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Linux and Surveillance

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Linux

Linux is inevitably getting more political

Jimbo Torvalds

Summary: Linux -- like GNU -- has its liberal licence used as a selling point, especially in this age of "Peak Surveillance"

Mark Hinkle, who used to be a vocal proponent of GNU/Linux several years ago (he had published plenty of articles), spoke at LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe [1], stressing that Linux is not just a piece of software to many of us. It is a game changer, not just to those who use if for technical advantages (e.g. the US Navy [2]) but also to those who rely on it for security and defence from intrusions, which are inherent in software you can neither modify nor review. One of the senior writers over at Linux Journal has an excellent article which points out how it relates to surveillance [3] and another new article [4] explains how code freedom (as in Free software) facilitates an escape from NSA snooping. In years to come we are likely to see privacy arguments increasingly being used to promote GNU/Linux, especially in nations which have many reasons to distrust or even fear the NSA.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Citrix's Mark Hinkle: Linux Can Change the World Beyond Technology

    Collaboration can change the world and Linux and open source developers must use what they’ve learned to lead the way. This was the message delivered by Mark Hinkle, director of open source solutions at Citrix, in his inspirational keynote at LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe in Edinburgh this morning.

  2. US Navy’s most advanced warship is powered by Linux and Intel

    The US Navy has a reputation for being much like its main form of transportation — a big ship that’s slow to change course. After decades of relying on large-scale warships like the aircraft carrier, the Navy has been working toward a smaller, more flexible fighting force. With the impending launch of the USS Zumwalt, the Navy will be moving well into a high-tech, Linux-powered future.

  3. Life on the Forked Road

    Linus was asked if the US government ever wanted a backdoor added to Linux. He nodded "yes" while saying "no".

  4. Freedom With Open Source: How Nations Can Escape Their Dependence On US-Made Tech

    Foreign nations have been left reeling by news that the NSA has been happily monitoring the private communications of at least 35 world leaders, on top of its all-encompassing PRISM program that was leaked earlier this year. Ed Snowden’s leaks paint a miserable picture of the dystopian position we’re in now, with the US government doing whatever it takes to dismantle our freedom and privacy online.

More in Tux Machines

New GNU/Linux Releases: TheSSS, Arkas OS, Black Lab, and Parrot

  • The Smallest Server Suite Gets Special Edition with PHP 7.0.15, Apache 2.4.25
    4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia about the availability of a special edition of the TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) Live Linux operating system. Carrying the same version number as the original TheSSS release, namely 21.0, and dubbed TheSSS7, the new flavor ships with more recent PHP packages from the 7.0.x series. Specifically, TheSSS7 includes PHP 7.0.15, while TheSSS comes with PHP 5.6.30.
  • Descent OS Is Dead, Arkas OS Takes Its Place and It's Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
    Some of you out there might remember the Descent OS distro created by Brian Manderville and based on the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, and today we have some bad news for them as the development is now officially closed. Descent OS first appeared in February 2012 as a lightweight Ubuntu derivative built around the GNOME 2 desktop environment. Back then, it was known as Descent|OS, and was quite actively developed with new features and components borrowed from the latest Ubuntu releases.
  • Black Lab Linux 8.1 Out Now with LibreOffice 5.3, It's Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
    Softpedia was informed today by the Black Lab Software project about the general availability of the first point release to the Black Lab Linux 8.0 operating system series. Serving as a base release to the company's enterprise offerings and equipped with all the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Black Lab Linux 8.1 comes with up-to-date components and the latest security patches ported from Ubuntu's repositories as of February 15, 2017. "Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 8.1. Our first incremental release to the 8.0 series. In this release we have brought all security updates up to Feb 15, 2017, as well as application updates," said Roberto J. Dohnert, CEO of Black Lab Software.
  • Parrot 3.5 – Call For Betatesters
    We did our best to prepare these preview images including all the updates and the new features introduced since the last release, but now we need your help to understand how to make it even better, and of course we need your help to understand if there is something that doesn’t work as expected or something that absolutely needs to be included in the final release.

Linux and Graphics

  • Linux Kernel 4.10 Now Available for Linux Lite Users, Here's How to Install It
    Minutes after the release of Linux kernel 4.10 last evening, Jerry Bezencon from the Linux Lite project announced that users of the Ubuntu-based distribution can now install it on their machines. Linux 4.10 is now the most advanced kernel branch for all Linux-based operating systems, and brings many exciting new features like virtual GPU support, better writeback management, eBPF hooks for cgroups, as well as Intel Cache Allocation Technology support for the L2/L3 caches of Intel processors.
  • Wacom's Intuos Pro To Be Supported By The Linux 4.11 Kernel
    Jiri Kosina submitted the HID updates today for the Linux 4.11 kernel cycle.
  • Mesa 13.0.5 Released for Linux Gamers with over 70 Improvements, Bug Fixes
    We reported the other day that Mesa 13.0.5 3D Graphics Library will be released this week, and it looks like Collabora's Emil Velikov announced it earlier this morning for all Linux gamers. Mesa 13.0.5 is a maintenance update to the Mesa 13.0 stable series of the open source graphics stack used by default in numerous, if not all GNU/Linux distributions, providing gamers with powerful drivers for their AMD Radeon, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs. It comes approximately three weeks after the Mesa 13.0.4 update.
  • mesa 13.0.5

Interview: Thomas Weissel Installing Plasma in Austrian Schools

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

today's leftovers

  • Top Lightweight Linux Distributions To Try In 2017
    Today I am going to discuss the top lightweight Linux distros you can try this year on your computer. Although you got yourself a prettyLinuxle linux already but there is always something new to try in Linux. Remember I recommend to try this distros in virtualbox firstly or with the live boot before messing with your system. All distro that I will mention here will be new and somewhat differ from regular distros.
  • [ANNOUNCE] linux-4.10-ck1 / MuQSS CPU scheduler 0.152
  • MSAA Compression Support For Intel's ANV Vulkan Driver
    Intel developer Jason Ekstrand posted a patch over the weekend for enabling MSAA compression support within the ANV Vulkan driver.
  • Highlights of YaST development sprint 31
    As we announced in the previous report, our 31th Scrum sprint was slightly shorter than the usual ones. But you would never say so looking to this blog post. We have a lot of things to talk you about!
  • Comparing Mobile Subscriber Data Across Different Sources - How accurate is the TomiAhonen Almanac every year?
    You’ll see that last spring I felt the world had 7.6 Billion total mobile subscriptions when machine-to-machine (M2M) connections are included. I felt the world had 7.2 Billion total subscriptions when excluding M2M and just counting those in use by humans. And the most relevant number (bottom line) is the ‘unique’ mobile users, which I felt was an even 5.0 Billion humans in 2015. The chart also has the total handsets-in-use statistic which I felt was 5.6 Billion at the end of 2015. Note that I was literally the first person to report on the distinction of the unique user count vs total subscriptions and I have been urging, nearly begging for the big industry giants to also measure that number. They are slowly joining in that count. Similarly to M2M, we also are now starting to see others report M2M counts. I have yet to see a major mobile statistical provider give a global count of devices in use. That will hopefully come also, soon. But lets examine these three numbers that we now do have other sources, a year later, to see did I know what I was doing.