Security and privacy seemed to be my theme this week and tonight's news brings more. Richard Stallman, "software freedom fighter," told Swapnil Bhartiya, "A program must not restrict what jobs its users do with it." In related news, the same RMS was included in the Business Insider "12 most influential programmers working today" list. Back to the NSA, Michael Larabel said you should be wearing tin foil hats if you're worried about them working on KDBUS. The NSA also uploaded code to Github for sysadmins to "lock down" their Linux machines.
When the National Security Agency (NSA) in the U.S. released the Accumulo project into open source territory in 2008, there were not a lot of details about the size and capability of the hardware it was running, although it is safe to say that the NSA found ways to make it scale across some of their larger machines. However, as one might imagine, scale alone did not define a successful NSA database system—the security also had to be robust and guaranteed.
The NSA has released a network security tool that it claims is designed to help organizations "fortify their networks against cyber attacks". But, after being revealed to be spying on just about anyone it wants to, from US citizens to leaders of allied governments, while undermining major tech firms in the process, IT administrators will likely be very skeptical of adopting it.
The NSA today revealed it has uploaded source code to GitHub to help IT admins lock down their networks of Linux machines.
The open-source software is called the System Integrity Management Platform (SIMP). It is designed to make sure networks comply with US Department of Defense security standards, but the spy agency says it can be adapted by admins to meet individual security needs as well.
Linus Torvalds was interviewed by Slashdot last week and his comments on artificial intelligence has been making the rounds since. He basically said AI would not lead to human-like robots because the neural network would remain limited. Despite that, Google has "applied for at least six patents on fundamental neural network and AI." In other news, Kali Linux 2.0 is expected at DEFCON 23 and the Free Software Foundation has approved another Linux OS for its "fully free" list. Docker 'Tinkerer Extraordinaire' said Open Source is hostile to women and Megatotoro posted Pisi Linux is still alive and kicking.
SELinux is a product of the NSA and some worried when it was added to Red Hat, Fedora, and later many other distributions. Even before Snowden revealed the massive government spying, having the NSA anywhere near Linux activated certain Spidey-senses. Now we learn that SELinux may have had an exploit for bypassing the security enforcements. Italian software company Hacking Team, who admits to providing "technology to the worldwide law enforcement and intelligence communities," has been selling technology to governments (most with bad human rights records) to assist in gathering surveillance data on citizens, groups, journalists, and other governments. Recently Hacking Team was hacked and their information has been leaked onto the Internet. Besides the SELinux exploit, it's been reported that the FBI, U.S. Army, and the Drug Enforcement Agency are or were customers of Hacking Team's services.
There were quite a few interesting headlines in the reader tonight. First up, Linux Mint 17.2 was released and openSUSE Tumbleweed is back on a roll. Christian Schaller recently said that Fedora is planning to do for video what PulseAudio did for audio. Several reviews warrant a mention and RedMonk published their bi-annual programming language rankings report. Sourceforge is forming a community panel and Linus Torvalds was interviewed over at Slashdot.
Today in Linux news Kate Lebedeff announced the release of OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2, a major update to 2014.1 released September 2014 and the first to support UEFI. In other news, Douglas DeMaio announced openSUSE 42, the next release of the gecko emblazoned Linux due in November. Elsewhere, Jack Germain reviewed Makulu 9 Aero and Alap Naik Desai reported Friday Microsoft hinted at a Linux OS at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago last month.
Attendees were treated to a peak into upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 with Denise Dumas today during Red Hat Summit 2015. Elsewhere, Jonathan Riddell resigns his post at Kubuntu and Bodhi Linux founder Jeff Hoogland describes the four basic types of Open Source users. Lastly, Linux Voice wants to know which company does the most for Linux.
Red Hat is dominating the headlines today with their announcements and related from the Red Hat Summit 2015, but several interesting tidbits appeared from other projects as well. Tumbleweed hasn't been updated in quite a while, Neil Rickert knows why. Christine Hall reviewed Mageia 5 Monday and Dark Duck posted more screenshots today. Fedora and Korora 20s have reached their end of life and a new Ubuntu phone hits e-shelves.
More Ubuntu Phone:
Another Ubuntu phone, the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition, has been made available in Europe - but you'll have to jump through a few hoops to secure one.
Canonical finally delivered the first smartphone powered by the Linux-based Ubuntu OS earlier this year. It swiftly followed up on the launch of the BQ Aquarius E4.5 with news of a follow-up, the Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition, which will also be made by Spain's BQ.
It’s only been a few weeks since Canonical unveiled a new Ubuntu phone, but the company is already back with another handset for the European market. This time the hardware comes from Chinese firm Meizu, packing a slick design and some pretty nice specs.
Red Hat Inc. today released their quarterly earnings report saying revenue increased 14% and profits rose 28%. All Things Linux has an article out highlighting some distributions without systemd and Jack Germain reviews Arch-based Antergos Linux. Phoronix reported today on the disappearing Assembly code in Linux and Mark Gibbs looked at some commandline monitoring tools.
The Clement Lefebvre today announced the release of Linux Mint 17.2 RC in Cinnamon and MATE varieties. Newly released MATE 1.10 and Cinnamon 2.6 are among the features. Elsewhere, Debian may have let Google put spyware on users' machines and Gearhead Mark Gibbs suggests using Linux AIOs for full enjoyment. Ashlee Vance scored an afternoon drive with (and several quotes from) Linus Torvalds and Christine Hall asks if the end of Open Source is nigh.
The Fedora Wiki got a new entry last month that makes one wonder if Fedora really wants users at all. If folks complain it's because they didn't read the information provided or don't understand what they're reading. Users are too dumb or lazy to file bugs reports and would rather complain than test "every possible feature and/or configuration switch." Hardly anyone bothers to read the source code or its license and, if they do, they'd rather complain than write the code to fix whatever their complaint is themselves. If they do write the fix and it's not committed, then they'll complain rather than learn from it. Folks are going to complain, so just ignore it.