The decision to take such drastic measures, done with little warning, ignited a controversy that prompted protests and arrests, more bad publicity for the struggling city, global dismay, and a warning from the United Nations.

    • How a degree from Duke University dashed my dreams of buying a home

      I didn’t realize just how much of an impact student loan debt would have until I attempted to buy a house

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • BBC’s long struggle to present the facts without fear or favour

      Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that the BBC can appear like a damaged, bullied child, defensive and afraid. The stakes for BBC News are immeasurably high. If we believe in the BBC as a positive and beneficial ideological intervention in our lives, if we believe in it as the greatest, and best loved, signifier of Britain there is, then things have to change – outside the BBC as well as inside it. The bullies need to lay off. The whole culture that surrounds it needs to become less vituperative, more mature.

  • Censorship
    • Europe: A Union of Common Censorship

      Freedom is fundamental to prosperity. Those who cherish freedom most are often those who have not always enjoyed it. Thus the souls whose lives were blighted by Communist totalitarianism often rejoice at the simplest pleasures, even 25 years after the evils of the system were unraveled across Europe. Their joy in being able to travel has been hugely enhanced by that core Western value – freedom. Unfortunately, just as the European Union appears to have forgotten how to create prosperity, so, too, it seems to have gone somewhat patchy on the notion of freedom.

    • India sacks movie censor chief over bribery charge

      MUMBAI: India has removed the chief executive of its film censorship board after he was arrested on accusations he took a bribe to clear a movie for screening.

    • Gavin McInnes Makes a Great Argument Against Censorship

      Last week, performance artist, professional agitator, and Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes took to Thought Catalog—a publication known for particularly vapid and terrible millennial musings—to speculate about how “transphobia is perfectly natural.” People were outraged. People demanded the piece be removed. Thought Catalog responded by slapping on a big old trigger warning—if you go to the McInnes article page now, you’ll get a notice that “the article you are trying to read has been reported by the community as hateful or abusive content” before being allowed to proceed—but like hell it was going to take down such spectacular clickbait.

    • Canada’s despicable climate censorship: Government scientists need permission to tweet basic facts

      New documents reveal the extent of the government’s maddening policy of “suppression through bureaucracy”

    • Twitter’s busy week: Censorship rules and changing timelines
    • ‘Recovered Voices’ initiative studies grim history of Nazi censorship

      The Nazis, of course, had their terrible guidelines based on religion, race or modernist “decadence.”

  • Privacy
    • Corporate hack attack fears drive flash of cash

      Mr Snowden’s exposé revealed that the NSA had gained access to large internet companies’ servers stored in clouds, and inserted “back doors” into encryption software. In the immediate aftermath there were fears that distrust in US cloud-storage providers could cost such companies dearly, with the highest estimates forecasting a 25 per cent hit to overall IT service provider revenues globally.

    • White Paper: Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices

      I received word from the editor-in-chief that the author of an accepted paper has permission to publish it on his website, and so I am now making my research available to anyone who wishes to read it. The following paper, “Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices” first appeared published in The International Journal of Digital Forensics and Incident Response in March 2014′s publication. The Editor-in-Chief is Eoghan Casey, with the Information Security Institute, John Hopkins University, Maryland. The editorial board consists of researchers from Google, Microsoft, LG, The Mitre Corporation, and a number of universities. This paper was the basis for my talk at the HOPE/X conference in NYC in July 2014. Please enjoy.

    • THE WEST IS LOSING TURKEY

      The announcements were both as expected and made one smile. Evidently, the main reason is the ambiguity of the policies implemented by the Erdoğan government, which shows an unbounded character according to them. Aside from wiretapping some politicians and bureaucrats of Turkey, the BND also probably used other communication tools such as the Internet. Former BND chief Wieck stated that such authority could only be granted by the German government, while intelligence experts underlined that such an operation could only be conducted by using some intermediaries in Turkey.

    • Germany spies on Albania to monitor ‘organised crime’: report

      Germany’s secret service has been spying on Albania for years to keep tabs on “organised crime”, Der Spiegel claimed on Saturday, days after it was revealed that Berlin had been eavesdropping on Turkey.

  • Civil Rights
    • Ferguson: officer relieved of duty after video of racist remarks surfaces

      A police officer involved in the protests over Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, has been relieved of his duty after video surfaced of him making racist and derogatory remarks.

      Dan Page was recorded in April giving a speech in which he described President Barack Obama as an illegal immigrant, and railed against Muslims and gay people. “I’m into diversity – I kill everybody,” he said.

    • High school student arrested for writing story about shooting dinosaur

      When a South Carolina student was given an assignment by his teacher to create a Facebook-type status report telling something interesting about himself, he allegedly wrote “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.”

    • John Yoo and The Senate Torture Report

      John Choon Yoo, aka John Yoo, authored the Torture Memos used to justify torture of human beings by the Bush Administration.

      [...]

      The SSCI Torture report has been approved for public release. However, the SSCI and the CIA are fighting over the CIA’s substantial redactions to the torture report summary. The torture report is 6,000 pages, adopted by the SSCI in December 2012; it is the most comprehensive report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a euphemism for torture.

    • This guy accepted a ‘water-boarding challenge’

      Some sheep have been bold enough to show their bravery by accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge. Others demand a greater feat, such as proving one’s capability to read on a fifth-grade level. But some motherfuckers? Some motherfuckers just don’t know when to quit. Some motherfuckers decidedly accepted a means of CIA-endorsed torture–not so much for the ALS children–but, like Bill Burr has already professed, for their own two and a half seconds of fame.

    • Journalist James Risen: will he be jailed for not revealing source?

      While President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have asked this week for law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo., to not jail reporters for doing their jobs, press advocates are asking the administration and the Justice Department to stop prosecuting a New York Times national security correspondent for doing his. As Ashley Westerman reports from Washington, DC, the years-­long case of James Risen has had a chilling effect on journalists and whistleblowers.

    • The administration should not press reporter James Risen to reveal a source

      LAST WEEK President Obama offered some lofty words about journalism and democracy. Commenting on the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., he declared, “Here, in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground.”

    • Obama Admits ‘We Tortured Some Folks,’ But Is the Bush Era Over?

      As Taguba noted in his piece for the Times, he knows “from experience that oversight will help the C.I.A. — as it helped the United States military.” He wrote: “Ten years ago, I was directed by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior officer in Iraq, to investigate allegations of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. My report’s findings, which prompted a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, documented a systemic problem: military personnel had perpetrated ‘numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses.’” He believes that the reason American’s support for terrorism has increased in recent years only because there has been no honest accounting. He cited a 2012 YouGov poll and research conducted by Amy Zegart of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Although several years old, that survey showed that 41 percent of Americans supported torturing prisoners, a 14-percentage point increase from 2007. “It turns out that Americans don’t just like the general idea of torture more now,” Zegart wrote for Foreign Policy in September 2012. “They like specific torture techniques more too.”

    • Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in ‘disturbing surge of beheadings’

      Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 19 people since the beginning of August in a surge of executions, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

    • ‘Comprehensive’ CIA Torture Report Won’t Even Name Well-Known Architects of Torture Program

      Some familiar names will be missing from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s long-awaited report on the CIA’s torture program, VICE News has learned.

      Notably, two retired Air Force psychologists, Dr. Bruce Jessen and Dr. James Mitchell, who have been credited with being the architects of the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” have their names redacted in the 480-page executive summary of the report, according to current and former US officials knowledgeable about the contents of the document.

    • The killer on the (Saudi) king’s highway

      The House of Saud, directly and indirectly, and the proverbial wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council donors are the Mom and Dad of ISIS. All duly vetted/approved by the industrial-military-Orwellian-Panopticon complex.

    • Leaks, Whistleblowers, and the Media’s Right to Report

      Their stories are not new. What Spione brought to the screen was the humanity of the whistleblowers and the patriotic idealism that compelled them to work in government agencies like the NSA and the CIA and then to speak out against the excesses they saw there. If anything, Silenced dramatizes how the landscape of government secrecy has changed dramatically since 9/11 and the war on terror. It makes the argument that whistleblowers play an essential role: Leaks are a necessary prophylactic, especially when they reveal the abuse of public authority and the harm done to the rights of citizens.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Police: Finding Pirate Bay Documents is Too Expensive

        City of London Police have denied a Freedom of Information request for access to correspondence relating to The Pirate Bay. According to the police it would take more than 18 hours to locate the requested information and would therefore cost too much money.

Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

Sunday 24th of August 2014 12:24:53 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • The whale that swallowed New Zealand’s election campaign

    A spectacular exposé alleging prime minister John Key and his National party colleagues were involved in dirty tricks campaigns has created the most significant political maelstrom in nearly six years in office and blown the government’s re-election strategy dramatically off course, writes Toby Manhire

  • Women significantly outnumber teenage boys in gamer demographics

    Adult female gamers have unseated boys under the age of 18 as the largest video game-playing demographic in the U.S., according to a recently published study from the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group focused the U.S. gaming industry.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • ASIO explains why Australians can fight for some terrorists and not others

      In the past week, the Abbott government has revealed a new package of anti-terrorism laws targeting Australian jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria that aroused the resentment of several Islamic community representatives. Recently, ASIO chief David Irvine decided to meet with a team of Arab-speaking journalists in Sydney in an attempt to communicate his message, which centred on the distinction between a War on Terror and a War on Islam.

    • Events in Ferguson show why we read the news: entertainment

      When the hysteria began following the revelations about NSA surveillance, I predicted that we’d have an enjoyable hissy fit — then nothing would change (details here). And 14 months later little has changed (perhaps nothing). Now the events in Ferguson MO have sparked a new cycle of outrage over the militarization of police. My prediction is that again little or nothing will change. Here we consider why public outrage has so little effect: news is just entertainment.

    • Indian Army seals cross-border tunnel that sneaks in terrorists

      After Modi ministry came to power, violations per day by Pakistan army has escalated. The reason being that cross border infiltration by terrorists has been stopped by Indian Army. The combined efforts of Indian Army acting on NSA’s advise based in IM, RAW and IB is making J&K becoming hot for jihadis. The tunnel was discovered two weeks back and since then Pakistan has not stopped attack on Indian Army outposts. The Pak Army has admitted that two civilians were dead and soldiers injured on their side.

    • Demand Swells for Straight Answers on the Downing of Malaysian Airlines’ MH17 in Ukraine

      A long list of prominent individuals has signed, a number of organizations will be promoting next week, and you can be one of the first to sign right now, a petition titled “Call For Independent Inquiry of the Airplane Crash in Ukraine and its Catastrophic Aftermath.”

    • ISIS a Jewish Plot? Propaganda and Islamic Jihad

      The combination of events – first, the anti-Semitism expressed by IS supporters and, then, the anti-Semitism by calling IS itself a Jewish plot – is more than simply dizzying. It is treacherous. And it can lead only to the creation of more widespread Jew hate, and thorough confusion among politicians, security agencies, and the police.

    • A pleasant surprise for Washington

      Germany’s announcement that it was ready to arm Iraqi Kurdish fighters against IS was neither expected nor demanded by the US. And yet it’s a welcome boost for the Obama administration – and also helps Berlin.

    • Did an Israeli Sniper Kill an Unarmed Man in Gaza?

      An Israeli activist has told Channel 4 News that he has gathered testimony from three Israeli soldiers who said they witnessed Shamaly’s killing. “They were completely convinced that what they did was wrong,” the Israeli activist, Eran Efrati, said. “They were guilty. The man in the green shirt was not any threat to their lives.”

    • Assassin’s Creed: Taking Out Individuals as a War Strategy

      Israel was the first country to incorporate targeted assassination into its law books, followed by America, which since the September 11, 2001, attacks has perfected the use of sophisticated drones to target terrorist leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    • How many Palestinian civilians is a single militant worth?

      As of Thursday, 76.8 percent of the 2,090 fatalities documented by the Gazan human rights organization Mizan have been civilians.

    • Drone strike kills 6 Pakistani militants, including senior commander in Kunar

      At least six members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed following a drone strike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

      Provincial police chief for Kunar province, Gen. Abdul Habib Syed Khel, confirmed that six Pakistani militants were killed following a drone strike by coalition forces.

    • Hamas executes 18 alleged spies for Israel

      Gaza gunmen executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel Friday, including seven who were lined up behind a mosque with bags over their heads and shot in front of hundreds of people.

      The killings came in response to Israel’s deadly airstrike against three top Hamas military commanders.The incident occurred after more than six weeks of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas.

    • US debates more robust Syria intervention

      The Obama administration is debating a more robust intervention in Syria, including possible US airstrikes, in a significant escalation of its weeks-long military assault on the Islamic extremist group that has destabilised neighbouring Iraq and killed a US journalist, officials said on Friday.

    • Hamas executes ‘collaborators’
    • Hamas admits its men abducted Israeli teens, says its leaders didn’t know

      A Hamas official admitted Friday that militants from his group abducted three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June, but the official said the kidnappers did not tell their leaders about the action.

    • Gaza mortar fire kills child in southern Israel

      An Israeli child was killed by mortar fire from Gaza on Friday, the army said, bringing the number of civilians killed in Israel during the 46-day conflict with Hamas to four.

    • Israel says boy killed by Gaza mortar bomb
    • Jury acquits anti-drone protester

      A six-person jury acquitted anti-drone protester Russell Brown on July 31 in an East Syracuse, N.Y., court of all charges after he testified about how current U.S. murderous drone strikes are like the U.S. war crimes committed during the ­Vietnam War.

      Brown was on trial for an April 2013 protest at Hancock National Guard Airbase in Syracuse. He smeared himself with red dye to represent the death of drone victims and lay down in a roadway in front of the base. He was arrested and faced charges carrying a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

    • Egypt Army Bombs Weapons Facility Allegedly Linked To Hamas
    • Families of Victims of One Drone Strike in Yemen Paid more than an Entire Year’s Worth of Victims in Afghanistan

      In the twisted world of compensation for errant drone attacks, an attempt at making up for killing innocent civilians in one country has proven far more valuable than a year’s worth of slaughter in another nation.

    • Yemen: Victims of U.S. Drone Strike on Wedding Party Got $1 Million Payout

      The family members of 12 people killed and others injured in a U.S. drone strike on a wedding party in Yemen last year have received condolence payments totaling more than $1 million. Documents provided by the group Reprieve to The Washington Post show the payment ostensibly came from the Yemeni government, but the high amount suggests the U.S. government is providing reimbursement. The documents also show the identities of those killed. They include a 29-year-old man identified as an associate of a Yemeni group working against Islamist militancy.

    • OPINION: Violations of International Law Denigrate U.N.
    • Civilian Victims Of U.S. Drone Strike In Yemen Reportedly Receive Over $1 Million
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Rupert Murdoch, the man who put the ‘twit’ into Twitter

      It’s a time when PR outfits have to bat on through the dog days of summer with very little of any substance to rely on. So they pump out a welter of verbiage in the hope that equally desperate journalists will discern a gleaming nugget lurking in the dross, pick it up,and give it a polish. Indeed, it is so bad I actually came very close to writing a piece about a GPS service that tracks the whereabouts of cats on their nocturnal peregrinations. In the end though I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Dignity, you know, always dignity.

      That said, I couldn’t resist this one. The Foxy one himself, for it is he, Rupert Murdoch, an occasional user of Twitter after discovering social media in the halcyon years of his mid-dotage, has taken to the medium again to express the opinion that Google is worse than America’s NSA!

      Here’s the twit’s deathless Twitter in full, “NSA privacy invasion bad but nothing compared to Google”. Now that has to be enough to make the aforementioned tabby chortle it’s little furry bootees off.

  • Censorship
    • The Military Is Banning Soldiers from Reading Documents Everyone Else Can See

      The government isn’t just keeping track of what civilians are looking at online. They’re also concerned with the browsing habits of their own soldiers.

    • Islamic State joins Diaspora, let’s debunk some myths

      Diaspora, an open source, distributed social network, has come under fire recently for not being able to censor members of Islamic State in the same fashion that Facebook and Twitter have.

      Recent articles in the mainstream press explain how Diaspora doesn’t have a central body with the ability to remove users or their posts because of the distributed nature of the network, however these claims seem ill-considered as they aren’t correct.

  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
    • Gabbard calls for demilitarizing police

      Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has called for demilitarizing of American police.

    • Green Party: Demilitarize the police, end racial disparities and bring justice to the criminal justice system

      Greens speak out in the wake of the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., warn about the emergence of a police state

    • Godwin’s Law

      Keep the sentiment of Godwin’s Law in mind as you read, listen, write and speak here and elsewhere. Hyperbole exists, can be sneaky or unintended, and actually can ruin the importance of what you have to say. The legitimacy of your point could be threatened by such dire comparisons. If you don’t even bother trying to catch it, well then truly, you are worse than Hitler.

    • Militarization of our police threatens democracy

      The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the heavy-handed police tactics that have followed point to a growing problem in this country: the threat of a police state that endangers not only public safety, but democracy itself.

      After the fatal shooting of the unarmed Brown by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, local law enforcement descended upon the city like an occupying force, complete with military weapons, tear gas, rubber bullets and armored personnel carriers.

    • Cop-Tech: The Inevitable Future of Policing

      By now, we’ve heard much about the militarization of police forces, but not so much about other advances in cop-tech that could be as consequential. With national attention lingering on the issue of police brutality — some 400 police killings take place per year, according to USA Today — questions around new policing technologies are pressing. Some of the new gadgets, like Taser’s officer cam, are meant to foster accountability. But others aim to keep pace with increasingly connected and tech-savvy criminals. The civil libertarians are fretting.

    • The Same Hashish They Give Out

      As the public release of the Senate’s report on a four-year investigation into the CIA’s torture program approaches, John Brennan, the agency’s director, is in an uncomfortable spotlight. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the CIA, has accused the agency of abusing its power. See Brave New Films’ short video below.

    • White House Touts Petition Site But Many Await Replies

      The White House could hardly contain itself earlier this month when President Barack Obama signed a bill allowing American consumers to unlock their cell phones. The bill was driven in part by the White House’s own petition website, “We The People,” and touted as an example of a new model of citizen advocacy influencing change in Washington.

    • Police officer suspended after branding Ferguson protesters ‘rabid dogs’

      St Louis police say it has suspended one of its officers expressed contempt for the protesters on his Facebook account

    • Elderly Hackney pastor has heart attack after ‘botched police raid’

      A police spokesman confirmed officers had obtained a warrant for the raid, but admitted no drugs were found or arrests made. She added: “We are aware an official complaint is being lodged. Under these circumstances it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • DeMaio Campaign Says Peters Waffles on Net Neutrality

      The Carl DeMaio campaign on Thursday accused Rep. Scott Peters of siding with the cable industry in efforts to undermine net neutrality.

      Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally. Cable industry leaders argue that providers of data-intensive services such as movie delivery should be given preferential treatment if they pay more.

Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

Saturday 23rd of August 2014 10:22:45 AM

Summary: A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft

OVER THE years we have demonstrated that payments from Microsoft have a strong correlation to Android and/or Google FUD. Examples included Ben Edelman, Microsoft Florian, and Edward Naughton. Microsoft either pays people to publicly smear the biggest competition or rewards people for smearing Microsoft’s biggest competition. Sometimes the source of the smear is a Microsoft-connected company; we gave some examples of these over the years. These connections are a lot more transparent.

There were many cases where Xuxian Jiang, who had worked for Microsoft, slammed Android, making that his hobby/academic goal. Now we are seeing yet another guy from Microsoft (see his resume that he makes available in his Web site) making a career out of Android FUD. His name is Zhiyun Qian. He worked for Microsoft 4 years ago. Suffice to say, not every criticism of Android and not every Chinese/Taiwanese critic of Android is Microsoft-connected (consider the complaint of Chih-Wei Huang for example), but the point we are making is that when one criticises Android it is worth checking if there have been payments from Microsoft because it very often turns out to be the case.

Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

Saturday 23rd of August 2014 09:20:51 AM

Summary: Microsoft’s attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)

Microsoft’s attempts to corrupt Chile seem to have brought nothing but blowback. Microsoft and its minion got shamed and the FOSS policy will soon get even stronger. Moreover, Microsoft is making Chile’s anti-lobbying laws stronger by basically trying to lobby and to write legislation by proxy. It shows that this wholly malicious strategy from Microsoft is finally not paying off, thanks in part to reporters who exposed what had happened. Well done, Chile!

We can safely assume that what Microsoft is doing in Chile right now it also tried to do in the UK e.g. pressuring the Cabinet Office regarding its pro-ODF policy. Microsoft, by all indications, is not a scapegoat; it’s not hated because of “jealousy” or because of its size. It is not hated for being incompetent or for being shoddy (which its software is). The company is corrupt. It’s a criminal enterprise with a long track record to show it. Thankfully, however, we keep seeing new stories that show us just how corrupt Microsoft really is. People who deny this are simply ignoring reality.

Today we have several updates from Chile and from Munich, Germany. Citing this article from Miguel Parada, Softpedia writes:

Fresh on the heels of the entire Munich and Linux debacle, another story involving Microsoft and free software has popped up across the world, in Chile. A prolific magazine from the South American country says that the powerful Microsoft lobby managed to turn around a law that would allow the authorities to use free software.

Towards the end it is also connected to what’s happening in Munich. To quote: “Microsoft has been in the news in the last few days because the German city of Munich that adopted Linux and dropped Windows system from its administration was considering, supposedly, returning to proprietary software.

“This new situation in Chile give us a sample of the kind of pull a company like Microsoft has and it shows us just how fragile laws really are. This is not the first time a company tries to bend the laws in a country to maximize the profits, but the advent of free software and the clear financial advantages that it offers are really making a dent.

“Five years ago, few people or governments would have considered adopting free software, but the quality of that software has risen dramatically and it has become a real competition for the likes of Microsoft.”

Richard Stallman is visiting Chile right now (coinciding with a Microsoft scandal over there). Here is a new article about Stallman’s reaction to what Microsoft is doing in Chile. He was there at the right time and he will hopefully raise issues like privacy, digital autonomy, and economic benefits of using FOSS (local engineers being in charge), and so on. Ernesto Manríquez told us that “MS lobby [is] in a 65 million dollar market, and how Vlado Mirosevic lost his innocence,” based on this new article in Spanish (we won’t provide automated translations as anyone is able to do so upon desire). Manríquez also told us that “Chilean Chamber of Deputies to harden anti-lobby law after Microsoft scandal,” based on this article in Spanish.

This is very relevant to the Microsoft propaganda against Munich for its successful migration to GNU/Linux. In the wake of revelations about NSA surveillance in Latin America and Germany (for espionage, not antiterrorism) this should matter a lot. Microsoft and the NSA are in bed together and this means that Chile would be worse than foolish to embrace anything at all from Microsoft (even some random application). This is why Munich did the right thing. It went to FOSS all the way. It’s not difficult for the NSA to crack.

Simon Sharwood has not yet caught up with the latest news from Chile, but he did cover (in English) what Microsoft had done there:

Microsoft successfully lobbied against a law that would have seen Chile’s government adopt open-source software, says Elmostrador, a newspaper in the South American nation.

The publication’s report tells the tale of Vlado Mirosevic, a left-leaning politician who is the leader of the Chilean Liberal Party and its only representative in the national parliament.

In April this year, Mirosevic proposed a bill that would have compelled Chile’s government agencies to at least consider open-source software. Buying proprietary software would still be possible, once an agency justified the decision.

Manríquez is meanwhile showing us articles like this one (in Spanish) about what he calls “The long arm of Microsoft lobby and political connections” (familiar issue).

Microsoft is not a company but more like a political movement or a secret society/sect that infiltrates governments. We have already given many examples of Microsoft’s use of connections in government for corruption, including massive tax evasion (worth billions of dollars). See examples from Europe, from the US, and from India. The relationships often work like bribery in terms of money rolling back to politicians’ pockets when they give public money to Microsoft through contracts. Sometimes Microsoft veterans move to politics (where they use their newly-acquired power to help Microsoft) — or conversely — politicians being promised a salary from Microsoft in the future. This is the “Revolving doors” type of bribery. Classic! We already saw how one Microsoft veteran facilitated Microsoft’s massive tax evasion in the United States after he had infiltrated government.

A follower from Argentina told us last night we would be interested in this new report about Microsoft admitting that it avoids $29 billion in US taxes (just US). If that’s not enough to show just how corrupt Microsoft is, what will be?

Going back to Munich, the Microsoft boosters who distorted the story didn’t actually stick to facts. Munich complains about misreporting. As Jim Lynch put it the other day:

I saw that story floating around many sites yesterday and decided to hold off commenting about it. There was just something about it that rubbed me the wrong way, and I’m glad I waited before including it in a roundup.

Frankly though, it doesn’t surprise me that some sites would jump the gun and use it as an opportunity to belittle or bash Linux. We’ve seen this kind of thing before where a tempest in a teacup gets blown all out of proportion and suddenly Linux is doomed or whatever.

Unfortunately, even after the current wave of stories about Munich fades away, we’ll see the same sort of journalistic shenanigans about Linux happen again at some point. It’s just too easy and too tempting for some sites to gain traffic and ad revenue by jumping on the anti-Linux bandwagon.

After systematic lying about Munich how many people out there are still misled by Microsoft MVPs and partners pretending to be journalists? This is a war on perceptions after all.

As Susan Linton put it, “Monday we reported that Munich was throwing in the Linux towel, but today we find that may not be exactly the case.”

This other report makes it clear that Microsoft OOXML — not FOSS or GNU/Linux — is the problem. To quote: “Hauf also confirms that council staff have, and do, complain about LiMux, but that the majority of issues stem from compatibility issues in OpenOffice, something a potential switch to LibreOffice could solve.”

This is a Microsoft issue, not a FOSS issue, and this is why the UK is now moving to ODF (OOXML not allowed) in the public sector. Remember what Microsoft did in Chile for OOXML.

Microsoft is a criminal company. Even after Ballmer’s departure nothing has changed. As Microsoft is inherently and deeply connected with governments (moles and former staff), don’t expect Microsoft executives to be sent to prison, not even when it’s caught bribing officials around the world (which happens).

The End of Microsoft is Nigh

Saturday 23rd of August 2014 08:41:36 AM

Summary: A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future

A lot of layoffs at Microsoft, including the latest massive round of layoffs, teach us that Microsoft is rapidly collapsing. Many products and divisions are being shut down. That’s just the reality of the ‘new’ Microsoft. Its Web browser is so bad that the company now integrates a competitor's product — Opera — into its products/OS. When it comes to the latest Windows, Vista 8, its small userbase is so contemptible that there is poor/insufficient testing leading to chronic issues (“Microsoft releases another broken patch that is causing blue screens of death,” says Ryan in our IRC channels) and the previous CEO jumps ship completely (except in stock ownership). I recently learned from an insider that there is a bit of panic even inside the company. Employees of Microsoft too are quickly realising that there is not much of a future and their managers are jumping ship. Anyone who pretends that Microsoft is invincible and will always be there to support its products must be thinking of bailout strategies.

Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

Friday 22nd of August 2014 10:40:48 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Changing times, busy times and why Google will save Usenet.

      Linux however has succeeded by way of form factors diversifying. Be it Android phones or tablets there is a big shift with the mainstream consumer in terms of what devices they want and here Linux has excelled.

      In 2008 my decision remove my Microsoft dependency was for reasons of the control they had on the desktop, the practices alleged against them and the dubious tactics some of their advocates used to promote the products. I also wholeheartedly agree with the ethos of FOSS which was another contributory factor. Today, my feelings about FOSS have not changed, there are caveats to my opinions of FOSS (especially in gaming) but I’ve covered that before in other articles.

      Today I avoid Microsoft not because I feel the need to make a stand against its behaviour, its because I don’t need them. I support Microsoft being a “choice” in the market as I support user freedom, but as for what Microsoft can offer me (regardless of its past) there is nothing.

    • 5 Linux distributions for very old computers

      This is part 4 in a series of articles designed to help you choose the right Linux distribution for your circumstances.

    • Citrix and Google partner to bring native enterprise features to Chromebooks

      Chromebooks are making inroads into the education sector, and a push is coming for the enterprise with new native Chrome capabilities from Citrix. Google and Citrix have announced Citrix Receiver for Chrome, a native app for the Chromebook which has direct access to the system resources, including printing, audio, and video.

      To provide the security needed for the enterprise, the new Citrix app assigns a unique Receiver ID to each device for monitoring, seamless Clipboard integration across remote and local applications, end user experience monitoring with HDX Insight, and direct SSL connections.

    • Can we please stop talking about the Linux desktop?

      Linus Torvalds may still want a Linux desktop, but no one else does. And even if they did, by the time the requisite ecosystem could be developed, the need for a desktop — Linux or otherwise — will largely be gone.

  • Server
    • What is Docker, Really? Founder Solomon Hykes Explains

      Docker has quickly become one of the most popular open source projects in cloud computing. With millions of Docker Engine downloads, hundreds of meetup groups in 40 countries and dozens upon dozens of companies announcing Docker integration, it’s no wonder the less-than-two-year-old project ranked No. 2 overall behind OpenStack in Linux.com and The New Stack’s top open cloud project survey.

      This meteoric rise is still puzzling, and somewhat problematic, however, for Docker, which is “just trying to keep up” with all of the attention and contributions it’s receiving, said founder Solomon Hykes in his keynote at LinuxCon and CloudOpen on Thursday. Most people today who are aware of Docker don’t necessarily understand how it works or even why it exists, he said, because they haven’t actually used it.

      “Docker is very popular, it became popular very fast, and we’re not really sure why,” Hykes said. “My personal theory … is that it was in the right place at the right time for a trend that’s much bigger than Docker, and that is very important for all of us, that has to do with how applications are built.”

    • Founder Explains What Docker Is All About

      Just over a year ago, Solomon Hykes created the open-source Docker project. Since then Docker has exploded in both popularity and hype. In a keynote session at the LinuxCon conference, Hykes explained why the hype is both a blessing and a curse.

    • What Docker does right and what it doesn’t do right… yet

      Docker founder Solomon Hykes, opened his keynote at LinuxCon by saying he knows two things about Docker: “It uses Linux containers and the Internet won’t shut up about it.” He knows more than that. He told the audience what Docker is, what it does right today, and what it still needs to do to be better than it is today.

    • IBM Taps Global Network of Innovation Centers to Fuel Linux on Power Systems for Big Data and Cloud Computing

      At the LinuxCon North America conference today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced it is tapping into its global network of over 50 IBM Innovation Centers and IBM Client Centers to help IBM Business Partners, IT professionals, academics, and entrepreneurs develop and deliver new Big Data and cloud computing software applications for clients using Linux on IBM Power Systems servers.

  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • LXQt 0.8 Is Almost Ready For Release. How To Install LXQt On Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

      It uses PCManFM-Qt, a version of PCManFM, re-written in Qt, as the default file manager and Openbox as window manager and has support for both Qt5 and Wayland, Red Hat’s new display server.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Learning to git

        A few years ago, I learned from Myriam’s fine blog how to build Amarok from source, which is kept in git. It sounds mysterious, but once all the dependencies are installed, PATH is defined and the environment is properly set up, it is extremely easy to refresh the source (git pull) and rebuild. In fact, I usually use the up-arrow in the konsole, which finds the previous commands, so I rarely have to even type anything! Just hit return when the proper command is in place.

        Now we’re using git for the KDE Frameworks book, so I learned how to not only pull the new or changed source files, but also to commit my own few or edited files locally, then push those commits to git, so others can see and use them.

      • An update on Plasma Addons

        Since my last blog post on plasma addons there has been a lot of activity, existing contributors are active on their own plasmoids, and there are many new faces coming on to take up the challenge of maintaining their own small part of Plasma.

      • Baloo Natural Query Parser ported to KF5

        In 2013, My GSoC project was about implementing a natural (or “human”) query parser for what was then Nepomuk. The parser is able to recognize simple Google-like keyword searches in which sentences like “videos accessed last week” can also be used. Sample queries include “KDE Baloo, size > 2M” and “files modified two months ago, Holidays, tagged as Important”. An explanation of how the parser can extract the advanced information and of which queries are possible can be found here.

      • Intermediate results of the icon tests: Faenza

        The introduction of the new Breeze icon set in KDE let us again wonder, what aspects of an icon set actually takes what impact on the usability of it. We investigated Oxygen and Tango Icons for the LibreOffice project before, but our focus then was on checking all icons of the standard tool bar. This time we focus on different icon sets and will use 13 common actions to compare them.

      • Qt Creator 3.2 Officially Released

        Qt Creator 3.2, a cross-platform IDE (integrated development environment) tailored to the needs of Qt developers and part of the Qt Project, is now available for download.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME DOCUMENTATION VIDEO IS OUT

        The GNOME Documentation Video has now been released on youtube and as a download (Ogg Theora + Vorbis). This is something I have been waiting for since I finished working on it a few weeks ago. A big thanks to Karen for providing a great voice-over for the second time! Translated subtitles are not online just yet for the video, but should come within the next few days (thanks to pmkovar and claude for setting this up!).

      • Emulator brings x86 Linux apps to ARM devices

        Eltechs announced a virtual machine that runs 32-bit x86 Linux applications on ARMv7 SBCs and mini-PCs, and is claimed to be 4.5 times faster than QEMU.

        The open source QEMU emulator has long been the go-to app for providing virtual machines (VMs) that mimic target hardware during development or otherwise run software in alien territory. Every now and then, someone comes up with software that claims to perform all or part of QEMU’s feature-set more effectively. In this case, Eltechs has launched its Eltechs “ExaGear Desktop,” a VM that implements a virtual x86 Linux container on ARMv7 computers and is claimed to be 4.5 times faster than QEMU. Despite its “desktop” naming, we can imagine many non-desktop possibilities fpr ExaGear in embedded and IoT applications.

  • Distributions
    • Backup Your PC with Clonezilla Live 2.2.4-1

      Clonezilla Live, a Linux distribution based on DRBL, Partclone, and udpcast that allows users to do bare metal backup and recovery, is now at version 2.2.4-1 and is ready for testing.

    • Operating System U

      Are you tired of being forced to upgrade your Operating System regularly? What about the unnecessary changes that end up being made, changes that you don’t even want, much less need? How would you like to pick and choose what aspects of your operating system you want upgraded, and leave the ones you know, love, and are accustomed to how they are?

    • Red Hat Family
      • Fedora
        • Another great experience in Fedora bug reporting: Wine font fix solves my web-browsing problem

          Fedora‘s motto is “Freedom. Friends. Features. First.” I’m here to tell you Fedora lives up to that billing. Why do I say this now? I’ve just had another positive experience with Fedora, this time in finding a bug in my system, adding my information to an existing bug report and now seeing updated packages pushed to the Fedora 20 stable repositories and onto my system, where the problem has been fixed.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • VMware Certifies Ubuntu Linux LTS for vCloud Air Cloud Computing

            Canonical and VMware (VMW) forged a closer bond this week with the announcement of certified Ubuntu Linux images in vCloud Air, VMware’s new enterprise cloud-computing platform.

          • Ubuntu Touch Gets Major Update and the OS Is Now Crazy Fast – Screenshot Tour

            Ubuntu Touch has just received a new major update and the developers have made some serious changes to the operating system, which now feels a lot faster and the experience is a lot smoother.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • It’s Elementary, with Sparks, and Unity

              In today’s Linux news Jack Wallen review Elementary OS and says it’s not just the poor man’s Apple. Jack Germain reviewed SparkyLinux GameOver yesterday and said it’s a win-win. Linux Tycoon Bryan Lunduke testdrives Ubuntu’s Unity today in the latest entry in his desktop-a-week series. And finally tonight, just what the heck is this Docker thing everybody keeps talking about?

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Android-on-ARM mini-PC draws less than 7W

      The DSA2LS runs a pre-installed Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) with integrated online or offline update functionality on a dual-core, 1GHz Freescale i.MX6 DualLite system-on-chip. The SoC has a Vivante GC880 GPU that’s not as powerful as the Vivante GC2000 GPU found on the Dual and Quad i.MX6 models, but it still plays back 1080p video and offers 3D graphics acceleration. The power-sipping DualLite enables the fanless computer to run at a modest 6.26W active and 1.42W standby, according to Shuttle’s AnTuTu benchmarks.

    • IoT tinkerers get new Linux hub & open platforms

      Cloud Media, the maker of entertainment box Popcorn Hour, launched a project on Kickstarter, Inc. that will add to the growing number of smart hubs for people to connect and control smart devices. Called the STACK Box, it features a Cavium ARM11 core processor, 256MB DDR3 RAM, 512MB flash, SD slot, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth LE 4.0, Z-Wave, standard 10/100 Ethernet port, optional X10 wired communication, 5 USB 2.0 ports, RS-232 port, 2 optocoupler I/O, Xbee Bus, Raspberry Pi-compatible 26-pin bus and runs Linus Kernel 3.10. IT also features optional wireless communications for Dust Networks and Insteon with RF433/315, EnOcean, ZigBee, XBee, DCLink, RFID, IR coming soon.

    • mini Duino+ Open Source Ardunio Board Based On ATmega 1284p (video)
    • Phones
      • Android
        • The top 14 hidden features in Windows, iOS, and Android

          You may think you’re a high-tech power user who knows all the nooks and crannies of Windows, iOS, and Android, but let’s be realistic: There could be at least a few undocumented (or poorly documented) commands, control panels, and apps that have slipped by you—maybe more than a few.

          We’ve dived deep into each OS to uncover the best hidden tips and tricks that can make you more productive—or make common tasks easier. Got a favorite undocumented tip to share with readers? Add them in the comments section at the end of the article.

        • Motorola frenzy with up to 9 devices possibly launching at ‘Moto Launch Exprience’

          We have seen a number of sources revealing upcoming releases and device-launches set for September. However today, we are hearing seriously scary reports that Motorola are set to release EIGHT devices before Christmas. Yes folks, Motorola are about to get extremely serious in terms of the market releasing no less than eight devices over the next few months.

        • OnePlus phones will soon come to India

          Last month we reported on how OnePlus were making clear indications they do intend to sell the One in India. Today it is fair to say that the speculation is certainly over and OnePlus will certainly be selling in India soon.

          On the OnePlus website the company is now advertising for a General Manager for its ‘India Operations’. As the company does not currently sell or deliver to India there is no clearly message the company could have sent to indicate this will soon change in the near future.

        • [Mono warning] Unity adds native Android support for x86
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets
      • Notebook Reality

        Meanwhile Android/Linux increases an order of magnitude more than that. Smartphones are shipping more units than desktops ever did and tablets are becoming a mature market. The Wintel PC is becoming a niche market, only thriving with businesses who resist change and need keyboards, large screens and pointers.

Free Software/Open Source
  • Open source software: The question of security

    The logic is understandable – how can a software with source code that can easily be viewed, accessed and changed have even a modicum of security?

  • Is Open Source an Open Invitation to Hack Webmail Encryption?

    While the open source approach to software development has proven its value over and over again, the idea of opening up the code for security features to anyone with eyeballs still creates anxiety in some circles. Such worries are ill-founded, though.

    One concern about opening up security code to anyone is that anyone will include the NSA, which has a habit of discovering vulnerabilities and sitting on them so it can exploit them at a later time. Such discoveries shouldn’t be a cause of concern, argued Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, the encryption scheme Yahoo and Google will be using for their webmail.

  • Islamic State Migrates to Open-Source Social Network After Twitter and YouTube Bans

    After being banned from Twitter and YouTube due to its video of James Foley’s murder, the Islamic State (Isis) migrated to another social network called Diaspora

  • Open-Source Social Network Diaspora Grapples With Use by Terror Group

    Even before its current challenges, Diaspora has had a difficult history (highlighted in this Vice Motherboard feature). Started in 2010 with the promise of creating a decentralized open-source replacement for Twitter and Facebook, the network drew positive press at first and more than $200,000 in Kickstarter funding. But when it was released to the public, it failed to build the audience to match its lofty ambitions.

  • 35 Open Source Tools for the Internet of Things

    In a nutshell, IoT is about using smart devices to collect data that is transmitted via the Internet to other devices. It’s closely related to machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. While the concept had been around for some time, the term “Internet of Things” was first used in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, who was a Procter & Gamble employee at the time.

  • Walmart’s investment in open source isn’t cheap

    This is not done for the love of humanity. Walmart takes the effort to work in the open because there is a return to be had from that investment. When other companies adopt Hapi, Walmart expects their internal implementations will lead them to improve the code to better suit their needs. Since the majority of these improvements are likely to be integral to the code in the commons, any rational actor will make pull requests attempting to have their work integrated in the project trunk.

    Of course — otherwise, the team making the changes would be eternally burdened with the need to refactor and test their changes each time the trunk is updated. Successful pull requests lead to merges that bring the whole community together for the upkeep of the code, not just the developers who originally wrote it.

  • Most popular open-source cloud projects of 2014

    At CloudOpen, a Linux Foundation tradeshow held in conjunction with LinuxCon, the Foundation announced that an online survey of open-source cloud professionals found OpenStack to be the most popular overall project.

  • Tunapanda brings digital literacy to Africa

    The ultimate goal was to bring low-income communities to technological literacy in the most rapid and cost-efficient way possible. Initially, we loaded the hard drive with tons of educational content and FOSS software, intending to allow anyone anywhere to duplicate the contents and set up a learning center. Using these tools, we’ve launched computer learning centers (“hubs”) in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—in both rural and urban settings.

  • Open source leaders take the ice bucket challenge
  • Apache Tomcat 8.0.0 RC11 Now Available for Download and Testing

    Apache Tomcat, an open source software implementation of the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies, developed under the Java Community Process, is now at version 8.0.0 RC11.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • With New Funding, Adatao Focuses on Bringing Hadoop to the Masses

      Recently, news broke that a small startup called Adatao has secured $13 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with investment partners from Lightspeed Ventures and Bloomberg Beta. Marc Andreessen is a board advisor to the company, which is run by CEO Christopher Nguyen, a former director of engineering for Google Apps.

      Of course, Nguyen knows his way around Google Docs, and his company Adatao is working on ways to make Hadoop as easy to work with as Google Docs. It’s part of a trend to bring Hadoop’s Big Data-crunching prowess to average users through easier to use tools.

    • Survey Finds OpenStack, KVM Riding High Among Cloud Professionals

      In conjunction with CloudOpen, a sidebar tradeshow held along with LinuxCon, The Linux Foundation has announced that a survey of open source cloud pros established that OpenStack is easily the most popular project. The survey gathered information from more than 550 participants, and the findings came out at CloudOpen in Chicago this week.

    • Survey says: OpenStack and Docker top cloud projects

      When it comes to open source cloud projects, everybody has an opinion. A new survey attempts to take a broad look at those opinions and learn something about the state of the state of the open cloud and where it is headed.

      Conducted in partnership between Linux.com and the New Stack, the survey gathered information from more than 550 participants, and the results were released at the CloudOpen North America event taking place this week in Chicago.

  • Databases
    • Eltechs Debuts x86 Crossover Platform for ARM Tablets, Mini-PCs

      The product, called ExaGear Desktop, runs x86 operating systems on top of hardware devices using ARMv7 CPUs. That’s significant because x86 software, which is the kind that runs natively on most computing platforms today, does not generally work on ARM hardware unless software developers undertake the considerable effort of porting it. Since few are likely to do that, having a way to run x86 applications on ARM devices is likely to become increasingly important as more ARM-based tablets and portable computers come to market.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Video: TedX talk – Richard Stallman

      Well, vp9/opus in a webm container have been supported by both Firefox and Google Chrome for several releases now… so enjoy it in your web browser.

  • Public Services/Government
    • NASA sails to the cloud with AWS, open source, migration

      NASA has migrated 110 websites and applications to the cloud in a cost-cutting technology overhaul that also introduced the Drupal content management system and other open source components to the agency’s enterprise tool chest.NASA has migrated 110 websites and applications to the cloud in a cost-cutting technology overhaul that also introduced the Drupal content management system and other open source components to the agency’s enterprise tool chest.

    • US Military To Launch Open Source Academy

      Open source software, which has become increasingly common throughout the US military from unmanned drones to desktops, has now been enlisted as a career option for military personnel. In September, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center will open a Linux certification academy, marking the first time such a training program has been hosted on a military base.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Building Cars With Crowdsourced Intelligence

      When Jay Rogers left the U.S. Marine Corps in 2004, he made a promise to his fallen soldier friends that he would go out into the world and make a difference. Speaking at the LinuxCon conference here, Rogers detailed how he has delivered on that promise with Local Motors, a startup that is set to enable a new era of automobiles.

      Local Motors is a platform for designing, building and selling automobiles and automotive products. Rogers said it’s a platform for co-creation and micro-manufacturing of vehicles that completely rethinks the way that cars can and should be built.

    • Linux Foundation offers new certification, Mesos comes to Google, and more

      In this week’s edition of our open source news roundup, we share news on virtual certifications from the Linux Foundation, Mesosphere partnering with Google, government and GitHub, and more!

    • Open Access/Content
      • Why the Future of Education Is Open

        Anant Agarwal, the CEO of online education platform edX, is on a mission to change the way that people learn. In a keynote address at the LinuxCon conference here, Agarwal explained how open source and big data techniques are being used at edX to help educate millions of people.

        The edX platform was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the promise of redefining the future of education. The edX platform has 2.7 million students around the world. One of edX’s most popular classes is an introduction to Linux course from the Linux Foundation, which has more than 250,000 students.

Leftovers
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
  • Finance
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Two SuperPACs Focused On Ending SuperPACs Release New TV Commercials

      We’ve been writing up some of the new political efforts to try to put some limits on money in politics, including Larry Lessig’s Mayday SuperPAC, Represent.us’ satirical campaign for the “most honest politician,” Gil Fulbright, and also CounterPAC, a SuperPAC that tries to get politicians to take a pledge not to accept dark money.

  • Censorship
    • Attacks On Anonymity Conflate Anonymous Speech With Trollish Behavior

      Every so often this sort of thing pops up where people suddenly think it’s a good idea to “end anonymity” online. We’ve discussed this in the past, and it’s always the same basic argument — one that conflates anonymity with “bad things” that people say online. There are all sorts of problems with this, but it starts with this: anonymity also allows people to reveal all sorts of good things online as well and plenty of people say and do horrible things with their names attached. And yet… the arguments keep on coming.

    • Military Prefers To Keep Its Head In The Sand: Bans All Employees From Visiting The Intercept

      Not this again. A few years ago, the US military blocked access to a bunch of news sites, including the NY Times and The Guardian, in an attempt to block military members from reading the news because some of the news included the leaked State Department cables that Wikileaks had released in conjunction with those news sites. Last year, the Defense Department blocked all access to the Guardian after it started reporting on the Ed Snowden leaks. And now, The Intercept reports, the military has also banned access to The Intercept. Of course, no one in the military will know that the public knows about this, because they’re apparently not allowed to read about it.

  • Privacy
    • The Government Uses the Dragnets for Detainee Proceedings

      First, NSA can disseminate this information without declaring the information is related to counterterrorism (that’s the primary dissemination limitation discussed in this section), and of course, without masking US person information. That would at least permit the possibility this data gets used for non-counterterrorism purposes, but only when it should least be permitted to, for criminal prosecutions of Americans!

      Remember, too, the government has explicitly said it uses the phone dragnet to identify potential informants. Having non-counterterrorism data available to coerce cooperation would make that easier.

    • Researchers create privacy wrapper for Android Web apps
  • Civil Rights
    • “Negro Spring”: Ferguson Residents, Friends of Michael Brown Speak Out for Human Rights

      As peaceful protests continued Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in the city to meet with residents and FBI agents investigating the police shooting of Michael Brown. Democracy Now! traveled to Ferguson this week and visited the site where the 18-year-old Brown was killed. We spoke to young people who live nearby, including some who knew him personally. “He fell on his knees. Like, ’Don’t shoot.’ [The police officer] shot him anyway in the eye, the head, and four times down here,” said one local resident Rico Like. “Hands up, don’t shoot is all I got to say. RIP Mike Brown.”

    • A Fox News Tantrum And A Split-Screen: A Metaphor for The Decline Of White America
    • Cop in Ferguson Tweets Lies to Justify Tear-Gassing Protesters in Their Own Back Yard

      A Velda City police officer who has been part of the militarized police apparatus holding down operations on West Florissant Avenue is spreading lies about Ferguson protesters online.

      Sergeant Mike Weston, going by the handle “officeranon2″ on Twitter, engaged with users of the social-media network about a tear-gas attack by St. Louis County police on protesters in their own back yard on Monday, August 11. In the conversation, a Twitter user wanted to know why police would fire tear gas at people on their own property. Weston tells them it’s because protesters were firing guns from their back yard. But that’s not true…

    • NYT Responds on Torture

      Responding to messages inspired by the alert, Sullivan went to Times foreign editor Joseph Kahn, who said the paper’s Kabul bureau “decided it did not add much to what we have already, on many occasions, reported. Much of it appeared to be recycled from United Nations reports and other news coverage, including our own.”

    • In Ferguson, Cops Hand Out 3 Warrants Per Household Every Year

      We’ve all seen a number of stories like this recently, and it prompts a question: why are police departments allowed to fund themselves with ticket revenue in the first place? Or red light camera revenue. Or civil asset forfeiture revenue. Or any other kind of revenue that provides them with an incentive to be as hardass as possible. Am I missing something when I think that this makes no sense at all?

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Why we sued Getty Images

        On August 20, 2014, our firm filed a lawsuit on our own behalf against Getty Images, Inc. Why did we do it? Here is why.

        On July 1, 2014, our firm received an unsigned letter from Getty Images Inc. that claimed unauthorized copying and display of a Getty photograph on this website and demanded immediate payment of a $380 licensing fee or legal action would follow.

        There was a problem, however. We never copied or displayed the Getty image referred to in Getty’s letter.

        We looked more closely at what Getty was doing and were shocked to discover what was really going on.

        You see, Getty is apparently using an image recognition system to generate its letters to accused infringers. Getty’s system identified a thumbnail image on our website here. Getty matched the thumbnail to an image more than six times the size on Getty’s site.

      • Getty Threatens The Wrong IP Law Firm In Its Copyright Trolling Efforts

        Image licensing giant Getty Images has quite a reputation for being something of a copyright maximalist and occasional copyright troll. The company has been known to blast out threat letters and lawsuits not unlike some more notorious copyright trolls. And that’s true even as the company just recently lost a copyright infringement suit in which Getty helped in the infringement. A few months ago, we had told you about Getty starting a new program in which it was making many of its images free to embed, saying that it was “better to compete” that way on the internet, rather than trying to license everything. We actually just tried embedding some Getty images ourselves recently.

      • New Zealand Court Freezes Kim Dotcom’s Assets, Again

        The Internet entrepreneur accused of running a massive global piracy ring suffered a rare setback in his adopted country today. The New Zealand Court of Appeal extended for another year the restraining orders over some of the assets and property belonging to Kim Dotcom. The ruling “means millions of dollars, several luxury cars, jewelry and other property remain frozen,” the New Zealand Herald reported. The original 2012 orders were scheduled to expire in April after a lower court ruled in favor of Dotcom. Now they will extend to April, 2015.

UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

Friday 22nd of August 2014 09:21:59 PM

TJ Maxx all over again?

Summary: UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft’s shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software

A boycott against UPS, based on my bitter experiences, is nothing too prejudiced. Their system does not work well. That’s an understatement actually. It’s dysfunctional. In fact, it’s an utter mess. I wasn’t the only one who was utterly screwed, reputedly, and made deeply upset by them. I tried to accomplish something so simple and spent a huge amount of time achieving nearly nothing. They are badly coordinated and their system is crap. They’re using an utterly flawed system, especially when it comes to exchanges with clients, including financial exchanges. Last year I was upset enough to produce some memes like the following:

Now it turns out that UPS was foolish enough to be using Microsoft Windows. Consequently, in many countries (not just one) it got “infected with credit card stealing malware” and customers are going to pay dearly (customers, not UPS):

Grocery shoppers nationwide probably had credit card data stolen

Coast-to-coast: Albertsons, Acme Markets, Jewel-Osco and more were hit.
Dozens of UPS stores across 24 states, including California, Georgia, New York, and Nebraska, have been hit by malware designed to suck up credit card details. The UPS Store, Inc., is a subsidiary of UPS, but each store is independently owned and operated as a licensed franchisee.

“Windows, again,” says our reader. “See the annotations in the update…”

Notice how the Microsoft-friendly Condé Nast fails to even name Microsoft. Total cover-up, maybe misreporting. Disgusting. It’s like naming an issue in some car model, stating that it is chronic, dangerous and widespread, but still not naming the car maker or the model. Recall also the biggest credit card-stealing incidents in recent history; it is almost always due to Microsoft and Windows.

There is a bunch of reports circulating right now which blame an OpenSSL bug (that Microsoft likes to hype up) for patients’ data compromise.

A reader of ours who lectures on computer security explains: “The real problem was that, as seen in other articles, they used a VPN in place of real security. Oh, and the VPN was closed source, not OpenVPN.”

“This is no surprise as when given internal access to any computer network, it is virtually a 100% success rate at breaking into systems and furthering access,” says one report.

“They admit to having no security for their services and relying on a VPN to provide the illusion of security,” our reader explains. “They also misuse the marketing term ’0-day’.”

Anything to keep the term “Heartbleed” in headlines, creating a FOSS scare…

You can count on the likes of Condé Nast covering Microsoft-induced disaster without mentioning Mirosoft at all while at the same time shouting “Heartbleed” from the rooftops, as Condé Nast so regularly does.

Microsoft’s Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

Friday 22nd of August 2014 08:52:51 PM

Summary: Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC

Several years we saw ALEC getting exposed, thanks in part to activists around the Web. We then saw the faces of people and corporations that were attacking the people of the world by corrupting politicians and writing laws by proxy.

Bill Gates was funding ALEC, one of the most notorious lobby groups in the US. It turns out now that Microsoft too has been funding ALEC, but no more. Microsoft “is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and has stopped funding the group.”

ALEC has been incredibly notorious for a number of years. What drove Microsoft to ALEC’s arms and why did it take Microsoft so much time to stop funneling money into this systemic corruption? The negative publicity was probably outweighed by benefits that Microsoft got (tomorrow we will provide an example of massive tax evasion by Microsoft). This is not an exception by the way; Microsoft has funded other ugly groups that even help deny climate change, so this whole thing is no reason for surprise or even a cause for shock. Two crooks get along.

In other news, Opera steps into bed with the crook. “Opera Mini will become the default web browser for Microsoft’s existing feature phones and Asha phones portfolio, as part of a new deal announced today,” says a report. While it means MSIE is dying, this also means that the company which once complained about Microsoft’s abuses to European authorities is now selling out. Why? Money.

Corruption is systemic and those with the money typically manage to get away with everything, including crimes. If the rich write our laws (sometimes by proxy), then it’s expected that they will almost never be sent to prison. Impunity is attained this way.

Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

Friday 22nd of August 2014 08:40:23 PM

Summary: Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences

AS one who works with the British public sector, I personally happen to know some of Microsoft’s very dirty (if not criminal) tricks. There are all sorts of ways by which one games these systems, especially by “lobbying” (to put it politely) those who make decisions. I have heard stories and also seen incidents, some of which I cannot share publicly. Microsoft simply refuses to play by the rules. To obey the law is some kind of a joke to Microsoft. Tomorrow we will give examples from Chile and Germany, but today we’ll focus on the UK.

Microsoft just loves to exploit British taxpayers. The UK is a relatively rich country that is most notorious for its excessive spendings on public IT. It is no wonder that Microsoft worked so hard to impede ODF adoption in the UK.

Microsoft is now trying to impose its surveillance ‘cloud’ (proprietary software with NSA access) on British transportation. How amazing is that? They label lock-in “modernisation”:

MICROSOFT HAS TEAMED with British internet systems installation company Telent and IT consulting company CGI in a bid to modernise London’s tube network using the Internet of Things (IoT).

Announced in a UK government blog post, the partnership will look to modernise the London Underground monitoring systems, which oversee critical rail assets with data from thousands of devices and sensors, by integrating Microsoft’s Azure Intelligent Systems Services software.

Why does the British government continue to throw away so much money, giving it to foreign companies with such a poor privacy record that they resemble moles with back doors and espionage tendencies? Local SMEs could do far better. This should be causing outrage, but there is apathy.

The NSA’ partner wants to conduct mass surveillance in London’s Tube and technical problems are sure to come. Just see LSE. Look what Microsoft had done to it before it moved to GNU/Linux.

A reader asks: “Is this just a bid or has a contract been signed?”

The article above merely links to a Microsoft marketing-esque blog.

In other news from the UK, some euphemistically-named “Microsoft Ventures” (for “the children” of course, just like the Microsoft- and Bill Gates-bankrolled Intellectual Ventures) is preying on children when not spying on them. Interestingly enough, this was posted under “Politics” by the Microsoft-friendly Condé Nast.

“Microsoft will provide funding, mentorship and workspace through its London startup accelerator, Microsoft Ventures. It will also develop a dedicated open skills badge for iDEA,” says this report. Got that? Open. Yes, lock-in is “open”.

When will Microsoft finally get out of the UK and stop pretending that it helps “the children” and “modernisation”? Lock-in in sheep’s clothing is all it is, and adding insult to injury, this is mass surveillance on British travelers (not a choice) and children who must attend schools.

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

Friday 22nd of August 2014 08:22:51 PM

Summary: More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft’s leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted

Not only Microsoft is laying off nearly 20% of its staff after years of gradual (but mostly concealed) layoffs. Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent troll that Bill Gates and Microsoft created, is not quite managing to survive, not even with extortions coordinated and perpetrated en masse. We heard about Intellectual Ventures’ financial issues before, but this is a pleasant surprise:

Intellectual Ventures, the company Silicon Valley loves to despise, is laying off about 20 percent of its employees, Bloomberg Businessweek has learned.

On Tuesday, IV sent a memo to its workers, notifying them of the cuts. The company has been employing 700 people, which means about 140 will be let go. “We are making operational changes that are consistent with this reduction and will enable us to maintain and expand our leadership in the market for invention,” the company said in a statement. “Our assets—both people and intellectual property—are among the best in the industry.” Now, let me try to translate that.

Not too long ago Microsoft threw it a lifeline. This uber-troll, the world’s biggest and most vicious troll, is finally announcing layoffs and it is a major deal because it might come to show what will happen to other trolls like it. This Microsoft- and Gates-funded nuisance cannot go far without Microsoft subsidies, apparently.

Times are tough for a patent troll, apparently. A year ago, we noted that Intellectual Ventures — the world’s largest patent troll, who brought in billions of dollars by getting companies to pay up a shakedown fee to avoid lawsuits over its giant portfolio of patents (mostly cast off from universities who couldn’t find any other buyers) — was running out of cash. While IV did convince Microsoft and Sony to dump in some more cash, IV’s litigation strategy is in shambles. Various lawsuits are dropping like flies without any of the big wins that IV promised.

Now that SCOTUS sheds doubt on a lot of software patents things definitely improve. As one lawyers’ site put it a few days ago:

The Supreme Court has not attempted to “delimit the precise contours of the ‘abstract ideas’ category.” In other words, the Court is essentially saying “we will know it when we see it.” This presents a significant problem to inventors and patent attorneys working in the software industry.

In effect, the Supreme Court is proposing a syllogism such as the following:
- Patents shall not be granted on abstract ideas.
- X is an abstract idea.
- Therefore, a patent shall not be granted on X.

The problem is that the Court has not defined “abstract idea.” Furthermore, “abstract idea” is not self-defining and is not a term that is agreed to by everyone. In fact, an endless chain of assumptions must be followed in arriving at a definition. For example, a court might say: “A general purpose computer executing this software is an abstract idea.” A patent applicant then challenges this statement by saying, e.g., “how is this computer with a claimed memory, processor, input/output unit, and a specific software program “general purpose?” The Court then points to the holding in Alice that the particular claimed computer (system claim) is merely carrying out a method that is an abstract idea and the patent attorney is just re-writing the same general purpose method as a system claim and that including hardware elements does not transform the system claim from an abstract idea. This is circular reasoning.

What patent lawyers wish not to accept or even to grasp is the simple fact that, as we have explained before on numerous occasions, all software patents are inherently abstract. Patents do not cover code but only algorithms, which are conceptual. Code is covered by copyright law. As this gets realised by more judges and they make rulings based on this realisation we are likely to see software patents ebbing away. But don’t expect patent lawyers to give up easily, especially not Microsoft and its extortion strategists. Extortion with patents is Microsoft’s last hope. Here is alawyers’ publication publishing propaganda by a “registered patent agent”:

The Supreme Court has declared abstract ideas unpatentable, but there are structural and other ways around the restrictions, writes Christopher Hall.

Christopher Hall is a registered patent agent in the Silicon Valley office of Womble Carlyle. He has 17 years of industry experience as a professional engineer and is named as sole inventor or co-inventor on 15 granted patents.

Pointless self promotion and not even any content in this article, just an advertisement of vapourware. A bit like Intellectual Ventures…

Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

Thursday 21st of August 2014 09:19:56 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • 12 oddball odes to open-source
  • Beer and open source with Untappd

    We use a lot of open source software within Untappd daily, from MongoDB to jQuery. It’s what powers software evolution, and without it, we would have a hard time developing solutions effectively and efficiently. With every library that we develop for use on Untappd, we try to open source it, including our PHP Library For Amazon CloudSearch, UntappdPHP, and MemcacheJS. We hope that other developers can use these libraries to save some time and help them focus on building great projects. Any library we use, we try to think about how to build it with “openness” in mind, for re-usability by all.

  • Seven Bridges Introduces Open Source Cancer Genomics Workflow
  • Want To Start An Open Source Project? Here’s How

    Regardless of the reason, this isn’t about you. Not really. For open source to succeed, much of the planning has to be about those who will use the software. As I wrote in 2005, if you “want lots of people to contribute (bug fixes, extensions, etc.,” then you need to “write good documentation, use an accessible programming language … [and] have a modular framework.”

  • Events
    • Ken Starks to Keynote At Ohio LinuxFest

      Ken had mentioned this in a email a few months back, I believe, but I’d put it on a back burner, where it fell off and landed hidden behind the stove. If Larry Cafiero, better known as the free software and CrunchBang guy, hadn’t made mention of the fact on Google+ the other day, I probably wouldn’t’ve remembered until it was way too late.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox gets preliminary support for casting to Chromecast

        Mozilla is in the process of adding the ability to “cast” videos from Firefox to Chromecast devices, and you can try it now if you have the right hardware.

        As announced in a post on Google+ post by Mozilla developer Lucas Rocha, “Chromecast support is now enabled in Firefox for Android’s Nightly build.”

  • Funding
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU hackers discover HACIENDA government surveillance and give us a way to fight back

      GNU community members and collaborators have discovered threatening details about a five-country government surveillance program codenamed HACIENDA. The good news? Those same hackers have already worked out a free software countermeasure to thwart the program.

      According to Heise newspaper, the intelligence agencies of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, have used HACIENDA to map every server in twenty-seven countries, employing a technique known as port scanning. The agencies have shared this map and use it to plan intrusions into the servers. Disturbingly, the HACIENDA system actually hijacks civilian computers to do some of its dirty work, allowing it to leach computing resources and cover its tracks.

  • Project Releases
    • G`MIC (GREYC`s Magic For Image Computing) Sees New Stable Release

      G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic for Image Computing) is a framework for image processing that comes with a large number of pre-defined image filters and effects (almost 400, with an extra 300 testing filters). There are several interfaces for G’MIC: a command line tool, a web service, a Qt based interface for real-time webcam manipulation, a library and a GIMP plugin.

  • Public Services/Government
    • NHS open-source Spine 2 platform to go live next week

      Last year, the NHS said open source would be a key feature of the new approach to healthcare IT. It hopes embracing open source will both cut the upfront costs of implementing new IT systems and take advantage of using the best brains from different areas of healthcare to develop collaborative solutions.

      Meyer said the Spine switchover team has “picked up the gauntlet around open-source software”.

      The HSCIC and BJSS have collaborated to build the core services of Spine 2, such as electronic prescriptions and care records, “in a series of iterative developments”.

    • Open-source electronic patient records in the NHS

      Lessons learnt from NPfIT suggest that a one-size-fits-all approach for EPRs has its limitations, as every trust made the case, rightly or wrongly, that it was somehow different. This is why we believe that open source provides another way of delivering those clinical benefits; trusts can take ownership of the code and develop it alongside clinicians to their requirements.

      But open source is not for everyone. Each healthcare provider has varying degrees of IT maturity; some may be close to becoming paperless or have systems in place that just need to be built on, some may decide that a new approach is right for their organisation.

      For our trust, the timing and opportunity of open source just came together and made it the logical choice. Open source fits with our culture and our approach, clinicians liked the IMS Maxims software, and it was particularly affordable for us, giving us the ability to manage change from our current system – it lets us control our own IT requirements.

  • Licensing
    • Qt5 Will Now Support LGPLv3 Modules

      With the upcoming Qt 5.4 release, LGPLv3 is now an optional license alongside the existing LGPLv2.1 license and the commercial combination for Qt Enterprise.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • The dubious rise of open-source architecture

      Ten years have passed since the launch of the big, talkative, landmark show called Massive Change, which went on a tour that eventually took it from Vancouver to Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario, then on to Chicago. Organized by designer Bruce Mau and the Institute Without Boundaries, a Toronto work-study design program, the exhibition and the accompanying book showcased gadgets, systems and ideas that promised to heal some of contemporary humankind’s most urgent maladies – slums, starvation, economic under-performance and much else.

    • Open Data
      • Out in the Open: This Man Wants to Turn Data Into Free Food (And So Much More)

        Such is promise of “open data”—the massive troves of public information our governments now post to the net. The hope is that, if governments share enough of this data with the world at large, hackers and entrepreneurs will find a way of putting it to good use. But although so much of this government data is now available, the revolution hasn’t exactly happened.

    • Open Hardware
      • Are you ready for open source CPUs?

        Open source software has been around for years, and for obvious reasons — all it takes is a PC to churn out code. And developers can make anything — operating systems, networking systems, administration systems, databases.

      • Local Motors: Cars Should be Open Source Hardware

        Though Local Motors was the first car company to produce an open source vehicle, Founder Jay Rogers says it is not an open source car company. It’s a hardware company.

        Traditional car companies have long product cycles, intricate assembly processes, and high production and distribution costs. Local Motors’ approach is instead akin to a software or microelectronics company that’s iterative, fast and lower cost.

  • Programming
    • Look, no client! Not quite: the long road to a webbified Vim

      Programming the Web, Pt. III The most revolutionary aspect of all the changes that have taken place in web development over the last two decades has been in the web browser.

      Typically we think of web browsers as driving innovation on the web by providing new features. Indeed this is the major source of new features on the web.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Kaspersky Lab Partners London Police To Tackle Cyber Crime

      The fight against cybercrime continues with the news that a London police force is getting outside help to become a bit more security savvy.

      The City of London police is teaming up with Russian cybersecurity specialist Kaspersky Lab, in an effort to help educate both the police, and businesses around the UK, on dealing with the growing menace of cybercrime.

    • Phishing

      Someone just like me had the ability to push up whatever they wanted to the DNS server. This is usually fine: only the Authoritative DNS server for a site is allowed to replicate changes. It did mean, however, that anyone that was looking at this particular DNS server would be directed to something they were hosting themselves. I’m guessing it was a Phishing attempt as I did not actually go to their site to check.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Why Australians can fight for the IDF, but not the Islamic State: ASIO chief explains

      ASIO boss David Irvine has tried to explain how and why Australians join foreign armies, and allay concerns about the Coalition’s proposed anti-terrorism laws. But given its murky past, ASIO’s reassurances should be taken with a grain of salt, writes freelance journalist Andrea Glioti

    • Kiev’s Dirty War

      “According to our soldiers’ information, the Ukrainian forces are using chemical ammunition on DPR territory.”

      “Once a shell bursts, a gas affecting sense organs is emitted. We have this information.”

      In early June, Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters said Kiev forces attacked Semyonovka near Slaviansk with an unknown chemical weapon.

    • Israeli Strike in Gaza Strip Kills 3 Top Hamas Commanders

      sraeli airstrikes killed three senior commanders of the armed wing of Hamas early Thursday in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, Israeli and Palestinian officials said, the most significant blow to the group’s leadership since Israel’s operation in Gaza began more than six weeks ago.

    • Drone attack kills two Pakistani Taliban commanders in Afghanistan

      Foreign forces’ drone strike killed three Taliban commanders, two alleged Pakistani insurgents and wounded five others in eastern Kunar province, Afghan officials said on Wednesday.

    • Global Warriors Revisiting Iraq’s Wounds to Destroy the Arab World
    • Op-Ed: Where would more citizenship revoking lead to?

      The UK right wing government wished to recall passports and citizenship for any UK citizen who went to fight for the Islamic State (IS) militants in the Middle East. One of the first of many letters of this nature to be sent was to a Mr. Mohamed Sakr, who had been stripped of his citizenship after arriving at the estate owned by his family in London in 2010.

    • Civilian Victims Of U.S. Drone Strike In Yemen Reportedly Receive Over $1 Million
    • Anatomy of an air strike: Three intelligence streams working in concert

      Besides human spotters on the ground, the main U.S. intelligence assets in Iraq include armed surveillance drones fitted with cameras, radar and communications eavesdropping gear. Jet fighters also carry camera pods under their wings. The intelligence-gathering effort includes the most high-tech ground-based and space-based communications eavesdropping equipment. Drones and camera-equipped jets were the first surveillers to return to Iraq after 2011. The Air Force had pulled its 21 Predator drones from Iraq that year, redeploying them to Kuwait for patrols over the Middle East.

    • What have we accomplished in Iraq?

      What have we accomplished in Iraq? And isn’t it time we left them alone?

      We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years, starting with Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a U.S. attack on Iraq. We all remember the appearance before Congress of a young Kuwaiti woman claiming that the Iraqis were ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S., and the story was false, but it was enough to turn U.S. opposition in favor of an attack.

      This month, yet another U.S. president — the fifth in a row — began bombing Iraq. He is also placing U.S. troops on the ground despite promising not to do so.

      The second Iraq war in 2003 cost the U.S. some two trillion dollars. According to estimates, more than one million deaths have occurred as a result of that war. Millions of tons of U.S. bombs have fallen in Iraq almost steadily since 1991.

      What have we accomplished? Where are we now, 24 years later? We are back where we started, at war in Iraq!

    • ISIS: Region-wide Genocide Portended in 2007 Now Fully Realized

      American journalist James Wright Foley was allegedly brutally murdered on video by terrorists of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS). The development would at first appear to portray a terrorist organization openly declaring itself an enemy of the West, but in reality, it is the latest attempt by the West itself to cover up the true genesis of the current region-wide catastrophe of its own creation now unfolding in the Middle East.

      As early as 2007, the stage was being set for the regional genocide now unfolding from Syria and Lebanon along the Mediterranean to northern Iraq. The “sudden” appearance of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, otherwise known as ISIS, betrays years of its rise and the central part it played in Western-backed violence seeking to overthrow the government of Syria starting in 2011 amid the cover of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

    • Op-Ed: CIA-linked General Haftar strikes Islamist militia in Tripoli

      Many reports speak of airstrikes in the Libyan capital Tripoli as being launched by an unknown party against Islamist militia from Mistrata on Monday August 18.
      Actually there should be no mystery ab

    • CIA-Linked Haftar claims international support for Tripoli attack

      Even though CIA-linked General Haftar claims his bombing of Misrata militia in Tripoli was a joint effort with the international community there seems little attention let alone analysis in the media of what is happening in Libya

      On Monday, Libyan air force units loyal to General Kahlifa Haftar struck positions of the Misrata militia in Tripoli. The militia has been in a prolonged battle at and near the Tripoli international airport with allies of Haftar, the Zintan brigades. The battle has moved closer to the center of Tripoli now as unidentified militia have fired Grad rockets into two upscale districts killing three people according to local residents. The area is home to many foreign brand outlets including Marks and Spencer, and Nike and fancy cafes.

    • McCain visits Raytheon, speaks in favor of Tomahawk

      At a town hall Tuesday with Raytheon Missile Systems employees, Arizona’s senior senator said the cut would have been to “probably the best and most-proven missile system ever.” McCain also spoke in support of a modernization program for the Tomahawk that would make the weapon threat-relevant through about 2040.

    • This Obama-Appointed Judge Signed off on the CIA Killing of a U.S. Citizen

      David Barron now sits on the bench of the First Circuit Court of Appeals despite having given President Barack Obama the legal justification for killing an American citizen overseas without a trial.

    • What If the Military or CIA Had Killed Mike Brown?

      Not so, however, if the killing had come at the hands of the military or the CIA. In that case, the soldier or the CIA agent would be immune from criminal prosecution and civil suit, so long as they claimed that the killing took place as part of a “national-security” operation. Once their lawyers cited those two magical words, every judge in the land, both state and federal, would immediately slam down the gavel and declare “Case dismissed.”

    • The CIA Double-Dip: Drugs, Fraud, & the JFK Assassination

      The investigation uncovered incontrovertible, if unsurprising, proof of involvement in the operation by the Mob (in this case, the Chicago Outfit) by Texas oil interests, Saudi financiers, and, of course, the CIA.

      But unearthing new evidence about the CIA’s role in the drug trade for the past 50 years no longer provides much grist for the gossip mill. Time marches on. Gary Webb was right. Everybody knows it.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Interactive: 19 calls for transparency around US drone strikes

      The drone campaign in Pakistan, which is conducted by the CIA, remains an official secret. In June 2012, Obama declassified the campaigns in Yemen and Somalia – but details of the attacks remain shrouded in mystery. The US has declined to release even the most basic details about the strikes, such as when or where they take place. As a result we also rarely know who or what they hit. But a growing number of voices have been calling for transparency.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • Finance
    • Hewlett-Packard posts surprise revenue gain after PC sales jump

      Hewlett-Packard Co posted a surprise increase in quarterly revenue after sales from its personal computer division climbed 12 percent, but a flat to declining performance from its other units underscored the company’s uphill battle to revive growth.

      HP sales rose a mere 1 percent to $27.6 billion in its fiscal third quarter from $27.2 billion a year earlier. Wall Street analysts had forecast a modest drop in revenue to $27.01 billion.

    • Does Apple throttle older iPhones to nudge you into buying a new one?

      Every time Apple releases a new iPhone there’s a dramatic spike in the number of Google searches for the phrase “iPhone slow”. Does this give credence to the conspiracy theory that Apple intentionally slows down iPhones to encourage you to buy a new one?

    • Scotland’s currency choices in the event of independence

      (1) Use the pound anyway

      Even if the Westminster government does not agree to share the pound, Scotland could use it anyway, without a say in monetary policy
      Ecuador and Panama, for example, have adopted the US dollar

      (And, I should add, Tasmania uses the Australian dollar … There, that should get me in trouble for today … )

      (2) Join the euro

      It would not be an immediate option

      (3) Launch a Scottish currency

      Without its own borrowing history, an independent Scotland might find the currency quickly loses value when traded and markets could demand a higher interest rate on its debt

    • The 1% are “wealthy beyond measure”

      Welcome to globalization. Wasn’t it supposed to make up all richer?

    • More Military Families Are Relying On Food Banks And Pantries

      Despite the economic recovery, more than 46 million Americans — or 1 in 7 — used a food pantry last year. And a surprisingly high number of those seeking help were households with military members, according to a new survey by Feeding America, which is a network of U.S. food banks.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Real Reporting Is About Revealing Truth; Not Granting ‘Equal Weight’ To Bogus Arguments

      Journalism Professor Jay Rosen has long been the leading advocate in condemning the prominence of “he said/she said” journalism in the mainstream media. This kind of journalism is driven by a complete distortion of what it means to be an “objective” journalist. Bad journalists seem to think that if someone is making a claim, you present that claim, then you present an opposing claim, and you’re done. They think this is objective because they’re not “picking sides.” But what if one side is batshit crazy and the other is actually making legitimate claims? Shouldn’t the job of true journalists be to ferret out the truth and reveal the crazy arguments as crazy? Rosen’s latest calls out the NY Times for falling into the bogus “he said/she said” trap yet again. This time it’s on an article about plagiarism and copyright infringement charges being leveled from one biographer of Ronald Reagan against another. We wrote about this story as well, and we looked at the arguments of both sides, and then noted that author Craig Shirley’s arguments made no sense at all, as he was trying to claim ownership of facts (something you can’t do). Furthermore, his claims of plagiarism were undermined by the very fact that he admitted that competing biographer Rick Perlstein’s quotes were different. Shirley claimed that “difference” in the quotes showed that Perlstein was trying to cover up the plagiarism, but… that makes no sense.

    • When quoting both sides and leaving it there is the riskier call

      If the weight of the evidence allows you to make a judgment, but instead you go with “he said, she said,” you’re behaving recklessly even as you tell yourself you’re doing the cautious thing.

      It’s my job to notice when a piece of standard brand pressthink “flips” around and no longer works as intended. I have one.

      For a very long time, the logic behind “he said, she said” journalism, and “get both sides,” as well as, “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to leave it there” was that operating this way would reduce risk to a news publisher’s reputation. (See my 2009 post.) When you have both sides speaking in your account, you’re protecting yourself against charges of favoring one or the other. By not “choosing” a side — by not deciding who’s right — you’re safer.

  • Censorship
  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
    • Saudi Arabia: Surge in Executions

      19 Beheaded in 17 Days; 8 for Nonviolent Offenses

    • It’s not just Ferguson, it’s what’s brewing for the rest of America that should scare us: opinion and live chat

      I wish I had retained more from my college Latin American politics class. The banana republics, juntas, civil wars and CIA interventions have all faded, but there’s one concept that stuck in my head and it has been haunting me ever since – the four key components necessary to make a healthy democracy.

    • Why Do Police In Suburban St. Louis Have More Powerful Weapons Than Marines In Afghanistan?

      We’ve been covering some of the more troubling details of police militarization across the US, and specifically what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri over the past couple of weeks. However, we knew fairly little about the actual military equipment being used there. And we know that sometimes scary looking military equipment isn’t necessarily so scary when put to use. So it’s interesting to read a former Marine’s analysis of the military equipment being used in Ferguson, which more or less confirms that it not only looks scary but absolutely is scary. Much of the discussion is about how all those “non-lethal” “riot control” weaponry is actually quite dangerous and potentially lethal.

    • St. Louis Police Release Video Of Kajieme Powell Killing That Appears At Odds With Their Story

      The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released cell phone footage Wednesday of the police shooting of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man killed on Tuesday in St. Louis, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

      A convenience store owner called 911 on Tuesday when he suspected Powell stole drinks and donuts from his shop, according to a recording of the call. Another woman called to report Powell was acting erratically and had a knife in his pocket.

      Two officers in a police SUV responded to the calls, the cell phone video shows. When the officers got out of their vehicle, Powell walked in their direction, yelling and telling them to shoot him already.

      St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Tuesday that both of the officers opened fire on Powell when he came within a three or four feet of them holding a knife “in an overhand grip.”

      But the newly released cell phone footage undermines the statement, showing Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets.

    • A private military company is now providing security in Ferguson, for just one person

      A menagerie of armed state and federal agents have filtered in and out of Ferguson, Missouri for more than a week as unrest has grown there, and now even a private military company is joining the mix. Asymmetric Solutions, a PMC that claims to be “capable of deploying highly qualified former special operations personnel” to “anywhere on the globe in a moments notice” will be providing a security detail to an unnamed individual visiting Ferguson.

    • New Police Hacking Technologies Raise Familiar Questions About Civil Liberties

      “We need automatic transparency, rigorous external oversight, and a statutory framework that explicitly prohibits abuses . . . When the government knows everything about its citizens, we become subjects,” Crockford told Truthout.

      “But the future is ours if we claim it, if we reject fear and embrace our own power. If we want our children to have anonymity in a crowd, privacy at home, and the possibility for freedom in their world, we must make it so.”

    • Love: The threat of a police state

      Police assaulted peaceful, nonviolent protesters, arrested Antonio French, an alderman in nearby St. Louis, and tear-gassed Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal.

    • Ferguson, Ethnicity and American Idealism

      Shame on those in government and media, those who trample others underfoot and then claim more of the same is the way to our “greater good”. May the Great Spirit who dwells above and within us all convict you of shame, which seems to be of the only two arrows in your quivers: shame and fear.

    • Somalia: Three Journalists Tortured While in Detention

      Reporters Without Borders condemns the closures of Mogadishu-based Radio Shabelle and Sky FM and arrests of 19 journalists and employees on 15 August, and the continuing detention and reported torture of the directors of the two radio stations and their owner.

    • Targeting Pakistan on Human Rights Violations in Sri Lanka

      The civilized Western World has always shown double standard of human rights in the modern era of open diplomacy, economic development and maintenance of fundamental rights of various peoples. But, it is regrettable that major powers like the US and some European countries have continuously been acting upon duplicity regarding human rights violations. In this regard, their silence over the massacre of the Rohingya Muslim community at the hands of the Rakhine extremist Buddhists in Burma (present Myanmar), perpetual bloodshed of Kashmiris in the Indian occupied Kashmir and unending genocide of several Palestinians in Gaza might be cited as example. In these cases, US-led Western World which was overtly or covertly supporting the state terrorism of Myanmar’s military junta, Indian and Israeli regimes was strongly condemned by the Islamic Word’s intellectuals. In wake of Muslim tragedy, it was also exposed that world’s apex body, the UNO has also been following double standard of human rights, and has become instrument of America and its allies at the cost of the Muslim World.

    • James Puz: Kennedy deserves credit for civil rights

      Hair-brained, if not totally moronic, theories emerged. The new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, was the culprit. while others thought the military-industrial complex hatched the plan. The mob (pick one) paid a trigger man, while the CIA was viewed as the guilty party. The Soviets were thought capable of killing our president. Even Cuban exiles were targeted with unfounded accusations. In the end, a discontented Oswald, alone or in concert with others, eventually became the fall guy. Or was he a patsy? In any event, nobody came up with a specific reason for why the president had to be killed.

    • The Rise Of The Mafia Nation

      A collaboration between governments and organized crime is nothing new, of course, with corruption being a characteristic of their operations in whichever field of criminality they pursue. Pay offs and backhanders, considerations and favors have all played their part in sealing a relationship between criminals and government officials, with some government agencies seeking to use the mafia in order to further their goals. The CIA asking the mafia to knock off Castro might seem a bit wild-eyed and optimistic, but it was hardly unthinkable.

    • The luck of the Irish

      This autobiography was written eight years ago, and then self published overseas and secured. The reason for this subterfuge was the autobiography contained my dealings with ASIO and covert agencies in the UK and the United States of America while working in China.

      Since these events took place I have been gagged by ASIO “Dire consequences would befall me should I ever speak of these events.” I had organised for my autobiography to be released after my death so as my family would finally know the reason why our lives were irrevocability devastated by the aforementioned covert agencies.

    • [Bush partner:] The tortuous debate over the CIA’s ‘torture’ report

      The CIA’s objection to releasing the report seems strange because in 2012 Attorney General Eric Holder announced that there would be no prosecution of CIA interrogators. The CIA’s fear must be that whatever conduct the report blames them for is so terrible that it could ignite another round of intelligence “reforms” like those of the 1970s Church Committee which obstructed intelligence-gathering for many years.

    • Wyden: ‘Big league’ economy needs long-term transportation funding

      “If a 19-year-old had hacked into the Senate computers the way this was done, that person would be sitting in jail right now.”

      Although they were CIA computers, Wyden said the agency had stipulated they contained Senate Intelligence Committee files. CIA staffers launched the search to discover if the committee had obtained an internal CIA study while investigating a now-defunct detention and interrogation program for terrorism suspects. The Senate report is pending.

    • The not so transparent government

      First, CIA officials broke into computers that were being used by the committee — a clear constitutional violation — and then, using false information, tried to have committee staffers prosecuted. CIA Director John Brennan apologized for spying on the senators’ activities. President Obama, in a news conference on Aug. 1, said the Intelligence Committee was free to issue its report, “the declassified version that will be released at the pleasure of the Senate committee.”

      But Brennan’s apology must not have been sincere, and the committee, to its displeasure, learned that the CIA has “redacted” — read: censored — key elements of the report. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the committee, said she couldn’t release the report because the CIA had attempted to redact key details that “eliminate or obscure key facts that support the report’s findings and conclusions.”

    • Congress and CIA battle over torture investigation
    • CIA should answer for its crimes

      He asks: “Did any CIA agent get indicted for torturing people? No.

      “Did any CIA agent get indicted for destroying the videotapes that showed the torture? No.

      “Did any CIA agent get indicted for murdering prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq? No.”

    • President Barack Obama’s admission of torture by the CIA, and Navi Pillai’s International probe into war crimes in Sri Lanka.

      But in Sri Lanka there were no torture committed against the terrorists. There were no torture of the terrorists for the simple reason that in the war against terrorism in Sri Lanka the Armed Forces knew where exactly the terrorists were and there was no necessity to interrogate terrorists taken as prisoners under tortured to get information with regard to; movements of terrorists or where they were hiding. There were also Tamil civilians who gave information of meeting sites of terrorists to enable the Sri Lanka Air Force use precision bombing.

    • What the CIA is trying to hide

      Beginning in the 1990s, and accelerating after September 11, the CIA flew terrorism suspects to secret police custody in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and Libya. Many of them were tortured. Starting in 2002, the CIA began operating secret prisons all over the world: Thailand, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Afghanistan, Djibouti, briefly Guantanamo Bay.

      There, the agency subjected detainees to torturous “enhanced interrogation techniques,” in a program designed and implemented by two contractor psychologists named James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) authorized a great deal of this brutality—but the CIA made false factual representations to OLC in order to obtain that authorization, and tortured detainees in ways that were never authorized. Two CIA detainees, Manadel al-Jamadi and Gul Rahman, died as a result.

    • Yet Again, CIA is Concealing Information Americans Should See

      Once again, the CIA is concealing information that Americans have a right to know, and once again President Obama should ensure its release.

      The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is set to release a landmark report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. But Obama allowed the CIA to oversee redactions, and it predictably went to town with the black marker. According to committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the redactions “eliminate or obscure key facts that support the report’s findings and conclusions.”

    • EFF Pioneer Awards Honor U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Trevor Paglen, and Frank La Rue

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation will honor former U.N. Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, and artist Trevor Paglen during its annual EFF Pioneer Awards in San Francisco. The award ceremony will be held the evening of October 2 at the Lodge at the Regency Center in San Francisco. Keynote speakers will be Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos, better known as the Yes Men, who are known for their elaborate parodies and impersonations to fight government and corporate malfeasance

    • The Bankers To The Terrorists

      WikiLeaks documents prove that the United States has known for quite some time (years) that the fictitious pseudo-state of Qatar bankrolls Hamas as part of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ikhwan. While Iran is the world’s major facilitator of terror, Qatar is their bank. The US Administration knows this well.

    • Press Freedom Groups Rally For Journalist James Risen, Who Faces Jail Time for Refusing to Reveal Sources

      At an Aug. 14 news conference in Washington, D.C. press freedom organizations rallied to support New York Times reporter and author James Risen, who faces prosecution for refusing to disclose his sources. In advance of the press event, held at the National Press Club, organizers presented a petition to the U.S. Justice Department with more than 100,000 signatures, demanding that the federal government stop its six-year prosecution of Risen.

    • Cracking Down on Truth-telling

      President Obama entered office vowing to run a transparent government. But instead he has clamped down on leaks, prosecuted whistleblowers and threatened truth-telling journalists with jail if they don’t reveal sources, as Marcy Wheeler recounts.

    • James Risen vs. the security state
    • The Real “Dirty Wars” in the Horn of Africa – “Expiration by Starvation” Sanctioned by the Obama White House

      The Great Horn of Africa Famine started at the beginning of 2011 and lasted about 2 years. 250,000 dead in Somalia from starvation equals 10,000 dying a month, 300 or more dying a day on average. And this just in Somalia where there was aid being distributed. Next door in the Ogaden, with a population of almost as many as in Somalia the same famine was raging and no aid what so ever was being allowed.

    • Traffic Enforcement: Over-Zealous and Heavy-Handed

      The use of CCTV for handing out traffic fines is something that has raised concerns from a number of sources, for example Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who accused councils of “bending the law as a means of filling their coffers with taxpayers’ cash.” The Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC) also published guidance on this practice, stating that cameras should only be used “when other means of enforcement are not practical”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • How to Save the Net: Keep It Open

      For all of its history, the Internet has enjoyed the fruits of an openness principle: the idea that anyone can reach any site online and that information and data should be freely exchangeable. Applications such as YouTube and Skype have been introduced without the need to seek permission of any Internet service provider or government. Nearly 3 billion users enjoy myriad mobile apps and other Internet-based services thanks to the open standards, common interfaces, and rich connectivity that permissionless innovation has delivered.

    • How AT&T’s Own Legal Fights Show It’s Lying In Claiming Broadband Reclassification Would Create Collateral Damage

      Earlier this year, we shared our own comments to the FCC on the issue of net neutrality and keeping the internet open. The key, as we noted, is that if this issue is left to the FCC (as appears to be the case), it should use Title II reclassification in combination with forbearance to narrowly tailor rules for broadband access providers that maintain an open internet. As with so many things related to net neutrality, this gets a bit down in the weeds, and is a bit wonkish, but it’s important to understand. Even the EFF — a longtime critic of Title II reclassification — changed its position in light of other factors, but made sure to emphasize forbearance as a key part of this. Forbearance, in short, is effectively a statement from the FCC that it’s using certain rules, but has committed to not enforcing parts of what it’s allowed to do under those rules.

    • Behind The Veil Part 5: Comcast Metrics For All Employees As Simple As ABC, Always Be Closing

      In the ongoing fallout Comcast is facing due to the high-pressure sales tactics of their non-sales employees, the company has consistently indicated that these employees are not behaving in a manner consistent with the company’s wishes. The common thread in most of these stories consists of customer service duties being handled by customer retention reps as often as not and complaints or attempts to cancel service being met with sales pitches instead of service. Comcast has specifically indicated that these examples are outside of the way they train employees to conduct their business.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Delaware Passes Law Granting Residents The Right To Pass On Digital Goods To Their Heirs

      As rights holders have made clear time and time again, your digital purchases are never truly yours. If someone decides to shut down a service, it’s likely your purchases will vanish into the ether along with the service itself. If you want to resell your mp3s or ebooks, you’re facing any number of unsettled legal questions and various industries pushing the assertion that your money was exchanged for a limited use license, rather than the acquisition of a product.

    • Copyrights
      • Thomson Reuters: we’ll take your articles if you don’t tell us not to

        We received an email from Thomson Reuters last evening, informing us that unless we write back to them in 14 days denying them the use of our articles, they will take the lack of refusal, as an indication of consent to use them. What’s more, they will presume that we have given them the “right to use, incorporate and distribute the Content in its Services to its subscribers and to permit such subscribers to use and redistribute the Content.”

      • Thomson Reuters Thinks Not Responding To Their Email Means You’ve Freely Licensed All Your Content
      • Dotcom’s Millions Will Remain Frozen, Court Decides

        Kim Dotcom’s battle to regain control over millions in seized assets has received another setback. Today the Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by the High Court by extending the restraining orders against the entrepreneur’s property until at least April 2015.

      • Judge Says You Don’t ‘Own’ The Facebook ‘Likes’ On Your Page

        In a world where people are always pushing the idea of “intellectual property” over just about everything, is it really any surprise when people assume all sorts of property-like rights in things that clearly shouldn’t have any such thing? In a slightly bizarre lawsuit over the control of a Facebook fan page for the TV series The Game, the creator of the page, Stacey Mattocks, argued that BET effectively appropriated the approximately 6.78 million “likes” the fan page got. The details of exactly how this happened aren’t worth getting into, but suffice it to say it was a contract negotiation gone wrong, as BET sought to bring the fan page under its official control. All that matters here is that among the other charges in the lawsuit, Mattocks claims that BET got Facebook to transfer those likes to its official page, which she alleged is a form of unlawful conversion.

      • Monkeys, ghosts and gods ‘cannot own copyright’ says US

        In the wake of a controversial move by Wikipedia to distribute a monkey ‘selfie’ for free, against the wishes of the photographer whose camera was used, the US has issued new guidance that says animals, ghosts and gods are all banned from owning copyright

      • Australian Movie Studio Boss Skips Out On Public Q&A, Claiming It Will Be Filled With ‘Crazies’

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Leftovers: Gaming

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Leftovers: Software

Intel Beignet Is Working Out Surprisingly Well For OpenCL On Linux

Beignet is the project out of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center for exposing GPGPU/compute capabilities out of Ivy Bridge hardware and newer when using a fully open-source Linux stack. While Beignet differs greatly from Gallium3D's Clover state tracker, this Intel-specific open-source OpenCL implementation is working out quite well for Ubuntu Linux. While I've been writing about Intel's Beignet project since early 2013, it's probably been about a year now since I tried out the code, which is developed by Intel's OTC graphics team in China. This weekend I tried out Beignet v0.9.2 as trying out the newest Intel OpenCL code has been on my TODO list for a while and it's been working out rather well in my initial tests. Read more