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Links 31/7/2014: Zorin OS Educational 9, Android Nearing 90% Share

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • When IT employees need to increase their skills quickly, IT boot camps in a variety of subjects can offer educational resources for gaining new knowledge.

  • So there are dozens of reasons to use GNU/Linux and few to use that other OS. That’s not what the war is about. It’s about being free to get the best out of IT and the hardware we own. M$ deliberately limits what our hardware can do by the terms of its cursed licences. We have to pay extra for the privilege of being enslaved. That’s not for me. No one chooses to be enslaved when they see they have a choice. Put GNU/Linux on retail shelves and watch what happens. ASUS sold out. Dell is selling it like hotcakes in China全民彩票网址 and India. Many governments, businesses organizations and individuals are enjoying Freedom. You should too.

  • In today’s time, technology is making things easier for everyone and the introduction of automotive grade linux can also be another milestone in the automotive industry. These days you can see open source everywhere. The collaborative nature of open source license makes it the perfect choice to develop a platform, system and application, etc. Due to the technological advancements, linux car is no more just a dream but a reality. According to reports, a new version of Linux is going to be launched in some time that will take the automotive industry on a newer height. Linux car is going to be the best car in terms of use of up-to-date technology.

  • Server

    • Developers can now buy AMD’s first developer kit based around its Seattle 64-bit ARM processor, the Opteron A1100. It will retail for $2,999 (about £1,900, AU$ 3,200).

    • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) server and cloud hosting provider Linode declared its library of guides and tutorials “open source” this week, inviting the community to peruse and contribute to the documentation for deploying cloud applications on the company’s open source-friendly platform.

    • Specifically, GoGrid-sponsored OpenOrchestration.org hopes to advance the open data services ecosystem with a free orchestration service, software library and community. Essentially, the effort aims to do for entire clouds what virtualization did for servers by delivering a range of complex, “full-stack” solutions. Users, in turn, can then easily deploy complex applications in a single cloud, across multiple clouds, on-premises or any combination in between.

    • Software is provided by Red Hat, using a customised version of the Fedora Linux operating system pre-loaded with an ARM Cortex-A57 GNU toolchain, platform device drivers, Apache, MySQL, PHP and both Java 7 and Java 8.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intro to Linux is normally a $2,400 course from the Linux Foundation, but it’s being offered for free now on edX. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to use the open source operating system, there’s no better time than now.

    • The Linux Foundation has picked up a few more member organizations as July quickly comes to an end.

    • linuxjobs.co.uk is a new, dedicated recruitment solution for Linux and Open Source technologists. Lifetime 20% discount for new recruiters

    • Graphics Stack

      • Last month I published some benchmarks where NVIDIA slaughtered AMD’s Catalyst driver in APITest benchmarks, a set of OpenGL 4.x test cases. While these are just micro-benchmarks of modern OpenGL and designed for showing off potential solutions for problems to leading to lower driver overhead, there’s been some improvements within the Catalyst 14.6 Beta on Linux. Up today are some new benchmarks of APITest using the latest AMD and NVIDIA drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • While AMD was kind enough to send over a review sample in advance of the A10-7800, I don’t yet have the Linux results ready due to still settling down from the recent move, etc. I expect to have the A10-7800 Linux benchmarks out in the days ahead and expect the Linux support to be in line with the other Kaveri APUs, which work on both the open and closed-source Linux graphics drivers.

  • Applications

    • KeyBox is a free, web-based open source application that can be used to manage multiple SSH sessions on multiple systems. It allows you to execute commands on multiple shells, manage keys, share terminal commands, and upload files to multiple systems simultaneously. It will generate a private/public key pair on initial startup, also you can define your own custom key if you like. Moreover, you can add additional system admins, and audit terminal history of them. KeyBox allows you to control the users, so that you can define which users can access which systems. After starting the SSH session, you’ll be able to manage single or multiple systems via a web browser of your choice more easily and effectively.

    • SymmetricDS, an open source software for multi-master database replication, filtered synchronization, or transformation across the network in a heterogeneous environment, is now at version 3.6.3

    • We’ve seen Terminal Emulators of all sizes and shapes for Linux, but nothing like this yet. ‘cool-old-term’ is one gorgeous looking Terminal emulator.

    • Xfburn is an application that allows users to burn CD, DVDs, and Blu-rays, whether it’s just data, ISO files, or music files. We’ll now take a closer look at this minimalistic software that has only a few options.

    • FFmpeg 2.3, a complete solution to record, convert, and stream audio and video, has been released and is now available for download.

    • The command line can be scary especially at the beginning. You might even experience some command-line-induced nightmare. Over time, however, we all realize that the command line is actually not that scary, but extremely useful. In fact, the lack of shell is what gives me an ulcer every time I have to use Windows. The reason for the change in perception is that the command line tools are actually smart. The basic utilities, what you are given to work with on any Linux terminal, are very powerful. But very powerful is never enough. If you want to make your command line experience even more pleasant, here are a few applications that you can download to replace the default ones, and will provide you with far more features than the originals.

    • FFmpeg 2.3.1 is the latest major release of the software, and this current build is only a maintenance version and arrives just a few days after another major release was made available.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Valve has issued a new Steam Beta update for all the supported platforms and it looks like things are quickly advancing towards a stable release.

      • Another day, another exciting video for the new Unreal Tournament gets released by Epic Games, with Linux gamers viewing in excitement as it’s been years since an Unreal release for Linux.

      • The Fall, a 2D atmospheric platformer inspired by the Asimov universe and developed by the Over The Moon studio, can now be bought on Steam for Linux with a 50% discount.

      • This week one of the most prolific makers of custom gaming PCs, Maingear, has let loose the Spark. This device weighs less than a pound and is 2.34 inches tall, 4.23 inches deep, and 4.5 inches wide. That’s a palm-sized high-powered PC.

      • The true measure of any great gaming platform is not the number of games available. Nor is it the need to have the same games as other competing platforms (the Playstation 4 doesn’t need Mario games to be considered successful). And it really isn’t even about how many total games are sold, though that certainly helps.

      • Thanks to the recent Linux support provided by DRM-free classic games provider, GOG.com, getting that nostalgic kick on Linux has never been easier. In this article I’ll also detail a few of my favourite classic games that are now available to play in Linux.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy 2014 will kick off on September 6 in Brno, Czech Republic; our keynote speakers will be opening the first two days. Continuing a tradition, the first keynote speaker is from outside the KDE community, while the second is somebody you all know. On Saturday, Sascha Meinrath will speak about the dangerous waters he sees our society sailing into, and what is being done to help us steer clear of the cliffs. Outgoing KDE e.V. Board President, Cornelius Schumacher, will open Sunday’s sessions with a talk about what it is to be KDE and why it matters.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Besides updates on Wayland support at this week’s GUADEC conference in France was also an update on the work being done for implementing a scene graph within GTK+ itself and exposing a canvas API.

      • GNOME Builder is a new integrated development environment (IDE) being developed for building GNOME applications faster and better.

      • The fourth day of GUADEC was mostly devoted to hardware. Attendees learned what it takes to integrate hardware with the desktop, how GNOME does continuous performance testing, how sandboxed apps may access hardware. Builder, a new IDE for GNOME, was introduced and the host city of GUADEC 2015 announced!

  • Distributions

    • Zorin OS Educational, an Ubuntu-based operating system aimed at Windows users who are switching over to Linux, is now at version 9.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat JBoss Middleware is a full portfolio of open source enterprise-grade solutions for creating, integrating, deploying and managing applications across the full spectrum of today’s infrastructures, whether on premise or in public, private or hybrid clouds.

      • Red Hat, the Linux king today and the would-be OpenStack cloud king tomorrow, is putting its money and resources on the line by betting — with its ARM Partner Early Access Program — that the 64-bit ARM architecture is ready for the data center.

      • The great thing about Linux is that it runs on nearly everything, and if ARM servers ever take off, they will do so because Linux workloads are ported from X86 and other architectures to run on 64-bit ARM processors. The classic chicken and egg problem is making it difficult for an ARM server ecosystem to develop, and Red Hat is going to help this along with an effort it calls the ARM Partner Early Access Program.

      • Red Hat has developed a version of the Linux operating system that can be used to test chips and associated hardware based on the ARMv8-A 64-bit architecture for servers with the aim of standardizing that market.

      • Red Hat (RHT) dove a little deeper into the ARM world this week with the announcement of a new Partner Early Access Program (PEAP), which it said will help promote Red Hat’s open source software on 64-bit ARMv8-A servers and other ARM devices.

      • When I began, Open source had only meant publishing code online, but as I worked at Red Hat I realized that the community behind a project is what gives open source the advantage. I was assigned early in my internship to try to figure out what programming languages where being used in each country全民彩票网址, and at what rate. Within two days, I was able to cobble together two open source projects; one that tracked GitHub commits, and the other, a geocoding library. When a bug came up in the code, a contributor had a patch posted within fifteen minutes, and when I was done with my project, the source was added to the GitHub project to benefit others in the future. This powerful community-building ability is what has driven Red Hat to success, with thousands of people supporting products like RHEL and JBoss. Building a community is not limited to just software, as sites like Reddit have shown. The Reddit community has rapidly evolved like a community around open source software, providing everything from dating advice to graphics design on its ‘boards’.

      • This summer I started my first ever internship. It’s certainly a culture-shock to transition from 全民彩票官网登录 to the workplace, but I generally like to pride myself on being a quick learner. At Red Hat, as a Systems Management intern, I learned a lot in just the first week.

      • Fedora

        • This is a simple story about a logo design process for an open source project in case it might be informative or entertaining to you. Smile

        • Copr is an easy build service for Fedora which can make you your own repo very easily. I have been contributing to this project since March 2014 and this month has been the best in terms of new features: you can track your builds much better, it is bit easier to use and also got much faster in some cases.

    • Debian Family

      • The Debian Linux kernel team has discussed and chosen the kernel version to use as a basis for Debian 8 ‘jessie’.

        This will be Linux 3.16, due to be released in early August. Release candidates for Linux 3.16 are already packaged and available in the experimental suite.

        If you maintain a package that is closely bound to the kernel version – a kernel module or a userland application that depends on an unstable API – please ensure that it is compatible with Linux 3.16 prior to the freeze date (5th November, 2014). Incompatible packages are very likely to be removed from testing and not included in ‘jessie’.

      • There are 2600 packages installed in the main file-system and the chroot for thin clients. It even installs LDAP and xrdp, much more than a minimal installation. I fear this is bloat for a lot of 全民彩票官网登录s who just need a lab running… Without a fast local mirror, this installation takes many hours and I can see teachers taking up much of a weekend to do it.

        I recommend doing a minimal installation of Debian GNU/Linux and adding the LTSP parts manually to avoid the bloat. That way you can get XFCE4, turn off encryption and use a local mirror or cache of packages. That will save downloading packages twice, once for the file-system and once again for the chroot and if you need to repeat the installation, the second try will be much faster.

      • Derivatives

        • The complete and free “out of the box” software solution for 全民彩票官网登录s, Debian Edu / Skolelinux, is used quite a lot in Germany, and one of the people involved is Bernd Zeitzen, who show up on the project mailing lists from time to time with interesting questions and tips on how to adjust the setup. I managed to interview him this summer.

        • SolydX and SolydK, two Debian-based distributions that feature the Xfce and the KDE desktops, have been updated with the latest security fixes and they are now at version 201407.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Reliability – Ubuntu provides the reliability that Windows could not. The operating system speed has at least tripled in comparison with using Windows 7. We are not pulling our hair out waiting for a program to load, experiencing hang-ups or delays when switching screens or shutting-down. All actions are instantaneous.

          • We all know Google is the darling of the mapping world. If you are going on a trip, the search-giant’s navigation solutions are arguably the best. However, it is dangerous to allow one company to essentially own an entire aspect of technology. Luckily, there are additional solutions like Apple Maps and Nokia HERE, to at least offer some semblance of competition. As a Windows 全民彩票网址Phone user, I have learned to love Nokia HERE as an excellent alternative to Google Maps and navigation. While HERE is lacking in some areas, it has the potential to be great.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • That is where my time with Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” MATE ended. I’m slightly disappointed to see the dependency issue crop up with M64Py, considering that the issue seems exclusive to Ubuntu and its derivatives; I’m just as disappointed to see Mupen64Plus not work even in its CLI form despite the absence of any indication of what the problem actually is. These issues of course may well be more the fault of those programs than of this distribution, but I can’t deny that the experience was very slightly marred. Those are more personal opinions, though, and I still think that otherwise overall, Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” MATE continues to deliver a solid and reliable experience that is suitable for total newbies to Linux.
              You can get it here.

            • Bio-Linux, a fully-featured, powerful, configurable, and easy to maintain bioinformatics workstation built on the Ubuntu operating system, is now at version 8.0.2.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • It’s not enough to offer just another straight-ahead pico projector these days. Sprint’s recent, ZTE-built LivePro, for example, doubles as a mobile hotspot and features an embedded display, and Promate’s LumiTab is also a tablet. Now a startup called TouchPico offers a similarly Android-based TouchPico device that adds touch input to projected images.

    • Time was, if you had a hankering for a nice Raspberry Pi, you had but one choice: the Raspberry Pi Model B. You plunked down your $35, and like millions of other Pi-heads, you liked it. Then came the stripped-down $25 Model A, followed this year by the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. Now they’ve got this gussied up Raspberry Pi Model B+ with four USB ports and a backward-compatible 40-pin expansion connector. What’s the world coming to?

    • 全民彩票网址Phones

      • As players in the technology arena look for global regions poised for growth, they are increasingly focused on India. In fact, Mozilla officials have recently noted that India is going to have a big impact on everyone’s use of digital technology.

      • The number of fixed-line and mobile Internet surfers in China全民彩票网址 increased to an estimated 632 million as of the end of June 2014, according to the China全民彩票网址 Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

      • The number of Internet users in China全民彩票网址 reached 632 million in June, with 46.9 percent of the population covered by the Web, and smartphones are the most frequently used tool to access the Internet, according to the China全民彩票网址 Internet Network Information Center. A smartphone may be the most convenient medium to reach the “virtual world”, but by using it a netizen exposes his/her personal information to theft.

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung has delayed the launch of its Samsung Z smartphone running the Tizen OS, which was scheduled for Q3 release in Russia.

          The move, just short of two months after the Samsung Z’s launch at the Tizen Developers Conference, sparked a death watch for the device.

          However, Samsung reportedly said it needed to further enhance the Tizen ecosystem.

        • And that takes us to the most annoying part about the Fire 全民彩票网址Phone — its main purpose is to spur more Amazon sales. The Fire 全民彩票网址Phone’s interface is designed so that it is constantly recommending more things for you to buy. Swipe to a recently used app, and you’ll find app suggestions. Go to a recently heard song, and the device will offer other songs it thinks you’ll like and should buy. Amazon makes similar recommendations on its Fire TV streaming player and its Fire tablets, but they don’t feel so invasive on those devices because you have a lot of real estate to work with. On the Fire 全民彩票网址Phone, you’re only looking at 4.7 inches of screen, and though it is a crystal clear screen, it feels cramped. The recommendations are on by default, but fortunately, users can go turn them off in their settings, giving their 全民彩票官网下载 screen some breathing room.

      • Android

        • Magellan unveiled an Android-based navigation tablet for RVs with a 7-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen, WiFi and Bluetooth, and real-time traffic updates.

          The RoadMate RV9490T-LMB appears to be Magellan’s first Android-based automotive GPS, and it’s specifically aimed at recreational vehicle owners. Magellan still uses Windows Mobile in many of its navigation devices.

        • Although the official Android platform isn’t open source (nor is the majority of the apps found on the Google Play Store), there are plenty of open-source apps available for you to install and enjoy. These apps range from silly games to everyday tools. One category that benefits from open source is productivity. You’ll find apps to fit many of your productivity needs. If you don’t like the way these apps look or behave (or even if you want to add new features) and you have the skills to do so, you can get their source and rework them to better fit your needs.

        • Android’s march to the top of the smartphone field has been much faster than many people realize. It was only back in 2008 that analysts were bemoaning the fact that nearly no Android phones were seen at Mobile World Congress. This week, Strategy Analytics researchers delivered their latest smartphone market share numbers, which show Android reaching new highs at a record 84.6 percent share of global smartphone shipments.

        • According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments reached 295 million units in the second quarter of 2014. The Android operating system captured a new record of 85 percent global marketshare, mainly at the expense of BlackBerry, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows 全民彩票网址Phone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Friday afternoon I received an offer for an internship at Red Hat was hands down one of the most important days of my career. Every time people asked me where I was working and I saw their reactions when I told them, I knew I was in a fortunate position.

    Just look at all the headlines surrounding open source today: Facebook is opening its hardware, Tesla is opening its patents, even Apple has a page on its website dedicated to the open source projects it implements and contributes to.

  • Google have today released the source code for their I/O app as a means of providing a glimpse into what Google expect from their open-source developers.

  • Executives have traditionally viewed proprietary systems as safer, lower-risk options. However in recent times increased scrutiny of capital expenditure has forced corporations to consider alternative technologies in an effort to extract maximum value from their IT budgets.

  • General Dynamics C4 Systems and Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre (NICTA) today open sourced the code-base of a secure microkernel project known as seL4. Touted as “the most trustworthy general purpose microkernel in the world,” seL4 has previously been adapted by organizations like DARPA as high-assurance systems used onboard military unmanned aerial vehicles and for similar defense and commercial uses.

  • Critics are laying siege to open source, but their arguments both mistake what open source is and how companies benefit from it

  • This week we learn about a collaboration to build an open-source commenting and discussion platform for news organizations, and we explore how the Verification Handbook can help inform the use of citizen-generated materials.

  • People in the Big Data and Hadoop communities are becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley. According to Apache, Spark can run programs up to 100 times faster than Hadoop MapReduce in memory, and ten times faster on disk. When crunching large data sets, those are big performance differences.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mobile privacy concerns are at a fever pitch right now with all the NSA spying, tracking by advertisers and other privacy violations happening on the Internet. I came across an interesting video that demos a new mobile operating system called OrFoxOS. OrFoxOS combines Firefox OS and Tor to help protect your privacy.

      • It is not the best smartphone in the market, I know. In fact, I read lots of reviews before buying this phone. The most interesting point was that it was labeled a “developer” device, not an end-user phone. Even with its many “flaws,” I made up my mind and bought this smart thingie because it has everything I want on a cellphone: Firefox OS ;-)

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The end of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is near, so I wanted to share with you how things worked out for me as an intern with OpenStack. Precisely, I wanted to let you know my perception about what it takes to participate in GSoC,

      the blockers you may encounter and how to overcome them, what to expect after the internship, and a brief description of what I have been doing during my internship.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Today was quite the busy news day here in Linuxville and the top story must have been the release of LibreOffice 4.3. Seems it brought significant changes and got lots of coverage. SiliconIndia.com has a list of the top eight alternative operating systems and Bruce Byfield looks at KDE’s continually confusing callings. We have 10 reasons to try Zorin OS and 10 easy steps to changing Manjaro back to Arch. Heartbleed is still reeking havoc and Tor issues an advisory. And even that’s not all.

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3, the 8th major release of the free office suite since the birth of the project in September 2010. The application includes the combined effort of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of developers, and has reached a point of maturity that makes it suitable for every kind of deployment, if backed by value added services by the growing LibreOffice ecosystem.

    • Ever since LibreOffice split off from the troubled OpenOffice in 2010, this open-source office suite has gotten better and better. With this new release from The Document Foundation, LibreOffice 4.3 has established itself as the best non-Microsoft office suite.

    • By any measure, LibreOffice is a great office suite.“According to the Coverity Scan service, joined by LibreOffice in October 2012, the quality of LibreOffice source code has improved dramatically during the last two years, with a reduction of the defect density per 1,000 lines of code from an above the average 1.11 to an industry leading 0.08″ Today’s release takes it another step closer to perfection. If you can’t do something with it, you probably don’t need to do it or it’s just silly. I can do everything I want with it. It lacks only one small feature for me, styles in charts/graphs, but that’s in the pipe.

    • The Document Foundation has announced that the final version for LibreOffice 4.3 is now available for all platforms, making this the most advanced release for the office suite.

    • THE DOCUMENT FOUNDATION has announced a major upgrade to the Libreoffice productivity suite.

  • CMS

    • Every so often, people who don’t really understand the importance of anonymity or how it enables free speech (especially among marginalized people), think they have a brilliant idea: “just end real anonymity online.” They don’t seem to understand just how shortsighted such an idea is. It’s one that stems from the privilege of being in power. And who knows that particular privilege better than members of the House of Lords in the UK — a group that is more or less defined by excess privilege? The Communications Committee of the House of Lords has now issued a report concerning “social media and criminal offenses” in which they basically recommend scrapping anonymity online. It’s not a true “real names” proposal — as the idea is that web services would be required to collect real names at signup, but then could allow those users to do things pseudonymously or anonymously. But, still, their actions could then easily be traced back to a real person if the “powers that be” deemed it necessary.

    • A new website making it easier for government in New Zealand to deliver information and services was designed and developed in-house by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), using the Common Web Platform. The templates are written in PHP, which DIA runs on the Silverstripe CMS.

      Govt.nz is based on the open source code available through Gov.UK. Its design and content was tested with users on a publicly available beta site, and content fact checking was undertaken in collaboration with more than 40 government agencies.

  • Business


    • Version 7.8 of the GNU Debugger is now available with a variety of enhancements.

      GDB 7.8 notably brings Guile scripting support, improvements to Python scripting, a variety of new options, PowerPC64 litt-endian target configuration, BTrace enhancements, ISO C99 variable length automatic arrays support, and a variety of other new features.

  • Public 全民彩票网址/Government

    • The Department of 全民彩票官网下载land Security is funding a project aimed at protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure and networks by providing tools that test for defects in open source and commercial software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • I have synthesized, manufactured, tested, and fully validated a collection of open source plasmids [small circular DNA strands] coding for some of the very basic building blocks of biotechnology. I do charge an initial purchase price to pay for storage, ongoing quality control, and the provision of a reliable source of these molecules. But there is no proprietary barrier of any type on their use. You may grow them on your own, modify them, give them to others, sell them, sell products derived from them, and do whatever you (legally) want to do with them.

      What’s fascinating here is to see the application of the business model commonly found in the world of open-source software — whereby the code is freely available, and customers effectively pay for a service that provides quality control — in the world of DNA. Given the easy profits that will be put at risk by this new offering, we can probably expect the same kind of scaremongering and lobbying from the incumbents that free software experienced when it became clear that it posed a serious threat to the traditional, high-margin world of closed-source code.

    • A team of Whitehead Institute researchers is bringing new levels of efficiency and accuracy to one of the most essential albeit tedious tasks of bench science: pipetting. And, in an effort to aid the scientific community at large, the group has established an open source system that enables anyone to benefit from this development free of charge.

    • Open Data

      • In this podcast, we talk to Chris Albon, director of the global crisis data arm of Ushahidi, an open-source data mapping organisation that originated in Nairobi, Kenya.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • In the past 4 months during this years Google Summer of Code (GSoC), a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for open source software projects, Christian Bruckmayer collaborated with other students and mentors to code a dashboard for the Open Source Event Manager (OSEM). In this series of three posts Christian will tell you about his project and what he has learned from this experience.

    • The wxWidgets library for designing cross-platform GUIs now has support by the PHP programming language.


  • Finnish firm Nokia will buy part of Panasonic’s network business to grow its operations in Japan and strengthen the mobile broadband portfolio for an undisclosed amount.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Farm lobby group calls on Monsanto and other biotech companies to reimburse for additional pesticide treatments

  • Security

    • “I’ll tell you as much as I can.” It’s an intriguing opening remark from Rodney Joffe, a top cyber security adviser to the White House and a senior VP and technologist at analytics firm Neustar. Joffe has met President Obama and is in regular contact with various US government agencies, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

      Joffe’s accomplishments include leading the Conficker Working Group (a coalition of security experts working to defeat the Conficker worm) sitting on the US government’s cyber security intelligence panel, and in 2013 receiving the FBI director’s award for outstanding cyber investigation for his role in uncovering and taking down the Butterfly Botnet.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A German army general has for the first time been appointed chief of staff to work with the commander of US ground forces in Europe, both countries’ militaries said Thursday.

    • A few days back the Economist published an essay which dismissed the idea of fascists in Kiev as an illusory product of Russian propaganda. This is a narrative which the editors at the Economist have put forth on a number of occasions. Of course, they’re not alone. A less flagrant article published by the New York Times editorial board used a weird double negative to assert that “Russian leaders prefer not to accept that the C.I.A. did not engineer the preference of many Ukrainians for what they see in the West.”

    • In a memorandum to President Barack Obama, a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) has demanded that any actual evidence of Russian involvement in the downing of Malaysia flight MH17 over Ukraine is made public.

    • Global airlines will push to get “neutral information” on whether to use or avoid airspace over conflict zones at Tuesday’s meeting of the UN aviation agency and other airline bodies, a European-based airline industry source said.

    • Russia has already lost most of Eastern Europe, and in the last six months, they lost the loyalty of most of the Ukraine. There are few pockets and slivers on the Russian boarder that are still loyal to Russia. Give these small bits of land a decentralized status. No doubt, within a few years, they will rethink the wisdom of their decision.

    • Would you sit still if you saw women and children murdered every day? Murdered by a government that calls you a terrorist and blames another country全民彩票网址 for the murders they themselves commit. Your own government has been taken over by a greedy and tyrannical empire. They claim to help you but they bomb you and your people to extinction. They smile while blaming Russia and ignore genocide. Death is your fate. Will you accept it? The Ukrainians in the southeast say no.

    • Pro-Russian separatists fighting against the Ukrainian military for control of provinces in the eastern portion of the country全民彩票网址 have been trained, financed, supported and defended by the Russian government, according to senior U.S. intelligence officials.

    • Saying that the recent shift in opinion is further proof that women have access to more opportunities than ever before, sources within the CIA confirmed this week that the U.S. intelligence agency may finally be ready to install its first female world leader.

    • The map of Latin America is in full flux. The reconfiguration of territories primarily affects the 670 indigenous communities that stretch from the Rio Grande to Patagonia, according to statistics from the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean. This political, social and economic remodeling of territory has been accompanied by seemingly endless conflict and social upheaval across the continent.

    • Since 2001, the U.S. has undertaken regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

      All 3 countries are now in chaos … and extremists are more in control than ever.

    • Bolivia on Wednesday renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state.

    • Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is getting the better of him. Once again, the Turkish prime minister has trotted out the Adolf Hitler analogy in relation to Israel and what it has done in Gaza. “They curse Hitler morning and night,” he said of the Israelis. “However, now their barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s.”

      Erdogan’s Hitler fetish is both revolting and inaccurate. Hitler murdered an estimated 6 million Jews, not to mention millions of Poles, Russians, Gypsies and, as a group, homosexuals; the Israelis have killed in the current Gaza operation over 1,000 Palestinians. The difference between murdered and killed — the former on purpose, the latter mostly what’s called “collateral damage” — ought to be clear to anyone whose mind is not addled by anti-Semitism.


      For Erdogan, the handier and closer to 全民彩票官网下载 reference would have been what the Turks did to the Armenians. This genocide — the very word was coined by Raphael Lemkin to encompass what happened to 1.5 million Armenians during and after World War I — has been roundly denied by the Turkish government. In a dizzying feat of irrationality, the head of that government brushes past the crimes of his own nation to point an accusatory finger at the victims of another nation. Erdogan’s remarks are merely the reductio ad absurdum of the anti-Israel argument. Some accuse Israel of a hideous lack of proportionality without pausing to say what the proper proportion of death and destruction should be. Would Hamas have ceased firing rockets into Israel if Israel had bombed less? Somehow, I think not. Would Hamas have blown up its own tunnels if Israel had ceased its attack after, say, a week? Again, no. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, did the United States go into Afghanistan to kill exactly 2,977 al-Qaida and Taliban, an eye for every eye extinguished on that infamous day? Israel is a small nation of only about 8 million people, more than a fifth of them Arabs. Proportionality is a luxury beyond its reach.

    • The Arab Spring brought about regime change, but did not bring about peace—only a quagmire in these Arab states. The U.S. believed that new leadership would bring about better governance and improved living conditions for the people. However without an endgame plan, the changes in these countries only led to chaos. Without leaders who can unify the differing religious, ethnic and cultural factions it will be difficult to ever find peace. The recent gains made by Islamists have also emboldened Hamas in Gaza, which is supported by Arab financiers. The Arab Spring has been high jacked by Islamists who are using the instability to create an Islamic caliphate–which may prove to be difficult to reverse.

    • Overall, almost 1,400 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces with missiles and military equipment supplied by the US. After the latest UN 全民彩票官网登录 attack, it was announced that the US will send more ammunition to Israel. The conclusion is: “Let’s sanction Russia!”

    • The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Naming the Dead project has now recorded the names of more than 700 people reportedly killed by CIA drones in Pakistan.

      Nearly half – 323 – of the people identified are reported to be civilians, including 99 children. The database of names has grown since its launch last year, but those identified still make up fewer than one in three of the 2,342 reportedly killed in drone attacks.

    • If you don’t think war is Big Business, just ask multibillion-dollar companies like Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman, whose war 全民彩票网址 end up in battlefields all over the world. In fact, just today the Pentagon cleared Lockheed to sell 5,000 Hellfire missiles to the embattled Iraqi government for a cool $700 million.

    • A former Blackwater security guard testified Wednesday that he and two colleagues shot their weapons into a car in Nisoor Square in Baghdad, part of a barrage of gunfire that claimed the lives of a mother and her son and led to the shootings of 30 other Iraqis. In a calm voice, Jeremy Ridgeway told a jury that what started as “just another day at the office” in Baghdad suddenly erupted in fire from automatic weapons aimed at a car moving toward the heavily armored convoy of Blackwater guards. Ridgeway is the prosecution’s chief cooperating witness in the case focusing on the 2007 shootings. Four Blackwater guard defendants say they were taking incoming gunfire from insurgents and they fired in self-defense. Federal prosecutors say the guards were unprovoked.

    • Ten hours before the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, Bill Clinton allegedly told a group of businessmen in Australia that he had a chance to kill Osama Bin Laden, but passed because it would have meant killing hundreds of innocent civilians. That’s according to never-before-released audio of remarks made public by Australian media on Wednesday.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has revealed in a new book that his organization managed to stay afloat thanks to “strategic investments” in bitcoin that helped the organization cover piling costs in financial and legal areas, The Daily Dot reports.

    • United States military whistleblower Chelsea Manning was convicted of offenses related to her disclosures to WikiLeaks one year ago. In this time, Manning’s case has become a clear example to future whistleblowers of what the US government will do to military officers or federal government employees, who follow their conscience. And her case seems to have only emboldened President Barack Obama and his administration to continue to wage a war to control information that includes a clampdown on leaks, a campaign against national security whistleblowers and a concerted attack on press freedom.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Finnish energy conservation firm Eniram has been selected as one of the best European clean technology companies of the decade by the Cleantech Group. The Finnish firm’s software is in high demand to help ships cut fuel use and emissions.

    • Fracking licences can only be issued for beauty spots in “exceptional circumstances”, according to new rules issued by the government.

      It said the regulations for the new bidding round for licences – the first in six years – are stricter than before.

    • Germany has a moratorium on the use of fracking technology to extract unconventional fossil fuels but the method is not banned, something the country全民彩票网址’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) hopes to change with swift regulation. EurActiv Germany reports.

      Maria Krautzberger, the President of the Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA), presented the organisation’s new Fracking-II assessment in Berlin on Wednesday (30 July).

  • Finance

    • Crusaders know they’re nothing without something to crusade against. That’s undoubtedly why hedge fund billionaire Peter G. Peterson keeps harping on the federal debt.

    • The 85 richest people globally have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest in the world, the United Nations said, citing Oxfam figures, in a report that highlights ways to help the 1.2 billion people who live on less than $1.25 a day.

    • The economic crisis in Europe and North America led to more than 10,000 extra suicides, according to figures from UK researchers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • But the real issue here is that O’Reilly has edited the Times editorial in order to make it easier for him to debunk.

    • Right-wing media reacted to an ad depicting gun-based domestic violence with the dangerous claim that keeping guns in the 全民彩票官网下载 would prevent such attacks. In fact, the presence of a firearm in a 全民彩票官网下载 where domestic abuse occurs increases the risk a woman will be murdered.

  • Censorship

    • Social media users in Australia could be charged with a crime for sharing any details of a gag order published by Wikileaks this week on Facebook or Twitter. The gag order bans journalists from mentioning a number of officials with relation to an international corruption probe.

    • The anti-secrecy group has this morning published a Victorian Supreme Court suppression order that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange describes as “unprecedented” in scope.

    • Wikileaks has exposed a secretive suppression order issued by a Victorian court that relates to an international political corruption case.

      The whistleblower website on Wednesday published the full text of the Victorian Supreme Court order made on June 19.

      Australian media organisations cannot legally publish the contents of the order, which was made to prevent damage to the country全民彩票网址’s international relations.

    • The ban applies to a massive corruption case involving officials in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam

    • To astonishment in Australia, but pretty much a resounding “huh?” in the United States, Wikileaks yesterday published a censorship order issued by the Supreme Court of the Australian state of Victoria on June 19 of this year. The order imposes a five-year ban on publication of any material in Australia about a corruption case involving high officials of Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Australian government itself.

    • Congress members and their staffers are blocked from accessing the website for the annual Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference, according to a screen shot Firedoglake obtained.

    • Today, 29 July 2014, WikiLeaks releases an unprecedented Australian censorship order concerning a multi-million dollar corruption case explicitly naming the current and past heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and other senior officials. The super-injunction invokes “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia’s international relations”. The court-issued gag order follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.

  • Privacy

    • Since then, the Snowden story has unfolded in dramatic ways for a nonstop 12 months — as the world reacted to the vast amount of information that his files contained — sparking revelation after revelation about some of the nation’s most cherished secrets. It has also sparked a fierce policy debate over how to make intelligence organizations more accountable.

    • This morning, Senator Patrick Leahy released a new version of the USA Freedom Act, a bill intended to reform NSA surveillance following Edward Snowden’s revelations that the intelligence agency collects Americans’ calling records in bulk. USA Freedom Act has a disappointing history. While initially proposing much for Americans, if not our friends overseas, to like, the version that eventually passed the House in May was, at best, utterly neutered. Today’s version, hashed out between Sen. Leahy, Obama Administration officials, and civil liberties proponents, moves the needle much closer to the original version.

    • Last year he presented research at Black Hat on breakthrough methods for remotely attacking SIM cards on mobile phones. In December, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden demonstrated that the U.S. spy agency was using a similar technique for surveillance, which it called “Monkey Calendar.”

    • Apple’s legendary iPod ads have been nothing less than iconic, but a California street artists has turned the famous marketing campaign into an anti-Obama parody ahead of the President’s visit to area.

    • The U.S government is helping foot the bill for the Tor Project, even as new attacks against the anonymous network platform are disclosed.
      The open-source Tor Project provides a technology platform that helps enable user privacy on the Internet. While the effort is open-source, it does have financial backers that are helping fund development and operations.

      Tor reported its 2013 financial statements on July 26, providing transparency into the costs and sources of funding for the anonymous networking technology.

    • The Tor encryption service is a high-profile bastion of computer security, but the project appears to have been compromised earlier this year. Today, the Tor Project blog announced that an unknown party likely managed to gather information about people who were looking up hidden services — websites that users can operate and visit anonymously, like Silk Road — and could theoretically have compromised other parts of the network.

    • Former NSA Director Keith Alexander’s lucrative entrance into the private sector has raised a heap of ethical questions about the spy chief’s intentions.

    • The Keith Alexander story just keeps getting more and more bizarre. Almost immediately after retiring from the top position at the NSA, where he oversaw the total failure of the NSA’s supposed “100% auditing” system, allowing Ed Snowden (and who knows how many others) to escape with all sorts of documents, Alexander announced that he had set up a cybersecurity firm — with the ridiculously Hollywood-ish name of IronNet Cybersecurity. A month ago, it was revealed that he’s going around asking banks to pay him $1 million per month for his “expertise.” That caused a few to wonder if he’s selling classified info, because really, what else could he offer?

    • Now that it’s been over a year since the Snowden leaks, you might’ve thought that all of the insane NSA revelations had been revealed. Not so! Foreign Policy just published a fascinating and exhaustive list of every patent ever awarded to the spy agency. And one of its latest inventions is all about your SIM card.

    • Electronic eavesdropping is the National Security Agency’s forte, but it seems it also has a special interest in children’s car seats, Foreign Policy magazine reported Wednesday.

      The “integrated child seat for vehicle” is among more than 270 patents issued since 1979 to the super-secretive spy agency at the center of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations.

    • Among the matters on the discussion table are trade, nuclear energy, defence, security and counter-terrorism. India hopes to raise the issue of snooping by the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) on BJP leaders, among others.

    • US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Delhi on Wednesday to hold the 5th Indo-US Strategic Dialogue on Thursday during which India will be raising issues of snooping by the US’ NSA and terrorism even as the two sides will explore “transformative initiatives” in key areas such as defence and energy

    • Trust stands alone in the glass menagerie of fragile personal and national virtues. Without trust, individual, commercial, and civic relationships are impossible. Children must trust parents, couples must trust each other, and families must be able to trust the state. Indeed, all the estates of society are bound by trust in one form or other; family, government, commerce, and religion. A deficit of trust is like an open wound, not necessarily fatal immediately, but surely a potential agent for permanent disability or death.

    • The lawyer全民彩票网址s of whistleblower Edward Snowden in an interview with Australian ABC channel on Wednesday denied reports that former NSA contractor, who was granted a temporary asylum in Russia, was preparing to go back to the United States to face charges.

    • What will happen to Edward Snowden after a year of asylum in Russia? He is apparently negotiating his return. But the Ukraine crisis is decreasing Obama’s room to maneuver while US media interest is waning.

    • The social sciences in America have been militarized to produce tools that assist the government in understanding and suppressing dissent. Anthropology, linguistic analysis and sociology now serve the police state.

    • Technology used to gain access to cellphone data is under review at the Michigan statehouse.

      Indiana, Maine, Montana, Tennessee and Utah already impose rules on cellphone eavesdropping. A Minnesota law is set to take effect Oct. 1. In November, Missouri voters will decide on the issue of warrantless cellphone searches.

    • If current polling is any indication, liberty-friendly Rep. Justin Amash will coast to victory over his establishment-supported challenger in the Michigan Republican primary next week. An Amash victory would be a win for libertarian candidates everywhere, and a clear sign that independent and conservative voters prefer the limited government message to the pro-war, pro-corporate platitudes of Republican Party leadership.

    • Are you a U.S. citizen living in the greater Washington, D.C. area looking for a new gig? Do you have impeccable oral and written communication skills? Or strong analytical and critical thinking skills?

    • Five days before the Supreme Court ruled that an arts and crafts chain deserves greater protection under the law than the women it employs, the gang of nine actually got one right. Preceding the inexplicable 5-4 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby split-decision, which made clear that old men in black robes increasingly lose their marbles when the discussion turns toward babies and ovaries and baby Jesus, the judges unanimously—and somewhat stunningly—agreed on June 25 to advance civil rights into the digital age.


      “Indeed,” Roberts wrote, “a cell phone search would typically expose to the government far more than the most exhaustive search of a house: A phone not only contains in digital form many sensitive records previously found in the 全民彩票官网下载; it also contains a broad array of private information never found in a 全民彩票官网下载 in any form unless the phone is.”

    • On Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the revised USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone and Internet records. If Congress enacts Senator Leahy’s bill in its current form, it will mark the most significant reform of US intelligence gathering since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enacted in the 1970s in response to the Church Committee’s revelations of abusive spying practices on political dissidents and activists.

    • We must never be surprised when we learn once again that our lawmakers and law interpreters are in bed with the country全民彩票网址’s largest corporations—this is how the American government now operates. A July 25 article in Vice includes documentation that shows three judges from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, the tribunal that evaluates the legality of the NSA’s practices, own stock in Verizon. Although there doesn’t seem to be a direct financial incentive for judges to allow the NSA to rifle through the data (our data) of a company in which they have invested, it does show the intimate relationship the NSA, the FISA Court and Verizon share.

    • The National Security Agency’s top lawyer全民彩票网址 said the disclosures from former contractor Edward Snowden not only hurt U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities, but they also created a gap in the trust relationship between the agency and Congress.

      Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Raj De, the NSA’s general counsel, argued strenuously that each of the programs Snowden disclosed in his leaks to reporters was legal and that the agency has done nothing improper. But he said aside from the damage the disclosures did to the NSA’s ability to collect signals intelligence on legitimate overseas targets, they also may have damaged the nation’s ability to move the ball forward on improving its own cybersecurity posture.

    • As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.

    • Recently, a Redmi Note (the sub $150 Phablet from Xiaomi, scheduled to sell in India soon) user from Hong Kong identified unusual data traffic from his Smartphone when connected to any WiFi network. Upon closer inspection, the owner of the device found out that his phone was sending personal info – text messages and photos – to an unknown IP address that is located in China全民彩票网址.

    • American foreign policy has long been an exercise of divided labor. For more than fifty years, we have parceled out responsibility for guiding America’s path in the world among the Departments of State and Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and other smaller agencies. This arrangement has always presented challenges, but has come to a head with the latest wave of embarrassing revelations regarding our nation’s espionage activities in Europe. Recently, in a stunning turn, the German government expelled our top intelligence officer in Berlin, boiling the already hot waters of transatlantic relations.

    • Until this week, Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto-based data analytics company, wasn’t much of an acquirer. Despite having raised $896 million in venture capital, at a $9 billion valuation, and generating more than $500 million in revenue, Palantir has only made one acquisition in all of its ten years: VoiceGem, a young, Y-Combinator-backed messaging app, in 2013.

    • Though agency actively recruits security engineers and experts, NSA chiefs won’t speak at Black Hat or Def Con this year

    • On June 30, 2013, Wikileaks legal advisor Sarah Harrison handed over political asylum applications on behalf of Snowden to the consulate at Sheremetyevo Airport. The applications were addressed to 21 countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China全民彩票网址, Cuba, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

    • A committee is asking if the time is right for drones to take off, and will explore safety, privacy and the potential of the European industry

    • It is an economic development prize nearly unparalleled in the Washington region: the chance to pour 11,000 federal employees into a single neighborhood in one stroke.

  • Civil Rights

    • The US State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document.

    • No, none of the Senate’s 6,000-page report on torture and brutal interrogation techniques performed by the CIA during the War on Terror has been declassified yet. But we know how the White House is going to respond and what kind of questions they think the media is going to ask because somebody accidentally (or perhaps “accidentally”) leaked a four-page memo to an Associated Press reporter.

    • A White House staff member ‘accidentally emailed’ non-classified talking points about a classified torture report to an Associated Press reporter.

    • A Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention practices after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the U.S. concludes that the agency initially kept the secretary of state and some American ambassadors uninformed about harsh techniques and secret prisons, according to a document circulating among White House staff.

      The still-classified report also says some ambassadors who were informed about interrogations of al-Qaida detainees at so-called black sites in their countries were instructed not to tell their superiors at the State Department, says the document, which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter.

    • Early in his presidency, John F. Kennedy approved an ill-planned and poorly executed invasion of Cuba by a group of ex-patriots with the help of the CIA. It was a disaster. President Kennedy learned more from making that mistake than he ever did from any success in his life.

    • On July 24, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, unanimously found Poland in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights for consenting to the presence of C.I.A. prisons on its territory in 2002 and 2003. Included among the prisoners held there was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, considered the main architect of the attack on the World Trade Center; during his time in Poland, he was subjected to waterboarding about 180 times.


      Mr. Pinior hid the money with Archbishop Henryk Gulbinowicz, who concealed the cash in his private apartments in the Bishop’s Palace and, despite being interrogated, did not give it to the secret police. This successful mission enabled the financing of Solidarity’s underground activities during martial law and became the stuff of legend — and even a recent thriller, “80 Million,” by the writer and director Waldemar Krzystek.

      Through the irony of history, it was Mr. Pinior, the intellectual, who tried to found a true workers’ party, the Polish Socialist Party, known as the P.P.S., in 1987, and it was Mr. Frasyniuk who became the leader of the intelligentsia party, the Freedom Union, in 2001.

      Unfortunately, it fell to both of them to turn the lights out in their respective organizations. P.P.S. was disbanded by the Communist secret police, and the Freedom Union by the electorate. The two men drifted apart, too: Mr. Pinior remained a man of the left, but Mr. Frasyniuk became one of Poland’s most diehard neoliberals — a perfectly concise personalization of Eastern Europe’s transition from communism to capitalism.

    • If you think that democracies can harmlessly forfeit human rights in the fight against terrorism, you should think twice.

    • Just recently, for example, the Supreme Court refused to hear Hedges v. Obama, a legal challenge to the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), thereby affirming that the president and the U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals, including American citizens, based on a suspicion that they might be associated with or aiding terrorist organizations.


      The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the NDAA indefinite detention case — which challenged whether the government can lawfully lock up American citizens who might be deemed extremists or terrorists (the government likes to use these words interchangeably) for criticizing the government — is one such warning sign that we would do well to heed.

    • Taff asked to go 全民彩票官网下载. Her supervisor refused, unless Taff found someone to cover her shift. He advised her to “just switch shirts” to hide the puke stains.

    • The government has dismissed MPs’ concerns about British use of armed drones, and said it plans to expand their deployment while redoubling efforts to “promote” them to the public and MPs.

    • Poland is the first European Union member state to be found complicit in the USA’s rendition, secret detention and torture of alleged terrorism suspects, Amnesty International said as it applauded two landmark human rights judgments handed down today.

    • Former congressman and libertarian leader Ron Paul is calling for the abolishment of the CIA, citing “horrific torture practices” and interrogation policies that have been continuously denied by the government while creating “unprecedented” international resentment toward the U.S.

    • Let us be plain, there is no good reason — and certainly no reason compatible with a functioning democracy — for the CIA’s report on how the United States abandoned its principles and tortured people to remain classified. There’s no good reason — and certainly no reason compatible with a functioning democracy – for this White House to continue to be an accessory after the fact in the crimes of the preceding administration. This, by the way, is not a good reason.

    • The White House in the next few days is expected to declassify the long-awaited summary of a U.S. Senate committee study of a CIA program that used “enhanced interrogations” and secret prisons to extract information from captured militants, several officials familiar with the matter said.

      Over the last two weeks, former directors and deputy directors of the CIA have been invited by the Obama administration to review a still-secret version of the 600-page Senate Intelligence Committee summary at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    • Utah lawyer全民彩票网址 suing the FBI over its alleged inadequate search under the federal Freedom of Information Act…

    • More FOIA-related nonsense, this time from the CIA. Michael Morisy, co-founder of MuckRock, sent a request for internal emails discussing (rather ironically) the fact that the CIA’s “FOIA Portal” seems to suffer from extended periods of downtime.

    • Independence Party candidate Kevin Terrell, of Minneapolis, said he wants to bring transparency, accountability and the voice of the citizens back to Washington.

    • The Obama administration has expanded the national terrorist watchlist system by approving broad guidelines over who can be targeted. A leaked copy of the secret government guidebook reveals that to be deemed a “terrorist” target, “irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary.” Both “known” and “suspected” suspects are tracked, and terrorism is so broadly defined that it includes people accused of damaging property belonging to the government or financial institutions. Other factors that can justify inclusion on the watchlist include postings on social media or having a relative already deemed a terrorist. We are joined by investigative reporters Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept. Last week they published the secret U.S. document along with their new article, “The Secret Government Rulebook for Labeling You a Terrorist.”

    • Six officers in Philadelphia’s Narcotics Field Unit were among the biggest crooks in the city over a six-year period in which they used violence and threats to steal more than $500,000 in cash and drugs, according to a federal indictment.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s Tom Wheeler says in a letter he’s “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s move to single out unlimited data customers, which could slow their access to the Internet.

    • Earlier this week, we wrote about the ridiculousness of Verizon Wireless refering to its new plans to throttle heavy users of its LTE mobile data network as “network optimization” while denying that it was “throttling.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins of the Center of the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School have recognized what many people have: the academic publishing world is insane. Textbook pricing is generally insane, in part because the people who make the decision (the professors) are not the people doing the buying (the students), meaning that the buyers have little to no choice in what they buy. That enables the publishers to jack up the prices to absolutely insane rates. This even includes legal “casebooks” and “statutory supplements,” which are often composed of mostly public domain material (or, legal filings where the person who put together the book had no authorship). So Boyle and Jenkins are working on an open coursebook for intellectual property, which looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

    • 全民彩票官网下载s

      • Kim Dotcom is dealing with a multi-pronged attack on his assets. While the governments of both the U.S. and New Zealand work to keep already seized assets frozen, a High Court judge has just ordered the millionaire to reveal where all of his remaining assets are. Meanwhile, all U.S. civil action has been frozen until 2015.

Microsoft-Linked Codenomicon and Bluebox in the Business of Smearing FOSS/Linux/Android

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Google, Microsoft at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Name tag
Embracing and extending, but not yet extinguishing

Summary: Codenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android


icrosoft marketing again” is what our reader labeled it. Brett Winterford, who , Codenomicon, the company :

Codenomicon, which coined the term “Heartbleed” upon discovering the OpenSSL flaw, will name and shame app developers later this month when it publishes its findings on those that neglected robust security practices.

Codenomicon did not discover the bug (a man from Google did, but some give both credit); Codenomicon did the marketing, registered a domain, and spread the “Heartbleed” brand.

The , this time because of Venafi, keeping it in the media nearly 4 months later. What we basically have here is Codenomicon making a comeback, this time making derogatory claims about Android.

A reader of ours says that “it makes sense. I have trouble tracking all the names though. If one is cynical, pretty much 100% of the pro-Microsoft or anti-Linux (especially anti-FOSS) writings can be tracked to direct Microsoft influence. One wonders society can do with all the “former” employees, especially the managers.”

Codenomicon’s board is managed by a man from Microsoft, one of Microsoft’s chief executives, for those who have not been keeping up.

Another company like this is Bluebox, whose Microsoft connection we covered here before. It is a Microsoft partner created and managed by a Microsoft guy. Now it has some dirt to throw on Android, too.

We by the FOSS-hostile , ignoring any proprietary software issues) and then we saw this in the Bill Gates-funded of the , maybe coordinated ahead of distribution, leading to covering it, , even though the issue was . Later on we saw a report saying that it (key word is “could”) and , making a huge fuss about a bug that was patched very quickly.

“One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels.”While it is hard to show a conspiracy to smear Android, like Microsoft asking its former employees and affiliates who run Codenomicon and Bluebox to fill the media with negative coverage about Android bugs, we do need to consider such possibilities based on evidence that exists. It is clear who these companies are loyal to; it’s no secret, just follow the money. Why don’t they cover the loads of bugs in Windows or even the back doors, which are there by design?

The media too should be held accountable here, as we know that Microsoft bribes publishers like O’Reilly (we gave examples for years) and based on fresh complaints from the President of OSI [1], it is true that OSCON (O’Reilly’s so-called ‘open source’ conference) has become more of a Microsoft-subsidised breeding ground for moles and misdirection (sponsored by Microsoft in exchange for stage time/room).

When living in a spin zone (not spin-free zone), where many of the messengers are funded by Microsoft, it would be unwise to take and accept everything at face value. One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. At the annual OSCON (Open Source Convention) last week, those stuck in a worldview of open source from the previous decade would have suffered serious cognitive dissonance.

    First, Microsoft was an anchor of the conference, with a full-scale display from Jean Paoli’s subsidiary Microsoft Open Technologies. As I walked past I repeatedly heard people expressing shock that Microsoft was there at such scale. Wholehearted support for open source still largely stops at the boundaries of Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering, but plenty of staff people with genuine open source credentials were showing their wares. Microsoft’s journey is definitely progressing.

Is Microsoft Being Raided Not Just for Anti-Competitive Reasons but for Bribes and Back Doors?

Posted in Apple, Fraud, Microsoft, Security at 2:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Great Wall of China全民彩票网址

Summary: News about raids in Microsoft China全民彩票网址 mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft’s crimes in China全民彩票网址

. It’s game over. Android is dominating many areas, along with its derivatives or other Linux-based operating systems.

The other day there was plenty of press coverage (e.g. [, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ]) about Microsoft being raided by Chinese authorities. “Chinese regulators swarm Microsoft offices over antitrust concerns,” (focusing on competition issues, not back doors), but with claims [, , ] ranging from nationalism to concerns about Office tie-up. The tried to blame it on China全民彩票网址 and make the Chinese government look irrational (watch what , another one that’s , and ludicrous claims that ). The English-speaking Chinese press . One summary says that while mostly, instead of speaking about recent success stories with Linux, including Android, the article looks backwards and says: “While there have been several attempts to get Chinese punters to switch to Linux – including Red Flag Linux and the unimaginatively named China全民彩票网址 Operating System – none have been particularly successful at shaking off Windows’ dominance.”

Now, remember that Microsoft was raided in other countries before (e.g. Hungary) and in 2013 , as we covered at the time. There is a criminal element to Microsoft’s conduct in China全民彩票网址. One of our readers asked, “pressing for more bribes, discounts and backdoors?” Watch (terms like don’t help).

As Charlie Demerjian , Microsoft is now extorting Windows users:

Microsoft decided to extort Windows 7 users too

Not content to blow both feet off with a shotgun, Microsoft is going for the kneecaps now by blackmailing it’s customers. If you are still dumb enough to use Windows, you are about have your wallet shaken down by Microsoft in a familiar yet still unwelcome way.

We don’t feel the need to sugarcoat this much because the company’s behavior is so blatant and uncaring it is almost staggering. Worse yet the victims, that would be almost all Windows users, have only themselves to blame because the pattern has been well laid out for years now. Microsoft has been unapologetically blackmailing users for years, anyone who bought one of their products in the last few years should have known better.

China全民彩票网址 has an issue like this; even in the UK the NHS has faced similar issues and is constantly being pressured by Microsoft, as we showed some weeks ago. Office (online) and Windows (the platform for Office on the desktop) are both banned by the Chinese government now.

Leading , the (trend-setting in the US) and (trend-setting in the UK) covered this and have ended coverage by now, so we saw no urgency to point out the news immediately (unlike ), only to add some background information which has been omitted by the media. A year after Microsoft came under investigation in the US (over allegations that had bribed Chinese officials) it got a visit from Feds, so what is the likelihood that these raids are at least partly related to criminal activity? Microsoft bribery in China全民彩票网址 is nothing new; it’s how Microsoft does business and the investigation dealt with numerous countries in which Microsoft was alleged to have bribed officials. The BBC says:

Microsoft has confirmed that officials from China全民彩票网址’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce – the body responsible for enforcing business laws – have visited some of its offices.

It sounds like bribes would fall under this category. This comes amid :

Microsoft Corp’s biggest reduction in company history could cost China全民彩票网址 more than 1,000 jobs, analysts warned on Friday.

Apple too is , 200 people in fact, so let’s not treat Microsoft alone as the problem. Moreover, based on today’s (and yesterday’s) news [1-7], Russia may be close to banning or kicking out Apple and SAP, due to the fact that their software is secret (proprietary) and thus cannot be trusted.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Russia has suggested that IT-giants Apple and SAP disclose their source codes to Russian state specialists in order to clear up information security issues after the chain of spy scandals undermined trust in foreign products.

  2. Russia has made a bold request for both Apple and SAP’s source code to make sure that neither company’s software contains any sort of spy tools.

  3. To ensure that SAP and Apple products aren’t vulnerable to spying, Russia suggested last Tuesday that the companies give Russia access to their source code, Reuters reports.

Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Built with elegance, concealed with compilers

Iron doors

Summary: Recalling the times when even Microsoft staff spoke about secret government collaborations and back doors

China and Russia are currently moving away from Windows (GNU/Linux to be imminently installed on all government 全民彩票网址) — a point which we are going to focus on later today because truths about security and privacy rapidly come out, revealing the clear advantage of Free — as in freedom/libre — software. China全民彩票网址 and Russia must be motivated by advice of security gurus (of which they have plenty) and the secret services; it’s not about anti-American sentiments but about national sovereignty, especially now that we know about espionage and attacks on companies like Huawei (breached by the NSA, with proof provided).

On numerous occasions in the past we highlighted Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA, going about 7 years back. Many of Microsoft’s back doors are there by design; they need not involve slow patches, hidden patches, malware (e.g. CIPAV) or even warrants for physical access (COFFE). Microsoft is like the world’s leading back doors specialist, and it needn’t even require that people upload their data to some so-called ‘cloud’ services which tempt the gullible (low-hanging fruit). Surely Microsoft understands that it is losing business because people understand what it does now; it’s not due to misconceptions; quite the contrary; businesses and governments finally realise what was true all along. Remember Stuxnet?

Microsoft’s Scott Charney, , but as the following new article explains, the admissions from Microsoft itself are already out there and they cannot be retracted:

Scott Charney, of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing, said the government has “never” asked for a backdoor in Microsoft products. Yet a former engineer working on BitLocker claimed the government does ask, but those requests are “informal.”

Four of Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, China全民彩票网址, were raided as part of an official government investigation. Microsoft China全民彩票网址 spokeswoman Joan Li confirmed that Investigators of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce were investigating the company and Microsoft would “actively cooperate”’ with the Chinese government. The South China全民彩票网址 Morning Post reported that the investigation may involve antitrust matters.


Yet in September 2013, The New York Times reported the NSA worked with Microsoft “officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft’s most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service. Microsoft asserted that it had merely complied with ‘lawful demands’ of the government, and in some cases, the collaboration was clearly coerced.”

Mashable followed up these claims by asking the FBI if it had ever asked for backdoors in Microsoft products. Although the feds denied it, Peter Biddle, the head of the engineering team working on BitLocker in 2005, claimed that the government makes “informal requests” for backdoors. Allegedly after making claims about “going dark,” the FBI “informally” asked Microsoft for a backdoor in BitLocker.

A request for a backdoor, whether informal or not, is still a request for a backdoor. That’s quite a bit different than the government having “never done that,” but perhaps the feds didn’t request backdoor access directly from Charney?


Yet you might be wise to recall that Caspar Bowden, the man formerly in charge of Microsoft’s privacy policy for 40 countries, claims he no longer trusts Microsoft or its software; he added that Microsoft’s corporate strategy is to grind down your privacy expectations and that the company’s transparency policies are nothing more than “corporate propaganda.”

Over the years we have covered several more examples. Whenever Microsoft makes claims about collaborations with government surveillance pay careful attention not to what Microsoft is saying but what Microsoft refuses to say. The same goes for Apple. They embrace carefully-worded non-denying ‘denials’. When everyone sees through the lies they will both pay for it dearly, and perhaps go bankrupt owing to the network effect.


Ruling Against ‘Abstract’ Software Patents is Already Derailing Patent Attacks on Linux and Free Software

Posted in Patents, Samsung at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Patent litigation against Android/Linux impeded by the introduction of arguments that cite the Supreme Court

(the headline of an article just published in a legal site). This is part of using the precedence above:

When the US Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case last month, it was a signal that courts should be throwing out a lot more patents for being too abstract to be legally valid. Groups seeking patent reform and tech companies rejoiced, hoping the decision would knock out more of the patents wielded by so-called “patent trolls,” whose only business is litigation.


In legal papers (PDF), Samsung argues that both patents are attempts to “claim an abstract idea, implemented with generic computer functions that do not state any technical innovation.”

The search patent describes using “heuristics,” which an Apple witness described at trial as simply being “good ideas,” to “locate information in multiple locations.” Slide-to-unlock, meanwhile, “covers nothing more than the idea of moving an image to unlock the device.” Everything else in the key patent claim is generic computer language. “This simply is not enough to qualify for patent protection post-Alice,” write Samsung lawyer全民彩票网址s. “Both claims are invalid as a matter of law.”

Many thanks to Joe for his report. Nobody else appears to have reported this. Some people , but overall he is one of the best reporters out there on patent issues.

This is great news that shows how software patents were all along a major barrier to FOSS. Unlike (Microsoft is a FOSS foe). As one site put it the other day:

Beware Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk’s patent pledge, say experts


Unlike pledges from other companies like IBM and Red Hat, Musk did not explicitly say that his promises were intended to be legally binding or irrevocable.

Microsoft uses a similar type of promise against Mono, reminding us that Microsoft uses “Open Source” for marketing purposes. It is not a FOSS supporter but an opponent.

Links 30/7/2014: Chris Beard as CEO of Mozilla

Posted in News Roundup at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • There’s no operating system more ubiquitous than Linux. It’s everywhere. It’s even running in devices and computers you may not suspect—our cars, our cell phones, even our refrigerators. Linux supports businesses and organizations everywhere, and because it underpins open-source innovation, it is the platform of choice for new applications. Companies such as IBM and their work with organizations like the OpenPOWER Foundation are creating such new innovations as Big Blue’s new scale-out servers running Linux and putting them in places all around us. In fact, eWEEK recently ran a slide show depicting how prevalent the operating system is in the supercomputing space. Linux has quickly become the operating system of choice in the high performance computing (HPC) market, growing from relative obscurity 15 years ago to powering 97 percent of the fastest computers in the world. But its appeal is found in more than cost or choice. This list, compiled with assistance from IBM, provides some examples of where Linux is making an impact.

  • That’s what is being worked on by Linaro, an engineering group supported by a range of ARM-based chip designers, server OEMs and Linux operating system custodians, all of which share an interest in broadening the range of open-source software for the ARM platform.

    By the time the first 64-bit ARM-based SoCs become generally available for use in production servers later this year, Linaro is confident that certain core enterprise software packages used for serving websites, data analytics and databases will be running acceptably on the 64-bit ARM-based architecture.

    These enterprise software packages include the LAMP stack – an acronym for software widely used for websites, commonly referring to a Linux OS, Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP scripts – as well as the NoSQL database MongoDB and the distributed storage and processing framework Hadoop, together with other web-serving technologies such as memcached and HAProxy.

  • The fun factor continues to draw developers to Linux. This open-source system continues to succeed in the market and in the hearts and minds of developers. The success of Linux is clearly a testament to its technical quality and to the numerous benefits of free software in general. But for many, the true key to its success lies in the fact that it has brought the fun back to computing.

    One of the authors of the book Linux Device Drivers is quite clear about the fun aspects of playing with Linux. In the introduction to the book, Jonathan Corbet noted that, “The true key to the Linux success lies in the fact that it has brought the fun back to computing.” Corbet insists that Linux is a system where technical excellence is king. “With Linux, anybody can get their hands into the system and play in a sandbox where contributions from any direction are welcome, but where technical excellence is valued above all else.”

  • By now, people are aware of at least some the spying being conducted by the NSA and the GCHQ. The two programs working together form the largest data collection project in human history.

  • Desktop

    • They say you never forget your first computer. For some of us, it was a Commodore 64 or an Apple IIe. For others, it was a Pentium 233 running Windows 95. Regardless of the hardware, the fond memories of wonder and excitement are universal. For me, I’ll never forget the night my father brought 全民彩票官网下载 our first computer, a Tandy 1000. Nor will I forget the curious excitement I felt toward the mysterious beige box that took up a large portion of the guest bedroom. This happened at a time when simply having a computer at 全民彩票官网下载 gave a 全民彩票官网登录-age child an advantage. I have no doubt my experiences from that time positively influenced my path in life.

      In the decades that have passed since the beginning of the personal computer revolution, computers have gone from being a rare and expensive luxury to a mandatory educational tool. Today, a child without access to a computer (and the Internet) at 全民彩票官网下载 is at a disadvantage before he or she ever sets foot in a classroom. The unfortunate reality is that in an age where computer skills are no longer optional, far too many families don’t possess the resources to have a computer at 全民彩票官网下载.

  • Server

    • The open-source CoreOS Linux operating system hit a major milestone on July 25, issuing its first stable release. CoreOS is an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup that offers the promise of a highly available operating system platform that is fully integrated with the Docker container virtualization technology.

    • The developers behind the stripped-down CoreOS Linux distribution have pushed version 367.1.0 to the Stable release channel, marking the first time the project has delivered a production-ready release.

    • Bright Computing, which helps companies manage Linux clusters, has picked up $14.5 million in Series B funding.

      The funding is an indication of how much demand there is, in modern corporate computing environments, for clusters of servers that can grow to include hundreds or even thousands of nodes. That’s because of the increased popularity of Hadoop and other clustered storage technologies, which help companies store enormous quantities of often unstructured data on cheap commodity servers, rather than the more-expensive storage area networks and dedicated storage hardware that an earlier generation of data center architects preferred.

    • In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC teams looks at Henry Newman’s recent straw proposal for better resource management for Linux in HPC.

    • I’ve spent the last couple of months working an internship for The Linux Foundation, doing research on new developments and adoption trends in the open source industry. If you have spent any amount of time reading about open source over the last year, you have probably heard about Docker; a lot of people are talking about it these days and the impact it’s going to have on virtualization and DevOps.

      With new technologies like this, it can often be challenging to filter out the hype and understand the practical implications. Additionally, complex jargon often makes subjects like Linux containers confusing to the layman and limits discussion to those who are deeply knowledgeable on the subject. With this article, I will step back for a moment from the discussion of what Docker can do to focus on how it is changing the Linux landscape.

  • SUSE/Microsoft

    • The openSUSE Project is taking the development version of openSUSE (known to family and friends as Factory) to distribution using the “rolling release” development model.

  • Kernel Space

    • “I am really incredibly surprised that my work space is very similar to Linus’ and also the working hours are almost identical,” said Google+ blogger Rodolfo Saenz. In Saenz’s setup, though, “the treadmill stands alone. I use it religiously every day, but I don’t like to mix work with exercise. I climb on the treadmill to clean my mind, listen to music and think about many things.”

    • Unikernels promise some interesting benefits. The Ubuntu 14.04 amd64-disk1.img cloud image is 243 MB unconfigured, while the unikernel ended up at just 5.2 MB (running the queue service). Ubuntu runs a large amount of C code in security-critical places, while the unikernel is almost entirely type-safe OCaml. And besides, trying new things is fun.

    • Someone who is passionate about OpenDaylight and open SDN and recognized for their expertise and willingness to help others learn about the software. Usually hands-on practitioners. Someone who has the characteristics of being helpful, hopeful and humble. People like bloggers, influencers, evangelists who are already engaged with the project in some way. Contributing to forums, online groups, community, etc.

    • BearingPoint, Daynix, Linaro Limited and Systena Expand International Reach of Linux-Based Solutions

    • Graphics Stack

      • For those excited about the recent working Radeon R9 290 “Hawaii” Gallium3D support, a number of bug-fixes were committed in recent hours to Mesa for bettering the support for those wishing to use this open-source AMD Linux driver for their ultra high-end graphics hardware.

      • Benchmarks of Valve’s Source Engine games (and other Steam titles for that matter) aren’t done in all Phoronix driver tests and graphics card articles for various reasons, among which is that there’s other more GPU-demanding OpenGL tests to utilize for modern hardware. However, for those curious about the performance of various AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards using the latest proprietary drivers, here’s some updated numbers.

      • NVIDIA is working on adding HEVC/H.265 video decoding support to VDPAU.

        NVIDIA developers are extending the “Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix” interfaces to allow the HEVC/H.265 requirements. The work aims to enable hardware-accelerated decoding of HEVC content under VDPAU and to provide a reference implementation for this video decoding. José Hiram Soltren, the developer that worked on this support, is also working on a HEVC decode patch for FFmpeg and MPlayer based upon the new API.

  • Applications

    • Data Crow 4.0.1, a media cataloger and organizer that can be used to manage all your collections in one product, has been released and is available for download.

    • Proprietary

      • 2X Software, a global leader in virtual application and mobile device management solutions, today announced the release of a new version of the 2X RDP Client for Linux. This award-winning application has been downloaded more than 6 million times and holds an average 4.5 out of 5 stars rating in the major app marketplaces.

      • LinMin’s Virtual Appliance enables Bare Metal Auto-Provisioning of Windows Server, Linux, VMware ESXi and other Hypervisors on Servers, Blades and Virtual Machines in Fast-Growing Cloud, Hosting, Big Data, PaaS and IaaS Data Centers

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • As of release 4.0.0, FreeIPA supports OTP authentication. HOTP and TOTP tokens are supported natively, and there is also support for proxying requests to a separately administered RADIUS server.

    • Games

      • Steam’s release followed by the announcement of Steam OS was an unexpected boon for the slow growth of gaming on Linux. Both the developments were major milestones when it comes to Linux’s recognition as a commercially viable gaming platform. Be it Left 4 Dead or Portal, Linux is no longer the operating system for nerds. It has truly gone mainstream.

      • Darkwood, a top-down survival game developed and published by the Acid Wizard Studio, has arrived on Steam for Linux.

      • Pulstar, a fast and fun twin-stick shooter game developed by Concave Studio, Colorful Media, and Emagica, has arrived on the Linux platform.

      • Steam OS images were made available for free download yesterday. I grabbed the images, created an ISO and booted a high-end system on it (it was a working Windows 8 desktop). Instead of automated install, I chose advanced install so I could see what was going on. It was a pure Debian installer experience.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • I created and published a series of videos few months ago, that show how to set up multiple keyboard layouts in different Desktop Environments.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • The Qt 5.4 feature freeze is set to go into effect on 8 August with already there being a large number of changes for this next major Qt5 tool-kit release.

        Heikkinen Jani of Digia sent out a reminder this morning that the 5.4 feature freeze is effective beginning 8 August. The Qt 5.4 code will be branched from Qt’s “dev” branch on 11 August.

      • Today in Linux news, the Kubuntu team have released ISOs with the Plasma 5 desktop for all to test. Russia has offered 3.9m roubles to anyone who can crack the Tor network. And Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a round-up of the best in Linux desktops.

      • Finally I’ve had the time to work over the final issues in meta-kf5. Right now, I build most tier 1 and tier 2 components. I’ve packaged most functional modules and integration modules from these tiers.

      • The guidelines suggest layout patterns for simple, complex and very complex command structures. So where does our calendar app fit? Well, I wasn’t quite sure either. And that’s ok! Some things are tough to know until you start delving into the design work. The guidelines suggest starting with a pattern for a simple command structure when you’re not sure. So that’s what I did. As I started putting together a design and thinking about how Sue would use it for the purposes described, it became clear that not only were there several other desirable functions (like switching calendars, setting up calendar accounts, setting calendar colors, and more) but there are also certain commands Sue might use quite often (like switching between a day, week and month view of her schedule, adding an event and quickly getting back to today after browsing forward or back in time). So I settled on the suggested Toolbar + Menu Button command pattern for a complex command structure.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • My talk at GUADEC this year was about GTK+ dialogs. The first half of the talk consisted of a comparison of dialogs in GTK+ 2, in GTK+ 3 under gnome-shell and in GTK+ 3 under xfwm4 (as an example of an environment that does not favor client-side decorations).

      • According to the changelog, the deprecated GtkMisc and GtkAlignment usage has been dropped, the GUI test handling has been improved, the dialogs made with Glade have been converted to GResource and widget templates, disabling the dark theme plugin no longer disables the dark theme, and the plugin manager is now resizing in the preferences window.

      • The third day of GUADEC was mostly devoted to lower level parts of the GNOME stack. There were talks on GTK+, CSS, Wayland, and WebKitGTK+, but also an annual general meeting of the GNOME Foundation.

      • They say you never forget your first computer. For some of us, it was a Commodore 64 or an Apple IIe. For others, it was a Pentium 233 running Windows 95. Regardless of the hardware, the fond memories of wonder and excitement are universal. For me, I’ll never forget the night my father brought 全民彩票官网下载 our first computer, a Tandy 1000. Nor will I forget the curious excitement I felt toward the mysterious beige box that took up a large portion of the guest bedroom. This happened at a time when simply having a computer at 全民彩票官网下载 gave a 全民彩票官网登录-age child an advantage. I have no doubt my experiences from that time positively influenced my path in life.

      • Earlier this year the Groupon discount web-site introduced Gnome, a tablet software solution for helping business owners run their business. This software is completely unrelated to the open-source GNOME desktop environment on Linux systems. The Groupon Gnome announcement reads, “Today we announced Gnome, a new tablet-based platform that will provide sophisticated tools to local merchants to run their businesses more effectively and understand their customers better. The tablet will let merchants instantly recognize their Groupon customers as they enter their business, seamlessly redeem Groupons and save time and money with a simple point of-sale system and credit card payment processing service. Gnome will soon integrate with popular accounting software programs such as QuickBooks and Xero and offer a suite of customer relationship management tools, including the ability to customize marketing campaigns based on purchase history, share customer feedback via social media and respond to customer inquiries or comments.”

      • GTK+ and GNOME Wayland support were frequent focal discussion points at this year’s GUADEC — GNOME’s annual conference — for getting rid of X11.

  • Distributions

    • Minimal Linux Live is a set of Linux shell scripts which automatically build minimal Live Linux OS based on Linux kernel and BusyBox. All necessary source codes are automatically downloaded and all build operations are fully encapsulated in the scripts.

    • Building highly customized live images isn’t easy and running them in production makes it more challenging. Once the upstream kernel has a stable, solid, stackable filesystem, it should be much easier to operate a live environment for extended periods. There has been a parade of stackable filesystems over the years (remember funion-fs?) but I’ve been told that overlayfs seems to be a solid contender. I’ll keep an eye out for those kernel patches to land upstream but I’m not going to hold my breath quite yet.

    • Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution designed especially for newcomers to Linux. With a Windows-like interface and many programs similar to those found in Microsoft’s proprietary OS, it aims to make it easy for Windows users to get the most out of Linux.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux 6.0 Preview, a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, has been released and is now ready for testing.

    • Screenshots

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro 0.8.10, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and 100% compatible with Arch, has received a new update pack, the fourth one so far.

      • A preview version of Manjaro Openbox 0.8.11, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories that are completely compatible with Arch, is now available for download and testing.

      • A preview version of Manjaro KDE 0.8.11, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and 100% compatible with Arch, is now available for download and testing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • On every floor at Red Hat Tower in downtown Raleigh, you’ll find a brand message sign that describes Red Hat’s values and culture. On my floor, where I am an intern at Red Hat, the brand message is “Leaders are catalysts, turning shared purpose into shared results.” I see this sign multiple times everday. Coming into work. Going to meetings. Grabbing a coffee. It’s always there.

      • In one open source project (on which I was a release manager), the main metric I cared about was the bugs open against a milestone. As time went on, and the number was not going down fast enough, we regularly would bump bugs to the next milestone, not because they were not important issues, but because we knew that they would not be fixed by the date we had set ourselves. Having participated in a number of projects, I have a pretty good idea that this is a universal tendency as release approaches.

      • Fedora

        • Recently, I have been using what will become Fedora 21 as my day-to-day machine, (side note: I have found it to be pretty stable for pre-release software). One really nice improvement that i am enjoying on Fedora 21 is the addition of the solarized color scheme in both the default terminal (gnome-terminal), and the default graphical text editior (gedit). Solarized comes in both light and dark variants, and really makes these applications look fantastic and works really well on a wide range of displays and screen brightness levels. From the solarized website:

    • Debian Family

      • Long story short, due to security concerns, package incompatibility issues, and being too short of time before the Debian 8.0 Jessie release, and there’s some measurable resistance to adding FFmpeg back to the repository. However, others are after FFmpeg in Debian for features it has over Libav with regard to some codecs and other abilities, some programs not compiling against Libav, and other differences between it and the forked Libav project. Time will tell if/when FFmpeg will be allowed back in Debian and whether it will happen in time for the 8.0 Jessie releae.

      • This is the tenth major update and unfortunately the last one in the life of this branch of the Debian distribution. According to the official changelog this update corrects alot of security problems due to the old stable release and contains a few fixes for serious problems. It is very important to mention the fact that this major update of the Debian 6.x included all the security updates that have never been part of a point release.

        Read more

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu for phones is going through a rough week and no new images have been promoted, mostly because of a few nasty bugs that prevented the release of a new stable version. The developers are working to fix the problem, but it might take a while until Ubuntu Touch users get their updates.

          • A Jinja2 exploit has been identified and repaired in the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system by Canonical developers.

          • Canonical has announced that Ubuntu mobile devices will use Nokia HERE maps by default, making this the start of a very interesting partnership.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peach OSI, a new Linux distribution based on Xubuntu that aims to be friendly towards new users and to provide all the software that regular users need, has been released.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • LittleBits launched a tiny $59 ARM9-based “CloudBit” SBC that adds Internet access to the company’s collection of 60+ electronics modules for DIY projects.

    • Hardkernel launched a $30, 60 x 36mm Raspberry-Pi compatible “Odroid-W” wearables oriented SBC, adding eMMC, ADC, RTC, a fuel gauge, and step converters.

      Hardkernel’s Odroid project developed the Odroid-W (Odroid-Wearable) for a partner’s Internet of Things prototyping platform, after first considering and dismissing its quad-core Odroid-U3 single board computer. The Odroid-U3, which was rated as the third most popular Linux hacker SBC in our recent survey, used too much power for use as an IoT and wearables platform. The Raspberry Pi was more power efficient, but too large. No doubt, RPi compatibility also had its attractions, as the project ended up building its own Raspberry Pi pseudo-clone implemented on a COM (computer-on-module) style form factor.

    • 全民彩票网址Phones

      • Today my thoughts in a longer blog about how I am seeing the mobile industry now in 2014. We are now shifting from the era of the ‘Hunters’ to the era of the ‘Farmers’. The unknown big wins and prizes (and perils) have mostly been discovered and most of the big players in the industry are shifting to tried-and-true parts that work, abandoning those that don’t. From hunters to farmers.

      • Ballnux

        • Does Tizen have a future, or is it going to be another unlaunched Linux-based mobile operating system?

        • Although it has been almost a year since Google announced the Android 4.4 Kitkat OS, Samsung is still having difficulty in rolling out the latest version of the operating system.

      • Android

        • Most Android users are by now well aware of Cyanogen and their custom operating system CyanogenMod (CM). Earlier this month CM11 M8 was finally released which brought CM users up to Android 4.4.4. However if you own a Nexus 5 you can now install CM11S.

        • Everything there is to know about Android Wear smartwatches including LG G Watch, Motorola Moto 360, Samsung Gear Live, HTC One Wear and Google Gem.

        • Android is a Google product—it’s designed and built from the ground up to integrate with Google services and be a cloud-powered OS. A lot of Android is open source, though, and there’s nothing that says you have to use it the way that Google would prefer. With some work, it’s possible to turn a modern Android smartphone into a Google-less, completely open device—so we wanted to try just that. After dusting off the Nexus 4 and grabbing a copy of the open source parts of Android, we jumped off the grid and dumped all the proprietary Google and cloud-based services you’d normally use on Android. Instead, this experiment runs entirely on open source alternatives. FOSS or bust!

        • Android has taken the world by storm, but many open source advocates view Google’s mobile operating system with a dubious eye. Can Android ever be made to be a truly free and open source operating system? Or is too tied to Google’s products and services? Ars Technica took a stab at creating a FOSS version of Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The seL4 kernel that’s an advanced, security-enhanced version of the L4 micro-kernel has been open-sourced by General Dynamics C4 Systems and NICTA.

  • Open sourcing the operating system will allow for further development in medical devices and industrial automation


    seL4 is a joint project between NICTA and General Dynamics C4 Systems, a US aerospace and defence company. It is released under the GNU General Public License, version 2 and includes all of the kernel’s source code, the mathematical proofs, as well as other code and proofs for building highly secure systems.

  • Web apps are convenient, but you don’t have any control over them. You never know if your favorite tool will evaporate when the company goes out of business or, as was the case of Google Reader, simply discontinued.

    Of course you can try running your own server loaded up with open source applications, but that’s still a real pain for most non-geeks.

    Former Google engineer Kenton Varda and neuroscientist Jade Wang think they’ve come up with way to fix both of these problems. It’s called Sandstorm: an open source project that gives you just as much control over cloud apps as you get on your very own servers, but without the hassles.

  • The move is meant to encourage responsible vulnerability disclosure practices.

  • For small and medium-sized businesses looking to save money, open source applications offer an easy way to reduce expenses related to software licensing and subscriptions. In addition, many open source applications offer additional features or better usability when compared with their closed source counterparts.

    This month, we’ve updated our list of open source software that are good options for SMBs. Many businesses have their first open source experience when they deploy a Linux-based server, and our list includes a wide variety of server software, such as operating systems, accounting, ERP and mail and groupware solutions.

  • Drones are an integral part of modern warfare, which is just one of many reasons why it would be unusually bad if malefactors were able to hack them. (See the recently finished season of 24.) seL4, an ironclad drone programming protocol, is about to go open-source, allowing both governments and enthusiasts to keep their autonomous flying 全民彩票网址 secure.

    seL4 is an operating system kernel that acts as a go-between for hardware and software in an electronic device. It was developed by the National Information and Communications Technology Australia (NICTA) and the American defense company General Dynamics C4 Systems. Up until now, the program has only been available to governments and defense companies.

  • With mid-term evaluations just around the corner for many technology-focused summer internship programs, here’s a closer look at how the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and Outreach Program for Women (OPW) are helping mentors as well as interns.

  • Open source SDN controllers enable the testing of applications and the promotion of network virtualization and NFV. Check out five open source SDN controllers to know about.

  • There’s a big drive in networking towards open source with OpenDaylight and other initiatives. But enterprises aiming for open networking must make a decision: Either settle for “open enough” options from vendors that may not be truly open source but offer the interoperability and support they need, or commit to the ideals and development of true open source technology.

  • French cloud service provider Cloudwatt announced that it has deployed open source SDN controller OpenContrail in its OpenStack-based datacentre in a bid to improve network operations and deployment speeds.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • The Development branch of Google Chrome, a browser built on the Blink layout engine that aims to be minimalistic and versatile at the same time, has been updated to version 38.0.2107.2 for all the supported platforms.

    • Mozilla

      • I am pleased to announce that Chris Beard has been appointed CEO of Mozilla Corp. The Mozilla board has reviewed many internal and external candidates – and no one we met was a better fit.

      • Mozilla has finally filled the gap by appointing Chris Beard as the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. Mozilla as an organization is lead by Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit (not charity) organization which created Mozilla Corp as a fully owned subsidiary back in 2005.

      • Mozilla has announced that Firefox 32 Beta 1 has been released, marking the start of another branch for the famous Internet browser.

      • The idea of a new version of Firefox will sound like a bad joke to some. To others, it’s a yawn – Firefox comes at the blistering pace of one new version every six weeks.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Pivotal and Hortonworks announced plans to work together to boost enterprise-grade offerings on Apache Ambari, Hortonworks’ framework for provisioning, managing and monitoring Apache Hadoop clusters. Pivotal said it will dedicate engineers to contribute installation, configuration and management capabilities to Ambari.

  • Databases

    • In a move that will please devotees of open source cloud storage, hosting giant Rackspace (RAX) has announced it will officially support two additional types of open source MySQL databases, from MariaDB and Percona.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Starting this Friday, Aug. 1, the more than 300,000 students who registered for the Linux Foundation’s free Introduction to Linux course on edX will be able to log in and start learning Linux. It is the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Linux, opening training access to anyone around the world with an Internet connection. It’s also part of a larger revolution in education being led by edX, the online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Interview about mandoc with Ingo Schwarze. The project webpage describes mandoc as “a suite of tools compiling mdoc, the roff macro language of choice for BSD manual pages, and man, the predominant historical language for UNIX manuals.”

    • If you live in the UK, you’ll soon be able to fill out government paperwork with your freedoms intact. The British government announced last week that Open Document Format (ODF), HTML, and PDF will be the official file formats used by all government agencies.


    • This is the fourth release of the 0.2 series as part of the GNU project; it is primarily a maintenance release, but does introduce a significant (preview and undocumented) feature—parameterized traits. A generic `super` method has also been added to satisfy more sophisticated subtyping that `__super` alone cannot handle.

    • The latest addition to Coreboot is native RAM initialization support for Intel’s Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge families.

    • I’m excited to announce that MediaGoblin has hired its second full-time programmer: Jessica Tallon! Those of you who follow MediaGoblin closely may recognize that name: Jessica joined us as part of our Outreach Program for Women participation last year (she wrote about her experiences with the program on this blog). Jessica has been working on federation support in the project.

  • Licensing

    • This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab’s series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

    • GPLv2 is one of the most widely used FOSS licenses, if not the most. It is the license for some of the most important and commercially valuable FOSS projects, including the Linux kernel, whose contributors include such uncomfortable bedfellows as Oracle and Google, Intel and AMD, and Cisco and Huawei. If XimpleWare is right, and a license under GPLv2 offers no protection from the licensor’s patents, Linux would be a landmine for these companies, and really for any company with fewer patents than IBM.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Much of the data that journalists find on the web they can download as a spreadsheet or as CSV or PDF files. But there’s a lot of information that’s embedded in web pages. Instead of manually copying and pasting that information, a trick just about every data journalist uses is scraping. Scraping is the act of using an automated tool to grab information embedded in a web page, often in the form of an HTML table.

    • Open Hardware

      • Now don’t laugh. I see what you’re about to say: this project looks like a mess. But trust me when I tell you this thing could be slapped to your face sooner than later, provided you prefer not to trust Google with your location, photo, and activity data and provided you’re a lover of open source hardware.

  • Programming

    • Cloud 9 has recently launched a new version of their online IDE. Usually, online developer tools are simpler than their native counterparts, some even refusing to call them IDEs. But Cloud 9 does not want to be just a rich editor, incorporating more and more features of a traditional integrated development environment.

    • AdaCore has released a freely downloadable version of its GNAT GPL Ada cross-development environment for Bare Board ARM Cortex processors.

      GNAT GPL for Bare Board ARM Cortex processors provides an Ada 2012 development environment, including a tool-chain and GPS, AdaCore’s flagship Integrated Development Environment (IDE).


  • Health/Nutrition

    • The polio problem in Pakistan right now is a result of the CIA’s actions in the country全民彩票网址, says Mufti Muneeb Ur Rehman, a prominent and moderate cleric in Pakistan. He personally accepts the polio vaccine. He encourages people at his mosque to get their kids vaccinated.

    • He pointed out that proper awareness and mass education campaigns regarding polio were required to make polio drops generic with other childhood vaccine preventable diseases to help shed away misconceptions surrounding polio vaccine and its association with CIA due to the suspicious role of Dr Shakeel Afridi.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • As Johnson wrote on Twitter, “Could the CIA incite revolution in Sudan by pressuring Facebook to promote discontent? Should that be legal? Could Mark Zuckerberg swing an election by promoting Upworthy [a website aggregating viral content] posts two weeks beforehand? Should that be legal?”

    • An agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who led the US probe into the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 has denied claims made by a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s former officer who told RIA Novosti that FBI investigators did not read vital US intelligence material related to the attack.

    • President Obama announced new sanctions on Russia Tuesday, telling reporters “this is not a new Cold War.” The announcement by the US president came the same day that the European Union also approved broader sanctions against Russia.

    • What better proof of that phenomenon than the continuation of the Cold War embargo against Cuba, the island nation 90 miles away from American shores that the Pentagon and the CIA have always been convinced is a beachhead in the worldwide communist conspiracy to conquer the United States and subject the American people to communist rule?

    • A new “reset” in relations between Russia and the United States is unlikely as bilateral cooperation has been practically frozen and Washington has gone ‘rather far’ in anti-Russian rhetoric and sanctions, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday.

    • Global airlines will push to get “neutral information” on whether to use or avoid airspace over conflict zones at Tuesday’s meeting of the UN aviation agency and other airline bodies, a European-based airline industry source said.

    • Hamas is deserving of sympathy while al-Qaeda mostly is not, largely because of the feeling that the former cannot do much to Americans, and the latter might do a lot. Westerners, particularly Europeans, sympathize with the underdog in the Middle East as a sort of self-flagellation, a catharsis to deal with their own empty privilege. Postmodern Westerners are guilty about their affluence and leisure, but not to the point of surrendering them. They square the circle of criticizing what they are by projecting their self-animus onto Israel, a small, successful Western outpost surrounded by the less successful Other.

    • In other words, Obama demanded that Israel institute an immediate unilateral ceasefire even while Hamas continues its terrorist operations against Israel. True to form, Hamas escalated its attacks on Monday.

    • If outlets like CNN and the Times are going to give so much attention to these Hamas-built tunnels, shouldn’t they add this context to their reporting? Or is the “propaganda push” just more effective when these inconvenient facts aren’t mentioned?

    • Five years ago Palestinian student Amer Shurrab lost his two brothers in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. Last week, Shurrab learned four of his cousins in Gaza had been killed in Israel’s latest offensive. In January 2009, Amer’s father and brothers were fleeing their village when the vehicle they were driving in came under Israeli fire. Twenty-eight-year-old Kassab died in a hail of bullets trying to flee the vehicle. Amer’s other brother, 18-year-old Ibrahim, survived the initial attack, but Israeli troops refused to allow an ambulance to reach him until 20 hours later. By then, it was too late. Ibrahim had bled to death in front of his father. A graduate student at Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, Amer Shurrab has been recounting the story of his brothers and other Palestinians at college campuses and community gatherings across the United States. “Israel is deliberately targeting civilians from the day one of this attack,” he says. “They have been bombing houses, wiping entire families to try to scare people into submission.”

    • The Australian Government provides humanitarian aid to Gaza amounting to $5 million to be delivered through the governments accredited partners in Gaza: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), World Vision and APHEDA.

    • The conventional answer tells us that the June abduction and murders of three Israeli teenagers is the answer. This crime was carried out by Hamas, Israeli officials claim, and it led to a brutal crackdown on Hamas officials in the West Bank. Hundreds were detained, and several Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli security forces. Rocket fire from Gaza then intensified, forcing the Israelis to launch the current military assault.

    • To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means — it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard.

    • Ruling party lawmakers propose altering Russian legislation to allow for automatic sanctions against foreign countries that the government includes on a special list of ‘aggressor nations’.

    • Sony Pictures has acquired the film rights to the book “Agent Storm: Life Inside Al Qaeda” by Morten Storm, Deadline reported.

    • It came just hours after he resigned as Prime Minister. While it has no salary it pays him huge dividends in the form of political access and the appearance of still having some clout.

      His office – funded at around £2million a year by the EU, UN, US and Russia – is tasked with promoting the economic development of Palestine.

    • America must come to grips with an uncomfortable reality: Our world influence is beginning to wane. The two main crises that have dominated the airwaves for the past few weeks, the Malaysian Airline downed by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatist forces and the latest chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have made this development perfectly clear. We have overstretched, overreached and overplayed our influence for too long.

    • World history is filled with empires, e.g. the Roman and Byzantine empires, the European colonial empires, various ancient Iranian empires, the Arab Caliphate and Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Union to name a few. These historic empires have one thing in common: they no longer exist. As the lifecycle of empire wanes, rather than being a benefit to the 全民彩票官网下载 country全民彩票网址, sustaining empire becomes more expensive than it is worth.

    • The loss of civilian life is awful, but it is no Holocaust. It is, though, an opportunity for anti-Semites, latent or otherwise, to express their bigotry. Their implied statement is that the Jews had it coming — see how they act now! Their bigotry overpowers their logic and they deliriously lose all sense of proportion — 6 million versus 1,000 or so in Gaza — and they conflate the killer with the killed. It is repugnant.

      For Erdogan, the handier and closer to 全民彩票官网下载 reference would have been what the Turks did to the Armenians. This genocide — the very word was coined by Raphael Lemkin to encompass what happened to 1.5 million Armenians during and after World War I — has been roundly denied by the Turkish government. In a dizzying feat of irrationality, the head of that government brushes past the crimes of his own nation to point an accusatory finger at the victims of another nation.

    • Seven protesters from places like Maryland, Vermont and New York City, were arrested for blocking the entrance to the base. Syracuse drone resister Ed Kinane, who was part of a group supporting the protest, says Hancock has become a prime target for more and more anti-drone activists.

    • These are the peace activists I met during their 165-mile walk from Chicago to Battle Creek, Michigan. They were protesting the plan to make the Michigan Air National Guard base in Battle Creek the latest U.S. command center to operate the MQ9 Predator drones that strike targets in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other places where terrorists roam. Their walk across the Chicago lakeshore and the country全民彩票网址 roads of Indiana and southwestern Michigan was a tool to communicate the message that drone warfare is a bad idea. Drones kills innocents. Drones give their pilots post-traumatic stress disorder. Drones endanger Americans at 全民彩票官网下载, as these weapons will eventually be used by our enemies on us.

    • They are the future of war and no army is complete without them. Now Israel has become the latest country全民彩票网址 to deploy unmanned ground vehicles. Loyal Partner is an UGV operated by soldiers at a remote location a ground drone, in layman speak, which already has many sister 全民彩票网址.

      Defence giant Oshkosh has developed self-driving technology that allows military vehicles to see better than humans in murky combat conditions. They?re now being tested by the United States Marine Corps.

    • Israel has stepped up its military campaign in Gaza, where more than 100 Palestinians have been killed today alone and power supplies have been crippled by the destruction of the territory’s only power plant.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • New ‘light touch’ rules on bank’s $50bn annual lending have been gutted to remove protections, watchdogs claim

  • Finance

    • An estimated 1 in 3 adults with a credit history — or 77 million people — are so far behind on some of their debt payments that their account has been put “in collections.”

    • The delinquent debt is overwhelmingly concentrated in Southern and western states

    • In China全民彩票网址, a parade of local governments are rushing to raise the minimum wage, with the moves coming amid a recent widening of the already-large gap between rich and poor.

    • The federal judge didn’t notice that the request to dismiss the charges against the guy he sentenced to 150 years in prison was filed by one “Frederick Banks, the Litigator Legal Asst.” FYI: Frederick Banks is a federal prisoner in Ohio whose hobby is filing frivolous lawsuits and accusing the government of employing its arsenal of “voice to skull” mind-control weaponry on him. In this particular case, Banks was posing as Ponzi Master extraordinaire Bernie Madoff.

    • About 83,000 Defense Department employees and contractors with security clearances to protect the nation’s secrets have delinquent federal tax debts totaling $730 million, according to an internal government audit.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The media outlet VICE have reported that they have obtained disclosures showing that numerous Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) judges own or have owned stock in Verizon in the last 12 months and at least one of them has signed off on National Security Agency (NSA) orders for bulk metadata collection.

    • Last week, Mike Adams, who calls himself the Health Ranger and runs the site Natural News, posted a truly insane article which seems to advocate violence against scientists and journalists who support genetic engineering.

  • Censorship

    • Chilling Effects is the largest public repository of DMCA notices on the planet, providing a unique insight into the Internet’s copyright battles. However, each month people try to de-index pages of the site but Google has Chilling Effects’ back and routinely rejects copyright claims.

    • A Pakistani mob burned down several 全民彩票官网下载s belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect in the country全民彩票网址’s east, killing a woman and her two granddaughters in riots following rumors about blasphemous postings on Facebook, police said Monday.

      The rioting in the city of Gujranwala erupted late Sunday after claims that an Ahmadi had posted a blasphemous photo of the Kaaba — the cube-shaped structure in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which observant Muslims around the world face in prayer five times a day, police official Zeeshan Siddiqi said. He said the photo allegedly contained nudity.

    • In March, Pakistani columnist Raza Rumi was injured in a gun attack that killed his driver. Weeks later, Hamid Mir, star journalist of Geo TV, Pakistan’s biggest TV station, was shot six times. Luckily, both survived, and managed to avoid becoming part of a bleak statistic: Since 1992, 30 journalists have been murdered in Pakistan; 28 with impunity.

    • Dong Rubin, a blogger in the southern Chinese province of Yunan who has written critically of local officials’ actions, has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison as a wave of arrests of journalists and bloggers signal tightening of government control of the internet.

  • Privacy

    • A new German cloud storage startup is preparing to launch a service it bills as more secure than Dropbox, thanks to offering client-side encryption (which Dropbox does not). So far so SpiderOak et al.

    • How much does it concern you that your emails, texts, social media, and phone calls might be monitored?

    • The latest tool for people desperate to share their views without sharing that they’ve shared them, Leak is a site that lets you send anonymous emails to anyone, signed only “a friend,” “a colleague,” or just “someone.”

    • Ever since Edward Snowden revealed the true extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance methods, the public debate has focused mostly on issues of privacy and national security. But new evidence shows that the fallout from the NSA backlash is wider than we thought, and could cost U.S. companies billions.

    • In the year since Edward Snowden began disclosing the scope of National Security Agency’s programs to use cell phone networks, the Internet and various commercial websites to spy on both American citizens and foreign nationals, there has been considerable speculation about the cost of these programs to the U.S. information technology industry in terms of money and trust.

    • U.S. technology companies are in danger of losing more business to foreign competitors if the National Security Agency’s power to spy on customers isn’t curbed, researchers with the New America Foundation said in a report Tuesday.

      The report, by the foundation’s Open Technology Institute, called for prohibiting the NSA from collecting data in bulk, while letting companies report more details about what information they give the government. Senate legislation introduced Tuesday would fulfill some recommendations by the institute, a Washington-based advocacy group that has been critical of NSA programs.

    • Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday night that the company will fight a tactic used by the U.S. government to force tech companies to turn over customers’ emails stored on remote servers.

    • Since last year, many tech companies have lost millions in foreign revenue after a former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden leaked information shedding light on the NSA and that it had been spying on people all over the world without them even knowing it. This has caused many companies that would use American tech companies for clouding services to end their contracts due to the fear of them being spied on.

    • Mass surveillance is now a part of our social, economic and political lives—governments and companies snoop on us like never before. But are we really heading toward an Orwellian future?

    • The biggest proponents of Big Data in education believe collecting the most intimate details about your child and family will help them engineer society, Jane Robbins says in this interview with the Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas.

    • Drake did come across as gloomy, and he has every reason to. He was hounded, threatened and faced the prospect of having the key thrown away for decades for mishandling documents under the Espionage Act. In June 2011, the 10 original charges filed against him were dropped, leaving the way for a plea for misusing a computer. He now works in an Apple store in Maryland, having had his security access revoked, and the circle of friends within the intelligence community withdrawn. Mixing with Drake is dangerous business if you want to get far on the retirement plan and keep sighing at the picket fence. This is the “radioactive” dilemma – one which the hardened whistleblower faces. Expose, and the world withdraws.

    • MARK COLVIN: While Julian Assange himself is still stuck in a room in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the NSA (National Security Agency) whistleblower Edward Snowden is in Moscow, where he got stuck on his way from Hong Kong more than a year ago.

      His visa runs out tomorrow, though Russia is expected to renew it.

      Yesterday the German justice minister suggested Snowden was too young to spend his life being hunted. He advised him to return to the United States and face the charges against him.

      Thomas Drake is a former senior executive of the US National Security Agency who was prosecuted as a whistleblower on multiple felony charges but eventually walked free on a misdemeanour.

      Jesselyn Radack is his lawyer全民彩票网址 and a member of Edward Snowden’s legal team.

      They are in the country全民彩票网址 as guests of the Wheeler Centre and they joined me from our Melbourne studio.

      I started by asking what would have happened if, instead of fleeing, Edward Snowden had given a press conference in Washington.

    • Former CIA employee Edward Snowden has been living in Russia for nearly one year. German justice minister Heiko Maas has suggested he go back to the USA.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been living in Russia for nearly one year. Now German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has suggested he go back to the US, sparking outrage among left-wing politicians.

    • Instead of being hunted and changing countries all his life, Edward Snowden should return to the US and face charges, shared the German Justice Minister, arousing waves of indignant comments from political opponents and human rights activists worldwide.

    • Apple has finally acknowledged that its staff can extract personal data including text messages, contact lists and photos from i全民彩票网址Phones through previously unpublicized techniques. This ongoing and fermenting incident poses a severe security challenge.

    • Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said if criminalising journalism was the effect of the new legislation, “the government will need to make changes to remove that consequence”.

    • US authorities have rejected claims that Snowden is a whistleblower, insisting that he committed crimes and should stand trial at 全民彩票官网下载. The US charged Snowden with espionage and revoked his passport.

    • The cutting-edge technology used in drones provides our military with an unrivaled perspective from above, allowing them to identify and engage targets from miles away, but now that the same technology is being used on American soil, many are starting to feel a little uneasy about the idea of an elusive, video-equipped robot watching their every move.

    • The Senate’s new version of the USA Freedom Act of 2014 was getting a round of applause from stakeholders Tuesday following its introduction.

    • Gen. Keith Alexander stepped down from the NSA in March, now he’s raking in the dough as a “cyberconsultant”

    • Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Administration, is filing for tech security patents related to his work running the NSA.

    • The U.S. government must clean up the act of its National Security Agency (NSA) if trust in cloud providers is to be restored, according to a think tank.

      In its Surveillance Costs: The NSA’s Impact on the Economy, Internet Freedom and Cybersecurity report, the New America Foundation (NAF) claims U.S. cloud firms have borne the brunt of the NSA scandal.

    • I must give credit where it is due: As Slate’s Will Oremus wrote in a piece called “Facebook’s Privacy Pivot” a few days ago, the social network has greatly improved its handling of user privacy in recent months. In a sense.

      Once a company that seemed to delight in undermining its users’ choice of privacy settings, these days the social network promotes “friends” rather than “public” as its default post setting, it has an “anonymous” version of its site login tool that limits what personal information logged-into services can see, and it’s just generally less… shifty. Hooray for that.

    • Over the weekend, German writer and cultural critic Thorsten Pattberg told RIA Novosti that despite Germany’s seemingly harsh retribution over NSA spying and public concern of the future of the transatlantic relationship, Germany ultimately will not risk alienation from the United States.

    • Edward Snowden’s asylum in Russia is set to expire on July 31. He has requested an extension for another year and is awaiting approval from Moscow. He was stranded for weeks at the airport in Moscow in June 2013 after the U.S. voided his passport.

    • A Federal Aviation Administration ban on commercial drones would kill dozens of drone programs at universities across the country全民彩票网址, a group of professors told the agency late last week.

    • The US Government’s mass surveillance programs are chilling the rights of journalists and lawyer全民彩票网址s, and weakening democratic institutions in the process, according to a new report authored by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. The report found that journalists’ sources are either drying up or talking less, and attorneys are increasingly concerned about their ability to keep privileged client-information private.

    • The U.S. National Security Agency is hoping that a new spokesman will be able to help clean up the public relations mess created by years of widespread, indiscriminate surveillance on prominent members of the international community and American citizens alike in the name of national security. The job features a nice salary and room for growth although morale has been so low at the agency since the Edward Snowden leak, President Obama himself was asked to stop by the headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, to give a pep talk.

    • Let’s introduce Bill Binney, who used to work at the NSA for nearly 30 years as one of its leading crypto-mathematicians. Following that, he became one of its leading whistleblowers.

    • Cops hit social media, cell towers, surveillance cams, and license plate readers.

    • On July 4 2014 we found a group of relays that we assume were trying to deanonymize users. They appear to have been targeting people who operate or access Tor hidden services. The attack involved modifying Tor protocol headers to do traffic confirmation attacks.

    • Tor, the software that allows you to view the Internet anonymously, received more than $1.8 million in funding from the US government during 2013.


      Interestingly enough, one of the lead developers of Tor, Jacob Appelbaum is residing in Germany as he deems it unsafe for himself to live in the USA, claiming that his laptops have been tampered with at an airport as he was attempting to re-enter the country全民彩票网址 (four minutes into the linked video) and also claims that his premises in the US was subjected to a Black bag operation at 48:30.

    • In the year-plus since Edward Snowden lifted the veil on just how closely the US government (and others) tracks our online lives, a few things have changed. Tech companies are encrypting more; foreign governments are trusting less; and, according to a new study, we’re all searching quite a bit more cautiously.

    • According to a Netherlands court ruling, Dutch intelligence agencies can continue using bulk data collected by foreign intelligence agencies (such as the US National Security Agency), even though this type of data collection is illegal for Dutch services.

    • In order to do so, the Washington, DC-based startup, co-founded by former National Security Agency data transfer architect Will Ackerly and his brother John, has launched its enterprise crypto-based email service for Android users. The new service is built directly into your Google Apps Gmail interface.

    • Democratic congressman Alan Grayson, who serves on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the US House of Representatives, has written a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. It requests answers related to how the NSA has weakened encryption standards.

      As ProPublica and The New York Times reported in September 2013, documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the US’s “encryption standards body,” had adopted a standard in 2006 that contained a “fatal weakness,” which the NSA had developed. The standard was then aggressively pushed so the International Organization for Standardization, which has 163 countries as its members, would adopt the intentionally flawed standard.

    • If you were putting it all on the line in Vegas, 4-431 probably aren’t the odds you’d be looking for to double your money, but right now it’s the only play we’ve got.

    • The mere collection of large amounts of personal data by the US wiretapping agency in the environment where whistleblowers are becoming increasingly criminalized has already created significant harm, an American activist told RIA Novosti Monday, commenting on remarks by US national security officials that there have been no tangible abuses.

    • Spying programs, such as those at the National Security Agency, are making journalists and lawyer全民彩票网址s change the way they do business, according to a new report from critics of the snooping.

    • Human Rights Watch and the ACLU today published a terrific report documenting the chilling effect on journalists and lawyer全民彩票网址s from the NSA’s surveillance programs entitled: “With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law and American Democracy.” The report, which is chock full of evidence about the very real harms caused by the NSA’s surveillance programs, is the result of interviews of 92 lawyer全民彩票网址s and journalists, plus several senior government officials.

    • With the Australian government “actively considering” data retention, and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation chief David Irvine telling a Senate committee that it is crucial to intelligence-gathering and that Australians have nothing to fear from it, it’s time for a clarifier on exactly what data retention is and the concerns it raises.

    • U.S. technology companies are in danger of losing more business to foreign competitors if the National Security Agency’s power to spy on customers isn’t curbed, the New America Foundation said in a report today.

      The foundation called for prohibiting the NSA from collecting data in bulk, while letting companies report more details about what information they provide the government. Legislation scheduled to be introduced today in the Senate would fulfill some recommendations by the foundation, a Washington-based advocacy group that has been critical of NSA programs.

    • Sixty eight percent of businesses stated that the NSA breach by Edward Snowden and the number of retail/point of sale (PoS) system breaches in the past year were the most impactful in terms of changing security strategies to protect against the latest threats. The findings are part of CyberArk’s 8th Annual Global Advanced Threat Landscape survey — developed through interviews with 373 C-level and IT security executives across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

    • A report released Monday by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union found that mass surveillance by the NSA and other spying agencies is seriously undermining press freedom and citizens’ ability to hold the U.S. government accountable.

    • Dozens of journalists and attorneys surveyed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch for a new report say that the United States government’s surveillance operations are eroding their ability to work.

    • A number of American journalists, who work for small and large media organizations, contend that the spike in leak investigations is tied to government mass surveillance. They report experiences with sources, who are no longer willing to speak to them. They have found it increasingly difficult to build new relationships with sources. A chilling effect has made it exceptionally difficult to determine what to do to maintain confidentiality, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

    • Fake information trails and burner phones. If you’re wondering how journalists who cover sensitive federal government issues have adapted to the discovery that there’s even more snooping going on than all but the most paranoid of them thought, it’s a complicated mess. Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union interviewed nearly four dozen journalists about how their jobs have changed in the wake of both Edward Snowden’s leaks and the propensity for President Barack Obama’s administration to prosecute leakers (or those who leak things the government doesn’t want leaked, anyway).

    • U.S. surveillance programs are making it more difficult for government officials to speak to the press anonymously, two rights groups said on Monday.

    • This morning in Washington, Senator Jon Tester is demanding answers when it comes to data collecting by the government and reported spying by the NSA using the government surveillance law.

    • To help bridge the substantial differences in how user privacy is protected on the two sides of the Atlantic, the Safe Harbor was established to enable U.S. companies to lawfully transfer data without running afoul of EU data protection law. To make use of the Safe Harbor, companies voluntarily adhere to a set of principles, with oversight from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), though to date enforcement of corporate policies and practices has been limited.

    • A new Senate proposal to curb the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and increase transparency about the program has White House backing and may get more traction with critics who have dismissed other bills as too weak.

    • Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In May, the House approved a bill that would end the bulk collection of so-called telephone metadata, but time is running out for the Senate to approve a similar – and, we hope stronger – version of the legislation.

    • The U.S. Senate is expected to make huge strides Tuesday by introducing a new bill that could curtail the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) ability to collect mass amounts of data. But while the new bill was reached in compromise and promises significant changes in favor of individual privacy, advocates worry it could be stripped down as previous bills were.

    • For more than a year, Congress has been searching for a way to rein in the National Security Agency after Edward Snowden revealed a surveillance state larger than many imagined. Now, lawmakers might have finally accomplished their goal.

    • Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D – VT) long-awaited USA Freedom Act 2014 was introduced today, and would halt all bulk data collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, an effort to tame the soaring power of the NSA to surveil ordinary Americans.

    • Sen. Patrick Leahy introduced legislation on Tuesday to ban the U.S. government’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and Internet data and narrow how much information it can seek in any particular search.

    • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will introduce legislation on Tuesday to put sweeping new limits on U.S. surveillance and peel back the curtain on controversial spying programs.

      The aggressive bill seeks to address concerns that tech companies and civil liberties proponents had about the House’s attempt to rein in National Security Agency (NSA) by restricting agents to narrow, targeted searches of records about people’s phone calls as well as making the spying regime more transparent.

      For civil libertarians, it is the best hope for reining in the spy agency this year, though defenders of the spy agency in Congress are likely to push back.

      “If enacted, this bill would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago,” Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

    • There is no doubt the integrity of our communications and the privacy of our online activities have been the biggest casualty of the NSA’s unfettered surveillance of our digital lives. But the ongoing revelations of government eavesdropping has had a profound impact on the economy, the security of the internet and the credibility of the U.S. government’s leadership when it comes to online governance.

    • On Sunday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced: “Yesterday we filed a motion for partial summary judgment in our long running Jewel v. NSA case, focusing on the government’s admitted seizure and search of communications from the Internet backbone, also called “upstream.” We’ve asked the judge to rule that there are two ways in which this is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.”

    • That legislation is the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which predates the World Wide Web and the proliferation of cell phones. But it’s the recent outrageous violations of our privacy by the NSA that have thrown the need to update ECPA into sharp relief.

    • The German government wants to increase its anti-spying protection. 3,000 crypto-phones have been distributed to the administration so far. The Chancellery and the White House are negotiating “principles among friends.”

    • International campaign group Human Rights Watch has hit out at continuing UK and US mass surveillance revealed by ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden. It says lawyer全民彩票网址s and journalists are adopting special measures to keep electronic communications secure from unprecedented government prying.

    • Michael Hayden, former Director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA), has said a lot of things about Edward Snowden. He’s called the former government contractor a “defector,” a “traitor,” and a “morally arrogant, troubled young man.” He’s also joked about getting the “evil” Snowden killed. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear Hayden finally on pace with the majority of Americans by finally referring to Snowden as a whistle-blower.

    • Even the director of national intelligence admits there aren’t adequate safeguards for officials who see wrongdoing.

  • Civil Rights

    • As civil libertarians have readily pointed out, Obama’s comments are incongruous with his willingness to defend the NSA’s unconstitutional activities, to ignore laws which contradict his campaign promises, and to govern by “pen and phone” if Congress does not pass his preferred legislation.

    • Officials say NYPD Officer Joel Edouard has been placed on modified assignment on Friday after cell phone video was released showing him apparently stomping on a suspect’s head. The video surfaced just days after Eric Garner died while being arrested by New York City police in Brooklyn.

    • The White House in the next few days is expected to declassify the long-awaited summary of a U.S. Senate committee study of a CIA program that used “enhanced interrogations” and secret prisons to extract information from captured militants, several officials familiar with the matter said.

    • As we continue to wait for the White House to finally release the heavily redacted version of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report (the full report is over 6,300 pages and cost $40 million to produce), it appears that those who are likely to take the blame are already preparing their response. As has already leaked out over the past few months, the report will show how the program went further than people expected, that it basically uncovered no terrorist plots and that the CIA regularly lied to Congress about the nature of the program and its impact.

    • About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban Washington after signing a secrecy agreement.

    • Similar cases have been lodged with the Strasbourg court against Romania and Lithuania.

    • Poland is one of a number of European countries accused of hosting secret CIA prisons. Meanwhile, Romania, Bulgaria, and Lithuania also have had allegations made against them for being part of the CIA black site network.

    • “On the general issue of so-called black sites, we have not and will not confirm any purported locations. The overriding point, however, is that this program no longer exists.”

      That was the White House reaction, as it brushed aside questions about a landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, one of the world’s preeminent human rights tribunals. The decision came last week in a case my colleagues and I brought against Poland, where our client, Abu Zubaydah, had been imprisoned and tortured from December 2002 to September 2003. Though the U.S. no longer believes he was even a member of al-Qaida, let alone a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden (as it once claimed), Zubaydah has been held without charges at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006.

    • Mark Udall said procedure could be invoked to compel Obama administration to release more of landmark Senate report

    • Speaking to an overflow crowd in Washington, DC last Thursday morning, the three foreign ministers — Honduras’s Mireya Agüero (pictured above, right), Guatemala’s Fernando Carrera (pictured above, left) and El Salvador’s Hugo Martínez – shared a half-dozen or more credible reasons for the recent phenomenon, which has resulted in a wave of 57,000 minors from the three arriving in the United States since the beginning of the year.

    • The Wall Street Journal took a stand against fair treatment for pregnant workers, complaining that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new guidelines designed to fight pregnancy discrimination despite conservative Supreme Court opinions holding discrimination against pregnant women is not sex discrimination was a “radical” reading of federal law.

    • The story began on Thursday when the U.N.’s second senior most official, Jacqueline Badcock, told reporters of a new religious edict issued in ISIS’ name. The edict — or fatwa — ordered all girls and women in the city of Mosul between the ages of 11 and 46 to undergo female genital mutilation, Badcock told reporters in a teleconference from Iraq. “This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” Badcock, who serves as the U.N. humanitarian aid coordinator in Iraq, said.

    • The criteria for a failed state are pretty specific: Loss of authority over the use of force, loss of the authority to make collective decisions, inability to provide public services, and the inability to interact with the international community.

    • Forty years after the resignation of President Richard Nixon, John Dean thinks there is still a lot left to be said about the Watergate scandal.

      Dean was Nixon’s young White House counsel, who later became the key witness against the president before the Watergate committee, as one of the biggest scandals in American politics unfolded.

      But even though Dean saw the tragedy unravel from the inside, he was always puzzled by what drove Nixon and his White House to commit the crimes that would result not only in Nixon’s resignation but in the conviction of 48 of the president’s men. Dean served four months for a felony offense for his role in the cover-up.

    • Richard Nixon taped roughly 3,700 hours of his conversations as president. About 3,000 hours of those tapes have been released, while the rest remain closed to protect family privacy or national security. The public has a general impression of what’s on the Nixon White House tapes—the expletives deleted, the so-called “smoking gun” when Nixon appeared to try to use the CIA to derail the FBI investigation of Watergate, the slurs against blacks and Jews.

    • Since April 2013, he has served as a section chief and deputy director for law enforcement at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) as a liaison between the FBI and the CIA, the FBI said in a press release.

    • The CIA is on a “charm offensive.” In June, it opened a Twitter account.

    • The government seems unable (and unwilling) to differentiate between whistleblowers and “insider threats.” “Dissatisfaction with US policies” would seem to be a trait inherent to whistleblowers, but that’s right up there at the top of the list of warning signs for insider threats. The FBI claimed it had this whistleblower/threat problem sorted out, abelit in the worst way possible: requiring whistleblowers to “register” in order to avoid being caught in the “insider threat” dragnet. But no one can get any details out of the agency as to how “registering” whistleblowers encourages whistleblowing, much less how the FBI handles these registered whistleblowers. When asked, agency officials simply walked away from the conversation.

    • Former congressman Ron Paul advocates for abolishing the United States Central Intelligence Agency in a new op-ed where he condemns the CIA and its controversial enhanced interrogation practices.

    • Migrant workers who built luxury offices used by Qatar’s 2022 football World Cup organisers have told the Guardian they have not been paid for more than a year and are now working illegally from cockroach-infested lodgings.

    • Photos released Monday by an East New York advocacy group show Rosan Miller, 27, struggling with a cop who appears to have his arm around her neck in a move prohibited by the police department.

    • Two men who stripped off to take a dip in the sea in Northern Ireland were threatened with a criminal record and warned that they might be added to the sex offenders’ register.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Want to know if someone is internet-savvy? Just ask them why anyone should care about net neutrality. If they understand the technology, stand by for a lecture on why it is vital that all data on the network should be treated equally by ISPs, and why it is essential that those who provide the pipes connecting us to the network should have no influence on the content that flows through those pipes.

      On the other hand, if the person knows no more about the net than the average LOLcat enthusiast, you will be greeted by a blank stare: “Net what?”

      If, dear reader, you fall into neither category but would like to know more, two options are available: a visit to the excellent Wikipedia entry on the subject or comedian John Oliver’s devastatingly sharp explication of net neutrality on YouTube.

    • If you have an unlimited data plan with Verizon and use it heavily, here’s some bad news: Verizon says it will begin throttling the “top 5 percent” of LTE data users in certain situations starting in October.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When the European Commission was laying the foundations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP, also known as TAFTA by analogy with NAFTA – it was doubtless hoping that the public would ignore it, just as it had ignored countless other boring trade agreements. But of course TTIP is not principally a trade agreement: it aims to go far beyond “merely” liberalising trade by attacking “behind the border” barriers.

    • The U.S. dairy industry told the Senate Finance Committee’s trade subcommittee the 2010 U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement has further strengthened U.S. dairy exports to the Korean market, even though it is not yet fully implemented.

    • 全民彩票官网下载s

      • New tax records reveal that the Center for 全民彩票官网下载 Information, the outfit overseeing the “six strikes” copyright alert system in the US, cost $3 million last year. This figure is quite substantial as it translates to roughly $2 per individual piracy warning.

      • After nine years of campaigning, we have finally done it. The House of Lords yesterday cleared the last hurdle for parody and private copies to be legal under copyright law in the UK. Several new limitations to update copyright were agreed in June, but private copying, often called format shifting, and parody were held back, creating fears that they might be dropped.

      • Austrian ISPs have been told they have just days to block not only The Pirate Bay but also Movie4K, one of the world’s most famous streaming sites. The blockades, which were demanded by Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit VAP, are supported by recent decisions from both the Supreme Court in Austria and the European Court of Justice.

      • The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has started to replace advertising on copyright infringing websites with official warnings telling the user that the site is under criminal investigation.

      • The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies has launched a class action lawsuit against Ford and General Motors over the CD-ripping capability of their cars. The music industry group claims that the car companies violate federal law and demand millions of dollars in damages.


New Optimism in the Age of Doubt Over Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marching against software patents has finally paid off


Summary: As the tide turns against software patents, even in their country全民彩票网址 of origin, their opponents come out of the woodwork to celebrate

The CAFC, which brought software patents to the world (starting in the US), is now a disgraced and gradually-weakening institution because of scandals. Its legacy too — including software patents — is now in a state of disarray.

There are real changes afoot. The patent debate around around the world has quickly shifted (or been shifted) so as to focus again on software patents. Last year and the year before that the debate shifted from software patents to patent trolls after giant corporations had lobbied for a change that benefits only them. That was when we stopped covering the topic. We nearly gave up.

In Thailand, patent lawyer全民彩票网址s from and make the following observations about Tesla's PR stunt and about patent scope in Thailand:

Yet perhaps Tesla’s is a unique case, and one motivated by self-interest rather than altruism. For electric cars to occupy a prominent place in the world’s car markets there must be adequate infrastructure to support them (eg charging stations), consumer acceptance of the product and the unit costs of production must decrease. By providing their intellectual property to competitors Tesla may have decreased its potential market share, but it has increased the chances of there being a viable market at all.

The last troll you saw was probably in The Hobbit. But patent assertion entities, better known as “patent trolls”, are more threatening to your way of life than their mythical brethren. Patent trolls are in the business of buying up broad patents for the express purpose of suing infringers to obtain settlement payments or licensing fees. They neither produce nor invent anything, and they add to the costs of doing business for those who do. For example, an alleged patent troll has claimed that it has a patent that covers serialised downloadable podcasts and it is suing several of the top podcasting entities. The problem generally relates to software patents, and whether what is arguably just an abstract idea should be patentable. The big battle is currently occurring in the US, in the small, patent-troll friendly jurisdiction of Marshall, Texas, in particular. But the problem is global, which is another reason that the granting of patents requires careful consideration in each jurisdiction.


What isn’t patentable? Under Section 9 of the Patent Act, inventions are not patentable if they are (i) naturally occurring in microorganisms and their components; (ii) scientific or mathematical rules or theories; (iii) computer programs; (iv) methods of diagnosis, treatment or cure for human and animal diseases; and (v) contrary to public order, morality, health or welfare.

This article focuses on trolls more than it focuses on software patents, but it towards the end mentions patent scope as well. It is important that we do not lose sight of the real problem. It seems like the real enemy now is lawyer全民彩票网址s and lobbyists (of large corporations), to whom the debate about patent scope seems like a threat. They try hard to dodge the subject and divert attention to phantom enemies.

An article posted by Groklaw on Sunday, which recently ), covers new scope limitations at the USPTO, inspired by a case that Groklaw covered for a long time. Dennis Crouch : “Based on information from several sources, it appears that the USPTO is now taking a more aggressive stance on subject matter eligibility and is particularly re-examining all claims for eligibility grounds prior to issuance. This is most apparent in technology centers managing data-processing inventions classes (Classes 700-707).”

Pamela Jones, speaking online for the first time in about 8 months, writes: “Ask yourself: when the Alice Corp. case was first decided, is this outcome analysts told you to expect?”

The smiley face after that shows that Jones is happy. There are many victories these days, not only loses (to privacy, free speech and so on).

“I hope PJ comes back,” wrote a reader to us, “but it is more likely that she might be continuing just the NewsPicks.”


Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 5:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Our render farm is all open source and is quite substantial. We have roughly 1000 Linux nodes between the two facilities and the majority of our artists run on Linux as well, though we have a few Mac boxes for Photoshop and other packages that can’t run on Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • I’m happy to say that things have calmed down a bit, and things look
      to be on track.

      Which didn’t actually seem to be the case at all earlier this week -
      we had what appeared to be really nasty core bugs, and together with
      rc6 being bigger than previous rc’s, I was really not feeling all that
      good about this release there for a while.

      But the worst “nasty bugs” ended up clearing up and not being kernel
      bugs at all. One turned out to be a compiler issue (which is always
      very scary and hard to debug and very annoying), and it even had a
      fairly simple workaround so that we didn’t end up having to blacklist
      compilers. Another turned out to be lockdep just being too aggressive,
      and a false positive.

      We obviously *do* have various real fixes in here, but none of them
      look all that special or worrisome. And rc7 is finally noticeable
      smaller than previous rc’s, so we clearly are calming down. So unlike
      my early worries, this might well be the last rc, we’ll see how next
      week looks/feels.

      In numbers, rc7 is about one third arch (xtensa, powerpc, x86, s390,
      blackfin), one third drivers (gpu, media, networking), and one third
      “random” (networking, mm). But it’s all fairly small. Shortlog


    • In just a few days, anyone will be able to take the Linux Foundation’s “Introduction to Linux” course—which previously cost $2,400—for free over the Internet. The MOOC version of the class on the open source operating system, hosted on edX, opens Aug. 1.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Hawaii support works with GLAMOR (both with the external library and the internal support found in X.Org Server 1.16), is running a variety of Steam games, etc. As a word of caution, MSAA might be one of the currently broken Hawaii features unless additionally applying a libdrm patch. Among the titles people are reportedly trying with the Hawaii GPU on RadeonSI Gallium3D include Civilization 5, Half-Life 2, Metro: Last Light, Portal 2, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The performance on the open driver is said to be satisfactory in most situations but with XCOM for instance the frame-rate on a R9 290 class GPU is under ten frames per second and there’s also issues with GPU stalls. A big problem reported by a user comes down to very poor performance in playback of video streams, such as from Twitch.

      • Starting out the last week of July’s Linux benchmarking on Phoronix is a fresh comparison of several NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards when comparing the performance of the latest open-source Nouveau driver against the latest NVIDIA proprietary Linux graphics driver. While the Kepler cards now support GPU re-clocking, the results aren’t quite ideal yet.

      • Intel doesn’t make a big fuss about their drivers, at least not like AMD and NVIDIA. The developers usually make the release and let people and other devs find out on their own. This is just the case with the latest 2014Q2 Intel Graphics Stack Release, which totally went under the radar.

  • Applications

    • MKVToolNix, a set of tools to create, alter, and inspect Matroska files under Linux and other platforms, has reached version 7.1.0.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Trine 2: Complete Story, a 2D platformer developed and published by Frozenbyte studio, is now available on Steam for Linux with an 80% discount.

      • The Age of Wonders III turn-based strategy game that was released back in March is still in the process of being ported to Linux and OS X. Developers are hopeful this well-received game will be released for the non-Windows platforms later this year.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Also, the latest update of the Plasma 5 and KDE Frameworks 5 adds experimental Wayland support to the already existing X11/X.org Server support. The KDE Frameworks 5 does not have hardcoded support for X.org anymore, while many of the KDE 5 apps are developed in Qt 5.3, which is Wayland compatible.

      • From the fourth to the sixth of July, the Calligra team got together in sunny Deventer (Netherlands) for the yearly developer sprint at the same location as the last Krita sprint. Apart from seeing the sights and having our group photo in front of one of the main attractions of this quaint old Dutch town in the province of Overijssel, namely the cheese shop (and much cheese was taken 全民彩票官网下载 by the Calligra hackers, as well as stroopwafels from the Saturday market) we spent our time planning the future of Calligra and doing some healthy hacking and bug fixing!

      • I’ve become overly lazy when writing blog posts is concerned. Maybe it is because I’m again working on the user-visible features, and it is much easier to just post a screen-shot or a screen-cast, than to actually write anything meaningful.

      • Last May a group of three Okular developers met for four days at the Blue Systems Barcelona office to hack on the KDE universal document viewer.

      • Unlike it’s Neon 5 counterpart , this ISO contains packages made from the stock Plasma 5.0 release . The ISO is meant to be a technical preview of what is to come when Kubuntu switches to Plasma 5 by default in a future release of Kubuntu…

      • Kubuntu Plasma 5 ISOs have started being built. These are early development builds of what should be a Tech Preview with our 14.10 release in October. Plasma 5 should be the default desktop in a future release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The curtains are up on GUADEC 2014, and the first keynote was delivered by Jim Hall. Jim is the Director of Information Technology at Morris, University of Minnesota, and he presented his work on usability in GNOME. We took some time to talk to Jim about his keynote and about his research on GNOME.

      • The second day of GUADEC was also full of interesting talks. Jeff Fortin spoke about the video editor Pitivi. Nathan Willis devoted his keynote to software for automotive and the opportunities for open source software in this area.

      • Javier Jardón from the GNOME development team has announced that GNOME 3.13.4 has been released, taking the desktop environment a little closer to the final version.

      • Few Linux desktops have brought about such controversy as GNOME 3. It’s been ridiculed, scorned, and hated since it was first released. Thing is, it’s actually a very good desktop. It’s solid, reliable, stable, elegant, simple… and with a few minor tweaks and additions, it can be made into one of the most efficient and user-friendly desktops on the market.

        Of course, what makes for an efficient and/or user-friendly desktop? That is subject to opinion — something everyone has. Ultimately, my goal is to help you gain faster access to the apps and the files you use. Simple. Believe it or not, stepping GNOME 3 up into the world of higher efficiency and user-friendliness is quite an easy task — you just have to know where to look and what to do. I am here to point you in the right directions.

        I decided to go about this process by first installing a clean Ubuntu GNOME distribution that included GNOME 3.12. With the GNOME-centric desktop ready to go, it’s time to start tweaking.

      • GTK+, a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces that provide a complete set of widgets, suitable for projects ranging from small one-off tools to complete application suites, has been promoted to version 3.13.5.

  • Distributions

    • 4MLinux Multiboot Edition, a mini Linux distribution that is focused on the 4Ms of computing, Maintenance (system rescue Live CD), Multimedia (e.g., playing video DVDs), Miniserver (using the inetd daemon), and Mystery (Linux games), is now at version 9.1.

    • New Releases

      • Salix Openbox 14.1 brings the Openbox window manager, teamed with fbpanel and SpaceFM to create a fast and flexible desktop environment. This is the most lightweight edition we have so far among our 14.1 releases and everything has been tweaked to provide a desktop experience comparable to other Salix editions. The development of this edition involved a long and rigorous period of testing and the final release has evolved a lot since the first beta.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Things moved recently about kf5 in mageia. We had, since a long time, the framework part.

        Now that the first stable release is out we packaged the desktop/workspace part.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • As part of GNOME 3.14, GNOME 3.13.4 has been recently released, with updates, worth mentioning being that Gnome Shell has received HiDPI support for font scaling on Wayland and Mutter getting support for touch gestures and fixed the move/resize operations for Wayland clients.

        • One of the key improvements is better support for proxy servers, including configuration options and accessibility from the API.

        • Is the default image viewer in your desktop environment just not working the way you want? need more features (or maybe something simpler) from an image viewer? Well, you are in luck, as there is no shortage of choices when looking at alternative image viewers in Fedora. This article covers 15 image viewers in Fedora.

          Typically, an image viewer does one thing — shows you the images in a directory (sometimes in a thumbnail view), and lets you quickly flip through them. Some image viewers also allow you do simple edits of an image, and will also show you some added details of your pictures (like metadata, and color histograms).

    • Debian Family

      • Recently the Debian developers and other stakeholders have been trying to decide between basing Debian 8.0 Jessie’s Linux kernel on the 3.14 release, which is Greg KH’s latest long-term stable kernel, or to use Linux 3.16. The benefit of Linux 3.16 is that it’s intended to be used by Ubuntu 14.10 and thus will receive support from the Canonical/Ubuntu kernel team for the better part of two years after its October debut. Linux 3.16, of course, has many improvements, new drivers, and other hardware support improvements over Linux 3.14.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Just days after marking the end of life of Ubuntu 13.10, Canonical has released Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, the newest version of its open source Linux operating system for desktops, servers, the cloud and (coming soon, maybe) mobile devices.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Designed by a team led by University of Manchester honorary research fellow Dr Andrew Robinson, the PiFace Control & Display does exactly what the name implies: it provides users a means of controlling the Raspberry Pi away from a keyboard and mouse, while also providing a means of displaying its output.

      • 全民彩票网址Phones

        • It’s the Android-rival mobile operating system that never was. At least for now, anyway.

        • Ballnux

        • Android

          • With the Android L set to roll out in a couple of months times, only two companies are definitely supporting the latest Google OS update.

          • We now can reveal VERY early reports are suggesting the Nexus line is not dead and in fact Motorola are already working on the new Nexus device. This at the moment is still only at the rumor stage with Android Police this morning reporting they have received unconfirmed reports the device is being manufactured by Motorola and is set for release sometime in the fall. Possibly November. The device at the moment is codenamed Shamu although again this has not been in any way confirmed. In fact at present the only evidence provided to support the rumor is a screenshot taken from Google’s issue tracker referencing ‘Shamu’.

          • Google launched Android 4.4 KitKat last September so we’ve investigated when the new Android version will be released, whether it’s 4.5 or 5.0. Google has detailed Android L at it’s I/O 2014 developer conference so there’s lots to talk about including release date, version number, material design and new features.

          • According to Android Headlines, the Android team of Google presented its new design language at the company’s I/O Developers’ Conference last month. The said design language is called Material Design, which boasts a flat interface.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FrozenBitFully securing our cryptocurrencies in a trustless manner has consistently been an ever-present problem. FrozenBit aims to solve this as the first open source multisignature / multicoin wallet via a trustless approach; with support to include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Quarkcoin and Blackcoin. Moreover, they are attaining to do so by way of end-user simplicity.

  • A nippy microkernel mathematically proven to be bug free*, and used to protect drones from hacking, will be released as open source tomorrow.

  • The power to learn, the freedom to change, and the push for innovation. What is there not to love about open source software? The world of open source consists of a passionate community of individuals hacking away in their dens, all with the same vision for the future of programming: openness and collaboration.

  • As a technology that predates even the Web by nearly two decades, email may not seem like something with a lot of room left for improvement. But the recently announced Dovecot Rest API (DAPI), which presents new ways for apps to interact with email data on the Dovecot open source IMAP email platform, could have a significant impact on enterprise computing and the way we use email.

  • If you’ve got some time to add another open source application to your arsenal, getting to know VLC Media Player, available for Windows, the Mac and Linux, is one of the best choices you can make. The application is famous for handling nearly any kind of video file format for playback; you can use it as a video transcoder for converting video file formats; and you can listen to and manage podcasts with it.

  • SaaS model becoming a criterion for companies to choose testing tool for to gain the benefits of Cloud

  • Events

    • This past week marked my second year helping out as a co-organizer of the Community Leadership Summit. This Community Leadership Summit was especially important because not only did we introduce a new Community Leadership Forum but we also introduced CLSx events and continued to introduce some new changes to our overall event format.

  • Web Browsers

    • ColorZilla has created a couple of plugins, both for Chrome as for Firefox, that allows you to have an integrated eyedropper on your browser, so you can collect easily color samples of anything. Is like having a kcolorchooser just a click away.

    • Chrome

      • Fine-tuning the software settings of smartphones and desktop computers to unlock the hidden potential of the devices will deliver faster performance.

    • Mozilla

      • Like each previous year, OSCON 2014 didn’t disappoint and it was great to have Mozilla back at the convention after not having a presence for some years. This year our presence was focused on promoting Firefox OS, Firefox Developer Tools and Firefox for Android.

      • On Monday, the Mozilla Corporation announced that its last-minute April hire for interim CEO, Chris Beard, has been permanently appointed to the position. Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker confirmed the news in a blog post, stating that “the board has reviewed many internal and external candidates—and no one we met was a better fit.”

      • Mozilla has selected Chris Beard, who started with the company with the release of Firefox 1.0, to be its chief executive.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack has already earned support across the IT industry from users, developers, cloud providers, and vendors, but many deployments are still new, and we have yet to see how people will innovate around the platform. Everybody from AT&T to Rackspace and the Linux Foundation to IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, and Yahoo keeps touting innovation surrounding OpenStack, but where might there be surprises for the platform over the next several years.

  • Databases

    • Announced amid the cloud company’s Solve leadership summit in San Francisco on Monday morning, Rackspace will now provide support for MariaDB and Percona Server through Rackspace Cloud Databases.


    • GNU tar version 1.28 is available for download.

    • Aside from the experimental “Coconut” as a Python JIT compiler using GCC’s new Just-In Time capabilities, the libgccjit.so shared library isn’t yet depended upon in the real-world but the JIT compilation abilities are being built upon for hopeful incorporation into the GNU Compiler Collection.

      Going back to October of 2013 has been work on this GCC-based embeddable JIT compiler that initially generated a lot of interest but has yet to be incorporated into a stable GNU Compiler Collection release.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Throughout most of my education, I was taught that collaboration was cheating. With the exception of teacher-sanctioned group projects, I had learned that working with others to solve problems was not acceptable. So when I got to college and the first assignment in my computer science class was to read an article about the benefits of pairwise programming and open source, I was very confused.

    • Whether you went to college or you didn’t. Whether you interned at the company where you work now or started out in a completely different field. For many an important and valuable step before that first professional job is one in which they get their feet wet.

    • One of the most powerful proofs of the strength of the ideas underlying open source is the way they are being successfully applied in fields very different from computing. Many of these are familiar enough – open content, open data, open science etc. But what I find inspiring is how new examples are appearing all the time.

    • Interested in keeping track of what’s happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for what’s happening right now in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

  • Programming

    • Git 2.0.3, a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency, has been officially released.

    • Meson is a new, open-source build system under development showing good results over the likes of SCons.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • You possibly have heard of WebODF already, the Open Source JavaScript library for displaying and editing files in the OpenDocument format (ODF) inside HTML pages. For ideas what is possible with WebODF and currently going on, see e.g. Aditya’s great blog posts about the usage of WebODF in OwnCloud Documents and Highlights in the WebODF 0.5 release.

      The WebODF library webodf.js comes with a rich API and lots of abstraction layers to allow adaption to different backends and enviroments. There is an increasing number of software using WebODF, some of that listed here.


  • By running an experiment among Germans collecting their passports or ID cards in the citizen centers of Berlin, we find that individuals with an East German family background cheat significantly more on an abstract task than those with a West German family background. The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task. While it was recently argued that markets decay morals (Falk and Szech, 2013), we provide evidence that other political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior.

  • Dramatic shift in divorce patterns shows younger husbands are the first generation of men not to find more highly educated women ‘threatening’


    …in previous generations marriages where the husband was better qualified

  • My favourite figure of last week came from the London Fire Brigade, writes Anthony Reuben.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Walk through your local grocery store these days and you’ll see the words “all natural” emblazoned on a variety of food packages. The label is lucrative, for sure, but in discussing the natural label few have remarked on what’s really at stake — the natural ingredients and the companies themselves.

  • Security

    • 2014 has been a big year for dictaphones so far.

      First, it was France and the secret recordings made by Patrick Buisson during the reign of President Sarkozy.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Pentagon is working to ensure that U.S. military equipment left in Afghanistan and sent to Afghan forces does not wind up in the wrong hands.

    • Israel and Hamas went back and forth on Sunday over proposals for a new cease-fire in the fighting in the Gaza Strip, and Israel sought to bolster its claim that its forces were not responsible for the deaths of 16 Palestinians reportedly killed in an attack on a United Nations 全民彩票官网登录.

    • A total of 120 全民彩票官网登录s, more than 70 run by the United Nations refugee agency, have been bombed or suffered collateral damage during the recent emergency in Gaza. But it was last Thursday’s devastation, with the deaths of 15 women, children and UN staff and the injury of more than 200 in the bombing of the UN 全民彩票官网登录 in Beit Hanoun that brought the issue to a head. It has challenged us to end, once and for all, the use of 全民彩票官网登录s and their pupils as pawns in the pursuit of war.

    • The UN Security Council has called for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.

    • NBC host David Gregory was forced to issue a correction at the end of his weekly Meet the Press program on Sunday after a United Nations official confronted him for using a unconfirmed Israeli video that allegedly showed Hamas shooting rockets from a UN 全民彩票官网登录.

    • Drone blowback is real. Over the past five years, terrorists have attempted serious attacks on American soil that were motivated in part by U.S. drone strikes abroad. We know this because the apprehended terrorists have been loud and clear about their motives.

    • At last there may be justice for Alexander Litvinenko, but it has taken a downed passenger jet to make us see that Russia does not own Britain

    • The US on Sunday released satellite images it said backed up its claims that rockets have been fired from Russia into eastern Ukraine and heavy artillery for separatists has also crossed the border.

    • Data from black box of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has been recovered. The information from the flight data recorder suggests the Malaysia Airlines flight was hit by a missile before crashing. Also, the loss of MH17 and MH370 has led Malaysia Airlines to consider “renaming and rebranding.”

    • Intelligence rarely meets the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard required to convict in a U.S. court, said Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency.

    • In a reckless maneuver posing the risk of direct clashes between the United States and Russia, Washington is moving to escalate the civil war in east Ukraine by directly involving US forces in the targeting of Russian-backed separatist groups.

    • Abington resident and former Pennsylvania Congressman Joseph Hoeffel was uncertain, but despite his reservations he voted in support of the war in Iraq in October 2002. However, he later regretted that decision.

      “I was convinced we had to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction,” Hoeffel in an interview July 14. “I was uncertain about the vote. I was 60 percent in favor of it and 40 percent opposed to it. I was uncertain if [President George W.] Bush [and his] administration were telling the truth about the weapons of mass destruction. But, I concluded, if you can’t trust the president and his top national security team to tell the truth to Congress and the American people about a matter of war and peace, then who can you trust?”

    • The “democratic tomorrow” promised by NATO in 2011 has been realized – that is – in the form of predictably fraudulent elections accepted by no one, leaving a power vacuum apparently to be settled through increasingly violent armed conflict. Perhaps most ironic of all is that these conflicts are being waged between NATO’s various armed proxies it used to carry out the ground war while it bombarded Libya from the air over the majority of 2011.

    • Libya could collapse because of the violent clashes between rival militias, according to the Libyan Government. Militias loyal to renegade general Khalifa Hifter and Islamic fighters continue to battle for control of the Tripoli airport, despite calls to end the 13-day conflict.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Investigations into the WikiLeaks saga, that saw government ministers and senior Zanu-PF officials quoted by United States diplomats speaking ill of President Robert Mugabe, are still on, Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana confirmed on Sunday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Israel desperately covets Gaza’s gas as a ‘cheap stop-gap’ yielding revenues of $6-7 billion a year, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The UK’s BG and the US’s Noble Energy are lined up to do the dirty work – but first Hamas must be ‘uprooted’ from Gaza, and Fatah bullied into cutting off its talks with Russia’s Gazprom.

    • Never mind the ‘war on terror’ rhetoric, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The purpose of Israel’s escalating assault on Gaza is to control the Territory’s 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas – and so keep Palestine poor and weak, gain massive export revenues, and avert its own domestic energy crisis.

  • Finance

    • Taking into consideration Argentina’s historic precedents, it’s not a venture to say that soon this crisis will hit rock bottom, with a strong devaluation, a significant economic set-back, and a rise of unemployment and poverty levels. Then, as always, the economy will start to recover, and after some years of prosperity, the cycle will start again.

    • Paul Ryan’s budgets can be summed up in a single sentence: Cut the deficit by cutting programs for the poor. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that fully two-thirds of Ryan’s cuts came from programs to the poor. Meanwhile, Ryan refused to raise even a dollar in taxes. Politics is about priorities, and Ryan’s priorities — lower deficits, no new taxes, steady defense spending, no near-term entitlement changes — meant programs for the poor got hammered.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • An IP address from a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives has been temporarily blocked from making edits to Wikipedia articles after some of its changes were deemed disruptive.

    • The small South American nation of Uruguay might be forced to pay a heavy price for trying to curb smoking and avert a public health disaster. The country全民彩票网址 is currently embroiled in a high stakes legal battle with Phillips Morris, the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer. The industry giant, whose annual profits outsize Uruguay’s entire yearly GDP, is suing the government of Uruguay over a 2008 law that requires cigarette packs to be 80 percent covered by health warnings.

    • Largely relegated to the fringe for years, the prospect of impeachment has been invigorated thanks to conservative media figures like Fox News contributors Sarah Palin and Allen West, who have spent recent weeks loudly demanding Obama’s removal from office. But not everyone in conservative media is on board, with several prominent figures arguing that impeachment is ill-fated, politically toxic, and could severely damage Republicans’ chances in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections.

  • Censorship

    • A free and plural media is the foundation of a free society, and a safeguard of democratic tradition. The new “advertising tax” in Hungary shows it is still very much under threat.

    • In a move without precedence, one of world’s most influential dailies, the New York Times, has editorially declared that “press censorship” is back in India “with a vengeance.” But there is a caveat, it suggest. During the Emergency, imposed on June 25, 1975, Prime Minister India Gandhi imposed “strict” censorship, but this time it is “not direct government fiat but by powerful owners and politicians.” Titled “India’s Press in Siege”, the top daily, however, compares it with the censorship imposed Indira Gandhi, recalling how, “with defiant exceptions, much of the press caved in quickly to the new rules.”

    • The Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv is on a war footing. In the 10 days since Israel started its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the hospital has received more than 50 soldiers with wide-ranging combat injuries.

    • Internet search engines such as Google should not be left in charge of “censoring history”, the Wikipedia founder has said, after the US firm revealed it had approved half of more than 90,000 “right to be forgotten” requests.

    • The Chinese Central Propaganda Department has banned the downloading of all foreign social-networking products. Previously downloadable social-networking products have also been blocked on a large scale.

    • After a week of the Harper government again drawing criticism for hiding information or clamping down on dissent, the public’s eyes may have glazed over at the latest in a litany of cases. But are we getting inured to something serious going on at the federal level and throughout society?

    • The High Court of Justice should force Israel Radio to run an advertisement with the names of 150 Gaza children killed during the last 16 days of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli NGO B’Tselem said on Thursday.

      B’Tselem plans to petition the High Court on Sunday to overturn the Broadcasting Authority’s (IBA’s) decision and that of its appeals board, which also rejected its ad, titled “The children of Gaza have a name.”

  • Privacy

    • In an interview with The Guardian he is quoted as saying that his party will “abolish mass surveillance and rejuvenate politics by giving the internet generation a voice.”

    • It reported: “Initial investigations have revealed that the bugs were ‘planted in the house by a foreign agency since the sophisticated listening devices found are used only by western intelligence operatives, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA)’”.

      The paper said “it may be recalled that Edward Snowden’s revelations carried by Washington Post on 30 June stated that top BJP leaders were under surveillance by a premier US spy agency. ”
      - See more at: http://indiablooms.com/ibns_new/news-details/N/3036/bugging-devices-at-gadkari-residence-minister-calls-reports-speculative.html#sthash.kIHnEH5V.dpuf

    • But the denial emanating from Gadkari has been far from categorical. Also, another BJP leader, Subramaniam Swamy, has conceded that Gadkari, a former BJP president and known for his proximity to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, could well have been on the radar of intelligence agencies.

    • BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has asked the government to make an official statement on the issue and said, “My own investigations and my sources reveal that this may happen not later than October last year. The planting of the device and that means at that time, when the UPA was in power, the NSA has specifically targeted the BJP and Gadkari was a very important person. He had the confidence of the RSS.”

    • Was Nitin Gadkari’s house bugged? The reported recovery of listening devices from Union Minister Gadkari’s house has set tongues wagging in political circles, with Congress suggesting that this shows there is lack of trust among the NDA leaders. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has demanded a probe into this matter.

    • Very recently, her patience with persistent American spying even after Snowden’s revelations snapped quite dramatically, when she ordered the US Central Intelligence Agency’s “chief of station” at the American embassy in Berlin to leave the country全民彩票网址. The US has never formally apologized for tapping Merkel’s phone. It refused to give her access to the NSA file on her before she visited Washington. And it went on paying a spy who worked for the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND-Federal Intelligence Service) right down to this month.

    • The Senate is about to begin debate on a bill that could, at long last, put an end to the indiscriminate bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and bring needed transparency to the abusive spying programs that have tarnished the nation’s reputation.

    • These assaults on personal privacy included reading random people’s emails, text messages, and Facebook conversations en masse, recording Skype calls between users, and even passing around nude photos picked up from webcams that were spied on through services like Yahoo.

    • The Obama administration has quietly rewritten the rules on how it goes about designating Americans as terrorists, according to a new report by Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept online investigations project.

    • Tech companies and civil liberties groups are becoming more optimistic that the Senate will take major steps to rein in the National Security Agency this year.

    • Right now, only phone companies, broadband providers and some Internet phone services are required by law to build in intercept capabilities, but the government wants to extend that requirement to online communication providers.

    • Concrete evidence of being a suspected terrorist is not necessary before nominating people to watchlists; leaked “guidance” states that uncorroborated posts on social networking sites are sufficient grounds for the government to add people to watchlist databases.

    • The Obama administration is increasingly less inclined to make a deal to allow Edward Snowden to come back to the United States, according to a top National Security Agency official.

    • A top National Security Agency offficial says there’s less need now for the U.S. Government to cut a deal with leaker Edward Snowden than there was after his wave of surveillance disclosures began more than a year ago.

    • Why did we do this? With Google continuously expanding its social media reach and the long line of controversies surrounding facebook’s practices of tracking users and reportedly providing the NSA with unfettered access to user data–not to mention the incessant location tracking features that come with mobile phones, tablets and cameras–it’s becoming dangerously simple for anyone to gather intelligence on us whether it’s a corporation, some government agency or a rag-tag group of racist rice farmers with mad computer skillz. That intelligence can in turn be used to hurt or undermine our movements, organizations, campaigns, networks, families, communities and Nations.

    • Two recent examples in Germany are particularly telling. First, the German government ended its contract with Verizon in late June, saying the U.S.-based telco was a liability due to its relationship with intelligence agencies like the NSA. Then, in early July, Deutsche Telekom unveiled a new highly secure German data center, which it touted as “Fort Knox” for data protection. Germany is well known for its strict data privacy standards, and clearly, new privacy concerns are reshaping how service providers do business within German borders.

    • The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) is just CISPA in new clothing — and this bill is even worse!

      CISA would give the NSA even more authority to access our data and force companies to hand it over without a warrant than CISPA did, strengthening and legitimizing the toxic programs we’re working our hardest to eliminate.

    • The National Security Agency has increasingly been working hand-in-glove with the repressive Saudi Arabian government since 2013, sharing intelligence and assisting with surveillance, according to the latest Snowden leak.

    • Edward Snowden claims he wants to keep up the fight against the NSA and other high-level spy agencies. The question is whether or not we can trust him, or if he’ll just go back to spying on us like a secret cell of the NSA.

    • “Common Core is not a political issue. It’s an issue of their children,” Robbins told The Daily Caller. “You can mess with a lot of things. You can have the IRS going after people. You can have the NSA spying on people, but when you start to mess with people’s children, they start to pay attention.”

    • More ambitiously, the NSA is hoping to build a quantum computer that “could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business, and government records around the world,” according to the Washington Post (NSA source documents stored on Electronic Frontier Foundation server here and here). A quantum computer could conceivably break “all current forms of public key encryption,” the article says, “including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to protect state secrets.”

    • A Manchester activist has claimed the government are using George Orwell’s 1984 as a ‘handbook’ as it tries to push through new laws that threatens to further encroach on people’s privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • A driver for the Prime Minister’s Office was arrested in Jerusalem three weeks ago on suspicion of serially raping young girls between the ages of 8 and 12, it emerged Thursday.

    • You can’t get more serious about protecting the people from their government than the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, specifically in its most critical clause: “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” In 2011, the White House ordered the drone-killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without trial. It claimed this was a legal act it is prepared to repeat as necessary. Given the Fifth Amendment, how exactly was this justified? Thanks to a much contested, recently released but significantly redacted — about one-third of the text is missing — Justice Department white paper providing the basis for that extrajudicial killing, we finally know: the president in Post-Constitutional America is now officially judge, jury, and executioner.

    • In close collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency, President Obama has granted the masterminds of the Bush administration’s torture programs access to the agency’s “Internal Panetta Review” in advance of the review’s expected August publication.

    • About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban Washington after signing a secrecy agreement.

    • The cover-up continues with the Obama administration, Paul claims, citing last week’s European Court of Human Rights verdict that two suspects were illegally detained and tortured in so-called “black sites” in Poland. The Polish government was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to those men in that verdict.

    • Remember back in April, 2007, when then-CIA director George Tenet appeared on 60 Minutes, angrily telling the program host, “we don’t torture people”? Remember a few months later, in October, President George W. Bush saying, “this government does not torture people”? We knew then it was not true because we had already seen the photos of Iraqis tortured at Abu Ghraib prison four years earlier.

    • Ruling thwarts journalist’s attempt to shed light on whether West German authorities knew in the 1950s where Eichmann fled after the Holocaust.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • So the war of words over interconnection has continued. Last week, we wrote about the back and forth between Verizon and Level 3 on their corporate blogs concerning who was really to blame for congestion slowing down your Netflix video watching. As we noted, Level 3 used Verizon’s own information to show that Verizon was, in fact, the problem. Basically, in spite of it being easy and cheap, Verizon was refusing to do a trivial operation of connecting up a few more ports, which Level3 had been asking them to do so for a long time. In other words, Verizon was refusing to do some very, very basic maintenance to deliver to its users exactly what Verizon had sold them.

    • The net neutrality debate has been going on the United States for a number of years now, put simply, net neutrality means keeping a non-tiered internet, all content can reach users at the same speed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 全民彩票官网下载s

      • Popular Linux distro marketplace the Pirate Bay is now available on mobile, complete with separate sites to download TV, music and films. The new website has been designed specifically for mobiles with large buttons and clearer layout after its developers said the old site looked “crap” on mobile devices.

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