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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

9 hours 36 min ago

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’

9 hours 52 min ago

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

10 hours 30 min ago

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

TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 9:51am



Direct download as Ogg (1:38:36, 54.2 MB) | High-quality MP3 (52.1 MB) | Low-quality MP3 (27.9 MB)

Summary: The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows.

As embedded (HTML5):


Your browser does not support the audio element.

Keywords: gchq, nsa, surveillance, uk, dropbox, google, privacy, wonga, twitter, facebook

Download:


(There is also an MP3 version)

Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 8:51am

KVM

  • Budge up VMware, array upstart Tintri’s ramming in Red Hat Linux KVM
  • The KVM Groundswell Continues

    KVM (Kernel based Virtual Machine) is a leading open source virtualization technology and an important tool in any Linux administrator’s handbook, especially with the increased adoption of cloud technologies such as OpenStack and the need for hypervisors to better manage compute, network and storage resources. The “potential” of KVM for enterprises is incredibly valuable far beyond its origins – just like Linux. After a year of contributing patches to the KVM community, IBM is announcing today that a Power Systems version of KVM, PowerKVM, will be available on IBM’s next generation Power Systems servers tuned for Linux before the end of the quarter.

  • Linux KVM Virtualization comes to IBM Power servers soon

ElasticHosts

Misc.

  • Full-stack developers

    Since Facebook’s Carlos Bueno wrote the canonical article about the full stack, there has been no shortage of posts trying to define it. For a time, Facebook allegedly only hired “full-stack developers.” That probably wasn’t quite true, even if they thought it was. And some posts really push “full-stack” developer into Unicorn territory: Laurence Gellert writes that it “goes beyond being a senior engineer,” and details everything he thinks a full-stack developer should be familiar with, most of which doesn’t involve coding.

    [...]

    LAMP dates back to the days when HTML was trivial, and all computation was done on the server. JavaScript was a toy language that helped to glue things together in the browser, but that was all. JavaScript has evolved into a serious, fully capable programming language in its own right, and CSS is almost there. If you are going to be a full-stack programmer, you certainly need to understand the platform on which the real front end of your application is running. The MEAN stack, Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node, a more up-to-date take on LAMP, shows how JavaScript has evolved into a platform of its own.

  • “Open Network Linux” could boost viability of vendor-neutral switches

    Intel, Broadcom, Mellanox, and Cumulus Networks jumped on board last November, contributing specifications and software that will bring the project closer to a finished design. They weren’t alone, though: Software-defined networking vendor Big Switch Networks in January donated what it calls Open Network Linux (ONL) to the project.

Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 8:44am

ARM

Raspberry Pi

Qualcomm

  • 64-bit Snapdragon 810 sets high bar for mobile SoCs

    Qualcomm revealed 20nm, 64-bit Snapdragon SoCs featuring Cortex-A57 and –A53 CPU cores, 4K video encoding, LTE Advanced, DDR4 RAM, and more.

  • Qualcomm Announces 64-bit Snapdragon Processors

    Qualcomm announced this morning their next-generation 64-bit processors for what they hope yields “the ultimate connected mobile computing experiences” with a ton of new features and capabilities.

  • Qualcomm: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

    This is all done at 20nm compared to Beast’s 45nm and about 100 watts less power waste. I probably wouldn’t even have a fan to annoy me, not on the PSU, and not on the CPU. Beast’s replacement will likely be just big enough to hold a few hard drives or SSDs. Qualcomm will ship in 2014, probably just in time for Christmas.

Development

Open Hardware

  • Create your Robots with TinkerBots

    For more advanced robots, there will be other available parts such as an infrared distance sensor. TinkerBots’ use of the Arduino-compatible micro-controller platform enables older enthusiasts to dabble in programming (C) for their TinkerBots creations.

  • Open source touch screens to the rescue

    I bought an Arduino Mega and started putting together the custom electronics in the form of a daughter board (Arduino calls them “shields”). However, it needed to be a standalone unit, so what could I do for user interfacing to the Mega that was flexible? Touch screens.

Novena

Mods

Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 8:34am

High End

Old Computers

Single-purpose

  • GParted Live 0.18.0-2 Arrives with a New Linux Kernel, 3.13.7

    GParted Live, a small bootable GNU/Linux distribution for x86-based computers that can be used for creating, reorganizing, and deleting disk partitions with the help of tools that allow managing filesystems, is now at version 0.18.0-2.

  • Clonezilla Live 2.2.2-35 Distro for Backup Is Ready for Testing

    “The underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded. This release is based on the Debian Sid repository, as of April 7, 2014,” reads the official changelog.

    The Linux kernel has remained the same, 3.13.6, and this is one of the most recent ones available. It’s very likely that the next development version will feature Linux kernel 3.14.

Distrohopping

  • Opinion: Desktop spin laws that need to go away

    Various distro spin makers have made two unwritten laws that I very much disagree with:

    A) A distro spin of desktop blah should have only programs built with the same widget library that desktop blah uses

    B) A distro spin should only ship / pre-install one program for each application category

    I mention this because I’m a big KDE fan but KDE-only distro spins do not include my preferred browser (Firefox) nor my preferred office suite (LibreOffice, not that I use an office suite much) because they aren’t QT-native applications. While LibreOffice does a better job of integrating with KDE than Firefox does, both drag with them quite a bit of GTK baggage… which is considered “bloat” by many spin makers.

  • Do distrohoppers have too many choices?

CAELinux

SparkyLinux

  • Inside SparkyLinux – An interview with Pawel “Pavroo” Pijanowski

    I think it started when I installed the same Linux distribution with the same set of applications, configuration and layout as mine, to my wife’s and then to my colleague’s computers. Then somebody asked me why should I not try to share my point of view with more people.

  • SparkyLinux 3.3.2-test1 Base Edition Is for Command-Line Aficionados

    The SparkyLinux 3.3 “Annagerman” system is built on Debian GNU/Linux “Jessie,” just like the previous versions. The developer usually releases versions with various desktop environments, but this is just the Base, which means that it’s only for command-line fans.

AVLinux

Arch Family

Fedora

Debian Family

Ubuntu and Derivatives

  • Todo Indicator: Ubuntu AppIndicator For todo.txt
  • Pimp Your Ubuntu Desktop and Derivatives with Numix Icon Packs

    Numix Icon Packs is a small project developed by Numix project team focused to create high quality GTK themes and icons for Linux desktop. Their goal is to make a “difference” in theming and to present you a modern and stylish desktop without damaging its usability while at it, and quite frankly, up until now they seem to have done a pretty great job.

  • Tesla Model S owners hack their cars, find Ubuntu

    After wiring into the car’s communications system, forum user “nlc” was able to find a number of ports and tap into the data flowing to the center console and navigation screens. Others soon joined in the fun and amongst the slightly esoteric bits of information the “hackers” eventually discovered was that the sub-system runs on a version of Ubuntu operating system, which is a Linux variant.

  • One Week Until Lubuntu 14.04: Lightweight, LTS, Tidy [Overview with Screenshots]

    With Ubuntu 14.04 closing in to the release date, which is set for April 17th, I took Lubuntu for a spin from the daily live ISO image. Lubuntu is the most lightweight distribution in the Ubuntu family (the other one being Xubuntu which uses Xfce), using LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), as well as a set of applications intended to be low on resources.

  • Thinking of Trying Linux Mint 16 Cinnemon on Old Systems

    Okay, I have two socket 939 machines with XP collecting dust. Nevertheless they are quite stable and more than meets the requirements to run any version of Linux.

    One has four gigs of RAM and the other two and both processors are AMD. I was wondering what you think of Mint and if there is another version of Linux you would recommend for the beginner.

Gentoo Family

PCLinuxOS

  • The HP Pavilion Laptop is Back

    I will have to migrate it to a newer version of PCLOS. But I will do that during Easter. The thing is, I am not sure if I want to do it. The current install of PCLOS has everything I need to work and play (it even runs the game Braid on Desura), so… why fixing it if it is not broken?

Slackware Family

  • VectorLinux 7.1 RC Is a Light Distro Compatible with Slackware 14.1

    “We include Xfce4, the gimp, firefox, cups, exaile, popular multimedia plugins, and many other programs to maximize the desktop experience. Also new is an update to our very own installer, this was written from scratch and is a major improvement from previous installers. This is a RC release so final is soon to follow after initial peer testing,” notes the developer in the official announcement.

  • Salix MATE 14.1 Beta 1 Is Based on MATE 1.8

    Salix MATE 14.1 Beta 1, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Slackware that is simple, fast, easy to use, and based on the MATE desktop environment, is ready for testing and download.

  • Zenwalk 7.4 is ready!

GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 8:19am

Karen Sandler

  • The GNOME Foundation Is Running Short On Money

    The GNOME Foundation has run into cash flow problems and as a result is freezing non-essential expenses. The GNOME Foundation has eliminated their cash reserves leading to this dire situation, but should be recoverable in the months ahead. The GNOME Foundation got into this situation through its Outreach Program for Women (OPW) and managing the program (and funds) for a number of other participating organizations. The GNOME Foundation staff and board fell behind in their processes with being overwhelmed by administering OPW. GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women is explained as “The Outreach Program for Women (OPW) helps women (cis and trans) and genderqueer get involved in free and open source software.” They’ve had around 30 interns for their most recent cycle.

  • Karen Sandler joins Conservancy’s Management Team

    Software Freedom Conservancy has announced that Karen M. Sandler is the Conservancy’s new Executive Director. “Bradley M. Kuhn, outgoing Executive Director, gratefully passes the torch to his long-time colleague Karen Sandler. While Kuhn’s work as Conservancy’s President and on its Board of Directors remain unchanged, Kuhn’s new full-time staff role is titled “Distinguished Technologist”.”

  • Karen Sandler joins Conservancy’s Management Team

    Software Freedom Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity based in New York, announced today the addition of a talented new member of its management team. Karen M. Sandler, formerly Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, begins today as Conservancy’s new Executive Director.

Mutter-Wayland

  • GNOME Aims To Get Mutter-Wayland Running With LLVMpipe

    GNOME’s Mutter-Wayland compositor requires EGL/KMS rendering back-end support and this currently isn’t supported by software-based drivers that aren’t backed by an actual GPU with hardware acceleration. However, developers are working to allow the swrast driver and LLVMpipe to work with this back-end rather than adding any FBdev/Pixman support to Mutter-Wayland. The primary use-case is to get Mutter-Wayland running in virtual machines where there is no accelerated GPU driver with DRM/KMS support (i.e. mainly outside of VMware’s VMWgfx world).

  • Mutter-Wayland Merged Into Mutter

    Wayland branch is now (yesterday) merged into Mutter master and that also brought some small changes to GNOME Shell, i.e, changes in build, changes on checking when Wayland is the compositor.

Software

West Coast Summit

Participation

  • gnome code assistance
  • Enabling Participation

    With 3.12 out the door, it’s time to think about what we want to be doing for 3.14. I have a long list of design projects that I want to work on for the next release, but I also want to spend some time on how the GNOME project is working and how we can improve it.

    One of my reoccurring interests is how we, as a project, can ensure that each module is in a healthy state. We want modules to have active developer teams around them, and we want it to be easy for people to get involved – not just because it is good for our software, but also because openness is an important part of our mission.

    This interest in helping people to contribute isn’t just reserved for new, inexperienced contributors. There are experienced coders out there who are interested in GNOME but haven’t found a way in. Even members of the GNOME project itself don’t always know how to contribute to different apps and modules.

Misc. GStreamer Developments

  • OpenGL support in GStreamer

    Previously there were a few sinks based on OpenGL (osxvideosink for Mac OS X and eglglessink for Android and iOS), but they all only allowed rendering to a window. They did not allow rendering of a video into a custom texture that is then composited inside the application into an OpenGL scene. And then there was gst-plugins-gl, which allowed more flexible handling of OpenGL inside GStreamer pipelines, including uploading and downloading of video frames to the GPU, provided various filters and base classes to easily implement shader-based filters, provided infrastructure for sharing OpenGL contexts between different elements (even if they run in different threads) and also provided a video sink. The latter was now improved a lot, ported to all the new features for hardware integration and finally merged into gst-plugins-bad. Starting with GStreamer 1.4 in a few weeks, OpenGL will be a first-class citizen in GStreamer pipelines.

  • GStreamer 1.4 Will Make OpenGL A First-Class Citizen

    The GStreamer 1.4 release that will happen in a few weeks time is officially making OpenGL a “first class citizen” and can be used by all platforms / operating systems supporting this open-source multimedia framework.

KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 8:14am

Kubuntu

  • Taking Kubuntu 14.04 for a Spin: What’s Up in KDE 4.13?

    Kubuntu versions usually ship with a pretty standard set up of KDE, and Trusty makes no exception. You will find the clean, default and usual KDE interface, but fear not, for it is highly configurable and you can practically make it look and behave in any way you like it. Kubuntu Trusty will ship in four days with one of the latest and bleeding edge versions of KDE, 4.13.0.

  • Install Kubuntu on Windows XP systems

    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.

KDE Applications

  • Interview with Tago Franceschi

    In 2005, a friend told me about Ubuntu, and since then I discover it. I love the open source philosophy, I think it’s a great project and all those who participate are awesome people!

  • KDE software on Mac OS X

    As I probably already mentioned somewhere there is currently quite some energy going into the work of bringing more and better KDE applications to the Mac platform.

  • Recent Dolphin bug fixes
  • [Kate] Coming in 4.13: Improvements in the project plugin

    The project plugin works by automatically reading a simple json file and providing the information found there to various parts and plugins in Kate.

  • Krita: Russian Translations Updated!

    Thanks to Georgiy Syptchenko from Krita Russian Community [0] Krita’s translations into Russian got significantly improved recently!

  • New KMyMoney website

    For a long time now we have had kmymoney.org, and used that in all our documentation. That has made it easy to change now. After migrating all useful content from the Sourceforge site, all we had to was change the IP address in the DNS and, voilá! the new site is online.

Techrights Rising

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 7:29am

Site traffic in March-April (2014) is increasing

Summary: Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing

LAST year was a slow year for the site for purely personal reasons. Recently we have been able to post new material regularly, even if just in links form, resulting in heavier load on the 4 cores of the site’s server (with Varnish) and also increased traffic, which peaked in the past week. In prior years like 2009 we were able to publish almost a dozen posts per day; we’ll strive to get back to that. We are going to try to improve the Drupal side of the site and maybe get out of WordPress soon, for it is having security issues and is now pushing an automatic remote update feature that can act as a back door. Two more changes are imminent: daily news links will be back (we have not done those since last summer) and TechBytes, the audiocast, will be regularly released, starting this week.

Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

Sun, 13/04/2014 - 1:16pm

Snowden and Journalists

Reform

  • Silicon Valley could force NSA reform, tomorrow. What’s taking so long?

    With Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras triumphantly returning to the US to accept the Polk Award with Barton Gellman and Ewan MacAskill yesterday, maybe it’s time we revisit one of their first and most important stories: how much are internet companies like Facebook and Google helping the National Security Agency, and why aren’t they doing more to stop it?

  • Behind Closed Doors, Google and Facebook Are Fighting Efforts to Stop NSA Spying

    Revelations about the National Security Agency’s most controversial surveillance program, which centers on the bulk collection of hundreds of billions of records of Americans’ phone conversations, were quickly greeted with calls for reform by major internet powerhouses like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo last year. But all four companies, along with dozens of other major tech firms, are actively opposing an initiative to prevent NSA spying known as the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, leaning on secretive industry lobbying groups while they profess outrage in official statements.

  • NSA will still be involved

    The recent ruling by the Obama administration that telecom carriers, rather than the National Security Agency, would be responsible for warehousing telephone metadata is a complete joke.

  • The Fourth Amendment Shell Game

    One of Obama’s NSA reforms just makes the problem worse.

Obama

  • Obama Lets N.S.A. Exploit Some Internet Flaws, Officials Say

    But Mr. Obama carved a broad exception for “a clear national security or law enforcement need,” the officials said, a loophole that is likely to allow the N.S.A. to continue to exploit security flaws both to crack encryption on the Internet and to design cyberweapons.

  • NSA allowed to keep secret some Internet security flaws, officials say

    Stepping into a heated debate within the nation’s intelligence agencies, President Barack Obama has decided that when the National Security Agency discovers major flaws in Internet security, it should — in most circumstances — reveal them to assure that they will be fixed, rather than keep mum so that the flaws can be used in espionage or cyberattacks, senior administration officials said Saturday.

Cost Analysis

  • Exploring the Effect of NSA Disclosures on the U.S. Technology Industry

    This past Monday, I had the honor of moderating a panel organized by students at the American University Washington College of Law’s National Security Law Brief, on Understanding the Global Implications of the NSA Disclosures on the U.S. Technology Industry. The panel (Elizabeth Banker (ZwillGen), David Fagan (Covington), Joseph Moreno (Cadwalader), Gerard Stegmaier (Wilson Sonsoni) and Lawrence Greenberg (Motley Fool)) was stacked with practitioners who are navigating, on a daily basis, issues related to data privacy, transparency, and cooperation with law enforcement/government requests, among other related issues. As we explored during the discussion, there are a number of recent media and other reports describing the “fallout” for U.S. industry as a result of the disclosures. So, at least two questions arise: first, are the reports to be believed, and second, if so, will there be a lasting impact, or is this only temporary?

Japan

  • Abe’s NSA? The Japanese Government Embraces Secrecy

    Last December the ruling Liberal Democratic Party rammed one of the most controversial bills in Japan’s postwar history through the Diet, or parliament, with an uncharacteristic lack of debate. The “Protection of Specially Designated Secrets Act” passed even as opposition politicians knocked over desks, chairs, and one another while trying to reach the podium to block it. Outside, nearly 10,000 protesters formed a human chain around the government building and chanted, “No Return to Fascism!”

Germany/Europe

Deception

  • NSA Blows Its Own Top Secret Program in Order to Propagandize

    The NSA engages in this fear-mongering not only publicly but also privately. As part of its efforts to persuade news organizations not to publish newsworthy stories from Snowden materials, its representatives constantly say the same thing: If you publish what we’re doing, it will endanger lives, including NSA personnel, by making people angry about what we’re doing in their countries and want to attack us.

  • NSA general warrants are a crime

    Last week, National Intelligence Director Gen. James R. Clapper sent a brief letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he admitted that agents of the National Security Agency (NSA) have been reading innocent Americans’ emails and text messages and listening to digital recordings of their telephone conversations that have been stored in NSA computers, without warrants obtained pursuant to the Constitution. That the NSA is doing this is not newsworthy — Edward Snowden has told the world of this during the past 10 months. What is newsworthy is that the NSA has admitted this, and those admissions have far-reaching consequences.

    Since the Snowden revelations first came to light last June, the NSA has steadfastly denied them. Clapper has denied them. The recently retired head of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, has denied them. Even President Obama has stated repeatedly words to the effect that “no one is reading your emails or listening to your phone calls.”

  • NSA TAO: What Tailored Access Operations unit means for enterprises

    It was recently revealed that the NSA’s top-secret offensive security unit, a specially designed hacking group, can infiltrate systems at the speed of light through everything from satellite and fiber-optic connections

Data ‘Leaks’

Turkey

PRISM CCTV

  • Google wants to trademark ‘Glass’ but bid stalled

    Google is trying hard to register ‘Glass’ as a trademark for its wearable computer glasses. However, the search giant hasn’t been able to get through its bid with the US trademark office.

  • Anyone in the US can purchase Glass for one day
  • For one day, Google will let anyone in the US buy Glass

    Google is about to make its biggest push yet to get Glass in the hands of as many people as possible. The Verge has obtained documents indicating that the company will open up its “Explorer Program” and make Glass available to anyone who wants to purchase a pair, possibly as soon as next week. It’ll be a limited-time offer, only available for about a day, and only US residents will be eligible to purchase the $1,500 device. Google will also include a free sunglass shade or one of its newly-introduced prescription glasses frames along with any purchase. An internal Google slide shows that the promotion may be announced on April 15th, though all the details of this program have yet to be finalized.

Ukraine

  • Ukraine fails to break stalemate with pro-Russian protesters in east

    Arseniy Yatsenyuk promises devolution to local government in hope of staving off demands for their independence from Kiev

  • The hypocrisy of some nations

    World attention has focused on Ukraine recently. With President Victor Yanukovych making his exit and a new government formed, events shifted to Crimea, with accusations that the Russian military took over the region.

    [...]

    The US has also come under attack from human rights groups for its use of drones against suspected terrorists but which has also killed many civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
    Recently, the UN Human Rights Council published a Special Rapporteur’s report which detailed the deaths of civilians caused by US drone attacks, and raised many questions of possible violations of international human rights law.

Torture

Drones

  • How Many People Did Drones Kill Last Year? This Congressman Wants to Know.

    Schiff is co-sponsoring the drones report bill with an unlikely ally, Rep. Walter Jones. The North Carolina Republican is a mostly staunch conservative and Schiff a reliable Democratic vote on contentious issues. But Jones has broken with Republicans sharply in recent years over civil liberties issues and foreign policy generally.

  • Amy Bennett: Congress should fix Freedom of Information Act

    The Freedom of Information Act is a critical law for making sure the public has a fighting chance to get copies of records the government might not want it to see. For more than 40 years, people have used the FOIA to uncover evidence of government waste, fraud, abuse and illegality. More benignly, FOIA has been used to better understand the development and effects — positive and negative — of the federal government’s policies.

  • CIA profiling reminds US Arabs of the Mukhabarat

    Because Arab Americans and American Muslims have been waiting to see when the Obama administration would finally act to end Bush-era ethnic and religious profiling guidelines and practices, I was troubled to read press ­accounts this week indicating that US ­attorney general Eric Holder may be proposing to keep in place many of the programmes that have so compromised our rights. American Arabs have been waiting for five years for the administration to end these practices. Now we fear that they may not.

  • “Off With His Head:” Court Upholds Obama’s Power to Kill
  • Al-Aulaqi lawsuit dismissal gives U.S. government total authority
  • From Drone Strikes To Lost Luggage, How International Law Affects Global Decision-Making

    …United States’ earliest days, the country tried to win the respect of the world by faithfully adhering to international law.

  • Britain increasingly stripping its people of citizenship

    Mohamed Sakr and Bilal al-Berjawi had been friends since childhood, and they were both stripped of their citizenship within months of each other. After losing their citizenship, both were targeted for drone strikes. It took two separate attempts to kill al-Berjawi, while Sakr was successfully killed with one bombing. American officials, who supplied the drones, and British officials have denied the accusation that the governments are attempting to skirt due process laws by removing citizenship prior to assassination, though they did admit that the same intelligence may have led to both actions.

  • Federal Court: Drone Killing of U.S. Citizens Is Constitutional

    On April 4, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s killing of three American citizens in two drone strikes in 2011.

    The complaint was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of the families of Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son.

  • Victims of US drones in Yemen demand justice

    Relatives of victims of US drone strikes in Yemen have come together and formed the National Organisation for Drones Victims aimed at crusading against the controversial US programme and bringing justice to victims.

    [...]

    Al Gawili said that he lost two of his relatives in a drone strikes in Khawalan, northern Yemen in January last year. He said that his relatives had nothing to do with Al Qaida and were hit by drones when they were dropping unidentified passengers off another area”.