Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Just talk

With the latest Kubuntu 15.10 (Wily)

Filed under
Just talk

I love the KDE desktop—I really do. However… here are some grumbles.

Happy Easter and Remarkable Spring

Filed under
Just talk

Happy Easter

Happy New Year From Roy and Rianne

Filed under
Just talk

Xmas tree

2014 was a great year for Tux Machines. The site moved to a new server with much higher capacity and better caching, Rianne and I moved to a better house, and we finally set up a tree the way we wanted to. Financial contributions from readers were enough to subsidise a laptop for Rianne and she now happily submits a lot of links from there.

In 2015 we expect to improve both volume and quality of links. We are going to think of ways to improve the Web site and we openly welcome suggestions from readers. The goal is to make the site more informative more efficiently. We wish to help readers steer away from cruft and gossip and instead identify news of importance, without repetition unless new information and details arise.

Vacation Photos

Filed under
Just talk

Tux and Rianne

Last week we did not post as much news as usual because we went to the south of England with Roy's sister. We did take some photos.

Fireworks! And Tux Machines Works.

Filed under
Just talk

November effigies

Fireworks continue to appear all over the place, even a day after Guy Fawkes Night. Yesterday the city was full of smoke (as though it is under heavy fog all around), but that is just an annually-recurring tradition. It's very bad for the environment, but hey, lots of people enjoy it.

Over 400 Guy Fawkes tried to destroy the House of Lords, just as some gang or a person has been trying now for nearly two months to keep Tux Machines offline. Thankfully, however, the attacks are not succeeding anymore because we have refined our defenses and the offending zombie PCs are being banned left and right (all day long). Surely the plot has been foiled. All we need now is effigies.

Tux Claus

Filed under
Just talk

Tux Claus

Summer is finally over, but summertime or the climate hasn't officially changed yet. I wonder if I can still do something out of the ordinary, but the weather is disrupting my planned activities outside. Sometimes there is sunlight, but the next minute the dark clouds covers the beautiful sky and it makes the day dull and cold.

Two days ago my husband and I went to stroll inside the mall and ended up buying some personal stuff in a store. While I was in a queue to pay my husband was in a hurry to add this tiny bit of stuff which I didn't recognise at first. I thought of ignoring and not buying that tiny little thing. Then my husband said "look what I found" and then I asked what is it -- it's tux! Tux Claus. Soon I saw a tiny penguin dressed in Santa clothes; the design was simple ,but it was artistically made. I know it is still early, but we're both excited to add Tux under our Christmas tree and be merry.

Life Goes On

Filed under
Just talk

Manchester

TUX MACHINES HAS BEEN under attack for nearly two weeks now. We need not really comment on our technical means of defence and how we mostly overcome these attacks (we are not giving too many clues to the attackers, who are mostly deflected with blacklists and redirects for the time being), but for the most part the Web site continues to run and to serve visitors. That's what is important. We work hard to keep posting the latest news and not let distraction, aggravation or sabotage get in the way. It is hard to imagine who would want to attack a site like this. This site is not even political or controversial.

In more general news, Manchester has had a nice and warm September. It continues into October (so far). Today we started seeing some hybrid (partly electric) double-decker buses and today we also found out that the health club we always go to has been voted best in the north west and third-best in the UK for the second year in a row. We still post some news whilst out of the house (if a wireless connection becomes available) and this morning the weather was so fine that we managed to play some badminton outdoors.

Life goes on and no level of attacks on the site is going to stop it. There are many ways to combat DDOS attacks, so they are merely a nuisance. The attackers should know that they are only wasting their time; there are much better things to do in life. Those commandeering Microsoft Windows botnets would be better off targeting the KKK or something, not a GNU and Linux news site.

Logo Concepts

Filed under
Just talk

More below...

Secret Back Doors in Android

Filed under
Just talk

I am everything but a Google basher and I spent a lot of my life descending deep into research of Google foes, Google smear campaigns, lawsuits by proxy, and antitrust actions by proxy. I also advocate Android, but in recent years I have been increasingly concerned about the direction it is taking. I wish to share my latest concern. It relates to what the media characterises as "anti-theft" but is actually a facility to kill phones in a protest or convert them into hostile listening devices. Technology impacts human rights and those who control technology can be tempted to control humans.

Google habitually updates my tablet. It is a Nexus 7 tablet which Google invites itself to update remotely (shame on me for not installing Replicant, but this device does not support it yet). It is not a 3G tablet and it does not have two operation systems (unlike mobile phones) or even a carrier tracking its location all the time. It's a purely Android device with no network tying. It is network-agnostic. I only bought it because in order to replace my PDA (for over a decade) I wanted a device that is not a tracking device. Phones were out of the question.

Networks don't track the tablet. Google, however, is always out there, fully able to identify the connected user (latched onto a Gmail address because of Play), modifying the software without even the user's consent (the user is sometimes prompted to boot, without being able to opt out of the core update itself).

The update in itself is not a problem. What's problematic is its effect.

Following the latest Google update (which I was given no option to reject) I noticed that Google had added a remote kill switch as an opition. It was enabed by default. "Allow remote lock and erase" is what Google calls it and it is essentially working like a back door. Google and its partners in government are gaining a lot of power not over a smartphone but over a tablet.

The significance of this is that not only phones should be assumed to be remotely accessible for modification, including for example additional back doors. What's more, some devices that were sold without this functionality silently have it added. According to the corporate press, the FBI remotely turns Android devices into listening devices and it is getting simpler to see how.

NSA and PRISM destroy our computing. We definitely need to demand Free software, but we should go further by asking for audits, rejecting user-hostile 'features' like DRM, 'secure' boot, and kill switches. I gradually lose any remaining trust that I had in Google and even Free software such as Android.

Manchester and Computing

Filed under
Just talk

Manchester's role in the history of computing is not widely recognised. I spent several years working in Manchester Computing and I studied where the first programmable computer was built (by Kilburn, whom the building was later named after). One of my colleagues at Manchester Computing (MCC) was the person who was first to build and distribute a GNU/Linux distribution (combining both GNU and Linux) and yesterday I met and spoke to one of the earlier PC distributors from across the road (supplier for Manchester Computing). Right here at the centre of Manchester a lot of the early milestones of computing took place (Turing also), but Manchester became better known for the splitting of atoms, the football teams, famous bands like Oasis, and the industrial revolution. A few days ago Rianne and I visited the local museum which demonstrates the industrial revolution (photo above from this album); what we really need here, however, are more museums documenting Manchester's role in modern computing. This city deserves more credit.

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat and Fedora

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Learn from the Experts at The Linux Foundation’s Europe Events
    The Linux Foundation has released session details for three major conferences coming up this fall: MesosCon Europe, Embedded Linux Conference / OpenIoT Summit Europe, and LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe. MesosCon Europe, which will take place August 31-September 1 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is an annual conference organized by the Apache Mesos community, bringing together users and developers for two days of sessions about Mesos and related technologies. This year, the MesosCon program will include workshops to get started with Mesos, keynote speakers from industry leaders, and sessions led by adopters and contributors.
  • The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
    Firebird distills its identity into the phrase "True universal open-source database" and boasts not only of being "free like free beer" but also, fittingly, of being "free like a bird". The latter permits anyone to build a custom version of the Firebird, as long as the modifications are made available for others to use and build upon.
  • Report: Austria can benefit from Big Data solutions
    Big Data solutions can contribute significantly to Austrian public administrations, a working group concludes in a report published in June. Benefits include improved quality of life, finding optimal business locations, and offering better guidance to citizens. The report by the Big Data working group aims to help public administration when considering Big Data solutions, providing legal, economic and technical context.
  • Report: over half of Spain’s regions now use SaaS
    In 2014, 59% of Spain’s regional governments used Software as a Service, according to the 2015 eGovernment report published on 30 June by PAe, Spain’s eGovernment portal. Next most-used cloud computing service is Infrastructure as a Service (40%), and third is Platform as a Service (20%). The usage of cloud computing is just one of the attributes of and indicators for eGovernment services that are aggregated in the report. The document shows the use of document management systems and support of electronic signatures. The text looks at interoperability, open data portals and eParticipation, lists region’s maturity levels of eGovernment services, from the availability to download forms online to the fully electronic management of applications.
  • Software Freedom in Kosovo, Waiting for Xfce Mint & More…
    It’s not FOSS, but I reckon the biggest story in tech this week, ignoring claims of Russia hacking for Trump, is the sale of Yahoo to Verizon for $4.8 billion. Considering that traffic watcher Alexa says the site is the fifth most visited address on the web, that seems like something of a bargain to me. Add to that Yahoo’s prime Silicon Valley real estate and the price seems to be in the “it fell of the truck” category. The sale puts Verizon in control of both America Online and Yahoo, so I suspect we’ll be seeing Verizon trying to compete with Google and Bing for a share of the search advertising market. [...] We’ve also heard from Software Freedom Kosova, which tells us it’s issued this year’s call for speakers, which will be open through September 15. This will be the seventh year for the Kosovo event, which aims to “promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge” — all laudable goals in my estimation. Potential speakers should know “the topic must be related to free software and hardware, open knowledge and culture.” Mike DuPont, the SFK member who made us aware of the event, told FOSS Force, “There might be travel expenses for qualified speakers.” The event will take place October 21-23.
  • Cloud, open source and DevOps: Technology at the GLA
    David Munn, head of IT at the Greater London Authority, explains what technology his organisation has adopted in order to help individuals keep innovating
  • Our attitude towards wealth played a crucial role in Brexit. We need a rethink
    Money was a key factor in the outcome of the EU referendum. We will now have to learn to collaborate and to share [...] Does money matter? Does wealth make us rich any more? These might seem like odd questions for a physicist to try to answer, but Britain’s referendum decision is a reminder that everything is connected and that if we wish to understand the fundamental nature of the universe, we’d be very foolish to ignore the role that wealth does and doesn’t play in our society.
  • France’s Insee and Drees publish microsimulation model to increase transparency
    Insee (Institut national de la statistique), the French public agency for statistics, and Drees (Direction des études du Ministère des Affaires sociales et de la santé), which is in charge of surveys at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, has published the source code of the microsimulation algorithmic model called Ines.
  • Plant Sciences pushing open-source berry model
    Several of those opportunities appear to lie in the development of so-called ‘open market’ breeding. Historically, Plant Sciences’ berry varieties have made it into the commercial arena under limited licensing arrangements, with individuals or groups of grower-shippers paying a premium to use them. While Nelson is eager to point out that this model continues to perform well, his company have decided to structure its business in Europe in such a way that it offers varieties to the “largest audience possible” at the most competitive price. “Given the price pressures that producers, marketers and retailers are under, we sense that such an approach is needed to remain most viable going forward and bring new varieties forward to the broadest market,” he explained.
  • Drug discovery test leads to malaria drug prospects at UW
  • Worldwide Open-Source Project Discovers Promising Disease-Fighting Compounds
  • Open-source drug discovery a success
  • The Global Open Data Index to be updated
    Open Knowledge International, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes openness and transparency, has decided to update the survey for its Global Open Data Index. This index measures Open Data publication in 122 countries.
  • This Startup Created the Ultimate Open-Source Prototyping Product
    The world has become a technologically focused place. Unless you’ve set up shop in a cabin in the woods, your life is likely filled with gadgets, wearables, devices, and doodads that control everything from your TV to your laptop. And with all this technology, it’s no wonder tech jobs have become so prevalent in the market. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to learn skills and prototyping projects that will impress even the most critical interviewer. And one startup has built the perfect product to do just that. Created by a group of students from the India Institute of Technology, evive is an open-source prototyping module that can make creating projects easier than ever. It has a power module, plug and play hardware interface, user interface, data acquisition module, shield stack space and more. It’s even IoT ready so it can connect to more devices than you can count. Plus, it works across multiple platforms like LabVIEW, MATLAB, Scratch, Eclipse, ROS, Python, Arduino IDE and many more.
  • Friday's security updates
  • Pwnie Express Open Sources Tools to Lock Down IoT/Android Security
    Pwnie Express isn't a name that everyone is familiar with, but in the security arena the company has a good reputation for its wired and wireless threat detection technologies. Now, the Boston-based firm has announced plans to open source key tools that it has used to secure the Internet of Things (IoT) and Android software. Blue Hydra is a Bluetooth utility that can detect Bluetooth devices, and also work as a sniffer to query devices it detects for threats. Meanwhile, the Android Open Pwn Project (AOPP), is an Android ROM built for security testers. It's based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and community-developed ROMS -- one of which is CyanogenMod. It lets developers on the Android front sniff out threats on mobile platforms.

Openwashing

Sailfish OS 2.0.2

  • Sailfish OS 2.0.2 In Early Access With Variety Of Improvements
    Jolla announced today that their Sailfish OS 2.0.2 "Aurajoki" mobile operating system release is available as early access. Sailfish OS 2.0.2 makes it easier to take screenshots via the volume buttons, a variety of new keyboard layouts, a new layout on the media app, a new Sailfish OS logo, simplified backups, browser improvements, support for flash when recording videos, the cloud services now supports the VK service, dual SIM support on capable devices, Dropbox and OneDrive integration in the photo gallery, and a wide variety of other fixes and improvements.
  • [Early Access] Sailfish OS 2.0.2 Aurajoki
    This update contains of many bug fixes and new added features such as taking screenshot by holding down volume buttons for 0.5 seconds, added keyboard layouts for Indian languages Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Tamil and Bengali, new layout on Media app’s front page, new Sailfish OS logo and many more.