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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 47 min ago

Site Focus for The Remainder of the Year

4 hours 59 min ago

Summary: What we plan for the rest of 2014 and why

NO MATTER what the corporate press/Wall Street tries to tell the public, Microsoft is rapidly going down, having lost the monopoly in several areas and having lost some key contracts/lock-in. As we noted some days ago, Microsoft is now being sued by its own shareholders for its crimes. As one blogger put it, “Microsoft sued by European Union for $731 Million” and “Even after giving promise to rectify this so called Technical error they didn’t do anything. As a result, 15 million users between May 2011 and July 2012 forced to use Internet Explorer as their default browser Internet Explorer.”

We now know (a few years later) that this ‘glitch’ did not help Microsoft because the fastest-growing browser and operating system (much of the same) is Google’s. Microsoft resorts to desperate attack ads, showing that it is losing the plot. Attack ads are always a last resort.

In 2010 or in 2011 we really stopped focusing on Novell and we hardly even mentioned SUSE at all. In the coming years we hope that the same will be true when it comes to Microsoft, and to a lesser degree Apple (it still enjoys some brand loyalty). In the remainder of this year we will try to focus on issues more than on companies, and unless the debate over software patents returns (patent trolls took their place) we are going to explore some new areas of interest to technology rights, such as copyright, DRM, kill switches, back doors, etc.

Links 20/4/2014: EFF FOSS, Easter Drone Strikes, Copyright Industry Fear of Google

Sun, 20/04/2014 - 9:30pm

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Safety you can bank on: Chromebook, Linux, phone

    If you’re not deterred by learning strange software, you can save hundreds of dollars by downloading a copy of the open-source Linux operating system and burning it to a CD or copying it to a flash drive. As security journalist Brian Krebs explained in the summer of 2012, you can pop that into your Windows PC, boot the machine off it, and go online insulated from whatever might lurk in your copy of Windows.

    (In that post, Krebs endorsed a version of Linux with the charming name Puppy Linux; I usually recommend a different variety called Ubuntu, but the differences don’t amount to much in this context.)

    Using Linux just for online banking also insulates you from most of its potential complexity: You’re only running a browser.

    But if installing new apps in Windows already fills you with dread, or the thought of picking one version of Linux out of dozens makes your head hurt, spend money instead of time. A Chromebook just might work — and might be all the computer you needed in the first place.

  • Emmabuntüs: A philanthropist’s GNU/Linux

    Emmabuntüs is a desktop GNU/Linux distribution which originated in France with a humanitarian mission. It was designed with 4 primary objectives – refurbishing of computers given to humanitarian organizations like the Emmaüs communities, promoting GNU/Linux among beginners, extending the life of older equipments and reducing waste by over-consumption of raw materials.

    The latest version, Emmabuntüs 2 is based on Xubuntu 12.04 LTS and is very user-friendly. Though it is designed to work on older computers it includes many modern features like a large number of pre-configured programs, dockbar to launch applications, easy installation of non-free software and multimedia codecs and quick setup through automated scripts. It also supports 6 languages.

  • 50 Open Source Replacements for Windows XP

    Fortunately, the open source community has free operating systems that meet the needs of users in all of these situations. This month we’ve put together a list of 50 different applications that can replace Windows XP. It’s organized into several different categories. Those that are easiest for beginners to use come first, followed by lightweight operating systems that can run on old hardware, then operating systems that are particularly tailored for business users and open source operating systems that aren’t based on Linux. The list ends with a few applications that aren’t complete operating systems but do allow users to run their existing XP software from Linux.

  • Kernel Space
    • Easter Yields The Linux 3.15-rc2 Kernel Release

      There’s many new features to the Linux 3.15 kernel with some of my favorite features being AMD VCE 2.0 video encoding support, EFI mixed mode support, file-system improvements, continued power management / ACPI work, virtualization improvements, near-complete support for building the Linux kernel with LLVM’s Clang, and many other additions and new hardware driver support.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMD Is Disabling DPM Support For RV770 GPUs

        AMD’s Alex Deucher sent out a patch on Friday to disable Dynamic Power Management on the RV770 by default. The DPM for the RV770 was enabled by default with the Linux 3.13 kernel and it yields better/lower power consumption while idling, better performance if the video BIOS sets lower clock speeds at boot time, and with the lower power consumption can also come lower heat output. However, some users have reported issues with RV770 GPUs in using the Linux 3.13 kernel and newer. (In my personal testing of several different RV770 GPUs, I haven’t encountered any issues with Linux 3.13+.)

      • Linux 3.15 Lands Some DRM Graphics Driver Fixes

        Likely most notable from this latest DRM fixes series entering the Linux kernel is the microcode fixes for some newer graphics cards, mainly fixing up the dynamic power management support for the AMD Radeon R7 260X graphics card. Besides the microcode fixes to stabilize newer GCN-era hardware, there’s also some run-time power management fixes, and PLL regression fixes for the Radeon driver. Hopefully this pull will fix a Radeon DRM problem previously mentioned on Phoronix during the early Linux 3.15 benchmarking. Many more Linux 3.15 kernel benchmarks are forthcoming on Phoronix.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Weeeee, Kubuntu 14.04 is out! and already looking to the future

        It is really fabulous to be able to present the latest KDE software into our Kubuntu LTS. This will give us the freedom to try out the newest stuff from KDE based on the sparkly new Frameworks, Plasma Next and so forth, in our next release. So, our users will be able to use software supported for five years if they want, while also having the option to install 14.10 (if all goes well) and check out the newest.

  • Distributions
  • Devices/Embedded
    • Phones
      • Jolla’s Confidence and Marketing Grows Through Monthly OS Updates

        Once more, Finnish smartphone manufacturer Jolla has updated the Sailfish OS for the Jolla handsets. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who is intensely following the adventures of the boutique mobile platform as Jolla has promised to update the OS every month. Not just ‘next month’ but ‘every month’ .

Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • 6 of Dick Cheney’s Biggest Whoppers Since Leaving Office

      The good news is that Dick Cheney is not our Vice President anymore. The bad news is that he continues to say evil, blatantly false things to the press. We didn’t appreciate his opinions when he was in the White House, and we certainly don’t appreciate them any better now. Here are six more recent quotations that leave us wishing Cheney would just shut up altogether…

    • ILLEGAL ALIEN CHAMPIONS GATES, SOROS PROFIT BY JAILING THEM

      George Soros and Bill Gates – both supporters of immigration reform – are investors in a controversial private prison firm…

    • Bill Gates Foundation’s Investments Questioned In Street Protest

      For-profit prison company accused of lobbying for harsher sentences and holding deportees longer than necessary

    • Bill Gates attacked over G4S child prisoners ‘shame’

      The philanthropic body run by the world’s richest person, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, today faced accusations that the charity is complicit in the torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees, including child prisoners.

    • Bill Gates Criticised for Investment in G4S’ Israel Torture Prisons
    • What Really Happened at the Bay of Pigs
    • US Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: We’re No. 1!

      The corporate media is focused on the question of how or if Iran could ever break out of its promise under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to eschew nuclear weapons to use reactors only for civilian purposes. So many headlines refer to sanctions imposed against Iran that millions of people mistakenly think Iran has a nuclear arsenal. It doesn’t.

    • Star-Spangled Baggage: How America’s Wars Came Home With the Troops

      After an argument about a leave denied, Specialist Ivan Lopez pulled out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and began a shooting spree at Fort Hood, America’s biggest stateside base, that left three soldiers dead and 16 wounded. When he did so, he also pulled America’s fading wars out of the closet. This time, a Fort Hood mass killing, the second in four and a half years, was committed by a man who was neither a religious nor a political “extremist.” He seems to have been merely one of America’s injured and troubled veterans who now number in the hundreds of thousands.

    • On Nazis, Jews & Ukraine ‘de-escalation’

      For starters; the regime changers in power in Kiev did not commit themselves, explicitly, to constitutional reform (the draft language is slippery, to say the least); they did not commit, explicitly, to leaving Ukraine out of NATO; and a minor but still significant point – this was not a joint press conference by the two key players, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

      Arguably, the US State Department is bound to interpret ‘de-escalation’ as a sort of ultimatum to every anti-fascist, pro-autonomy and pro-Russia group in eastern Ukraine, as in ‘disarm or else’. That’s the same logic behind the nefarious March 2011 UN approval of a no-fly zone over Libya.

    • UKRAINE CHARADE ON PARADE AND PSYOPS, TOO – OPED

      Expectations were not high for Thursday’s four-party Ukraine talks, and we were not denied. While the illegal, violent coup-meisters were represented by themselves and their two major benefactors, the US and EU, the East Ukrainians were not invited. Imagine that.

    • Twin Shocks Shake Foundation of German Power

      That shocking news — “snooping among friends, that just doesn’t work,” as Ms. Merkel put it — is still reverberating through the political elite and most recently spurred Parliament to appoint a committee to look into the case.

    • Geneva deal appears meaningless on battle lines

      The agreement signed by the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union suggested that people such as Alexander, a 31-year-old unemployed man who joined the pro-Russian protests in this industrial city should have been making preparations to head home. Instead, he was patrolling the entrance to the Donetsk regional headquarters as usual, clutching a club and wearing a balaclava.

    • CIA Working On Proxy War Against Russia in Ukraine

      The primary reason CIA boss John Brennan went to Kyiv on Sunday was not to talk about intelligence sharing as the establishment media has reported. This was the paper thin cover story floated by Rep. Mike Rogers, the out-going chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It is propaganda.

    • Hidden Agenda behind CIA Director Brennan’s Trip to Kiev: “Initiate the Use Of Force” in Eastern Ukraine
    • Imperial overreach

      However, the most significant event unfolding before our eyes, which has undermined US dominance in the world, is occurring in Ukraine. The US engineered the outcome in Ukraine, which led to the toppling of the previous government and installation of the current regime. In the past, the contest was always between an overwhelmingly superior force and an opponent that was weak, isolated or defenceless. This time, however, it is the feathers of Russia that have been ruffled from the interference in Ukraine. And Russia is not weak, isolated or defenceless. Neither the US nor Russia will back down from the conflict in Ukraine as a matter of international prestige and domestic reputation. If that is not wrong and the escalation leads to a proxy war between the two, to be played out as a civil war in Ukraine, will the US be able to win in Russia’s backyard, where the armies of Charles XII, Napoleon and Hitler all failed?

    • The Ukraine Imbroglio and the Decline of the American Empire

      When discussing the Ukraine-Crimea “crisis” it might be hygienic for Americans, including their political class, think-tank pundits, and talking heads, to recall two striking moments in “the dawn’s early light” of the U. S. Empire: in 1903, in the wake of the Spanish-American War, under President Theodore Roosevelt America seized control of the southern part of Guantanamo Bay by way of a Cuban-American Treaty which recognizes Cuba’s ultimate sovereignty over this base; a year after the Bolshevik Revolution, in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson dispatched 5,000 U. S. troops to Arkhangelsk in Northern Russia to participate in the Allied intervention in Russia’s Civil War, which raised the curtain on the First Cold War. Incidentally, in 1903 there was no Fidel Castro in Havana and in 1918 no Joseph Stalin in the Kremlin.

    • Anti-Semitic ‘provocation’ signals dangerous game in Ukraine city

      Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski was chatting outside this city’s lone synagogue after Passover prayers on Wednesday night when three men in masks approached. They were unarmed, Rabbi Vishedski says, but carrying something hateful in their hands: a leaflet demanding that Jews living in Donetsk come to the regional administration building “to be registered,” or face expulsion.

    • Boston and Baghdad

      All this carnage, following the destruction of Iraq by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and the aftermath, is occurring in a country less than one twenty-third the size of the United States with less than one ninth the population, and far fewer emergency and hospital facilities.

    • Drone strikes: We’re humans, not bugs waiting to be squashed
    • Air strike in Yemen kills suspected militants

      A drone strike in Yemen on Saturday killed at least 10 suspected al Qaeda militants but also inadvertently resulted in the deaths of three civilian day laborers, a high-level Yemeni government official told CNN.

    • Documentary reveals US Air Force unit recruits gamers to kill with drones in Pakistan
    • 11 detained during drone protest at Beale AFB

      Eleven people protesting the U.S. government’s use of unmanned drones were detained at Beale Air Force Base on Friday, base officials said.

    • Jack Tame: Remote death by drone, so 2014

      So we killed a dude and no one seems too fazed. What’s the deal with that? You’ll excuse my casualness, I hope, but it seems to be the way we’re approaching this. A Kiwi dude got killed by a drone. It took months to even identify him. But meh, it is what it is. Back to your brioche and latte.

    • Haunting Instagrams Show What Drone Operators Would See if They Targeted Americans
    • US drone pilots are ‘stressed’ and ‘demoralized’ – official report

      ​The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has produced a scathing report detailing the Air Force’s mismanagement of its active-duty drone pilots, who are responsible for the most demanding and deadly missions in the entire US military.

    • LETTERS: Anger against Bundy misdirected

      Ask yourself what is worse: execution by drone without due process, or private cattle grazing on public lands?

    • The Obama Drama

      The Obama drama means that the president can easily decide to kill bin Laden, resort to drones, establish his own kill list, and refuse to prosecute the torture mongers of the Bush administration, but the president cannot beat the NRA and get sensible gun laws passed in Congress, and he cannot force Israel to stop its illegal settlement policy, which, in the long run, will be harmful to Israel itself, and in the short term is brutal for the Palestinians and disastrous for the image of both the U.S. and Israel.

    • America’s “Exceptional” Reality

      Mainstream media are intensively focused on last year’s Boston Marathon victims in their run-up stories to this year’s April 21st Marathon. It is enough to divert people’s attention from what our government does to countless more human beings in our name—which would explain why so-called “terrorists” would want to hurt us Americans. This statement is not meant, in any way, to minimize what happened in Boston in 2013. The lives of the four persons killed and over 260 injured last year are most precious, and words will never adequately express the terrible loss of loved ones and devastating injuries suffered. Nor is the intent to minimize the culpability of the alleged Marathon bombers. But something else is going on here—and it is not in the best interest of last year’s bombing victims, nor the rest of us citizens.

    • U.S. drone strike kills 5 terror suspects in Yemen

      But critics said the drone strikes often violate international law and cause heavy civilian casualties. Last December, a U.S. drone strike mistakenly hit a wedding party in Yemen’s southeastern province of al-Bayda, killing 11 Yemeni civilians and wounding another 21.

    • People panic as drones fly over Hangu

      Those killed were mostly Afghan refugees.

    • URGENT – Yemen-Drone-Target

      Nobody killed in the strike was believed to be among AQAP’s senior leadership, the source said.

    • Benghazi Mystery Explained!?!

      Answer offered by Seymour Hersh Gets Little Public Attention

    • Did Israel steal bomb-grade uranium from the United States?

      Nearly 50 years have passed since the events in question. It is time to level with the public. At this point it is up to the president himself to decide whether to declassify completely the NUMEC documents, all of which are over 30 years old. He should do so. We know that is asking a lot given the president’s sensitivity about anything involving Israel, and especially anything relating to Israeli nuclear weapons. But none of his political concerns outweigh his responsibility to tell the US public the historical truth it deserves to know.

    • Guantánamo trial judge orders CIA to account for treatment of detainee

      A judge overseeing the trials of terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay has ordered the CIA to turn over details of its treatment of a detainee in one of its secret prisons, a watershed ruling that sets the stage for the military commissions to learn much more than the US public about the agency’s brutal interrogations.

    • Military Judge Orders CIA To Turn Over Details On ‘Black Site’ Prisons
    • James Mitchell: ‘I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country’

      Dr James Elmer Mitchell has been called a war criminal and a torturer. He has been the subject of an ethics complaint, and his methods have been criticized in reports by two congressional committees and by the CIA’s internal watchdog.

    • On CIA abuses, denial does Americans no favors

      Instinct pushes us away from reckoning with the mindset that led our country into disastrous foreign adventures over the last few decades. We prefer not to ask why we misjudged the world and our ability to change it. This form of denial is dangerous. Pretending that nothing went seriously wrong can only lead us to future trouble.

    • US Drone Strike Kills 21 in Yemen, Including Civilians

      The strike targeted a pickup truck carrying 16 people, and was apparently a “signature strike” on the assumption the truck was carrying al-Qaeda. Though none of the slain were identified, reports dubbed all 16 “suspected militants.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • Finance
    • Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy

      And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

    • Save the World, Work Less

      With climate change threatening life as we know it, perhaps it’s time to revive the forgotten goal of spending less time on our jobs

    • Lessons from corporatized college: Even PhDs are being squeezed out of the middle class

      In our US of A, those words ought never be juxtaposed. The very concept of paying poverty wages in the richest nation in the history of the planet is an abomination–a mark of societal failure. Yet, not only have millions of our people been shoved into the abyss of the working poor, but our soulless corporate and political elites tell us to get used to it, for the Walmartization of work is our nation’s future.

    • Wall Street market rigged!

      More bluntly, Michael (of Liar’s Poker and The Big Short fame) claimed on TV’s 60 Minutes in early April that the US’s US$22 trillion stock market is rigged by HFTs. It’s not surprising that some Wall Street titans, including Charles Schwab (founder of the old established discount brokerage house) agreed, describing the practice of HFT as “a cancer undermining confidence in the free enterprise system.” To be fair, other high profiles on Wall Street also insist that few investors are actually hurt by the activities of HFTs; in fact, these “New Barbarians” do have redeeming features, including injecting competition, generating market liquidity and lowering transaction costs.

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Censorship
    • Privacy
      • Snowden Calls BS On Putin’s Answer: Says He Was Playing The Role Of Ron Wyden

        Yesterday we, like many, were perplexed by Ed Snowden’s decision to go on a Russian television program, and to ask Vladimir Putin a question about whether or not the Russians do mass surveillance like the NSA does (which was, of course, exposed by Ed Snowden). It was clearly playing into Putin’s propaganda efforts, because Putin immediately took the opportunity to insist that no, Russia does not do mass surveillance like that. Of course, Putin’s answer was not true. Many of Snowden’s detractors immediately jumped on this as an example of how he was working for the Putin propaganda machine — and many (including us), wondered if he was, at the very least, pressured to play a role in order to keep his temporary asylum. Others thought he was just being naive. Some Snowden supporters, however, insisted that we should hear him out, and see if there was some more specific motive behind his question.

        Apparently, we didn’t have to wait long. Snowden himself has now directly called Putin out for lying about Russian surveillance, and said that his question was designed to act similar to Senator Ron Wyden’s now famous question to James Clapper, leading to Clapper’s lie, which (in part) sparked Snowden’s decision to finally release the files he’d been collecting.

      • The End Of Facebook

        It’s taken five years to get the Booooooom Facebook page to the size it is now and after all that it appears, due to Facebook’s greed, it’s a complete waste of time to continue using it. The other day I made a post, and of the 155,000 people following our page, only 400 people saw it. That’s not even 1% of our followers! That’s kinda insane if you think about it. There was a time when 60,000 people would see a post, and we had less followers then!

      • US, India are the top offenders on Facebook

        Facebook released its global government transparency report. USA the oldest democracy, UK the representative democracy and India the largest democracy are the biggest offenders of its citizen’s privacy. For the first time it is revealed that how often countries have restricted or removed content from the site.

      • Covert Inquiry by F.B.I. Rattles 9/11 Tribunals
      • Judge in Sept. 11 case confirms FBI is investigating defense lawyers

        The sudden turn of events has frustrated prosecutors, who want to move the case closer to trial, and angered relatives of the victims, some them coming away from this week’s hearings believing the pretrial process has been “sabotaged.”

      • The mentality of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI undergirds today’s surveillance state

        The new documentary 1971, about the formerly anonymous FBI burglars who exposed the crimes of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, debuted to a rapt audience at the Tribecca film festival last night. As the filmmakers noted in an interview with the AP, the parallels between Nixon-era FBI whistleblowers and Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations are almost eerie in their similarity.

      • Is Data Hoarding Necessary for Lawful Surveillance?

        The answer is emphatically no. Well understood cryptographic techniques can enable lawful intercept and surveillance without the creation of centralized hoards of personal information. This is not a geeky footnote in the mass surveillance saga. Such hoards are dangerous as well as unnecessary; they could be leaked or sold to a foreign state or criminal gang by a future, more venal incarnation of Edward Snowden.

      • Edward Snowden’s vindication: Burman

        The Pulitzer Prize in public service journalism is ultimately a tribute to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, once regarded as an American traitor.

      • Student Data: Moving Past Transparent to Tangible

        The one-stop data warehouse provider inBloom, despite its non-profit status and open source code, suffered a series of setbacks thanks to a combination of unfortunate timing (that NSA thing), guilt-by-association (controversial statements by Bill Gates about teachers as the Gates Foundation provided funding, and coding work done by an edtech company owned by Rupert Murdoch), and self-inflicted wounds (initial sluggishness in directly responding to criticism or clearly explaining what inBloom-the-service was).

      • The Rise of Big Data Brings Tremendous Possibilities and Frightening Perils

        In my mind, there is no doubt that data analytics will one day help to improve health care and crime detection, design better products, and improve traffic patterns and agricultural yields. My concern is about how we will one day use all the data we are gathering — and the skeletons it will uncover. Think about how DNA technology is being used to free people who were wrongfully imprisoned decades ago. Imagine what supercomputers of the future will be able to do with the data that present-day data gatherers haven’t yet learned to use.

      • Xinhua Insight: China on frontlines of cyber security threat

        The situation became more urgent after Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, said the U.S. had been hacking into institutions based on the Chinese mainland.

        The NSA has also been spying into the servers of Chinese company Huawei’s sealed headquarters, according to revelations by The New York Times and Der Spiegel, which the U.S. has not denied.

      • Tribeca Docs on Government Spying: ‘What Was Illegal Under Nixon Is Legal Under Obama’

        “Silenced” and “1971” deal with 43 years of surveillance and retaliation against whistleblowers

        Government surveillance, abuses of power and the supression of dissent kicked into high gear after 9/11, one documentary argued at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night.

        But the whistleblowers who exposed recent activities were hardly breaking new ground, because some of the same things were going on more than four decades ago, another Tribeca doc pointed out.

      • FALLOUT: The Geopolitics of the Snowden Files

        ON JULY 2 LAST YEAR, the governments of Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain bowed to US orders and refused airspace to the plane carrying Bolivian president Evo Morales. He’d been traveling from Russia to South America until his presidential jet was forced to land in Vienna. Morales and his ministers were stranded there for 15 hours. Acting on bad intelligence or mere suspicions, the higher-ups in the Obama administration, and perhaps President Obama himself, decreed this embarrassing, unprecedented, and illegal detention of a foreign sovereign. The lies fed to Morales and his pilots in Vienna — that there were “technical” issues for the emergency landing — fooled no one: American authorities suspected that the Bolivians were helping NSA whistleblower Edward J. Snowden’s escape from Russia to South America.

      • Lavabit Complies With U.S. Government Request — In A Teeny, Tiny Font

        U.S. based secure email provider Lavabit has been fighting its government for months now, after shutting down to avoid having to provide information about its clients. But, unable to fight any longer, it finally relinquished its SSL keys — in a less-than-readable font size.

        It seems like a troll move. But, known for his stance on a free internet, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is clearly not joking around when putting any obstacle he can in the government’s path of snooping on his email clients. The provider was set up with total security in mind for its users, and Levison claims that handing over his encryption keys would “compromise all of the secure communications in and out of my network, including my own administrative traffic.”

      • You Are Being Watched

        Secret NSA courts, established in 1978, called Federal Intelligence Surveillance Courts or FISA courts, grant warrants to the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for secret searches.

      • Bill to protect e-data advances

        Voters in November could be asked by the General Assembly whether to protect electronic data from unreasonable search and seizure, under a measure introduced this week at the state capitol.

        The measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 14-002, is sponsored by perhaps the most unlikely pairing of senators: Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) and Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora). In the House, Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) is its sponsor. The measure would amend the state constitution to add electronic data to “persons and papers” that are not subject to unreasonable search and seizure.

        SCR 002 is in part a response to re

      • In a MaidSafe state of mind
      • Justices Ginsburg, Scalia says Supreme Court to rule over NSA surveillance despite lack of know-how

        Two US Supreme Court justices have admitted in front of the National Press Club that the country’s to court has no choice but to decide on the controversial surveillance activities of the National Security Agency, TechCrunch said.

        Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told the club that the US’ high court is the least qualified institution to decide on the federal agency’s activities.

      • GCHQ Names New Director Amidst Snowden Controversy

        Senior Foreign Office official Robert Hannigan has been named new head of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence and surveillance agency that came under scrutiny alongside its US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA), following the damaging disclosures of highly classified SIGINT by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      • Joint Letter from Civil Society Organizations to Foreign Ministers of Freedom Online Coalition Member States

        Snowden explicitly told PACE members that the NSA had “specifically targeted the communications of either leaders or staff members in a number of purely civil or human rights organizations … including domestically, within the borders of the United States.”

      • Governments up the ante on cyberspying styles

        We don’t mean to imply that all forms of technospying are this advanced, though. Russia was busted last year after putting infected memory sticks in gift baskets presented to world leaders at a G-20 summit (lat.ms/1gWn3Ra). And among the NSA’s many tricks were intercepting shipping deliveries, planting bugs or back doors in the packaged hardware, then sending the packages on their way (bit.ly/1iiDw7e).

      • ‘1971’, An Early Echo Of NSA, Snowden
      • TECH TOYS: What would George Orwell think of the new Gmail update?

        And Google is promising that it won’t allow Glass facial recognition apps that tap into Google tell the wearer who someone is, who they work for, what football team they like, when was the last time they changed their underwear and things like that. That’s the only reason I’d want to buy Google Glass, but Google is worried about the perception it’s the world’s No. 1 corporate voyeur.

      • Looking for Terrorists? Why Not Check the Extreme Right Website Linked to 100 Hate Crime Killings

        The Southern Poverty Law Center found that users on the White Nationalist Web forum Stormfront.org were responsible for something like a hundred slayings that related to discrimination. Among the infamous killers the site boasts as users are the man responsible for the 2011 Norway massacre, Anders Behring Breivik, and Wade Michael Page, who shot six people dead at a Sikh temple in 2012 in Wisconsin.

      • Greenwald Reacts to Pulitzer Win: They ‘Had to Recognize’ Snowden Reporting in Some Way

        On this Sunday morning’s Reliable Sources, CNN’s Brian Stelter will conduct the first interview with Glenn Greenwald since his reporting based on NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks, along with that of The Washington Post, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. In a preview from the upcoming segment, Greenwald said he know the Pulitzer committee “had to recognize” the Snowden-based work in some way, and he’s pleased with how they chose to do it.

      • State of control

        As the world celebrates the 25th birthday of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web, the fight for an open and free internet gains more momentum. Although the openness – and scrutiny – of the internet has always been a cause for concern for digital rights advocates, things got pretty messy after Edward Snowden’s (ongoing) leaks about NSA and GCHQ’s snooping tactics.

      • Protests continue against Dropbox after appointment of Condoleezza Rice

        The decision by Dropbox this month to appoint Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, to the company’s board of directors sparked a heated online debate about her views on Internet surveillance and the role of the National Security Agency.

      • In brief: Dropbox won’t drop Condoleezza Rice over surveillance concerns
      • Australian VPN Offers Anonymity to Citizens Concerned About Their Online Privacy
      • Stephan Lesher: Thank you, Edward Snowden

        But as a whistleblower who has revealed government machinations on a scale not seen since Daniel Ellsberg gave America the Pentagon Papers, he does deserve, at the very least, a thank you, a pat on the back, and a get out of jail free card.

      • Clapper Goes on Tour to Persuade University Students Snowden Is No Whistleblower, Not a Hero

        Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is touring universities and colleges in the United States in an attempt to persuade students that they should not consider former NSA contractor Edward Snowden a whistleblower or a hero.

      • Former CIA Director: Snowden Is Obviously A ‘Prop’ For Putin
      • Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: ‘Why all the criticism?’

        Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has written an op-ed column in the Guardian justifying his decision to go on live TV to question Russian President Vladimir Putin about his country’s policies on mass surveillance.

      • Documentary ’1971′ explores break-in of FBI office in Pa.

        “They’re ordinary Americans who decided to take a stand,” says Hamilton, a producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”

      • Way to go DHS! And Shame on the Rest of You

        If the FBI is collecting and using cyber data in the same way the NSA deals with phone calls – we are in trouble.

      • The U.S. Government: Paying to Undermine Internet Security, Not to Fix It

        The United States spends more than $50 billion a year on spying and intelligence, while the folks who build important defense software 2014 in this case a program called OpenSSL that ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted 2014 are four core programmers, only one of whom calls it a full-time job.

      • The UK’s response to Snowden’s revelations lets Putin off the hook

        The surveillance watchdog report clearing GCHQ provides a worrying precedent for the Russian president and other autocrats

      • IRS, other agencies award contracts to license plate tracking company

        The Internal Revenue Service and other agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to a license plate-tracking company before Homeland Security leaders dropped a plan for similar work amid privacy complaints.

    • Civil Rights
      • Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: Boxer whose wrongful conviction for murder caused international outrage, dies aged 76

        Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.

      • World Cup 2014: Brazil’s plans for anti-terror law alarm rights groups

        Human rights campaigners have sounded the alarm about proposed Brazilian anti-terrorism legislation that they fear will be used to crack down on legal protests during the World Cup.

        The government says that it needs the new law before the tournament, which kicks off on 12 June, because the high-profile international event could be a target for violent extremists. But lawyers, politicians, NGOs and protest organisers warn that the current wording of a bill submitted to the Brazilian National Congress is dangerously vague and could allow security forces unprecedented powers to arrest demonstrators.

      • The militarization of the police

        Recently a black family was awakened to the thunderous sounds of their front door crashing in and Gestapo-like footsteps fanning throughout their home. It was the St. Louis SWAT Team with no search warrant or explanation of their intrusion.

        This is just one example of the militarization of domestic police which has accelerated over the years with little public scrutiny or restraint. And now, Police Chief Sam Dotson wants to add drones to his arsenal.

        The mother in the no-knock raid was temporarily put in hand-cuffs and the father was thrown on the floor. Their juvenile son was taken to police headquarters and questioned without the presence or permission of his parents.

      • Hillary Clinton and the Future Failure of Progressive Hope and Change

        The crowd cheered when she said it; the party seems to be teeing up issues like gender equality to facilitate it; and with the McCutcheon decision, the way seems paved for a DLC Democrat like Hillary to waltz into the nomination. And yes, gender equality is a critical issue, but don’t hold your breath looking for progress from Hillary. She’s likely to do as much for women, as Barack Obama has done for African Americans – which is to say damn little, other than a better brand of rhetoric.

      • Washington’s Corruption and Mendacity Is What Makes America “Exceptional” — Paul Craig Roberts

        The Los Angeles Times has acquired its own Judith Miller. His name is Sergei L. Loiko. An incompetent Obama regime has botched its takeover of Ukraine with its Kiev coup. The White House Fool is embarrassed that so many Ukrainians prefer to be part of Russia than part of Washington’s stooge “freedom and democracy” government in Kiev. The prostitute American and European media have thrown the propaganda into overdrive, demonizing Russia and President Putin, in order to cover up Washington’s blunder.

      • The Psychologist Behind the CIA’s Torture Program Desperately Wants to Speak Out

        The psychologist who wrote the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program wants to tell his story to the world, if only non-disclosure agreements with the U.S. government weren’t holding him back.

      • Why Constitutionalists Should Celebrate April 18

        Throughout 1774 and the Spring of 1775, Paul Revere was hired by the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety to serve as an “express rider,” an 18th-century mailman of sorts. Revere’s job was to carry information — news, letters, dispatches, copies of proposed resolutions — to dispersed patriots throughout New England and as far away as New York and Philadelphia.

        This day, April 18, Dr. Joseph Warren notified Revere that he was to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, and alert local patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British regulars were marching to arrest them.

    • Intellectual Monopolies
      • Bill Gates Files Anti Google Glass Patent Application

        Google Glass, recently put on limited sale to the general public, has raised privacy concerns because it may record video and audio with little indication to outside parties. There are instances where individuals may not want or expect to be recorded by strangers in public. Embarrassing or incriminating recordings of an individual may be obtained at locations such as restaurants, bars, or support groups without an individual’s knowledge. Further, sensitive information on laptop or ATM screens may be compromised by Google Glass wearers peeking over one’s shoulder and recording what they see.

      • Copyrights
        • Android Pirate gets busted, agrees to go undercover for the Feds – but is this the right approach?

          Two years ago, TechDirt did a fantastic job covering the seizure of a domain named Dajaz1. It took the Department of Justice over a year to admit that they had no evidence. In fact, after the site had been withheld by the government for over a year, Congress seemed to finally take notice that the government was holding the site hostage without bring an actual lawsuit.

          The Department of Justice seems to handle all the alleged “piracy” sites the same way: Pull down with no warning, give no hearing and give no due process. Before last year’s Super Bowl, ICE seized 313 websites without any adversarial hearing along with a “few” arrests for counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise. ICE did not publicize the fact that they also had seized legitimate merchandise.

          Several weeks ago, the Homeland Security’s ICE division joined with GoDaddy to censor a Mexican political protest site. GoDaddy suspended the domain and ICE would not give an explanation as to why they were taking down the site. When Mike Masnick over at TechDirt was looking into filing FOIA requests about this case, he asked for a fee waiver, which is standard procedure. Under FOIA, government agencies can charge for the requested work, but they’re supposed to waive the fees if the request is for the public interest or reporting. ICE rejected his fee waiver request. Why? Because…ICE actually told him they rejected his request “because” with no additional information.

        • ‘We Are Afraid of Google’: A German Media Mogul Tells It Like It Is

          It’s not like Google’s impending world domination isn’t already well-known or well-documented, as a cursory Google search clearly shows. But few prominent public figures have stood up and really ripped into the tech giant for holding a terrifying amount of power—not to its face, anyway. And not as candidly as Germany’s largest publisher Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German media empire Axel Springer, did earlier this week.

        • Why we fear Google

          In your text you refer to the marketing cooperation between Google and Axel Springer. We were also happy with it. But some of our readers have now interpreted this to mean that Axel Springer is evidently schizophrenic. On the one hand, Axel Springer is part of a European antitrust action against Google, and is in dispute with them regarding the issue of enforcement of German ancillary copyright prohibiting the stealing of content; on the other hand, Axel Springer not only benefits from the traffic it receives via Google but from Google’s algorithm for marketing the remaining space in its online advertising. You can call it schizophrenic – or liberal. Or, to use one of our Federal Chancellor’s favorite phrases: there is no alternative.

        • Google is building up a digital superstate, says German media boss

Links 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

Sat, 19/04/2014 - 11:25pm

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • What open source really means

    As open source software continues to develop, many companies have begun to see the incredible value that it could bring to their organizations.

  • Open source trounces proprietary software for code defects, Coverity analysis finds
  • Open source code has fewer errors than proprietary code

    THE QUALITY of open source code has overtaken that of proprietary code for the first time, according to a survey.

  • Coverity Scan: Open Source Code Is Better Quality – The VAR Guy
  • Open source trounces proprietary software for code defects, Coverity analysis finds
  • Hey! Don’t Criticize Open Source Code Over Quality
  • ReactOS Working On A Community Windows OS

    A few months after ReactOS announced plans for a Cloud OS, the open-source project aiming for binary compatibility with Microsoft Windows platforms, is now trying to spin a community edition of its operating system.

  • Open source now tier 1 for software development

    As Day 2 begins, I wanted to take the time to remember all the way back to yesterday on theCUBE. It may have been only 24 short hours ago, but the conversations had with some of the top executives, regarded by John Furrier as luminaries in their field, really highlighted the overall maturity of Linux and the open source community as both the future of the Cloud and that community seem to have converged this year.

  • Telerik Makes Framework for JavaScript Available via Open Source

    With strong roots in the Microsoft ecosystem, Telerik has always been part of the commercial software landscape. But starting today Telerik, a provider of application development tools, is embracing open source. The company today announced Telerik Kendo UI Core, an open source implementation of the JavaScript framework and user interface tools that Telerik created for its cross-platform application development environments.

  • Infoblox Announces Support for XenServer Open-Source Virtualization By Delivering a Virtual Appliance for Network Control

    Infoblox Inc. (NYSE:BLOX), the automated network control company, today introduced Infoblox Virtual Appliance Software for XenServer, bringing the full range of Infoblox enterprise-grade network control technologies to the open-source XenServer virtualization platform.

  • Infoblox to support XenServer open source virtualization
  • Open The Box: Cloud Company Gives Back To Community With Open Source

    Box has made its identity as a cloud company with generous file management features. The company showed another generous side by contributing to the Open Source movement with its own repository.

  • Box offers new open source initiative ahead of $250m IPO
  • The Cost of Open Source: the Problem

    Although I might give Mr Seggelmann the benefit of the doubt, the NSA’s track record for veracity in the wake of Edward Snowden’s astonishing leaks is not been of the best, and I am not inclined to do the same for them. But that’s another article. Here I want to concentrate on what is perhaps the most interesting facet of this story for readers of this column: the fact that the OpenSSL code suffering from Heartbleed is open source.

  • Box announces open source initiatives to ramp up community engagement

    Enterprise cloud storage and collaboration firm Box announced this week that the company is open sourcing a range of internal initiatives to “give back” to the coding communities that have contributed to its success.

  • Intel on open source: Software, hardware conversations must merge

    Doug Fisher, VP & GM, Software Services Group, Intel, took a trip down the memory lane of being a part of the open source community since its beginning and discusses his takes on the matter with theCUBE co-hosts John Furrier and Stu Miniman, live from the 2014 Red Hat Summit.

  • SocioBoard Wants To Be Your Open Source Social Media Dashboard. Can It?

    Social media networks need to be streamlined otherwise you will get lost. A common problem that has been solved by a lot of social media dashboard startups already and SocioBoard is another startup trying to grab a pie from the existing market. The Mumbai based startup calls itself an open source product in social media space, the first of its kind globally from India. There have been Indian startups in the past that have tried to crack the space, they have had to face challenges. So it was interesting to give SocioBoard a spin.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • New tab page for Chrome: which one do you use?

        If you go to the Chrome Web Store and search for ‘new tab page’ or ‘startpage,’ you will find at least 30 different apps and extensions claiming to be the best. However, you do not have time to sift through all of them, so you settle for the one with the best reviews. Usually, the app or extension with the best reviews is the one I would suggest. However, when it comes to your new tab page, you cannot just pick the one with the highest reviews, and if you still use Google‘s standard new tab page, it is time for you to install a different one.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • With OpenStack Icehouse Here, Database-as-a-Service Tech Draws Attention

      One notable thing about Icehouse is that it introduces a new database-as-a-service feature, focused on building and managing relational databases, called Trove. Trove is starting to get a lot of notice, and Tesora is among the companies with a stake in Trove’s success. The company is focused on Database-as-a-Service technology.

    • Getting Hit By The Variable Performance Of The Public Cloud

      With yesterday’s official release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS I set out to do some benchmarks of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS vs. 14.04 LTS in the public cloud. Unfortunately, that testing was drawn out due to the variable performance out of instances/droplets in the public cloud that are even of the same instance type.

    • Leveraging Cloud, Open Source To Aid Embattled IT

      IT executives laid out the challenges and opportunities created by cloud computing, open source, and other disruptive technologies during this week’s Red Hat summit in San Francisco.

  • CMS
    • We still believe in Linus’ law after Heartbleed bug, says Elie Auvray of Jahia

      Today Jahia is the #1 Open Source alternative to proprietary CMS vendors for upper tier digital projects. Over the years, we’ve focused on building a content platform that delivers true technology convergence: business user and developers work in harmony to deploy digital projects (Portals, multichannel, multi site, Multilanguage corporate sites, extranets, intranets and even full digital applications) securely and seamlessly.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • XP shutdown: Switch to free software, say FSMI activists

      Activists of the Free Software Movement of India say you had better switch to free software that can easily substitute the proprietary, costly licences of Microsoft. “When you migrate, it involves a lot of cost on hardware upgrades and migration. Besides buying the OS copy of a higher version, users need to upgrade their hardware so that their systems can support the new OS,” Y Kiran Chandra, General Secretary of the Free Software Movement of India, told Business Line.

    • Please protest the “Windows 8 Campus Tour”

      Microsoft is running “Windows 8 Campus Tour” events at many US universities. We’re inviting free software supporters, associated with the universities in question, to mount simple nondisruptive protests at these events.

    • GNU Dap 3.10 Released

      I am happy to announce the next release of GNU Dap.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Public sector slowly embracing cloud and open source

      The Red Hat Summit, celebrating its 10th anniversary this week, is being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Continuing its commitment to live coverage of tech events, SilconANGLE’s theCUBE is there, hosted by SiliconANGLE founder John Furrier.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Meet TrustTheVote, A Project To Make Voting Open Source And Transparent
    • Blender Foundation needs more help to crowdfund the world’s first fully open source animated feature

      Julius writes, “With people like Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales backing them up, the Blender Foundation’s first full feature length film looks like one of those things that’s just bound to happen by itself. Except right now it isn’t. Having successfully collected over $630 000 in funding from over 3500 individual pledgers (setting a new world record for animated film), Project Gooseberry needs more to become what it promises to be — a historic open content film production.”

    • OSCAL, creating an open source ecosystem in Albania

      OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania) is the first annual conference in Albania organised to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge, a global movement that originally started more than 25 years ago.

    • Open Hardware
      • Open Source 3D Printers for Small Business

        You may have heard of 3D printers—they’ve been all over the news. But you may not know that they represent real opportunity for small business owners. While 3D printers have been around since the 1980s in manufacturing (they were more commonly known as industrial robots), the big change came just a few years ago, when affordable models for hobbyists hit the market. Savvy small business owners take note: we’re witnessing the start of an affordable technological revolution, and it’s just the beginning.

      • Robohand: 3D-printed open source hand replacements

        Supposing you’ve had several fingers chopped off in the recent past and you understand how to operate a scissors, Robohand may well have a solution for you. The company began with a fellow by the name of Richard van As, a fellow who lost his fingers in a carpentry accident in 2011. Searching for the past several years for a solution to his problem, as a good carpenter never gives up, he discovered a future partner with whom he’d eventually found Robohand.

      • Open-Source Designs Could Turn You Into The Next Philippe Starck [Video]

        Customizable clothing has been inching its way into society for a while now, but with the kick off of Milan Design Week, a new company has unveiled an opportunity to customize your own designer furniture.

      • Open-source project teaches design of ARM boards

        A Linux programmer from the Slovak Republic has created an open-source project to help engineers and students to learn about advanced hardware design and how to port Linux to your own ARM board.

        It is the idea of Robert Feranec at the Fedevel Academy and colleague Martin Murin who has created the iMX6 Rex module based on a Freescale i.MX6 1.2GHz quad-core processor.

      • Build this open source DIY wind turbine for $30

        Getting started with home wind energy projects can set you back a pretty penny if you buy a finished product, but if you’re a little bit handy and don’t mind scrounging for materials and getting creative in the garage or backyard, you can try your hand at building one of these DIY wind turbines for about $30 in materials. After all, it is #iheartrenewables week!

  • Programming
    • [ANNOUNCE] Git v2.0.0-rc0

      A major version bump between v1.x.x series and the upcoming v2.0.0
      means there are a handful of backward incompatible UI improvements,
      but for most people, all the tricky preparation for the transition
      would have been already done for you and the upcoming release just
      flips the default. Unless you were living in a cave and have stayed
      with an ancient version of Git (e.g. one before 1.8.2 that was
      released more than a year ago) for all these times, that is—those
      of you may want to double check the backward compatibility notes
      section at the beginning of the draft release notes.

    • Using Clang’s Static Analyzer To Find Bugs In Your Code
Leftovers
  • Science
  • Security
    • GNUtls: GnuTLS 3.3.1

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.1 which is a bug fix release on the next stable branch of GnuTLS.

    • gnutls 3.3.1

      libgnutls: Enforce more strict checks to heartbeat messages
      concerning padding and payload.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Ukraine: how America’s coup machine has destroyed democracy worldwide since 1953

      Soon after the 2004 US coup to depose President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, I heard Aristide’s lawyer Ira Kurzban speaking in Miami. He began his talk with a riddle: “Why has there never been a coup in Washington D.C.?” The answer: “Because there is no US Embassy in Washington D.C.” This introduction was greeted with wild applause by a mostly Haitian-American audience who understood it only too well.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Caroline Lucas cleared of anti-fracking protest charges

      Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, has been found not guilty of obstructing a public highway and a public order offence during high-profile anti-fracking protests.

    • GMO Lobby Works Tirelessly Against Mandatory Labeling

      A coalition of genetically modified organism (GMO), pesticide, grocery and agriculture corporate trade groups are fighting mandatory labeling efforts at the state and local level by pushing preemption measures in Congress and at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • Finance
    • Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

      In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers set to air Friday, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman celebrates both the insights and warnings of French economist Thomas Piketty whose new ground-breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that modern capitalism has put the world “on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth.”

      The conclusions that Piketty puts forth in the book, Krugman tells Moyers, are revelatory because they show that even people who are now employing the rhetoric of the “1% versus the 99%” do not fully appreciate the disaster that global wealth inequality is causing.

    • South Carolina City Approves Plan To Exile Its Homeless

      Many homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina are facing an arduous choice: vacate downtown or be arrested.

    • Zero-hours contracts cause shopworkers’ misery

      Super-flexible working results in financial insecurity for supermarket workers and create potential for abuse by managers

  • Censorship
    • Florida on bloggers didn’t go far enough

      Remember when the word “blog” was first being bandied about? That was back in the early 2000′s when free web hosting from Geocities and Angelfire was still a big deal. Then the idea began taking off, especially after bloggers exposed Jeff Gannon of “Talon News” as James Guckert.

      It was a sordid affair that left CNN and other so called “mainstream” outlets in the dust as it proved how irrelevant they were becoming.

      Unfortunately, people in positions of power aren’t dealing with this new media very well. Neither are businessmen such as Christopher Comins. He attempted to sue a blogger because they posted about him shooting two dogs in a field. Comins claimed that bloggers such as Matthew Frederick VanVoorhis didn’t count as media since he was a blogger.

  • Privacy
    • Forget Dropbox: BitTorrent Sync Allows You To Skip the Cloud Entirely

      As cloud service companies battle it out for supremacy, one file sharing service sets itself apart by skipping the cloud altogether. It’s called BitTorrent Sync, and starting this week, it’s going to be available through Netgear’s native app store.

    • Making sense of Snowden

      This is a fantastic example of how to conduct an academic discussion of a really contentious subject. It brings together academics and NSA people to talk calmly about what’s happened and what it means. The participants are Yochai Benkler, Bruce Schneier, and Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center and John DeLong and Anne Neuberger of the National Security Agency. The conversation is expertly moderated by the Berkman Faculty Director Terry Fisher.

  • DRM
    • ‘Kill Switch’ Included on All Cell Phones Made in U.S. by 2015

      Yeah, because law enforcement really cares quite a bit about whether or not your smartphone is stolen…unless it’s law enforcement stealing your phone from you in the first place because you’ve used the camera on it to protect yourself from police state activity by taking incriminating photos and videos of said law enforcement.

      Well, now they won’t even have to physically take your phone from you, because apparently they’ll be able to just push a button and remotely wipe it clean of all data.

      On an aside, someone tried to break into my house and it took a whole day for the cops to even bother to show up…like they really give a crap about whether or not your phone is stolen.

      As with every other trendy new technology advertised as making consumer’s lives just Jetsons-level awesome, there’s an obvious flipside that can be used (abused) for quite the opposite.

      By the way, the 2014 CTIA Board of Directors and Officers include the higher ups (Presidents, CEOs and VPs, etc.) from most of the major communications companies including Ericsson, Verizon Wireless, Blackberry, AT&T, Sprint, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Samsung, T-Mobile, Motorola, U.S. Cellular, Nokia and Apple.

      And remember, many of these companies are the same ones the NSA taps to track all your online communications and populate their databases with your data.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Knock off Nigel is back! – You won’t believe who it is.

      If I may we will start with Knock Off Nigel. For those that don’t live in the UK and maybe missed this treat, its an advert showing the evils of Copyright infringement, or it tries too. With an unsophisticated attempt to create a stigma around Copyright Infringement, because the creators seem to have been of roughly GCSE level, it created a cult following for its catchy jingle and cheesy character. Shamefully previous campaigns failed too, with the Channel 4 Series “IT Crowd” even getting in on the act of mocking the creators of these “adverts”.

    • Eli Lilly Enlists Congress In Fight Against Canada For Refusing Patent On Useless Drug

      Eli Lilly bet its entire business model on patents years back, rather than on creating useful products that people want to buy. Lately it’s been having trouble getting new patents, and is reacting extremely poorly to the fact that its last-gasp efforts to get new patents aren’t working. As we’ve noted, a few years back, Canada rejected some patent applications for some Eli Lilly drug after the Canadian patent board “determined that the drug had failed to deliver the benefits the firm promised when obtaining the patent.” In other words, after realizing that the drug is not useful, Canada rejected the patent.

    • Novel Open Source Seed Pledge aims to keep new vegetable and grain varieties free for all

      Jack Kloppenburg (left), professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, Irwin Goldman (center), chair of the Department of Horticulture, and Claire Luby (right), graduate student in the UW’s Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program, fill envelopes with non-patented seeds in the Horticulture office in Moore Hall.

    • U.S.: open source seed program keeps varieties in public domain

      Twenty-nine broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetable and grain varieties have been made public through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI).

Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

Fri, 18/04/2014 - 10:16pm

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Amnesty Responds to Comments on CIA torture by Dr James Mitchell
    • John Pilger: Obama’s coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and lured Putin into a trap

      Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato enlargement project. Reneging on the Reagan administration’s promise to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand “one inch to the east”, Nato has all but taken over eastern Europe. In the former Soviet caucuses, Nato’s military build-up is the most extensive since the second world war.

    • Why Allende had to die

      The truck owners’ strike was the final blow. Because of the wild geography of the country, the Chilean economy is at the mercy of its transport. To paralyse trucking is to paralyse the country. It was easy for the opposition to co-ordinate the strike, for the truckers’ guild was one of the groups most affected by the scarcity of replacement parts and, in addition, it found itself threatened by the government’s small pilot programme for providing adequate state trucking services in the extreme south of the nation. The stoppage lasted until the very end without a single moment of relief because it was financed with cash from outside. “The CIA flooded the country with dollars to support the strike by the bosses and . . . foreign capital found its way down into the formation of a black market,” Pablo Neruda wrote to a friend in Europe. One week before the coup, oil, milk and bread had run out.

    • In War, Truth Is the First Casualty

      Thank God we live in America, where this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

    • Greece’s Golden Dawn party describes Hitler as ‘great personality’
    • The criminalisation of anti-fascist protest

      Tomorrow, 14 April, the Metropolitan police and CPS will prosecute five anti-fascists arrested on 1 June 2013 while trying to stop the British National party from marching on the Cenotaph. Police decided the anti-fascist protest was a “threat to public safety” and imposed a dispersal order under section 12 of the Public Order Act 1986; 59 people were arrested. A few months later 286 protesters against the English Defence League, which had declared its intention to march on a park named after Altab Ali, who was murdered in a racist attack, were arrested in Tower Hamlets.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • Finance
    • Seattle’s Elite Begin Their Counter Attack

      Seattle’s corporations were blindsided, it all happened so fast. Socialist candidate Kshama Sawant’s successful City Council campaign tore through Seattle politics like a tornado, leaving the 1% devastated, unable to cope with a storm they didn’t see coming. The Seattle elite had no way to counter her arguments, silence her supporters, or keep her from gathering a tidal wave of support for the $15 campaign. The establishment was paralyzed, powerless.

    • Caring too much. That’s the curse of the working classes

      “What I can’t understand is, why aren’t people rioting in the streets?” I hear this, now and then, from people of wealthy and powerful backgrounds. There is a kind of incredulity. “After all,” the subtext seems to read, “we scream bloody murder when anyone so much as threatens our tax shelters; if someone were to go after my access to food or shelter, I’d sure as hell be burning banks and storming parliament. What’s wrong with these people?”

      It’s a good question. One would think a government that has inflicted such suffering on those with the least resources to resist, without even turning the economy around, would have been at risk of political suicide. Instead, the basic logic of austerity has been accepted by almost everyone. Why? Why do politicians promising continued suffering win any working-class acquiescence, let alone support, at all?

      I think the very incredulity with which I began provides a partial answer. Working-class people may be, as we’re ceaselessly reminded, less meticulous about matters of law and propriety than their “betters”, but they’re also much less self-obsessed. They care more about their friends, families and communities. In aggregate, at least, they’re just fundamentally nicer.

    • Matt Taibbi: America Has A ‘Profound Hatred Of The Weak And The Poor’

      Living in America has taught Matt Taibbi that we as a society have “a profound hatred of the weak and the poor.”

      That’s one claim the former Rolling Stone writer makes in his new book, “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.” Taibbi defended this statement in a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday.

    • Happy Tax Day, and Why the Top 1% Pay a Much Lower Tax Rate Than You

      It’s tax time again, April 15, when our minds turn toward paying the taxes we owe or possibly getting a tax refund. But what we don’t think about enough is whether our tax system is fair. The richest 1 percent of Americans are now getting the largest percent of total national income in almost a century. So you might think they’d pay a much higher tax rate than everyone else.

    • New study finds US to be ruled by oligarchic elite

      Political scientists show that average American has “near-zero” influence on policy outcomes, but their groundbreaking study is not without problems.

      It’s not every day that an academic article in the arcane world of American political science makes headlines around the world, but then again, these aren’t normal days either. On Wednesday, various mainstream media outlets — including even the conservative British daily The Telegraph — ran a series of articles with essentially the same title: “Study finds that US is an oligarchy.” Or, as the Washington Post summed up: “Rich people rule!” The paper, according to the review in the Post, “should reshape how we think about American democracy.”

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
      • The Corruption of Mainstream Media

        America’s mainstream media still pretends it is the custodian of “serious journalism,” but that claim continues to erode as the corporate press shies away from its duty to challenge propaganda emanating from various parts of the U.S. government, as Danny Schechter describes.

    • Censorship
      • Censorship on the rise: CPJ

        According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the latest report documents 52 instances of censorship during the first three months of 2014 compared with 45 during the same period last year. The most notable example is the abrupt blackout of a live telecast on the final moments of parliamentary deliberations and voting on a controversial bill to create the new state of Telangana. While the government claims the blackout was due to a technical glitch, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) insists it was a tactical move by the ruling Congress party to ram through the vote to shore up support during an election in which its prospects look grim. Other parties also slammed the blackout as “undemocratic.”

      • Oliver Stone: China’s film-makers need to confront country’s past

        Hollywood’s habit of allowing Chinese censors to cut offending material from blockbuster movies has led to accusations of artistic surrender from some critics. But at least one US film-maker has clearly not been reading the script: Oliver Stone has told an audience in Beijing that the world’s most populous nation desperately needs to confront its past on the big screen if its burgeoning film industry is to be taken seriously.

      • Weibo Warns Censorship Could Hit Future Earnings
      • Turkey to censor tweets with ‘malicious’ content

        Twitter might not be banned in Turkey anymore, but the country’s government isn’t quite done putting it through the censorship wringer yet. In fact, Turkish Communications Minister Lütfi Elvan just released a written statement that says: “We [Twitter and Turkey] have reached a consensus to ‘neutralize’ malicious content that is the object of court decisions by pixelating.” He didn’t expound on what he means by “pixelating,” but it’s typically associated with the mosaic-like classic approach to censorship. If Turkish authorities can indeed blur out tweets, then this saga might have taken an even crazier turn. Since that’s bordering on the absurd, though, it’s possible that “pixelating” might have just been the term Lütfi used for Twitter’s Country Withheld Tool, which the website uses to hide tweets and accounts from a whole nation.

    • Privacy
    • Civil Rights
      • Answers and Questions About Military, Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agency Chatbots

        Sgt. Star is the U.S. Army’s dedicated marketing and recruitment chatbot, and he isn’t going to turn whistleblower any time soon. There’s no use threatening him for answers either—he’s programmed to report that kind of hostility to the Army Criminal Investigation Division.

      • Army comes clean about its recruitment AI, accidentally discloses info about pedophile- and terrorist-catching chatbots that roam the net

        Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, “Not too long ago, Boing Boing covered EFF’s (at the time) unsuccessful attempt to retreive records about Sgt. Star (the Army’s recruiter-bot) using the Freedom of Information Act. We’ve now received the files and compiled our research: It turns out Sgt. Star isn’t the only government chatbot — the FBI and CIA had them first.

      • US Has A ‘Secret Exception’ To Reasonable Suspicion For Putting People On The No Fly List

        Over the past few months, we covered the bizarre trial concerning Rahinah Ibrahim and her attempt to get off the no fly list. In January, there was an indication that the court had ordered her removed from the list, but without details. In February, a redacted version of the ruling revealed that the whole mess was because an FBI agent read the instructions wrong on a form and accidentally placed her on the no fly list, though we noted that some of the redactions were quite odd.

      • Outside counsel to probe FBI’s action in Guantánamo 9/11 case

        A four-day hearing meant to edge legal arguments closer to an actual 9/11 trial ended in uncertainty Thursday as the war crimes prosecutor named a special outside counsel to probe for possible FBI spying on defense lawyers.

      • Iranian woman pardons son’s killer — after slapping him at the gallows — moments before his scheduled execution

        But at the last minute, Hosseinzadeh’s mother, Samereh Alinejad, forgave him, after giving a speech to the crowd and then slapping Bilal in the face. Hosseinzadeh’s father helped take the noose off of Bilal, whose weeping mother hugged Alinejad in thanks, as seen in the photos.

      • Arundhati Roy: Another World Is Not Only Possible, She Is on Her Way

        Speech to the People’s University of the Occupy Movement

        Yesterday morning the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We’re not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for Justice. Justice, not just for the people of the United States, but for everybody. What you have achieved since September 17, when the Occupy Movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language, into the heart of Empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies mesmerized into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfillment. As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. I cannot thank you enough.

      • Bay Area transit police conduct militarized training exercises with TSA

        Among the problems that got us here is that the federal government asserts we have no Fourth Amendment rights at the border, and claims that the border extends a full 100 miles inside the country. That extremely broad definition of “the border” means two-thirds of Americans live in the Constitution Free Zone. To give you a sense of the magnitude of this assertion, consider that both the Bay Area and the entire state of Massachusetts fall within this 100-mile rights-swallowing vortex.

    • DRM
      • Kill-switch coming to smartphones

        CTIA and participating wireless companies today announced the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment,” which is the most recent effort by the industry to deter smartphone thefts in the U.S. The safety and security of wireless users remain the wireless industry’s top priority, and is why this commitment will continue to protect consumers while recognizing the companies’ need to retain flexibility so they may constantly innovate, which is key to stopping smartphone theft.

    • Intellectual Monopolies
      • Grand majority of Parliament votes in favour of a regulation on investor-state lawsuits – Greens sharply criticise the result

        Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has come into the focus of critics since the start of negotiations on a free trade agreement with the US (TTIP). ISDS means that foreign investors can sue the states hosting their investments in front of international courts when they see their rights and profit expectations violated. Often it is environmental or social legislation of a state which investors claim to be in violation of their investment expectations. Currently, for example, Vattenfall is suing the German federal government for 3 billion euros because of the German nuclear phase-out. Since Lisbon, the EU has gained the competence on investment policy, and thus also on ISDS policy. This Regulation establishes rules on whether EU or Member States act as a defendant in ISDS proceedings and who pays in the case of successful investor claims.

      • Copyrights

Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

Fri, 18/04/2014 - 1:12pm

Summary: Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)

A LOT has been said about Heartbleed® since the firm of Microsoft's 'former' security chief (who had worked with the FBI, the NSA’s more evil twin) irresponsibly 'leaked' the flaw, and did so at the very same moment that Windows XP users rushed to GNU/Linux for security reasons. I know of such users (even corporations I deal with) and I saw their reaction to this unforeseen ‘leak’. Funny timing.

In this post we outline some key facts (carefully and patiently studied over the past 10 days). As my doctoral degree is not far from cryptography and I have consulted people who do security for a living, I can assure readers that we do grasp the technical details, unlike many so-called ‘journalists’ with degrees in English or history. We are not going to delve into less plausible theories like a connection between the flaw and the NSA although there are circumstantial connections, an NSA program specifically designated to this (NSA operation ORCHESTRA), and we already know that Red Hat relays non-SELinux code directly from the NSA to Torvalds, as we covered earlier this year (meaning that only a developer in the middle knows where the code originally came from). In this particular post we are going to focus on other important points that ought to be made now that Heartbleed® is mostly out of the headlines and little new information will come out during Easter. This post is based on assessment of about 100 reports and subsequent research lasting many hours.

A little and slightly old tidbit shared with us by iophk (a network security professional) said that even the NSA and its circles are negatively affected by Heartbleed®. This article states: “”I am waiting for a patch,” said Jeff Moss, a security adviser to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and founder of the Def Con hacking conference.”

There are reasons to believe that the NSA was not aware of this flaw or had not exploited it. For instance, the government’s demands from Lavabit may suggest that OpenSSL back doors were not known at that time (2013). Also, reading all about the personal background of the man behind the bug, it’s nearly impossible to find any connection to the NSA and its ilk. The guy is German, but another German Danish developer (Poul-Henning Kamp, a FreeBSD and Varnish developer) spoke only some months ago about a US program of introducing bugs into FOSS (see “NSA operation ORCHESTRA” above).

iophk responds to the article about firewalls woes by asking: “Why the hell is he not running one based on Linux or BSD? Something’s not right. Proprietary “solutions” have no place in infrastructure for just these kinds of reasons.”

Well, with Windows, for example, the NSA perhaps assumes a monopoly on back doors. It’s a form of total control.

The BSD community, which is also behind OpenSSH, has begun doing some commendable things [1,2] short of throwing away OpenSSL [3]. There is a new release of GnuTLS [4], for example, but we cannot be 100% certain that GnuTLS is immune to “bug doors”, as Julian Assange recently called them. “GnuTLS was immune to the OpenSSL bug,” writes iophk, “but in regards to the latter was ‘responsible disclosure’ followed? I got the feeling that it wasn’t and that the web site was set up and publicized before even the OpenSSL team was informed. Where can I find a detailed timeline of events?”

Well, a deceiving timeline was later published by the Australian press. Security gurus have widely chastised this form of ‘responsible’ disclosure of Heartbleed®; even the project site of OpenSSL hadn’t been patched before the disclosure. The same goes for the FBI, which again helps validate claims that the government was not fully aware of the issue.

OpenSSL was having limited resources and some articles covered it [5-7]. Regardless, it’s now claimed NSA knew about the bug for 2 years and we should always remember that Microsoft’s Howard Schmidt was connected to FBI before his firm published Heartbleed® for fame, fun, and profit. It’s not just Microsoft that makes his motives a tad suspicious. The whole Heartbleed® thing “has a very media friendly name and a cute logo,” as a British FOSS professional put it. It’s like a branding exercise. Also see this post titled “What Heartbleed Can Teach The OSS Community About Marketing”. “Ties in a bit with what you’ve posted,” iophk told me after I had noted the marketing angle.

As a recap, Heartbleed® was pretty much branded and released like a product by a firm headed by a Microsoft (and FBI) veteran. This firm also works with Microsoft, so the disclosure on Windows XP’s EOL date is too hard to ignore, If this was already known about by the NSA for years, then one may wonder if the disclosure came through whispers rather than research. Glyn Moody was told by Wikileaks (Twitter account seemingly run only by Julian Assange) that “Assange spoke about vulnerability of OS’s to bribes and bugdoors in upstream components.”

Howard Schmidt (chairman of board of company that marketed Heartbleed®) worked with the FBI and another NSA partner/PRISM pioneer (Microsoft). If the NSA knew about the bug, then one wonders what role Schmidt may have played. The last thing that the NSA wants is people (especially outside the US) adopting Free software and GNU/Linux because Microsoft is where back doors are; by design, not by accident. Heartbleed® was reportedly known to the NSA for years (every article that claims this cites Bloomberg, which is notable corporate press and usually a bit dubious when it comes to agenda). If true, this was the type of bug that Edward Snowden’s leaks had alluded to (bug doors, not back doors). Schmidt et al. might be trying to exploit it for FUD and profit, by opportunistically divulging it as soon as mass migration to GNU/Linux in enterprises and homes begins. A decade ago it seemed like a back door had been put inside Linux by the NSA, but the developers caught the intrusion and removed it. There were numerous reports last year saying that the NSA had approached Torvalds, asking him for back doors in Linux, so what Seggelmann did in OpenSSL should not be treated too lightly. The time of the committal is a little suspicious [8] (people away from home to celebrate New Year) and the reputation of OpenSSL is now thoroughly destroyed, which will help its competitors (including proprietary) [9]. There is now a lot of FUD out there about FOSS (the only one we’re willing to cite is [10] because it’s not too malicious), sometimes coming from the mouths of Microsoft boosters or challenging Torvalds’ famous “law” [11,12]. I even get taunted over this in Twitter. The old FUD is back, never mind Coverity’s latest report which again contradicts such FUD.

Mind the article “Heartbleed security flaw may not be as dangerous as thought” [13], which sheds some light on who’s able to exploit and who’s not able to exploit Heartbleed® given the resource limitations (the thing about crackers of the NSA and GCHQ is that they have supercomputers to have a crack at it, and the same is probably true when it comes to the FBI, which is in many ways worse and more aggressive than the NSA; the FBI infiltrates Windows with CIPAV). If the widely-cited reports are true and the NSA knew Heartbleed® (and used it for two years) [14-17], then it’s a massive revelation (the NSA denies this, but denials from the NSA are worthless given its track record when it comes to truth-telling).

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the story is, the NSA may have discovered Heartbleed® years ago (if not made it, which sounds unlikely [18]) and the firm of Microsoft’s ‘former’ security chief is making a profit from this [19] (the Heartbleed® bounty is partly paid by Microsoft and the partly Microsoft-owned Facebook). A bunch of opportunists got paid for irresponsible disclosure that damaged the Internet [20,21] and harmed many people’s privacy (potentially leading to some people’s deaths).

The GNU/Linux brand is profoundly damaged by this (many GNU/Linux sites mentioned it [22-24]) even though the bug also affects Windows and Apple operating systems. To us it will always seem like marketing campaign coordinated to take place at a strategic date (Windows XP EOL).

Has Microsoft’s Howard Schmidt decided to ‘leak’ it to distract from XP EOL (which means insecurity by policy)? Perhaps. Schmidt had worked with the FBI, so he could have some inside knowledge. He might have former colleagues who could tell him about this (even leak it to him) before he would hype it up, give it a scary name, make a dot com web site, a logo, et cetera, essentially ‘merchandising’ the FUD.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL
  2. OpenBSD has started a massive strip-down and cleanup of OpenSSL
  3. Please Put OpenSSL Out of Its Misery
  4. GNUtls: GnuTLS 3.3.0
  5. How to stop the next Heartbleed bug: pay open-source coders to protect us
  6. Will Open-Source Money Prevent the Next Heartbleed?
  7. 3 big lessons to learn from Heartbleed

    The devastating OpenSSL vulnerability proves the importance of data center orchestration, the wisdom of running older versions, and the need to give back to the OpenSSL project

  8. Heartbleed: developer who introduced the error regrets ‘oversight’

    Submitted just seconds before new year in 2012, the bug ‘slipped through’ – but discovery ‘validates’ open source

  9. After Heartbleed: 4 OpenSSL alternatives that work
  10. Heartbleed: Open source’s worst hour”>Heartbleed: Open source’s worst hour
  11. Does the Heartbleed bug refute Linus’s Law?

    The mistake being made here is a classic example of Frederic Bastiat’s “things seen versus things unseen”. Critics of Linus’s Law overweight the bug they can see and underweight the high probability that equivalently positioned closed-source security flaws they can’t see are actually far worse, just so far undiscovered.

  12. Heartbleed: Is Linus Torvald’s law invalid?

    How much data was compromised? How many billions lost? None that we know of. How much does the world loses every year because of Microsoft’s proprietary technologies? Billions of dollars are lost; nations’ securities are compromised and people lives are exposed to risks.

    A majority of NSA attacks won’t be possible without bugs in Microsoft products which the company reportedly shares with the agency so that it can be exploited to hack into computers that NSA can spy on. Microsoft bugs allowed USA to take down nuclear programs of countries like Iran, Microsoft bugs enabled NSA to spy on French president. Microsoft bugs allowed ‘alleged’ Chinese crackers to run a massive scale espionage against human rights activists in the US. In addition there are unaccounted thousands of cases every year where people and businesses lose millions due to security holes in Microsoft products.

  13. Heartbleed security flaw may not be as dangerous as thought

    But today, the content distribution network CloudFlare has announced Heartbleed may not allow access to those private keys after all. In two weeks of testing, the company has been unable to successfully access private keys with Heartbleed, suggesting the attack may not be possible at all. “If it is possible, it is at a minimum very hard,” researcher Nick Sullivan writes. “And we have reason to believe… that it may in fact be impossible.” If true, it makes Heartbleed much less dangerous than many had feared, offering a saving grace for compromised sites. Sullivan acknowledged that, in security tests, some private keys had been revealed by first requests to Apache servers, but he linked this to the process of restarting the server, which would severely limit the exposure to outside actors. Methods have also surfaced to help services tell if attackers have hit their servers using the bug. “Heartbleed still is extremely dangerous,” says CEO Matthew Prince, “but some of the worst fears about it having been used by organizations like the NSA to hoover up everyone’s private SSL keys look pretty unlikely to us based on this testing.”

  14. NSA has been exploiting Heartbleed for two years, leaving Americans exposed to cyber criminals: report [updated]

    As people were wondering NSA’s role in Heartbleed, it turned out that the agency was reportedly aware of the bug, as Bloomberg reports, for the last two years and has been exploiting it to spy on people. If the reports are true and NSA was aware of the bug and instead of getting it fixed it let extremely critical info of US citizens exposed to cyber criminals then NSA does need more oversight from the government.

    Heartbleed was not some minor bug, it affected almost every major web-service including Gmail, Amazon, Yahoo! and many more – holding the potential of exposing sensitive data to criminals. However, as soon as the bug was discovered the Open Source community immediately responded, patched the bug and start pushing the updates.

    While the Americans and the people from around the globe were exposed to cybercriminals, NSA was supposedly busy harvesting passwords and other critical to add it to already massive database.

    Bloomberg quotes Jason Healey, director of the cyber statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council and a former Air Force cyber officer, “It flies in the face of the agency’s comments that defense comes first. They are going to be completely shredded by the computer security community for this.”

  15. NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years
  16. Bloomberg: NSA Knew About, Exploited Open Source Heartbleed Bug for Years
  17. The NSA has exploited Heartbleed bug for years, Bloomberg reports
  18. Heartbleed coder admits ‘oversight’ but backs open source

    Seggelmann submitted the code at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve 2011, but claims the timing had nothing to do with the mistake. Although the bug was also missed by the review process for OpenSSL, an open source project written and reviewed by volunteers, Seggelmann told British newspaper The Guardian that the bug’s eventual discovery shows the value of publically available open source code.

  19. Why a hacker got paid for finding the Heartbleed bug

    Microsoft and Facebook have also provided financial backing to Internet Bug Bounty, out of which Mehta’s prize money came, after running their own internal bug bounties that were very successful. Their money is benefiting the internet as a whole, but they don’t decide what money goes where.

  20. The Internet’s Telltale Heartbleed
  21. Heartbleed developer explains OpenSSL mistake that put Web at risk
  22. SteamOS Affected by Heartbleed Bug, Valve Hasn’t Updated the OS Yet
  23. Linux Foundation Responds to the Heartbleed Bug

    It’s nearly impossible to know for sure, due to the nature of the vulnerability, how much the Heartbleed vulnerability was used to snoop on secure data. We recommend for our sites the same as for other sites: first, watch for a statement to come out from your financial institutions, email providers, and others, which shares whether they were affected. Start changing your passwords. Use different passwords on different sites and store them in a password safe like KeePass, LastPass or 1Password. That way, if any sites that remain vulnerable leak your password, it won’t affect any other sites. Check back on sites that post statements after you changed the password, and then change the passwords again if needed.

  24. Working Out “Serious Security Flaws” In DRM Drivers

    While many are still busy working through fallout of the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug within organizations, on a separate but security related note, kernel developers specializing in the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) graphics drivers are working to beef up their own driver security.

Microsoft is Leaving Windows — Including Vista 8.1 — Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

Fri, 18/04/2014 - 11:39am

Install the latest back doors or be left vulnerable to crackers other than the NSA

Summary: Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire

MICROSOFT WILL never brag about it to the public (only to the government), but Windows, including Vista 8, contains back doors for the NSA. While FOSS developers work hard to ensure security of their programs, with Microsoft any such concerns are irrelevant because security is not even a goal.

It was rather amusing to see this report which says “Microsoft TechNet blog makes clear that Windows 8.1 will not be patched; users must get Windows 8.1 Update if they want security patches” (the report is titled “Microsoft confirms it’s dropping Windows 8.1 support” and it was published by the Microsoft-affiliated IDG).

But wait, it gets worse than abandonment of users and NSA back doors. According to this: “If you still have XP and use Microsoft Security Essentials you will have problems today.. You will get errors relating to MsMpEng.exe when trying to go into windows and windows will slow down to a crawl mimicking a virus.. You need to boot into safe mode and disable the Microsoft Antimalware Service in your services then boot into your normal profile and uninstall the program.”

“Microsoft makes shutdown of their meaningless “security” application cripple XP,” wrote Will Hill. “I’m surprised that I have not gotten any calls about this. Oh yeah, no one is at work yet. I don’t think the treatment planning computers use this, but I’m going to sent a heads up.”

So Microsoft goes further in making Windows XP users less secure from non-government crackers. Wonderful!

Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

Thu, 17/04/2014 - 9:14pm

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Witnesses Report a ‘Loud Noise’ Before Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast

    It’s not clear what caused the multi-story vessel to list and sink, but witnesses reported an impact and loud noise just before the ship began to roll over in the water.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World

      Transformative changes are needed in our food, agriculture and trade systems in order to increase diversity on farms, reduce our use of fertilizer and other inputs, support small-scale farmers and create strong local food systems. That’s the conclusion of a remarkable new publication from the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Donetsk leaflet: Jews must register or face deportation

      Fear replaced communal atmosphere in Donetsk’s Jewish community as armed men handed out a leaflet Passover eve calling on Jews register their religion and property with the interim pro-Russian government or face deportation and loss of citizenship.

    • “We Are Not Beginning a New Cold War, We are Well into It”: Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

      As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an “abyss” and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a series of steps to reinforce its presence in eastern Europe. “We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land,” Rasmussen said. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. “We are not at the beginning of a new Cold War, we are well into it,” Cohen says, “which alerts us to the fact ‘hot war’ is imaginable now. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable — and if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it.”

    • Putin reveals NATO chief secretly recorded their talk, leaked it to media

      Vladimir Putin says that current NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen secretly recorded and leaked a private conversation with him, when he was the head of the Danish government.

  • Transparency Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • Finance
    • Thousands of China workers on strike

      Labour disputes pop up regularly in China, but one strike in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan is attracting attention because of its size.

    • The Neoliberal Theory of Society: The Ideological Foundations of Neo-liberalism

      Neoliberalism presents itself as a doctrine based on the inexorable truths of modern economics. However, despite its scientific trappings, modern economics is not a scientific discipline but the rigorous elaboration of a very specific social theory, which has become so deeply embedded in western thought as to have established itself as no more than common sense, despite the fact that its fundamental assumptions are patently absurd. The foundations of modern economics, and of the ideology of neoliberalism, go back to Adam Smith and his great work, The Wealth of Nations. Over the past two centuries Smith’s arguments have been formalised and developed with greater analytical rigour, but the fundamental assumptions underpinning neoliberalism remain those proposed by Adam Smith.

    • Markets Are the Problem (Not the Solution)

      As might be expected, underlying this monument to excess is an army of laborers from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. These desperate souls arrive heavily indebted to recruiters and those who pay their passage, only to be brutally exploited by sponsoring employers, who confiscate their passports. It is a system of semi-slave labor; workers are not free to leave, even if they have not been paid.

    • Nearly one million people relying on food handouts in UK

      One of Britain’s largest food charities says that more than 900,000 people visited its food banks last year. The Wednesday report comes as 600 religious leaders urge the government to take action against the country’s growing hunger problem.

      The new information shows the shocking number of people reliant on food handouts in the UK, largely because of harsh new benefits sanctions.

      According to The Trussell Trust, Britain’s largest food bank charity, 913,138 people received emergency food aid from the organization in 2013-2014, compared to just 346,992 in 2012-2013 – marking an increase of 163 percent.

  • Censorship
    • Did You Retweet The USAir Pornographic Tweet? You May Have Violated New Jersey’s Revenge Porn Law

      We’ve pointed out for a while how the various attempts at creating revenge porn bills will have serious unintended consequences and raise serious First Amendment issues. This is not to minimize the problems of revenge porn (or to absolve the sick and depraved individuals who put together, submit to or regularly visit such sites). However, it’s to point out that pretty much any way you try to legislate such actions as criminal likely will create other problems. For example, I’m sure many of you heard the story recently about US Airways… um… unfortunate pornographic tweet. It was the story of the internet a few days ago, in which a United Air social media employee did a very unfortunate cut and paste error, tweeting out a very graphic image that involved a naked woman and a plane where it… doesn’t quite belong (for slightly lighter fare, I highly recommend reading some of the of the funny replies to that tweet). For what it’s worth, US Air has said that it was an honest mistake and it’s not even firing the person responsible.

    • US Airways Tweeted An Extreme Pornographic Image And Left It Up For A Long Time

      The photo shows a completely nude woman on her back with a plane inserted into her vagina.

  • Privacy
    • Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked with glue mould

      The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s Galaxy S5 handset has been hacked less than a week after the device went on sale.

      Berlin-based Security Research Labs fooled the equipment using a mould it had previously created to spoof the sensor on Apple’s iPhone 5S.

  • Civil Rights
  • Intellectual Monopolies

Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, ‘Targeted’ Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

Thu, 17/04/2014 - 3:23pm

Pulitzer

  • Exposing the NSA: A Public Service Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize

    Earlier this week, journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize for public serice, was given to two newspapers for their exposés of mass surveillance by the U.S. government. The award citation praised the Washington Post for “its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.” The Guardian was recognized for “aggressive reporting” that helped “to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

  • Pulitzer Prize Winners 2014: Edward Snowden NSA Leaks, Boston Marathon Coverage Win Awards

Cracking

Lavaboom and Lavabit

  • Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

    Lavaboom, a German-based and supposedly NSA-proof email service, will go into private beta this week. Its mission is to spread the Edward Snowden gospel by making encrypted email accessible to all.

  • ‘Zero knowledge privacy’: NSA-proof email service goes online

    A new email service that protects its users from the prying eyes of the NSA and other spy agencies has gone online. The service’s creators say it will make encrypted messaging accessible to all and curtail internet snooping.

    Germany-based Lavaboom was inspired by Lavabit, the encrypted email service that was believed to have been used by whistleblower Edward Snowden before it shut down its operations in August last year. The service pioneers a new system called “zero-knowledge privacy”, which allows users to personally encrypt and decrypt their mail from their browsers using JavaScript codes.

  • Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over Edward Snowden encryption keys

    Court ruled against Lavabit for refusing to hand over encryption keys to government investigation into NSA whistleblower

  • Edward Snowden Email Firm Loses Appeal On Contempt Charge
  • Here’s the software that helps Edward Snowden avoid the NSA

    Edward Snowden hasn’t escaped the NSA’s watchful eyes purely by exploiting lax security — he also uses the right software. He communicates with the media using Tails, a customized version of Linux that makes it easy to use Tor’s anonymity network and other tools that keep data private. The software loads from external drives and doesn’t store anything locally, so it’s relatively trivial for Snowden and his contacts to discuss leaks without leaving a trace.

Europe

US

  • NSA whistleblowers to speak at WCU

    Bill Binney and Thomas Drake, both former executives with that agency, plan to discuss their views on the collection of personal data by the NSA as well as the risk taken by those who expose wrongdoings and violations of the law, according to a release from the university.

  • NSA has ‘piggybacked’ on corporate surveillance efforts

    As online providers thrive on offering free products and services in exchange for marketing data, government has started piggybacking on these surveillance mechanisms.

  • The IRS is Taking a Page From the NSA’s Playbook and Snooping on Social Media

    According to Marketplace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which loses an estimated $300 billion due to tax evasion every year, is using data from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in order to investigate those who don’t file taxes or file suspicious returns.

  • Is the NSA out of control?

    An attorney and specialist on Constitutional Law, Shahid Buttar, was the third panel member. He is the Executive Director of the “Bill of Rights Defense Committee.” Buttar traced the history of government-sanctioned spying and warned that the NSA’s egregious conduct has currently reached Orwellian proportions and is a serious threat to “Freedom of Thought”

Drones

Militarism

  • U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility

    In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up.

  • America’s Great Leap towards Global Tyranny

    Not only is there a quantitative difference now, there is a new qualitative difference. After the holocaust of Vietnam (3 million dead Vietnamese justify the term), the United States military realized that it could no longer depend upon citizen-soldiers in its colonial wars. It also realized that that it could no longer tolerate even a moderately free press nosing around its battlegrounds, thus was born the idea of an imbedded press in a professional army. Of course, in the intervening years, America’s press itself changed, becoming an intensely concentrated corporate industry whose editorial policies are invariably in lock-step over colonial wars and interventions and coups, almost as though it were an unofficial department of government. In addition, this corporatized press has abandoned traditional responsibilities of explaining even modestly world affairs, reportage resources having been slashed by merged corporate interests as well as by new economic pressures on advertising revenue, the result of changing technologies.

  • Why isn’t the K.C. shooting suspect a ‘terrorist?’

    Frazier Glenn Cross is a former KKK leader with political ambitions accused of killing three people outside Jewish centers. The shooting seems to fit the Justice Department’s definition of terrorism: 1) premeditated, 2) political, 3) aimed at civilians, 4) and not carried out by another nation. And yet, this has been classified as a hate crime.

  • US Air Strike Kills Three Civilians in Eastern Afghanistan

    An overnight US air strike against the Khost Province in eastern Afghanistan has killed three civilians, a woman and her two children. It also injured the father of the children.

  • Militias and mayhem: The truth about American military assistance in Libya

    Is the U.S. secretly training Libyan militiamen in the Canary Islands? And if not, are they planning to?

    That’s what I asked a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). “I am surprised by your mentioning the Canary Islands,” he responded by email. “I have not heard this before, and wonder where you heard this.”

    As it happens, mention of this shadowy mission on the Spanish archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa was revealed in an official briefing prepared for AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez in the fall of 2013. In the months since, the plan may have been permanently shelved in favor of a training mission carried out entirely in Bulgaria. The document nonetheless highlights the U.S. military’s penchant for simple solutions to complex problems — with a well-documented potential for blowback in Africa and beyond. It also raises serious questions about the recurring methods employed by the U.S. to stop the violence its actions helped spark in the first place.

  • Too High A Price

    Why we need to #movethemoney out of the military and into healing people and the planet

  • Putin Jokes on Possible Reunification of Alaska with Russia: Who Needs It?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin jokingly commented on a suggestion of unifying Alaska with Russia the same way as with Crimea.
    Alaska was part of Russia until 1867 and was sold to the United States for $7.2 million in gold.

  • Why CIA Director Brennan Visited Kiev: In Ukraine The Covert War Has Begun

    Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, Vladimir Putin has said, and he should know because the country is already in the midst of a covert intelligence war. Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine’s communications systems – and Washington isn’t about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

  • CIA Directs Kiev Proxy Regime to Launch Military Assault against Rebels in Eastern Ukraine
  • CIA director in Kiev searching for missing mercenaries

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed that CIA director John Brennan was in Kiev last weekend. One of his advisors told the newspaper Vzgliad that Brennan had not come to oversee the “anti-terrorist” operations conducted by the Ukrainian authorities, but to seek information and rescue twenty Greystone Ltd mercenaries of whom there has been no news.

  • CIA presence in Ukraine gives the wrong impression, senator warns

    CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev this weekend as pro-Russian militants seized control of a police station in eastern Ukraine. The reason for Brennan’s visit is still unknown.

Torture

More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 8:03pm

Patent sharks still collaborate

Summary: Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates’ close friend who is the world’s largest patent troll

WE recently explained that Apple and Microsoft were helping trolls and preventing patent reform in the United State. Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll (funded in part by Microsoft and Bill Gates) was having financial difficulties, so guess who’s stepping in to the rescue, essentially subsidising trolling? Intellectual Ventures is said to have “persuaded Microsoft and Sony to invest in its latest acquisition fund” (of patents). Once again, as in Rockstar, Microsoft and Sony align in patent agenda and as Masnick puts it, “while many of the companies have indeed avoided giving IV any more money, it appears that Microsoft and Sony were quite happy to dump a lot more cash into IV, which has now ramped up its patent buying efforts again (as well as its lobbying and political contributions in an effort to kill off patent reform). Microsoft, of course, has always been close to IV, seeing as it was started by the company’s former CTO, Nathan Myhrvold, who is also a close friend of Bill Gates (who has directly helped IV get some patents). Similarly, Microsoft has become one of the most aggressive patent abusers over the last decade, increasingly relying on its stock of patents to make money from other people’s innovations, rather than innovating on its own.”

“This is racketeering by proxy.”Masnick correctly concludes that “via Intellectual Ventures and its own patent holdings, Microsoft seems to be trying to make sure Gates’ prediction is a reality. It all fits in to the same paradigm we’ve observed for years. When you’re young, you innovate. When you’re old, you litigate. Microsoft appears to have given up on innovation, but is ramping up on litigation, and re-investing in patent trolling via Intellectual Ventures is merely the latest step.”

This is racketeering by proxy. It’s part of the patent-stacking strategy which includes even Nokia and Apple. Bill Gates, which is a close partner of the world’s largest troll, has a lot to do with it. In a system where billionaires enjoy zero accountability jails are reserved only for petty ‘crimes’.

Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of ‘Pro-FOSS’

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 7:47pm

Summary: Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS

THE word is out that Mono booster Seif Lotfy has just joined the Microsoft Trojan horse best known as Ximian/Novell/Xamarin — the company where Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza uses financial support from Microsoft to infect everything (not just FOSS) with .NET. This is yet another recruitment which helps reinforce our suspicions about the goals of Xamarin.

Meanwhile, suggests this post from a UEFI ‘secure’ boot apologist, “a significant proportion of existing systems can probably have their Secure Boot implementation circumvented.”

So why support them in the first place? We have already shown several ways of breaking ‘secure’ boot and even remotely vendalising entire motherboards using ‘secure’ boot. Both Mono and ‘secure’ boot deserve to be dropped into the digital wastebasket. Their outcome is harm to FOSS and to computing in general.

Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 7:09pm

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Source Code Has Fewer Defects Than Proprietary Software

    The latest Coverity Scan Open Source Report suggests that the quality of programming in free C and C++ projects is improving

  • Coverity finds open source software quality better than proprietary code
  • Web Browsers
    • Tor Browser: An Ultimate Web Browser for Anonymous Web Browsing in Linux

      Most of us give a considerable time of ours to Internet. The primary Application we require to perform our internet activity is a browser, a web browser to be more perfect. Over Internet most of our’s activity is logged to Server/Client machine which includes IP address, Geographical Location, search/activity trends and a whole lots of Information which can potentially be very harmful, if used intentionally the other way.

    • Mozilla
  • SaaS/Big Data
    • IBM Debuts New Big Data Software-Defined Storage Platform for the Cloud

      Big Data is placing new storage demands on enterprises, and IBM is aiming to address their needs with a new software-defined storage platform for the cloud called SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center (VSC).

    • Dell and Red Hat’s OpenStack Partnership Deepens

      Dell has unveiled a series of upgrades and announcements focused on the datacenter this week, and is deepening its cloud computing ties with Red Hat, as the firms focus on OpenStack. Dell and Red Hat recently announced that Dell will effectively become an OEM for Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform by selling systems that run the platform. Dell has also joined the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network as an Alliance Partner.

    • Giving rise to the cloud with OpenStack Heat

      Setting up an application server in the cloud isn’t that hard if you’re familiar with the tools and your application’s requirements. But what if you needed to do it dozens or hundreds of times, maybe even in one day? Enter Heat, the OpenStack Orchestration project. Heat provides a templating system for rolling out infrastructure within OpenStack to automate the process and attach the right resources to each new instance of your application.

    • Leading Linux Players Rapidly Shift Their Emphasis to the Cloud

      This week, not only is Red Hat touting its success at getting a number of notable enterprises to choose its Linux platform and OpenStack offering for deployments, but Canonical is rolling out Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and highlighting it as the best way to build out an OpenStack cloud environment. These efforts underscore that leading Linux platforms and cloud computing are going to be joined at the hip going forward, and the players behind them will need to offer top-notch support and compatibility. .

  • Education
  • Business
    • Open Source Big Data Vendor Talend Adds SaaS Analytics Partner

      Talend and Blue Yonder have partnered on a new solution for streamlining Big Data analytics using SaaS and open source software.

    • Box launches Box Open Source

      In a tweet, chief Executive Aaron Levie announced the project. “Box couldn’t exist without open source projects. We’re announcing Box Open Source to now give back our own,” he said. The firm also detailed the project in a blog post.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GCC 4.9.0 release candidate available

      GCC 4.9.0 Release Candidate available from gcc.gnu.org

    • Financial transparency: where your money goes with MediaGoblin

      Okay! Now that’s a bit easier to read. From the chart it’s easy to see that the vast majority of money went toward development itself. Actually, if you combine this with travel (ie, reimbursement for myself and another contributor speaking about MediaGoblin or participating in MediaGoblin hackfests), that’s over 80% of the budget right there directly to the most important part of the project… developing the project itself! (We’ll come back to the development section in a moment… but first let’s get the smaller slices of the chart out of the way.)

  • Public Services/Government
    • EU countries ‘prefer open specifications’

      The EU member states that are working on interoperability and alignment of e-government services say open specifications are crucial to building European public services. Open specifications allow the EU’s public administrations to align their approaches to interoperability, according to an analysis of the interoperability programmes in 19 member states. The study flags the need to monitor the use of open technical specification and standards.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Open Data
      • Open data hackathon tackles cultural preservation

        More and more galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are digitizing their collections to make them accessible online and to preserve our heritage for future generations. By January 2014, over 30 million objects have been made available via Europeana—among which over 4.5 million records were contributed from German institutions.

  • Programming
    • April 2014 Project of the Month, Free Pascal

      For our April Community Choice Project of the Month, our community has selected Free Pascal, an advanced open source compiler for Pascal and Object Pascal. The project founder, Florian Klaempfl, tells us about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

    • Lightweight Virtual Environments in Python 3.4

      Customizing Python’s virtual environments for projects with conflicting library requirements or different Python versions is now easy in Python 3.3 and 3.4.

Leftovers
  • These Abandoned, Half-Demolished Towers Look Too Pretty to Destroy

    This colorful scene isn’t a view of a new luxury loft. It’s Rabot Towers, an abandoned public housing project in Ghent, Belgium. When the first stage of demolition removed the building’s exterior walls, the former blight became an unexpected beauty, captured here by photographer Pieter Lozie.

  • Hardware
    • Wintel Sinks Further

      As expected, Intel has raised prices in an attempt to maintain profits as long as possible rather than trusting the market to yield them a reasonable living. This will hasten the demise of Wintel as consumers see greater advantages to switching to */Linux on ARM.

  • Security
    • Akamai Admits Its Heartbleed Patch Was Faulty, Has To Reissue All SSL Certs And Keys

      The web is a dangerous place these days. Akamai, which many large companies rely on for hosting as a CDN, has admitted that its Heartbleed patch was faulty, meaning that it was possible that the SSL keys “could have been exposed to an adversary exploiting the Heartbleed vulnerability.” Akamai had already noted that it was more protected against Heartbleed than others, because of custom code it had used for its own OpenSSL deployment. However, as researchers looked through that custom code, they found some significant defects in it. Some people have been arguing that the Heartbleed bug highlights a weakness in open source software — but that’s not necessarily true. Pretty much all software has vulnerabilities. And, sometimes, by open sourcing stuff you can find those vulnerabilities faster.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • The Attack on Russia is Mounting

      Washington’s plan to grab Ukraine overlooked that the Russian and Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine were not likely to go along with their insertion into the EU and NATO while submitting to the persecution of Russian speaking peoples. Washington has lost Crimea, from which Washington intended to eject Russia from its Black Sea naval base. Instead of admitting that its plan for grabbing Ukraine has gone amiss, Washington is unable to admit a mistake and, therefore, is pushing the crisis to more dangerous levels.

      If Ukraine dissolves into secession with the former Russian territories reverting to Russia, Washington will be embarrassed that the result of its coup in Kiev was to restore the Russian provinces of Ukraine to Russia. To avoid this embarrassment, Washington is pushing the crisis toward war.

    • How Native Americans were crucial to defeat the Nazis and Japan in WW2
  • Finance
    • Mt. Gox Files for Liquidation

      Mt. Gox’s website, on Feb 26, posted a statement showing that the company had gone offline.

    • Why No Sustained Protests (Yet)?

      True, little is gained from sterile debates over whether program or organization is the “more” important object for activists. The point is that disorganization is now a major weakness. The United States left fell victim to recurring repressive demonizations of programs, individuals and especially organizations with anti-business and anti-capitalist objectives. To revive left protest on a scale comparable to the 1930s would require rebuilding the multiple, complex layers of connection among diverse components of the left (including those with such objectives).

    • This is Not an ‘Economic Recovery’, This is Plunder

      Everything you need to know about Cameron’s idea of economic recovery was summed up by the front page the Mirror this morning. 1 million food parcels have been handed out to hungry Britons, in the world’s sixth largest economy, and at a time that the economy is growing. What price economic ‘recovery’?

    • Toronto Star hiring 8 digital journalists at “market-based salaries”

      The Toronto Star announced it will hire eight digital journalists who will be paid less than other journalists in the newsroom and it is considering another round of editorial buyouts. The newspaper also laid off 11 full-time page editors and eight staff in the circulation department.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Censorship
    • Quiz your MEP candidates on digital rights

      Europe makes many of the laws that are shaping privacy and restricting surveillance. Data Protection, for instance, should guarantee that interception is lawful, rather than arbitrary.

    • Help us to re-start the debate about internet filters

      At times the campaign to prevent default internet filters has bordered on the surreal, such as when the Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz said, ‘no one should be panicking – but why should there not be a moral panic?’ Or the time when Helen Goodman MP thought parents weren’t capable of switching in filters themselves because, ‘the minute you talk about downloading software, my brain goes bzzzz’. And who can forget Claire Perry MP dismissing overblocking as, ‘a load of cock’?

    • Free speech victory as Wonga backs down on parody copyright claim

      The Streisand effect occurs when an attempt to remove or cover up information leads to it gaining significantly more attention than it would have done otherwise.

    • Twitter bows to Turkey’s demands to silence accounts

      After weeks of political tussle, Twitter has agreed to close some accounts the Turkish government considers harmful and implement a system for investigating those accounts Turkish courts flag up in the future, a report in Reuters has said.

  • Privacy
    • FBI’s nationwide facial recognition system to have 52 million photos by 2015

      We first heard about the FBI’s national facial recognition system in 2012. The high-tech Next Generation Identification (NGI) program, as part of which surveillance images are checked out with photos of known criminals, is primarily aimed at transforming how the organization fights crime. The Bureau should be able to achieve a fully operational facial recognition database (including mug shots, iris scans, DNA analysis and voice identification) this summer, says an EFF report.

    • Google may favor encrypted sites in its search ranking: Report

      Google is mulling over boosting search rank of websites that use encryption. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Google distinguished engineer Matt Cutts “hinted” at the possibility at a recently held conference.

    • La Quadrature Joins the Legal Struggle Against Mass Surveillance

      In October 2013, Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group, English Pen and Constanze Kurz launched a legal challenge1 to the UK’s internet surveillance activities before the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the unchecked surveillance through programmes such as PRISM and TEMPORA is a breach of our Right to Privacy. La Quadrature du Net joined a coalition formed to support this legal challenge.

    • Snowden’s Email Provider Loses Appeal Over Encryption Keys

      A federal appeals court has upheld a contempt citation against the founder of the defunct secure e-mail company Lavabit, finding that the weighty internet privacy issues he raised on appeal should have been brought up earlier in the legal process.

    • NETmundial: let’s get to work

      I will soon be travelling to Sao Paulo to attend NETmundial, the Multi-stakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance. The purpose of NETmundial is to develop principles of Internet governance and a roadmap for the future development of this ecosystem.

  • Civil Rights
    • The Most Bizarre Response To The Pulitzers Yet, From The Guy Who Authorized CIA Torture

      So, the Guardian and the Washington Post won the Pulitzer for “public service” for their coverage of the NSA’s surveillance activities. We mentioned how this should really end the debate over whether or not Ed Snowden was a whistleblower or not, but knew that would never happen. We’d already covered Rep. Peter King’s incensed response, but an even more amusing response has to be the one from John Yoo. You may recall Yoo as the guy in the George W. Bush administration who basically shredded the Constitution in “authorizing” the CIA’s torture program. He’s weighed in a few times about the NSA stuff, arguing that the NSA shouldn’t have to obey the Constitution because it takes too long and insists that the courts have no role in determining if something violates the 4th Amendment.

    • Countries Where Journalists’ Killers Go Free

      Syria isn’t just the most deadly country for journalists — it’s also one of the countries where journalists’ murders are most likely to go unpunished, according to the Committee To Protect Journalists’ new study.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
  • DRM
    • Apple, Samsung and Microsoft commit to anti-theft smartphone kill switch

      TECHNOLOGY GIANTS Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, among others, have committed to introducing anti-thief kill switches on smartphone devices, enabling users to easily lock and wipe a handset if it gets stolen.

      Starting in July 2015, all smartphones made by the companies onboard with the initiative – a list that also includes Google, Nokia, HTC and Huawei – will come with free anti-theft tools preloaded on the devices or ready to be downloaded, wireless association CTIA announced on Tuesday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • High Court: Kim Dotcom Can Have His Cars, Millions in Cash Returned

        The High Court in New Zealand today ruled that police may not keep possession of assets seized in a 2012 raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion. This means that a potential appeal aside, Dotcom may soon be reunited with millions of dollars in cash, his luxury car collection, artwork, and other assets seized by the authorities.

Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 9:00pm

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open platforms to reveal secrets of the human mind

    For the next ten years, scientists will be probing the human brain in software form. It could revolutionise mental health research and lead to machines learning like us…

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm

        Mozilla has begun putting the pieces together with the appointment of CMO Chris Beard to its board and to take the helm as interim CEO…

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Dell unloads slew of datacenter upgrades, teams with Red Hat on OpenStack

      Dell is bolstering its cloud and datacenter portfolios, first and foremost through a series of collaborative efforts with Red Hat.

      Announced amid the Dell Enterprise Forum EMEA in Frankfurt, Germany and the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco this week, the tech giants are working off the venerable open source cloud platform OpenStack, aiming to serve IT priorities around non-business critical apps. That includes better support of developer test environments for mobile, social, and analytics apps.c

    • More evidence that the Linux wars have moved to OpenStack

      It’s sort of funny that the press release announcing the new Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS release seems as focused on Ubuntu OpenStack as on Linux per se. It’s studded with partner testimonials from Cisco, Mellanox, NTT Software, Brocade lauding Ubuntu OpenStack. But then again, that makes sense given that the vendor battlefield has shifted from core operating system to core cloud infrastructure, where Canonical OpenStack has gained traction with Hewlett Packard and other big cloud providers.

  • Education
    • Open source library system Evergreen rewards the community

      As a systems librarian at an academic institution, I am a conduit between those who want to access the resources our library offers and my colleagues who describe the resources on behalf of researchers. I direct our limited development resources so that our systems can best meet the needs of all of our users. In their paper, Schwarz and Takhteyev claim that software freedom makes “it possible for the modifications to be done by those actors who have the best information about their value [and] are best equipped to carry them out.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • wdiff 1.2.2 released

      Over a year after ist predecessor, this release updates the build system. One may hope that this will help building wdiff on more recent architectures.

  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Google Releases An AutoFDO Converter For Perf In LLVM

      AutoFDO is short for the Automatic Feedback Directed Optimizer that uses the Linux kernel’s perf to collect sample profiles and to then pass that translated profile data back into the compiler so it’s able to better optimize code generation of the targeted perf’ed binary to yield better performance. AutoFDO was originally written for GCC and can be found via gcc.gnu.org.

Leftovers
  • Hardware
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Marijuana Vending Machine Unveiled In Colorado

      An automated pot-selling machine was unveiled at an event held at an Avon, Colo., restaurant Saturday, promising a potential new era of selling marijuana and pot-infused snacks from vending machines directly to customers.

      Its creators say the machine, called the ZaZZZ, uses biometrics to verify a customer’s age. The machine is climate-controlled to keep its product fresh.

  • Security
    • Forward Secrecy Encryption for Apache

      The basic need to encrypt digital communication seems to be becoming common sense lately. It probably results from increased public awareness about the number of parties involved in providing the systems required (ISPs, backbone providers, carriers, sysadmins) and the number of parties these days taking an interest in digital communications and activities (advertisers, criminals, state authorities, voyeurs, …). How much to encrypt and to what extend seems to be harder to grasp though.

    • TrueCrypt audit finds “no evidence of backdoors” or malicious code

      Since September 2013, a handful of cryptographers have been discussing new problems and alternatives to the popular security application. By February 2014, the Open Crypto Audit Project—a new organization based in North Carolina that seeks formal 501(c)3 non-profit status—raised around $80,000 towards this goal on various online fundraising sites.

      “[The results] don’t panic me,” Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins cryptography professor who has been one of the people leading this effort, told Ars. “I think the code quality is not as high as it should be, but on the other hand, nothing terrible is in there, so that’s reassuring”

    • Would you be on Project Insight kill list from ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’?

      There were decent indicators of the flick’s themes after directors Joe and Anthony Russo were interviewed by the Washington Post. When asked if they knew how timely the movie’s theme would be, Anthony Russo replied:

      The Edward Snowden thing did happen while we were shooting, but that was sort of the tip of the iceberg. All the stuff was in the ether before that. I remember right before we started our first pass on the script with the writers that’s when the New York Times article broke about the “kill list.” And it was just, wow, a Democratic president of the United States sits down with his advisers on a Tuesday morning and goes through a “kill list” and decides who they’re going to kill; then they strike that person with drones, and sometimes they kill their family, too. It’s just like, “Whoa, that’s the good guy in this world.” That was very much a very jumping off point for the moral complexity about where we are, with what the relationship between security and freedom is, where the line is drawn.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • US Press once again Declines to Call White Terrorism in Kansas, Nevada, White Terrorism

      If the person accused of the shootings at Jewish facilities is guilty, he was certainly trying to intimidate a civilian population! And the Nevada cattle grazing extremists, if their behavior is being accurately described in the press, are trying to affect the conduct of government with threatened violence.

    • Media, education the next victims in the U.S.-Russian political face-off

      The U.S.-Russia relationship is facing another setback as Russia has turned off the Voice of America and the American Councils, a U.S. education NGO, has been ordered to suspend its activity in Russia.

    • I’m confused, can anyone help me?

      I’m confused. A few weeks ago we were told in the West that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine was a very good thing. These people, we were told by our political leaders and elite media commentators, were ‘pro-democracy protestors’.

    • Russia wants explanation of report CIA chief visited Kiev

      Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said Moscow would like Washington to explain reports in the Russian media that CIA director John Brennan visited the Ukrainian capital at the weekend.

    • U.S. Sent CIA Director as Ambassador to Tehran After CIA Overthrew Iran’s Democratic Government

      The decision of the Obama administration and the resolution passed by Congress barring entry to Iran’s designated ambassador to the United Nations has angered Tehran and provoked demonstrations in Iran. Hamid Aboutalebi has served as ambassador to several European countries. He is accused by Washington politicians of having participated in the taking of US diplomats hostage in 1979-81. Aboutalebi says that he was not among the militants who took the hostages, but rather later on agreed to serve as a translator for the group.

      The hostage-taking in revolutionary Iran is a deeply distasteful episode that contravened international law as well as Shiite Islamic law (which recognizes the immunity of diplomats). I have friends among the surviving diplomats, and don’t forgive the criminals who terrorized them.

    • White House confirms CIA director visited Ukraine over weekend

      Previously, deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich accused Brennan of ordering a crackdown on pro-Russian activists in the east of the country.

    • Vilifying Putin’s Russia

      The media coverage of Russian integration with Crimea has been shameful, irresponsible and misleading.

    • Associated Press: Yanukovych puts blame on CIA

      Ukraine’s ousted president has accused the CIA of being behind the new Ukrainian government’s decision to deploy armed forces to quash an increasingly brazen pro-Russian insurgency. Speaking late Sunday on Russian state television, Viktor Yanukovych claimed that CIA director John Brennan had met with Ukraine’s new leadership and “in fact sanctioned the use of weapons and provoked bloodshed.”

    • CIA director in Ukraine as Washington steps up threats against Russia
    • ANALYSIS: US sent CIA to Ukraine to initiate protest suppression campaign

      CIA Director John Brennan was sent to Ukraine over the weekend to launch a military suppression of pro-federalization protests in the southeastern part of the country, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

      “The CIA director was sent to Kiev to launch a military suppression [campaign] in eastern and southern Ukraine, former Russian territories for the most part that were foolishly attached to Ukraine in the early years of Soviet rule,” Roberts said.

    • Ukraine Started Armed Suppression Operation After CIA ‘Go-Ahead’
    • Washington Drives The World To War. CIA Intervention in Eastern Ukraine

      Washington’s plan to grab Ukraine overlooked that the Russian and Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine were not likely to go along with their insertion into the EU and NATO while submitting to the persecution of Russian speaking peoples. Washington has lost Crimea, from which Washington intended to eject Russia from its Black Sea naval base. Instead of admitting that its plan for grabbing Ukraine has gone amiss, Washington is unable to admit a mistake and, therefore, is pushing the crisis to more dangerous levels.

    • US considers offering military help to Ukraine – Kerry advisor

      An advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the United States may decide to send arms to eastern Ukraine as tensions continue to worsen there between pro-Russian protesters and supporters of the country’s interim government.

      Reuters reported on Monday that US State Department Counselor Thomas Shannon — a senior diplomat and member of Sec. Kerry’s inner circle — said the possibility of providing arms to Ukrainian forces is indeed currently on the table.

    • White House confirms CIA director’s trip to Kiev
    • CIA Involvement in Repressive Ukraine Operation Denounced
    • CIA chief visits Kiev as Ukraine threatens force against protests
    • What’s the Matter with John Kerry?

      After all, Kerry personally experienced the horrors of a war fought on false pretenses as a young Navy officer patrolling the rivers of South Vietnam. After winning the Silver Star, he returned home from the war and spoke eloquently against it, making his first significant mark as a public figure.

    • Drone Pilots Say the CIA Has the Air Force Doing Its Dirty Work

      That’s according to multiple former drone pilots featured in a new Norwegian documentary, aptly titled Drone, which cites both on- and off-the-record interviews with one-time operators of the Pentagon’s Predator and Reaper drone. In the film, the whistleblowers allege that regular Air Force pilots, not the CIA proper, are doing the heavy lifting in the CIA’s shadow wars over Pakistan.

    • Aussies killed in US drone strike in Yemen

      TWO Australian citizens have been killed in a US airstrike in Yemen in what is the first known example of Australian extremists dying as a result of Washington’s highly controversial use of predator drones.

    • Death From Above: How American Drone Strikes Are Devastating Yemen

      On the ground in a country where unmanned missile attacks are a terrifyingly regular occurrence

    • Feds can hide rationale for killing U.S. citizen, judge rules

      A Bay Area federal judge says the Obama administration can keep secret a memo spelling out the legal rationale for a 2011 drone attack in Yemen that killed a U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist mastermind.

    • US Air Force flew killer drone missions in Pakistan: Report

      The film identifies the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron as the unit which has been conducting CIA-led strikes in the tribal areas. They operate from a secure compound in a corner of Creech air force base, 45 miles from Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert.

    • CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

      A regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike programme in Pakistan, according to a new documentary to be released on Tuesday.

    • US airstrike kills woman, two children in E. Afghanistan

      Local Afghan officials say at least three civilians– including a woman and two children — have been killed in a US-led airstrike in the country’s troubled east.

    • Pay your Taxes, Go to Gitmo?

      Title 18′s Article 2339B further states that: “whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”

      Any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian” — that stands as a perfectly legitimate definition of terrorism. President Barack Obama offered an equally straightforward definition of terrorism on the eve of the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings when he stated: “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”

      My concern is that my government has a long and abiding history of engaging in acts that clearly meet all-of-the-above definitions of terrorism.

    • Ind. group protests use of military drones

      Fort Wayne for Peace organized an event at Headwaters Park Sunday afternoon focused on the use of military drones in the Middle East.

      Dozens of people of all ages showed up to the “Fly Kites, Not Drones” event in an effort to raise awareness towards U.S. foreign policy practices as well as fly kites with a message. Kite flying is a popular tradition in Afghanistan, but the pastime was banned during the Taliban reign.

    • Fort Wayne For Peace Protest Use Of Drones

      Fort Wayne for Peace, as part of April Days of Action Against Drones, hosted an event Sunday afternoon at Headwaters Park, called, “Fly Kites, Not Drones.”

    • Military drones cause unnecessary casualties

      Something seems all-around perverse to me when innocent people are killed. I understand that accidents happen and innocent people die for no apparent reason sometimes, especially in war, yet when planned attacks are carried out to eradicate whole families due to the suspicion that they might be harboring a terrorist, something is downright wrong. It is absolutely reprehensible that families are being wiped out with a single missile—a missile whose total cost to build and deploy is more than what that family has or will ever earn in their entire lifetime. Can you seriously see soldiers earning medals for valor, courage, and honor for conducting such video game-like warfare? There is no honor in drone warfare.

    • On Dirty Wars, NSA Spying, and Independent Media: A Conversation with Jeremy Scahill
    • The Obama Administration Is Setting a Dangerous Precedent about Due Process

      But in reaching that conclusion, the court also found it “plausible” that Awlaki’s Fifth Amendment due-process rights were violated. Ultimately, the judge decided, there was no remedy available, so the lawsuit was dismissed. But this sets a dangerous precedent for the targeted-killing program. And the problem began with the Obama administration itself – several key members of which are defendants in this case — which argued several years ago that the determination to target Awlaki complied with due process.

    • CIA, MI6 and Turkey’s rogue game in Syria: New claims say Ankara worked with the US and Britain to smuggle Gaddafi’s guns to rebel groups

      The US’s Secretary of State John Kerry and its UN ambassador, Samantha Power have been pushing for more assistance to be given to the Syrian rebels.

    • U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility

      In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up.

    • Rebel videos show first US-made rockets in Syria

      Online videos show Syrian rebels using what appear to be US anti-tank rockets, weapons experts say, the first significant American-built armaments in the country’s civil war.

      They would signal a further internationalisation of the conflict, with new rockets suspected from Russia and drones from Iran also spotted in the forces of President Bashar Al Assad. None of that equipment, however, is seen as enough to turn the tide of battle in a now broadly stalemated war, with Al Assad dominant in Syria’s central cities and along the Mediterranean coast and the rebels in the interior north and east.

    • Washington Fights Fire With Fire in Libya: How Not to End Violence in a War-Torn Land

      Is the U.S. secretly training Libyan militiamen in the Canary Islands? And if not, are they planning to?

    • Fury at school ‘anti-terror’ probe

      The Education Secretary announced that Peter Clarke, who served as head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit, is to become education commissioner, with responsibility to investigate the allegations.

    • Two Nations, Related by Fear

      Since the “war on terror” began, various policies have been adopted on both sides of the Atlantic that have played on, or exacerbated, our fear of the “Islamic extremist.” Perhaps none has been more pernicious than the recent British practice of stripping citizenship from dozens of people who were considered possible terrorism suspects, as soon as they traveled abroad — which then made it less politically complicated for American agents to hunt them down as dangers.

    • Torture is Mainstream Now

      Fifteen years ago, it was possible to pretend the U.S. government opposed torture. Then it became widely known that the government tortured. And it was believed (with whatever accuracy) that officials had tried to keep the torturing secret. Next it became clear that nobody would be punished, that, in fact, top officials responsible for torture would be permitted to openly defend what they had done as good and noble.

    • More leaked from CIA torture report
    • Comment of the day: CIA torturers are the moral equivalent of the North Vietnamese jailkeepers who tortured American pilots
    • Senators Urge Partial Declassification of CIA Torture Report, Keep Vast Majority Secret

      It’s hard for me to pin down just when “admitting wrongdoing and learning from mistakes” was a “practice” in American government, but I digress. Ever since the completion of this report, its authors in the Senate intelligence committee have urged its release. But after Feinstein went to the Senate floor last month to accuse the CIA of illegally trying to stonewall the investigation and block its release, Feinstein seemed to have changed her mind. Now the demand is not to have all 6,300+ pages released to the public, but to have approximately 500 pages of an executive summary submitted for declassification review.

    • CIA may have enlisted member of defense team at Guantanamo

      A military tribunal trail was thrown into confusion when it was revealed that a member of a defense team may have had a contract with the CIA.

    • CIA “black site” outed in British press reports

      A human rights group is demanding the United Kingdom to “come clean” over allegations that it gave permission for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to run a “black site” detention facility on British soil.

    • Pressure mounts on UK over CIA’s ‘black site’ jail in Indian Ocean

      A human rights group is urging Britain’s Foreign office to “come clean” over claims that a British-administered island in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia, was used as a secret “black site” detention center by the CIA.

    • Public should see the report on shameful CIA abuses

      President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War. President Franklin Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Is the WikiLeaks model being threatened by subsumption into the culture industry?

      The appropriation of culture into the so-called culture industry – the mass production of cultural products – brought forth the homogenization of human expression, and a new control over human knowledge, a topic explored by Adorno and Horkheimer, of enlightenment as the deception of the masses. “The step from the telephone to the radio,” they write “has clearly distinguished the roles. The former still allowed the subscriber to play the role of subject, and was liberal. The latter is democratic: it turns all participants into listeners and authoritatively subjects them to broadcast programs which are all exactly the same” (pp.121, 122). The television was the continuation and perfection of the same idea, and at the time, no mention was made “of the fact that the basis on which technology acquires power over society is the power of those whose economic hold over society is greatest” (p. 121). The mass deception is achieved by the control and vetting of knowledge within this new technological context of enlightenment, and so it becomes an ideological machine of tremendous power. “Tragedy is reduced to the threat to destroy anyone who does not cooperate, whereas its paradoxical significance once lay in a hopeless resistance to mythic destiny. Tragic fate becomes just punishment, which is what bourgeois aesthetics always tried to turn it into. The morality of mass culture is the cheap form of yesterday’s children’s books” (p. 152) Then came the Internet, and from it was constructed a model of industrial culture as well as an appropriation of the knowledge of the Internet using individuals; mass surveillance. It is not a coincidence that the motto of the Information Awareness Office was also “scientia est potentia” – knowledge is power. Then came WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Mega-polluter posts net profit of $765 million

      Poisons from the chimneys kill nature in the borderland to Norway, but Russia’s Norilsk-Nickel is a river of cash flow for its owners.

    • If you were watching “Game of Thrones” last night, you missed Neil Tyson’s solution to global warming

      Plants, after all, are the reigning global masters of clean energy. They use 100-percent solar power: The chloroplast, the so-called “powerhouse” of a plant cell, is a “3-billion-year-old solar energy collector” and a “submicroscopic solar battery,” as Tyson put it. Basically, chloroplasts use sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to store energy in sugars, and give off oxygen as a byproduct. And without this fundamental green energy technology, life on this planet as we know it wouldn’t exist.

    • In Small Canadian Town Democracy Wins, Tar Sands Loses

      In a vote cheered as a victory for democracy, one community in British Columbia has given a flat rejection to a proposed tar sands pipeline.

      Over 58 percent of voters who headed to the polls in the North Coast municipality of Kitimat on Saturday said “no” to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.

    • Canadian Corporation Plans Tar Sands Strip Mining in Trinidad and Tobago

      ‘Mining tar sand will destroy Govt’ read the headline in April of 2012. The statement was made to Trinidad and Tobago’s Express newspaper by well-known environmental campaigner Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh to the news that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had made statements about working with Canada’s Harper Government to start development of tar sands for oil in Trinidad’s southwest peninsula. If anyone could make such a bold statement stick in Trinidad and Tobago, it would be Kublalsingh, a veteran of multiple struggles against what he and community members believe to be ill-advised industrial projects.

  • Finance
    • EU “has the power” to put in place a universal basic income

      From Martin Luther King to Erich Fromm, the universal – or unconditional – basic income (UBI) has always had its supporters. The idea is not new. But the economic crisis has brought it back to the forefront “as a solution” to the most pressing issues facing the EU today.

    • Privacy
      • Encrypting Your Cat Photos

        The truth is, I really don’t have anything on my hard drive that I would be upset over someone seeing. I have some cat photos. I have a few text files with ideas for future books and/or short stories, and a couple half-written starts to NaNoWriMo novels. It would be easy to say that there’s no point encrypting my hard drive, because I have nothing to hide. The problem is, we wrongly correlate a “desire for privacy” with “having something to hide”. I think where I live, in America, we’ve taken our rights to privacy for granted. Rather than the traditional “he must be hiding porn or bombs”, think about something a little more mundane.

      • Google outlines email scanning practices

        Google has updated its terms of service, informing users that their emails are scanned by software to deliver targeted advertising.

        The new terms explicitly state that “automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection”.

      • Google Hints it May Begin Favoring Encrypted Sites in Searches

        The search giant is considering giving a boost to encrypted sites in its results, one of its top engineers has hinted. The move is to encourage better security across the web in the wake of the Heartbleed bug causing widespread concern among Netizens

      • There’ll be no escape from the FBI’s new facial recognition system

        If you thought that the NSA wanted too much personal information, just wait a few months. The EFF is reporting that the FBI’s new facial recognition database, containing data for almost a third of the US population, will be ready to launch this summer. Codenamed NGI, the system combines the bureau’s 100 million-strong fingerprint database with palm prints, iris scans and mugshots. Naturally, this has alarmed privacy advocates, since it’s not just felons whose images are added, but anyone who has supplied a photo ID for a government job or background check. According to the EFF’s documents, the system will be capable of adding 55,000 images per day, and could have the facial data for anything up to 52 million people by next year. Let’s just hope that no-one tells the Feds about Facebook, or we’re all in serious trouble.

      • British spy agency’s hometown gets tagged with Banksy-style mural

        GCHQ: “This is the first time we have ever been asked to comment on art.”

      • Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations
      • The Guardian takes a Pulitzer prize, Britain’s first, for Snowden NSA story

        The Guardian is the first British paper to win one of America’s famed Pulitzer prizes, albeit for its American edition as papers outside the US technically can’t win.

      • Pakistan mulls cyber security bill to keep NSA at bay

        Pakistan’s Upper House this week began debating a new bill seeking to establish a National Cyber Security Council, an agency the nation feels is needed in the wake of Edward Snowden’s myriad revelations about NSA surveillance.

      • Dropbox users are angry that NSA-loving Condoleezza Rice has been appointed to its board

        The former US secretary of state, who supported the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping programme, is seen as a terrible choice to sit on the board of the cloud storage company.

      • Laura Poitras wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize for NSA coverage

        Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (pictured) is among the team of reporters to win the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism.

      • Greenwald, Poitras, Gellman, MacAskill: key in NSA coverage
      • AT&T collaborating with NSA disappointing: Kurt Opsahl

        US-based civil society organisation Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took US telecom AT&T to court for willingly sharing material with the NSA to help its surveillance regime. The case forced the Bush administration to pass a law to give retroactive protection to the telecom companies for cooperating with the NSA.

      • Former NSA head to speak at Norwich commencement
      • Controversial Former NSA Director To Speak At Norwich Commencement
      • Goofing on the NSA

        Should private citizens be permitted to make fun of an agency of the federal government? You bet they should! But when the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security found themselves the butts of such humor, they tried to shut down the jokester and those selling his merchandise.

      • What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do

        Ten months after Edward Snowden’s first disclosures, three main legislative proposals have emerged for surveillance reform: one from President Obama, one from the House Intelligence Committee, and one proposal favored by civil libertarians.

    • Civil Rights
      • Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave

        A man facing deportation from Sweden has been granted a temporary reprieve after fellow passengers aboard his flight to Iran prevented it from taking off by refusing to fasten their seat belts.

        A Kurd fearing persecution in his home country of Iran, Ghader Ghalamere fled the country years ago and now has two young children with his wife Fatemeh, a Swedish resident.

        As a result he qualifies for a residence permit himself – yet because of a quirk in immigration laws he is required to apply for it from outside Sweden.

    • DRM
      • Square Enix: DRM Boosts Profits and It’s Here to Stay

        One of the world’s largest games companies says that DRM is a necessary part of doing business and isn’t going away anytime soon. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Square Enix says that while it understands that DRM shouldn’t interfere with gaming and there is currently no perfect solution, profit dictates that the controversial practice remains.

    • Intellectual Monopolies
      • Clinical trials and tribulations: a role for Europe

        One instance of this conflict is the pharma companies’ vice-like grip, via patents, on the production of newly-developed drugs. This can put heavy financial pressure on health services, particularly in developing countries. Another conflict, which is the focus of this article, involves the publication of clinical trial data. Clinical trials are carried out on a massive scale as part of the process of bringing a new drug onto the market: the trials are meant to determine whether the drug is effective and safe, and whether patients would benefit from being prescribed it.

Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 3:23pm

Summary: Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile

HALF A DECADE after the Bilski case, where SCOTUS helped legitimise software patents by not striking them out, SCOTUS gets another chance to kill software patents in their country of origin.

The SFLC wrote about its role a few days ago, noting: “In each Supreme Court brief that SFLC has filed over the years we have included a little note on the first page declaring that the brief was made using only free software. This point was particularly important in our most recent brief, for a case named Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank, which was argued in front of the court last week. Our use of free software was particularly important this time because we argue in our brief that free software has been responsible for the major software innovations of the modern era. In partial support of that claim I want to show you our document creation process and tell you about the free software we use to take text from an email and turn it into a camera-ready Supreme Court brief, then a website, then an eBook.”

Watch how Microsoft and Apple work to eliminate the possibility that software patents or even patent trolls will be eliminated. As TechDirt put it some days ago: “Back in December, we noted that the House Judiciary Committee had approved an unfortunately watered-down, anti-patent troll bill. It was better than nothing, but we hoped that the Senate would approve a much stronger version. For a while it seemed like that was likely to happen, but… those who abuse patents are pretty damn powerful. Even those who have been hit by patent trolls in the past, like Apple and Microsoft, have decided to join forces in lobbying against meaningful patent reform. They’ve been pushing to water down the Senate’s bill, taking out nearly everything that would make the bill useful — and it appears that they’re succeeding.”

Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 3:13pm

Summary: A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that’s wrong with today’s model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes

THE MENTALITY OF greedy investors, and more so investors who put their money in a criminal enterprise, is worth noting. Microsoft has a long history of crime and the investors occasionally sue not because the act of committing crime is bad but because Microsoft fails to dodge the fines (i.e. there is conviction for the crimes).

Here we have a new example of an investor in a criminal company complaining about the wrong thing. To quote the Indian press: “The lawsuit, brought by shareholder Kim Barovic in federal court in Seattle on Friday, charges that directors and executives, including founder Bill Gates and former chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, failed to manage the company properly and that the board’s investigation was insufficient into how the miscue occurred.”

The problem is not that they “failed to manage the company properly”; as we saw in court documents, the crimes go all the way to the top and include instructions from Bill Gates, who chose to break competition laws. This “Supreme Villain” is now spending his wealth on PR (distracting from his crimes), in order to gain yet more wealth while paying virtually nothing in tax.

Here is a new article about protests against Bill Gates profiteering from private prisons.

Criminals rarely change their spots, they just change how the public perceives them. Gates was personally responsible for many of Microsoft’s crimes (and we have the documents to prove it), but nowadays he is busy bribing much of the press and even blogs in order to paint a different picture while he keeps hoarding a lot more money (at everyone else’s expense). Historically there were people like Gates who used the same tactics to alter public opinion. What’s truly shameful is that the biggest (more expensive) crimes still lead to no jail sentence, especially when the government is funded and run by corporations.

Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 2:56pm



Image by Will Hill

Summary: Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for — let alone deploy — proprietary software with back doors

A FEW days ago we spoke about those who choose PRISM at taxpayers' expense, essentially choosing spyware at the expense of taxpayers who will suffer from it. Glyn Moody has published a good article about how it’s done to the British public [1], where the government pays Microsoft a lot of money because Microsoft’s own software is very insecure. This is a problem not just here in the UK.

Mr. Pogson links to IDG reports that say US “Tax collector has 58,000 PCs still running the aged XP; will spend $30M to upgrade to Windows 7″ (not even immediately). There is more about this in the British press [2] and it turns out not to be the exception.

What’s worth noting, however, is that NSA works with Microsoft, a US-based company, so the above behaviour is even more irresponsible when done outside the US. There is an interesting new petition at Avaaz titled “Computers in the post-Snowden era: choose before paying!”

To quote: “When you buy a computer, a telephone, a tablet-pc, etc., you make your choice first, and then you pay. But meanwhile, quite often you first pay the licence of an operating system (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, etc) which you then choose to use or to replace with another one. As a result, the vast majority of us all use the operating system that mainly beneficiates from this forced sale. Our addiction is so high that even those actors that should be neutral in principle help this situation continue: state, administration, school, city administration, etc. We are thus technologically very dependent, hence vulnerable. Thanks to Edward Snowden, it is now established that intelligence agencies modify hardware (computers, routers, firewalls, etc) and software (Microsoft Windows, probably all Apple operating systems, probably one GNU-Linux distribution, etc) to massively listen to communications and illegally penetrate into computers.”

It is time to publicly chastise government institutions — more so than private businesses which are only accountable to themselves and the law — over use of spyware such as Microsoft Windows.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Windows XP: End of an Era, End of an Error

    This is little more than polite blackmail: if you don’t upgrade, your systems will become infected, you will lose data, and your reputation may well be ruined as a result. The stakes are incredibly high: the Microsoft-sponsored study I wrote about last week puts the global cost of flaws in Microsoft’s software at around $500 billion for 2014 alone.

    And yet despite the astonishing magnitude of the threat, laid out by Microsoft itself again and again, in various ways, people still stick with Windows XP. Really, there is no greater condemnation of Windows XP’s successors than the fact that huge swathes of Microsoft’s user base simply don’t want to upgrade.

    Shockingly, that applies to the UK government, too. Of course, they at least realise that they can’t simply carry on using Windows XP without at least nominal protection, but the price they pay for their stubborn refusal to move off XP is high…

  2. US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support

    The April 15 deadline for Americans to pay their federal income taxes is fast approaching, but the US Internal Revenue Service has already missed an important deadline of its own – namely, Microsoft’s end-of-support date for Windows XP.

  3. Windows XP Alive & Well in ICS/SCADA Networks

    End-of-life for XP support not raising many red flags in critical infrastructure environments, where patching is the exception.

GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 2:51pm

Microsoft Gets Its Money’s Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 9:33am

Summary: The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft’s console competitor

EARLIER this month we learned about Xamarin signing deals with Microsoft after receiving funds from the firm of ‘former’ Microsoft executives. Those two entities not only collaborate on code inside Mono but they also collaborate on many other things, including, based on Phoronix, infecting the PlayStation 4 like they tried to infect Android for years. “For those wanting to work on console games in C#, Mono’s PlayStation 4 support work appears to be progressing well,” Phoronix explains, citing Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza, who has more to say.

Never think that people who work for Microsoft will do anything other than promote Microsoft’s agenda. The firm Black Duck, created by a Microsoft manager (and now enjoying a special partnership with Microsoft), is still pretending to be a spokesperson for FOSS. How gross is that?

After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 8:55am


Photo by Darcy Padilla

Summary: Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO

WE wrote a critical post immediately upon Eich's appointment, but it dealt with purely technical matters. Ever since then there has been no real discussion of Eich’s technical abilities and achievements (he is [cref very pro-Free software]. It has been just muck-raking, which was amplified by Microsoft's friends.

We have gathered some articles that help explain how the ousting was done [1], essentially trying to work around laws [2] by inducing resignation. Friends of mine have explained where bigotry really was [3] and it is clear that by stepping down Eich only let the bigots win [4], leaving the role to Chris Beard for now [5] (he might as well stay in this position because he is also good). Boycott are still being used [5], showing that this whole episode [6] is achieving nothing good (if lessons are to be learned [7]). Those from within Mozilla who started it all have essentially done huge damage to Mozilla, which is trying to move on [8,9] or have people speak about something technical and newsworthy.

As a vocal person (my Diaspora feed is a lot more vocal than Techrights), I was deeply disgusted to see how a personal opinion got used, opportunistically perhaps, to harm Eich’s career. I may not agree with his position, but I would go very far to defend the right to free speech. People inside Mozilla have just done a lot to harm free speech by promoting self-censorship. That’s basically making Mozilla look less like a freedom proponent. Perhaps those who are jealous of Chris Beard (inside Mozilla) can start going through the past decade’s activities and try hard to find something in his personal life with which to blackmail the organisation until he resigns. One reputable source said that opposition to Eich’s appointment was more to do with the company not hiring from the outside for CEO. Well, Beard — like Eich — is coming from inside Mozilla.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Brendan Eich’s ouster shows lynch mob at work

    Two of the communities that lay claim to being among the most tolerant and inclusive have shown intolerance of a very high order, acting like a lynch mob to ensure that a top technologist was forced to leave his job as chief executive of a well-known software group.

  2. Termination of Mozilla CEO Likely Violated California Law

    What these commentators seem to have overlooked, however, is that the California Labor Code has already resolved this debate. Under California law it is blatantly illegal to fire an employee because he has donated money to a political campaign.

  3. Brendan Eich, the bigots, and Software Freedom

    By now you may be wondering where I’m going with this. The point I feel very few people made in the controversy surrouding Brendan Eich is that Free Software does not care who you are voting for as an individual or even as an organization. What matters is respecting the license the software you are studying, using, modifyng and distributing is complied with, and to a broader extent, that the development community you are contributing to -if that is the case- is not deprived from its freedom. Now let’s take a few real, yet general cases of Free Software usage around the globe.

  4. Mozilla only made things worse by letting CEO Brandon Eich go
  5. Mozilla Names Former CMO Beard as Interim CEO

    After the short-lived tenure of Brendan Eich, a new interim CEO takes the helm at the open-source browser vendor—Greylock Partners’ Chris Beard.

  6. Caution Warranted on a Mozilla Boycott

    Regardless of how you feel about Eich’s departure and the reasons thereof, there is also a battle going on against unwanted online government, corporate, and other surveillance activities (much of which Edward Snowden brought to light). Mozilla is helping in this fight. Note that some calling for a Mozilla boycott are also the same ones who view Snowden as a traitor.

  7. Lessons Learned from Mozilla’s Edgy Eich Episode
  8. Brendan Eich’s Departure Will Mar Mozilla but Not Stop Its Innovation

    Brendan Eich’s resignation soon after being named Mozilla CEO will scar the company, but it won’t likely halt its major tech initiatives.

  9. North America Mozilla Reps Meetup

    This weekend, North America Mozilla Reps gathered in the not-so-sunny Portland, Oregon. We worked from the Portland Office during the weekend, where we collaborated on plans for North America for the next six month period. We also tackled a number of topics from websites and refined our priority cities which will help us be more successful in moving forward in our mission to grow contributors in North America.

Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 8:32am

Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 9:12pm

Contents GNU/Linux
  • With Death of Windows XP, Now Is Perfect Time to Switch to Linux

    With the official retirement of Windows XP, the release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and surprisingly healthy software and gaming ecosystems (yay, Steam!), there has never been a better time to switch to Linux. Linux will also run very well on any old, Windows XP-era hardware that you might still be using, too — and if you’re anxious that you’ll be filled with switchers remorse after nuking your Windows installation, don’t worry: dual-booting is a cinch as well, extremetech reported.

  • Cool and flexible: The Linux alternative
  • Windows XP alternative a free solution for many

    A wealth of other programs, many free, is available to augment the Ubuntu experience. If a user would like to edit some of the photos organized within Shotwell, for example, Krita and GIMP are two free image-manipulation programs that rival the functionality of Adobe Photoshop. In fact, Ubuntu presents users with a one-click option to download Krita when opening a Photoshop file for the first time.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Cinnamon 2.2 Desktop Supports HiDPI, GTK CSD Support

        The Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop project has graduated to version 2.2 and it’s a very large update for this GNOME3-forked environment.

      • Cinnamon 2.2

        On behalf of the team and all the developers who contributed to this build, I am proud to announce the release of Cinnamon 2.2!

      • Cinnamon 2.2 Released With System Settings Improvements, HiDPI support And More

        Cinnamon 2.2 was released today, bringing various improvements to the System Settings, HiDPI/Retina Display support, client side decorations support along with other interesting refinements.

      • Did the GNOME Foundation spend too much money on women’s outreach?

        I took a look at the issue of gender in open source a while back in an article on ITworld. I noted in that article that I had worked for and with many different women over the last twenty years in my technology career. The women I worked with served in many different roles: IT managers, vice presidents, art directors, web producers, editors, editors-in-chief, marketing managers and plenty of other roles.

        In short, the women I’ve worked with over the course of my career have been at pretty much every level in technology publishing. But, as I noted in the ITworld article, they all had one thing in common: THEY. JUST. DID. IT. They didn’t get into technology because of an outreach program, they got into it because it was the career that they desired based on their own individual personalities.

      • JDLL 2014 report

        The 2014 “Journées du Logiciel Libre” took place in Lyon like (almost) every year this past week-end. It’s a francophone free software event over 2 days with talks, and plenty of exhibitors from local Free Software organisations. I made the 600 metres trip to the venue, and helped man the GNOME booth with Frédéric Peters and Alexandre Franke’s moustache.

  • Distributions
    • Ozon OS Will Be One of the Most Beautiful Linux Distros

      You might feel that the names of Nitrux and Numix sound a little familiar. The developers involved with these are responsible for numerous icon packs and themes for the Linux systems, and Nitrux also has its own Linux distribution called Nitrux OS.

      The collaboration between two teams has been going for quite a while, and the upcoming operating system that has been promised by Nitrux and Numix finally got a face. Until now there were only glimpses and teases, but the Linux community can now get a good look at Ozon OS.

    • Screenshots
    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Out in the Open: Inside the Operating System Edward Snowden Used to Evade the NSA

        Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box. You install it on a DVD or USB drive, boot up the computer from the drive and, voila, you’re pretty close to anonymous on the internet. At its heart, Tails is a version of the Linux operating system optimized for anonymity. It comes with several privacy and encryption tools, most notably Tor, an application that anonymizes a user’s internet traffic by routing it through a network of computers run by volunteers around the world.

      • MakuluLinux: Awesome Debian-Based Distro Ships with MATE 1.8

        MakuluLinux Mate Imperium Edition has been released a few hours ago, and being based on Debian Testing, I took it for a test drive. This is a good opportunity to have a look at the latest MATE 1.8, since Ubuntu Trusty only includes the 1.6 version in the repositories, and for the Mint release we’ll probably have to wait for about another month.

        But except for MATE, some very interesting choices make MakuluLinux Imperium Edition stand out: it comes by default with applications like Steam, Wine, PlayOnLinux and even the Kingsoft Office suite instead of LibreOffice. Upon installing MakuluLinux, you have the possibility to choose which components will be installed and which not.

      • Makulu Linux 6 MATE hands-on: A good path to Linux for XP users

        The MATE Live desktop is shown below, it is exactly what I expect from Makulu — beautiful wallpaper, bright colourful icons, and lots of interesting-looking additions scattered around the screen. The Installer icon and an Installation Guide are on the upper left corner of the screen.

      • DPL election is over, Lucas Nussbaum re-elected

        The Debian Project Leader election has concluded and the winner is Lucas Nussbaum. Of a total of 1003 developers, 401 developers voted using the Condorcet method.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Releases the Most Stable and Advanced Ubuntu Touch Version So Far

            “It’s been ages since I haven’t been able to say it, but… we have a new promoted image (#294)! This image is now the best ubuntu Touch image we never had. It’s been a tedious path to get there, so we hope you will enjoy it! People on the devel channel will be able to get the new scope design experience as per numerous other features and bug fixes since latest promoted image (#250). This, week-end, multiple images have been spinned. Some blocker fixes, some regressions went in and are now fixed,” said Canonical’s Didier Roche.

          • Meizu MX3 With Ubuntu Spotted

            The Meizu MX3 was announced on an official basis last year, but it seems as though this particular smartphone is going to roll out over in the U.S. some time in the third quarter of this year, which is still a fair number of months away. Well, the Meizu MX3 holds the distinction of being one of the first smartphones that will ship with Ubuntu Linux, although one can always make do with an Android-powered version of this smartphone. The Ubuntu version of the Meizu MX3 was shown off at Mobile World Congress in February.

          • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) Arrives on April 17, Three Features to Look Forward to

            The developers have made a lot of improvements in their latest Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) and the Linux community is waiting for the release with great interest. One of the main reasons for this anticipation is the fact that Canonical made some important changes to the operating system and now it’s somewhat different from Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander), which is the current version.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) to Reach End of Life by the End of April

            The Ubuntu developers have changed their policy regarding the support period of non-LTS versions of Ubuntu, starting with the 13.04 version. This created a strange situation where Ubuntu 13.04, which had nine months of support, reached end of life before Ubuntu 12.10, which was the last with 18 months of support.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Install Lubuntu on old Windows XP PC, keep it alive

              Windows XP has officially died today as Microsoft pulls the plugs that leaves millions of users as juicy targets for crackers and cyber criminals and there will be massive attacks on these systems so it’s extremely important for Windows XP users to move away from this dead OS. There are two options for such users – either they upgrade to heavily criticized Windows 8 (which may not even work on their current hardware) or they simply move to Linux.

            • How to run XP on Linux Mint with Oracle VirtualBox

              VirtualBox, like any hypervisor, likes all the system resources it can get. Therefore, if you want to migrate your old XP box to Linux Mint and you have an older PC, you may not be able to use VirtualBox to run XP. In my experience, you could squeeze XP on top of Linux Mint and VirtualBox on a system with 1GB of RAM, but it’s going to be ugly. You want at least 2GBs of RAM and a 1GHz AMD or Intel processor.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Phones
      • Ballnux
      • Android
        • Google never copied Apple’s iPhone, says Android executive

          Lockheimer, who joined Google in 2006, was called by Samsung’s lawyers as a witness to demonstrate how the popular Android operating system was well into development before the first generation iPhone was introduced in 2007.

        • Android Doubles Apple Sales in Q2 Tablet Market

          Apple shipped less than half as many tablets as Android in Q2, representing 28.3% of the market compared with Android’s 67%. One year ago, during the second quarter of 2012, the two operating systems shipped almost equally.

        • Google rumoured to be testing 4.4.3 internally

          Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) was released some four months ago on the Nexus 4, 7, 10 and Google Play Edition phones that existed at the time. If you’re an avid follower of all things Android, then you may have figured that it’s just about time for Google to release another incremental upgrade to their dominant OS. A recent report from Android Police points to the rumoured ‘dogfooding’ (slow and controlled roll out of software for testing etc) of 4.4.3 to members of Google outside of the Android team. A move like this can only mean one thing. The Android team is confident and are ready to test it on a wider scale, before making it available to everyone.

        • Google Beta Testing Android App for Chrome Remote Desktop

          For about a year now, Google has been working on an Android version of its Chrome Remote Desktop app and new reports from Engadget, PCMag and other outlets claim that it is imminent. The origins of the project go all the way back to a short post from The Chromium Team, and many people have been waiting for the ability to access a remote computer or device from Android.

        • Moto G helps Motorola gain 6% market share in UK

          Moto G is the device that is turning things around for Motorola. The company has already accepted that the device is their most successful smartphone ever. According to latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Motorola is currently owing 6% share in the British smartphone market.

        • HTC publishes source code for HTC One M8 Google Play Edition

          The Taiwanese smartphone maker has plans to ship the HTC One M8 Google Play Edition in the next two-three weeks, but you will be glad to know that the kernel source is just a click away. The company has published the open source files for this device on its developer site, HTCdev.

Free Software/Open Source
  • What Holds Partners Back On Open Source?
  • Can Open-Source Infrastructure Move the Market?

    Kunkel says, “think of the open source foundation like Android.” The world’s most used mobile operating system can support free, paid, proprietary, or open source apps. There are great, decent, and downright terrible apps, but they’re all supported on nearly any Android device, from the soon-to-be-coveted Samsung Galaxy S5 to the budget-friendly burner.

  • When Should We Go Open Source?

    While the subject of open source used to be confined much more to software than to electronics and hardware, several changes over the past years have made it more universal. The advent of the 3D printer and other open source hardware projects along with Kickstarter as a vehicle for funding have made it much easier to bring a project to the open market than ever before.

  • Linksys launches new router with open source code

    Linksys has started shipping a new router, and it’s touting its latest offering as the first consumer-grade Wi-Fi router to provide thorough wireless coverage throughout the home through its four external antennas.

  • OSI Announces New Board

    The Open Source Initiative has announced the results of a ballot by its members to select new directors for its board. The outcome sees more diversity and strong community skills introduced, signalling new horizons for the 15 year old organisation.

  • [J.A.R.V.I.S.] Out in the Open: Build Your Own Siri With This Free Code

    In the Iron Man movies, Tony Stark uses a voice-controlled computer assistant called J.A.R.V.I.S. It manages the lights and security system in his home, helps him pilot his Iron Man suits, and even assists with his research. Some of this is still very much in the realm of science fiction, but not all of it. Inspired by the Iron Man movies, two Princeton students have built a J.A.R.V.I.S. for the real world.

  • Box joins the open source bandwagon with new showcase

    Box is getting into the mix, unveiling its own open source repository showcasing at least 20 projects to-date.

    Amid content and metadata SDKs for Android, iOS, Windows, and Java, more distinctive projects include the Box Anemometer (a MySQL slow query monitor) and the curiously-named Stalker, a jQuery plugin allowing elements to follow a user as he or she scrolls through a page.

  • Box Debuts ‘Box Open Source’ To Share Its Internal Tools With The Larger Developer World
  • Open source achievements based on merit, not age

    Lauren Egts is a student who loves technology. She teaches children and adults alike about computer programming, presenting about Raspberry Pi and Scratch at local area Mini Maker Faires and at the Akron Linux User Group. She’s enrolled in the Hathaway Brown School’s Science, Research, and Engineering program, and is a member of her school’s robotics team, The Fighting Unicorns. She also won a 2014 Ohio Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing from the National Center for Women in Technology.

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • CMS
    • Open Source Matters Elects New President, Sarah Watz, to Guide Joomla!

      Joomla, one of the world’s most popular open source content management systems (CMS) used for everything from websites to blogs to custom apps to Intranets, today announced the election of Sarah Watz as the President of Open Source Matters (OSM). The non-profit provides organization, legal and financial support to the Joomla project. Watz is the first-ever internationally based president of OSM.

    • Sarah Watz Elected by Open Source Matters to Guide Joomla

      More than 3 percent of the web runs on Joomla, with the platform being used for everything from websites to blogs to custom apps to Intranets.

  • Education
    • Community College Taps Open Source Software for Student Success

      Stanly Community College is using Student Success Plan (SSP), open source case management software from Unicon, to better engage at-risk students and promote student success. The Albemarle, NC, institution serves 10,000 curriculum, continuing education and basic skills students.

    • Teachers unite to influence computer manufacturing
    • Open source workshop explores FOSS in universities

      The Association for Computing Machinery’s annual meeting of their Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education is one of the largest academic computing meetings there is. This year’s event featured a full-day workshop on teaching open source practices, tools, and techniques by engaging students as contributors to humanitarian projects such as Ushahidi, OpenMRS, Gnome Accessibility, and others. TitanPad was used for collaborative notetaking during the event, and this article is a result. You could call it a crowd-sourced article.

    • Open source common in Irish education network

      Free and open source solutions are a common component in the ICT infrastructure of Heanet, Ireland’s National Education and Research Network, serving about one million students and staff in the country’s research and education institutes. Such tools are chosen over proprietary alternatives whenever possible, says Glenn Warren, one of Heanet’s IT security specialists.

    • Open education author shares valuable tools for any operating system

      I first read about Chris Whittum in an article on Fosters.com. Once I read that he was interested in using open source software in education, I knew I had to learn more about him. After working in education, Chris decided to share his knowledge in an eBook called: Energize Education Through Open Source: Using Open Source Software to Enhance Learning. This resource focuses on how schools can use open source to continue to offer great lessons to students without the high price tag of similar proprietary products.

    • Computational Thinking in Primary Schools
    • Book contest for Open Library Week

      It’s Open Library Week at Opensource.com, and we’re celebrating open source tools and methods for libraries with a contest.

  • Business
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Seeing SDR in action

      These are direct-conversion transceivers which can be configured for experiments and evaluation of signals in FM and TV broadcast reception, prototyping a GSM base station with OpenBTS, developing with GNU Radio GPS, Wi-Fi and ISM.

    • GNU Guix 0.6 released

      We are pleased to announce the sixth alpha release of GNU Guix.

    • Running GCC 4.9 On AMD’s AM1 Kabini With Jaguar Cores

      Using the AMD Athlon 5350 AM1 APU with its four “Jaguar” cores operating at 2.05GHz, I ran some benchmarks from Ubuntu 14.04 Linux comparing the performance of binaries compiled under GCC 4.8.2 and this week’s GCC 4.9.0 RC1. Is GCC 4.9 better able to exploit the potential out of AMD’s Jaguar microarchitecture? Let’s see.

    • Bringing Major Features, GCC 4.9 RC1 Has Been Released
    • Link-Time Optimizing Improved, But Still Takes A While On GCC 4.9

      The GCC 4.9 compiler that’s about to be released has many improvements, including in the area of LTO (Link-Time Optimizations), but you must still have a fair amount of patience to compile with LTO support.

    • GCC 4.9 Compiler Optimization Benchmarks For Faster Binaries

      For those curious about the impact of modern compiler tuning CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS when using the GCC 4.9 compiler with an Intel Core i7 “Haswell” processor, here are many benchmarks of many C/C++ code-bases when testing a variety of compiler optimization levels and other flags.

    • Almost there! Campaign ends this Friday, and we’re close!

      Whew! We’re in the midst of the last week of the MediaGoblin campaign! As you may already know, we already beat our first milestone. This means we’ve unlocked the most core and exciting things: federation and 1.0 support.

  • Public Services/Government
  • Licensing
    • Why MediaTek Should Release Their Source Code (Even Though the GPL States They Have To)

      Many of our readers will already know that as Android is built using the Linux Kernel as its foundation, companies that manufacture smartphones, and mobile processors that run Android must provide source code. This is because the Linux Kernel (and many other libraries that Android depends upon) is licensed using the GPL (the GNU General Public License) which, in a nutshell, requires those that use GPL code or software to redistribute their changes and such in the same manner. This sort of practice is what allowed Open Source Software to take off in the first place, and keeps free software getting better and better and of course keeps things free for users like us.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Open Access/Content
      • Win books and participate in Open Library Week
      • Top 5 open source tools libraries need to know about

        There was a time when working in the library I found it very frustrating (as many librarians do) that there were so few options for software that actually did what I needed. In libraries we’re so used to there being this vendor=software model. Where one vendor controls a product and while there might be other similar products, they too are controlled by a vendor.

        This is why libraries need to take a closer look at open source software. By removing the “owner” (aka the vendor) from the equation we get a lot more freedom to make software that does what we want, how we want, when we want. One of the hardest thing to teach libraries who are switching to an open source solution is that the power is now in their hands to direct the software!

  • Programming
  • Standards/Consortia
    • Consortium launches platform to share data from cancer trials

      The Life Sciences Consortium of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer today announced the launch of the Project Data Sphere initiative, a platform designed to facilitate the sharing, integration and analysis of data from phase 3, comparator arm cancer trials.

    • Europe to Have One Charger for All Mobile Phones, Global Standard Next?

      Back in December, last year, we told you that a universal laptop charger standard was in the cards for this year and now we’re hearing reports that the European Union wants to cut down electronic clutter by obliging OEMs to adopt an universal charger for mobile phones and tablets, as well. This way, you won’t have to ditch your previous charger whenever you buy a new one. And, to be frank, not all of us are that conscious and decide to recycle, so it all turns out to be electronic waste which puts in big danger our environment.

    • UK’s IT security agency: Communities are key for standards

      The quality of support from a software community is key to the lifecycle of a technical standard, says Chris Ulliott, Technical Director at the UK’s Technical Authority for information assurance, CESG. “We love open standards, they make life easier.”

Leftovers