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GNU/FSF: LibrePlanet, Respects Your Freedom (RYF) and GNU Binutils

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  • LibrePlanet returns in 2020 to Free the Future! March 14-15, Boston area

    LibrePlanet provides an opportunity for community activists, domain experts, and people seeking solutions for themselves to come together in order to discuss current issues in technology and ethics.

    "LibrePlanet attendees and speakers will be discussing the hot button issues we've all been reading about every day, and their connection to the free software movement. How do you fight Facebook? How do we make software-driven cars safe? How do we stop algorithms from making terrible, unreviewable decisions? How do we enjoy the convenience of mobile phones and digital home assistants without being constantly under surveillance? What is the future of digital currency? Can we have an Internet that facilitates respectful dialogue?" said FSF's executive director, John Sullivan.

    The free software community has continuously demanded that users and developers be permitted to understand, study, and alter the software they use, offering hope and solutions for a free technological future. LibrePlanet speakers will display their unique combination of digital knowledge and educational skills in the two day conference, as well as give more insights into their ethical dedication to envision a future rich with free "as in freedom" software and without network services that mistreat their users. The FSF's LibrePlanet 2020 edition is therefore aptly named "Free the Future."

  • New RYF Web site: It's now easier to support companies selling devices that Respect Your Freedom

    The Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification program helps to connect users with retailers who respect their rights. Retailers in the program sell devices that come with freedom inside, and promise to always ensure that their users are not directed to proprietary software at any point in the sale or ownership of the device. When we launched the program in 2010, we had no idea how quickly the program would grow.

    In 2012, when we announced the first certification, we hosted information about the program and retailers as a simple page on the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Web site. With only one retailer selling one device, this was certainly satisfactory. As the program grew, we added each new device chronologically to that page, highlighting the newest certifications. We are now in a place where eight different retailers have gained nearly fifty certifications, including the recently announced Talos II and Talos II Lite mainboards from Raptor Computing Systems, LLC. With so many devices available, across so many different device categories, it was getting more difficult for users to find what they were looking for in just a plain chronological list.

  • Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite Mainboard now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

    Thursday, November 7th, 2019 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the Talos II and Talos II Lite mainboards from Raptor Computing Systems, LLC. The RYF certification mark means that these products meet the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy.

    While these are the first devices from Raptor Computing Systems to receive RYF certification, the FSF has supported their work since 2015, starting with the original Talos crowdfunding effort. Raptor Computing Systems has worked very hard to protect the rights of users.

    "From our very first products through our latest offerings, we have always placed a strong emphasis on returning control of computing to the owner of computing devices -- not retaining it for the vendor or the vendor's partners. We hope that with the addition of our modern, powerful, owner-controlled systems to the RYF family, we will help spur on industry adoption of a similar stance from the many silicon vendors required to support modern computing," said Timothy Pearson, Chief Technology Officer, Raptor Computing Systems, LLC.

  • GNU Binutils Adds Bits For AMD Zen 2's RDPRU + MCOMMIT Instructions

    GNU Binutils with its "Gas" assembler has now added the rest of the instructions supported by the AMD Zen 2 microarchitecture that previously were unsupported by this piece of the GNU toolchain.

    RDPRU and MCOMMIT are the two instructions for Zen 2 added to Binutils by SUSE's Jan Beulich. RDPRU has been covered multiple times on Phoronix and is for reading a processor register typically limited to privilege level zero. This allows for registers like MPERF/APERF to be easily read at user-level.

Phoronix also

  • Free Software Foundation Certifies Talos II With Respecting Your Freedom

    The Free Software Foundation's "Respect Your Freedom" program has tended to mostly endorse products like old motherboards re-flashed with Coreboot/Libreboot along with dated networking products and obscure products like USB microphones and USB to parallel printer port cables. But today comes the Free Software Foundation's most prominent RYF endorsement.

Late coverage by LWN of RYF site

  • FSF: New Respects Your Freedom website

    The Free Software Foundation's Respects Your Freedom program provides a certification for hardware that supports your freedom. A new website listing certified products has been launched. "In 2012, when we announced the first certification, we hosted information about the program and retailers as a simple page on the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Web site.

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today's leftovers

Audiocasts/Shows: Missing OBS Features On Arch Linux, Going Linux, and GNU World Order

Proprietary Software and Security Issues

  • SolarWinds [Attack] Reached 27 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Justice Says

    The attack compromised Microsoft 365 accounts of at least 80% of the department’s employees working in offices located in the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York. Also affected to a lesser degree were employees in U.S. Attorneys’ offices in 14 other states, including California, Florida, Maryland, Texas and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

  • Safari isn't protecting the web, it's killing it

    There's been a lot of discussion recently about how "Safari is the new IE" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

    I don't want to rehash the basics of that, but I have seen some interesting rebuttals, most commonly: Safari is actually protecting the web, by resisting adding unnecessary and experimental features that create security/privacy/bloat problems.

    That is worth further discussion, because it's widespread, and wrong.

    More specifically, Safari's approach isn't protecting the web from bloat & evil Google influence, because: [...]

  • Hasta la Vista Gmail

    I’ve been a Gmail user pretty much since day 1, when it was still an invite-only service in 2004.1 Not anymore. Over the past month I’ve migrated most of my email to Fastmail and I’m extremely happy with the result.

    Why bother? Well, I guess it won’t come to you as a shock that I’ve felt progressively more uncomfortable with how Google (and the like) are handling my personal data. I’ve also been getting quite frustrated with attempts to make email/my inbox “smarter”. I never needed a “priority inbox”, auto-categorization of email, etc. Simple is good. Just put the newest emails on the top and I’ll sort it out from there.

  • Google dodges regulation, hits advertisers with “regulatory” charges: What’s the Scam?

    We are not familiar with what draconian regulatory schemes exist for Google in Austria and Turkey, but here in Australia we know what it is – which is not much at all. And they paid no tax on their 2020 revenue of $5.2 billion.

  • Storing Encrypted Photos in Google’s Cloud

    Cloud photo services are widely used for persistent, convenient, and often free photo storage, which is especially useful for mobile devices. As users store more and more photos in the cloud, significant privacy concerns arise because even a single compromise of a user’s credentials give attackers unfettered access to all of the user’s photos. We have created Easy Secure Photos (ESP) to enable users to protect their photos on cloud photo services such as Google Photos. [...]

  • Spyware revelations are a crucial moment for Indian democracy
  • Joint Open Letter: States Must Implement Moratorium on Surveillance Technology - PEN America

    We the undersigned civil society organizations and independent experts are alarmed at the media revelations that NSO Group’s spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale. These revelations are a result of the Pegasus Project and are based on the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets. The project is a collaboration of more than 80 journalists from 16 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with the technical support of Amnesty International, who conducted forensic tests on mobile phones to identify traces of the Pegasus spyware.

  • Canonicalization Attacks Against MACs and Signatures

    Canonicalization Attacks occur when a protocol that feeds data into a hash function used in a Message Authentication Code (MAC) or Digital Signature calculation fails to ensure some property that’s expected of the overall protocol.

    The textbook example of a canonicalization attack is the length-extension attack against hash functions such as MD5–which famously broke the security of Flickr’s API signatures.

    But there’s a more interesting attack to think about, which affects the design of security token/envelope formats (PASETO, DSSE, etc.) and comes up often when folks try to extend basic notions of authenticated encryption (AE) to include additional authenticated (but unencrypted) data (thus yielding an AEAD mode).