Geek Stuff

NetBSD 7.0 Released

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: After three years of development and over a year in release engineering, NetBSD 7.0 has been released. Its improvements include added support for many new ARM boards including the Raspberry Pi 2, major improvements to its multiprocessor-compatible firewall NPF, kernel scripting in Lua, kernel mode-setting for Intel and Radeon graphics chips, and a daemon called blacklistd(8) which integrates with numerous network daemons and shields them from flood attempts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What Do Yoga and APIs Have in Common? Neither Are Copyrightable

EFF's Deeplinks -

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a significant decision rejecting an absurd copyright claim in yoga poses. The decision is pretty entertaining, but its implications are important for technologists as well as yogis.

That’s because the opinion offers a close analysis of one of the crucial limits of copyright: Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act, which forbids protection of ideas, processes, systems, methods of operation, and similar concepts. Relying on Section 102(b), the court concluded that a “Sequence” of 26 yoga poses and two breathing exercises, performed in a particular order, was not subject to copyright protection. Bikram Choudhury had sued a competitor who also used the same Sequence. Simply put, Choudhury was claiming copyright in an idea or process for improving one’s health by practicing certain yoga poses in a specific order.

Writing for the court, Judge Wardlaw first observed that the purpose of copyright is to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,” so that “copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.” Copyright thus recognizes a “vital distinction” between ideas and expression, so “the copyright for a work describing how to perform a process does not extend to the process itself.”

In this case, Choudhury himself described his Sequence as a “system” or “method” to use yoga to optimize the body’s health and function. The “system” used 26 yoga poses in a particular arrangement as a healing art. Given that, Judge Wardlaw had little difficulty concluding that the idea/expression dichotomy, codified in Section 102(b), precluded copyright protection of the sequence.

Significantly, the Ninth Circuit stated that it made “no difference that similar results could be achieved through a different organization of yoga poses and breathing exercises.” Choudhury argued that he could have chosen hundreds of different yoga postures, with “countless” arrangements of those postures. Judge Wardlaw rejected that argument, holding that “the possibility of attaining a particular end through multiple different methods does not render the uncopyrightable a proper subject of copyright.”

That analysis matters for software, because it suggests that a recent computer copyright opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Oracle v. Google, completely misread the Copyright Act. In that case, Oracle accused Google of infringing 37 “packages” of the Java programming language. The packages included specifications for part of the Java Application Programming Interface (API). APIs enable computer programs to communicate with each other, or allow a program to communicate with a human being.

The Federal Circuit used different reasoning to achieve the opposite result from yesterday’s Ninth Circuit opinion. Specifically, the Federal Circuit held that because Oracle had “unlimited options” and “alternative expressions” of how to write its Java packages, Oracle’s particular choice was copyrightable expression—the exact opposite of what the Ninth Circuit held.

Appeals courts disagree with each other all the time. But in this case, that disagreement shouldn’t exist. The Oracle v. Google appeal went to the Federal Circuit because of a procedural quirk—that court hears patent appeals, and Oracle had sued on a patent claim in the district court. But where the appeal is over non-patent issues, the Federal Circuit is supposed to apply Ninth Circuit copyright law, since the case started out in a Ninth Circuit district court.

Yesterday’s opinion makes clear, as we’ve argued before, that Oracle’s claim would have failed under Ninth Circuit law. Perhaps the only meaningful difference between Choudhury’s 26 yoga poses and Oracle’s 37 Java packages is that the latter involved a functional computer program. But that difference even more strongly shows that the Federal Circuit got it wrong. There are dangerous implications of treating computer APIs as copyrightable, including negative impacts on interoperability and innovation. 

The Federal Circuit’s decision has been harshly criticized for its misunderstanding of both computer science and copyright law. Now that the Ninth Circuit has explained (again) how Section 102(b) works, future courts will hopefully ignore the Federal Circuit’s bad decision.

Files:  Ninth Circuit Opinion on yoga copyrightsRelated Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceRelated Cases: Oracle v. Google
Share this:   ||  Join EFF

MSI GS40 Phantom is a 3.5 pound gaming laptop

Liliputing -

MSI has launched a new laptop designed to handle some heavy-duty gaming, but which doesn’t have a heavy case. The MSI GS40 Phantom notebook has an Intel Core i7 Skylake processor, NVIDIA graphics, and a 14 inch full HD display. But the laptop only measures about 0.9 inches thick and weighs just about 3.5 pounds. With a […]

MSI GS40 Phantom is a 3.5 pound gaming laptop is a post from: Liliputing

Linus: '2016 Will Be the Year of the ARM Laptop'

Slashdot -

jones_supa writes: Linus Torvalds took the stage at LinuxCon Europe in Dublin, Ireland, and talked about a number of things, including security and the future for Linux on ARM hardware. There is nothing that will blow your mind, but there are a couple of interesting statements nonetheless. Chromebooks are slowly taking over the world, and a large number of those Chromebooks are powered by ARM processors. "I'm happy to see that ARM is making progress. One of these days, I will actually have a machine with ARM. They said it would be this year, but maybe it'll be next year. 2016 will be the year of the ARM laptop," said Linus excitedly. He also explained that one of the problems now is actually finding people to maintain Linux. It's not a glorious job, and it usually entails answering emails seven days a week. Finding someone with the proper set of skills and the time to do this job is difficult.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Researchers Say Fukushima Child Cancer Rates 20-50x Higher Than Expected

Slashdot -

New submitter JackSpratts writes: According to the Associated Press, "A new study says children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere, a difference the authors contend undermines the government's position that more cases have been discovered in the area only because of stringent monitoring. Most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture (state) have been given ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The most recent statistics, released in August, show that thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children, a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier. Elsewhere, the disease occurs in only about one or two of every million children per year by some estimates."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Reserchers Say Fukushima Child Cancer Rates 20-50x Higher Than Expected

Slashdot -

New submitter JackSpratts writes: According to the Associated Press, "A new study says children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere, a difference the authors contend undermines the government's position that more cases have been discovered in the area only because of stringent monitoring. Most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture (state) have been given ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The most recent statistics, released in August, show that thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children, a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier. Elsewhere, the disease occurs in only about one or two of every million children per year by some estimates."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Deals of the Day (10-09-2015)

Liliputing -

Got an Android phone or tablet? Want to load it up with a bunch of games, but don’t want to spend a bunch of money? You could scour the Google Play Store for free (or “free to play”) games. Or you could check out Google’s 10¢ game sale. Right now you can pick up titles including […]

Deals of the Day (10-09-2015) is a post from: Liliputing

Debian Dropping Linux Standard Base

Slashdot -

basscomm writes: For years (as seen on Slashdot) the Linux Standard Base has been developed as an attempt to reduce the differences between Linux distributions in an effort significant effort. However, Debian Linux has announced that they are dropping support for the Linux Standard Base due to a lack of interest. From the article: "If [Raboud's] initial comments about lack of interest in LSB were not evidence enough, a full three months then went by with no one offering any support for maintaining the LSB-compliance packages and two terse votes in favor of dropping them. Consequently, on September 17, Raboud announced that he had gutted the src:lsb package (leaving just lsb-base and lsb-release as described) and uploaded it to the "unstable" archive. That minimalist set of tools will allow an interested user to start up the next Debian release and query whether or not it is LSB-compliant—and the answer will be 'no.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Maker Faire Berlin 2015

Raspberry Pi -

James Mitchell, who for the past year and a bit has been organising a mean Raspberry Jam Berlin, kindly agreed to represent Raspberry Pi at Maker Faire Berlin 2015 last weekend. It was the first continental European Maker Faire that Raspberry Pi has been to, and it was a fantastic event! Here is James’ round-up of a really busy and very worthwhile weekend.

Last weekend, 3-4 October, Berlin saw its first Maker Faire! As the organiser of the Raspberry Jam here in Berlin I got really excited to hear that finally Maker Faire was coming to town so, I jumped at the chance to represent Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Jam Berlin.

The goal was to let people know what the Raspberry Pi is and what it can do. And maybe also to sneak in that there is a Raspberry Jam in Berlin for those looking for support and community.

With a lot of help from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, community leaders like Les Pounder, Jam members and Jam sponsors, plus a whole lot of understanding from my wife, I set about building the booth and the little displays and demos:

  • Motorised spinning flower
  • Jedi or Sith detector
  • Conway’s Game of Life demo
  • Sense HAT demo
  • Internet Connected Goal: with camera, thermal printer and Twitter
  • Tweeting Photobooth
  • Robots: Line-following and Wiimote-controlled
  • Workstations with Minecraft, Scratch and Sonic Pi
  • Timelapse Cameras
  • Cheer Light Demo

Phew – that was a lot of work to set up!

It was extremely important to keep things simple but still show off the potential of the Raspberry Pi. The spinning flower, for example, might not look like much to veteran Pi users, but to someone new it’s showing the start of robotics. It’s showing that with a couple of wires and a motor you can make things move. Each display showed a key feature found in most Raspberry Pi projects: interface, data collection, connectivity and feedback.

A Raspberry Pi-based Jedi Or Sith detector

A child explains what it’s all about to an adult

To avoid just having a mess of Pi’s on the table I made some display plates (painted 4mm MDF with a lot of holes, held up by sticks). Thanks also goes to Pimoroni for making acrylic versions for me! This kept things neat and also at eye level for kids who would be coming to the booth.

James Mitchell’s post on Vine

Watch James Mitchell’s Vine taken on 4 October 2015. It has 0 likes. Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see.

Both days got really busy!

There was a constant stream of people interested in the Pi. Special thanks go to my great team who helped out at the booth: Richard Ruston, Dr. Nana Schön and Florian Merz. Without their help and sunny disposition I don’t think our booth at the Faire would have run nearly as smoothly as it did.

Cannybots are programmable robots that you can control with your Pi

I did mention further up that we had timelapse cameras running…

Raspberry Pi at Maker Faire Berlin 2015

Raspberry Pi booth timelapse for Maker Faire Berlin October 2015 Music:

We also won a Maker of Merit ribbon. How awesome is that?

What I can take away from the Maker Faire and the people I met is that education is very important to parents in Germany. They are looking for the resources and platforms to equip their kids for today’s technological world, and there are lots of choices out there. But it is all a little fragmented and maybe not always easy to learn. I found appreciation for the Raspberry Pi and what the Foundation is out to achieve. I found kids with wide eyes willing to learn, teachers desperate to teach and makers willing to share. This honestly validates the work that is going into the Raspberry Jam Berlin and makes it clear that I am on the right track.

If you want to help, just get out there, go to your Jams, help out at your Maker Faires, volunteer at your local schools. Keep things simple but awesome. Engage with people and spread the word!

Enormous thanks to James and his team for all the hard work that we know went into representing us at Maker Faire Berlin and showing people what they can do with Raspberry Pi. Everything we’ve seen tells us that it was a great first European Faire, and we’re sure there’ll be more to come!

The post Maker Faire Berlin 2015 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

US Government Will Not Force Companies To Decode Encrypted Data... For Now

Slashdot -

Mark Wilson writes: The Obama administration has announced it will not require companies to decrypt encrypted messages for law enforcement agencies. This is being hailed as a "partial victory" by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; partial because, as reported by the Washington Post, the government "will not — for now — call for [such] legislation." This means companies will not be forced to build backdoors into their products, but there is no guarantee it won't happen further down the line. The government wants to continue talks with the technology industry to find a solution, but leaving things in limbo for the time being will create a sense of unease on both sides of the debate. The EFF has also compiled a report showing where the major tech companies stand on encryption.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Chicago Mayor Calls For National Computer Coding Requirement In Schools

Slashdot -

theodp writes: On Thursday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on the federal government to make computer coding classes a requirement of high-school graduation (video). Back in December 2013, Emanuel — who previously served as President Obama's chief of staff — joined then-Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to announce a comprehensive K-12 computer science program for CPS students, including a partnership with then-nascent "[Y]ou need this skill Make it a high-school graduation requirement," Emanuel said. "They need to know this stuff. In the way that I can get by kind of being OK by it, they can't.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

LogMeIn To Acquire LastPass For $125 Million

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: LogMeIn has agreed to acquire LastPass, the popular single-sign-on (SSO) and password management service. Under the terms of the transaction, LogMeIn will pay $110 million in cash upon close for all outstanding equity interests in LastPass, with up to an additional $15 million in cash payable in contingent payments which are expected to be paid to equity holders and key employees of LastPass upon the achievement of certain milestone and retention targets over the two-year period following the closing of the transaction.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How to upgrade RAM on the Acer Aspire 11 convertible notebook

Liliputing -

The Acer Aspire R11 is an 11.6 inch notebook with a touchscreen display and a 360 degree hinge that lets you use the computer like a tablet. It’s a relatively low-cost device, with prices starting at about $330 in the US. For that price, you get a computer with an Intel Braswell processor, 4GB of […]

How to upgrade RAM on the Acer Aspire 11 convertible notebook is a post from: Liliputing

First Successful Collision Attack On the SHA-1 Hashing Algorithm

Slashdot -

Artem Tashkinov writes: Researchers from Dutch and Singapore universities have successfully carried out an initial attack on the SHA-1 hashing algorithm by finding a collision at the SHA1 compression function. They describe their work in the paper "Freestart collision for full SHA-1". The work paves the way for full SHA-1 collision attacks, and the researchers estimate that such attacks will become reality at the end of 2015. They also created a dedicated web site humorously called The SHAppening. Perhaps the call to deprecate the SHA-1 standard in 2017 in major web browsers seems belated and this event has to be accelerated.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Where Do Major Tech Companies Stand on Encryption?

EFF's Deeplinks -

Comparing the Public Encryption Policies from 21 of the Biggest Tech Companies

There’s a major battle brewing over encryption right now.

Law enforcement agencies are trying to demand “backdoors” to our sensitive data and communications, while civil liberties groups are fighting back through a new campaign called SaveCrypto. And President Obama seems to be trying to find a middle ground, eschewing legal mandates but continuing to informally pressure companies to provide unencrypted access to data.

So where do the tech companies stand?

Tech companies are in a unique position to know about and resist unofficial pressure from the government to provide access to user data. We hand over huge amounts of sensitive data to these companies while trusting them to keep it safe. Which companies are willing to go on the record as opposing backdoors?

We rounded up the public policies of 21 of the major tech companies so you can compare them.1 Some of the statements are from our annual Who Has Your Back report, and some from from company blogs and transparency reports.

Take a look:


Adobe has not built ‘backdoors’ for any government—foreign or domestic—into our products or services. All government requests for user data need to come through the front door (i.e., by serving valid legal process upon the appropriate Adobe legal department). Adobe vigorously opposes legislation in the US and overseas that would in any way weaken the security of our products or our users’ privacy protections.


While we recognize the legitimate needs of law enforcement agencies to investigate criminal and terrorist activity, and cooperate with them when they observe legal safeguards for conducting such investigations, we oppose legislation mandating or prohibiting security or encryption technologies that would have the effect of weakening the security of products, systems, or services our customers use, whether they be individual consumers or business customers.


In addition, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a “back door” in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed any government access to our servers. And we never will.

Apple deserves special praise for coming out with an even stronger statement against backdoors in its newly launched privacy website that explains the company’s policies. The new statement says:

Encryption protects trillions of online transactions every day. Whether you’re shopping or paying a bill, you’re using encryption. It turns your data into indecipherable text that can only be read by the right key. We’ve been protecting your data for over a decade with SSL and TLS in Safari, FileVault on Mac, and encryption that’s built into iOS. We also refuse to add a backdoor into any of our products because that undermines the protections we’ve built in. And we can’t unlock your device for anyone because you hold the key — your unique password. We’re committed to using powerful encryption because you should know the data on your device and the information you share with others is protected.


Comcast does not support the creation of extra-legal "backdoors," or the inclusion of deliberate security weaknesses in open source or other software to facilitate surveillance without proper legal process.


Governments should never install backdoors into online services or compromise infrastructure to obtain user data. We’ll continue to work to protect our systems and to change laws to make it clear that this type of activity is illegal.


We’re also seeing officials around the world try to limit security measures such as encryption without making progress on the stronger legal protections that people deserve. The bottom line is that while governments only request data on a very small fraction of our customers, governments are seeking to alter the balance between privacy and public safety in a way that impacts everyone.

As we have said before, there are times when law enforcement authorities need to access data to protect the public. However, that access should be governed by the rule of law, and not by mandating backdoors or weakening the security of our products and services used by millions of law-abiding customers. This should concern all of us.


Pinterest opposes compelled back doors and supports reforms to limit bulk surveillance requests.


Transparency is a key value for us and an important feature in Slack itself. It’s this commitment to transparency that brings me to my last point — Slack opposes government-mandated “back-doors” of any kind but particularly a government-mandated requirement that would compromise data security.


Privacy and security are core values here at Snapchat and we strongly oppose any initiative that would deliberately weaken the security of our systems. We’re committed to keeping your data secure and we will update this report bi-annually.


Finally, we are stating for the record our position regarding compelled inclusion of back doors, deliberate security weaknesses or disclosure of encryption keys. Sonic does not support these practices.


Security: we believe that no government should install backdoors into web security protocols, or otherwise compromise the infrastructure of the internet. We'll fight the laws that allow them to do so, and we'll work to secure our users' data against such intrusions.


We believe in robust and widespread cross-industry encryption and urge the U.S. government to adopt strong encryption standards to ensure the integrity of information of individuals, businesses and government agencies across the world.


Some governments have recently sought to weaken encryption, in the name of law enforcement. We disagree with these suggestions and do not believe that it’s feasible to include any deliberate security weaknesses or other back doors in encryption technologies, even if “only” for the benefit of law enforcement. As a wise man said, “there is no such thing as a vulnerability in technology that can only be used by nice people doing the right thing in accord with the rule of law.” We agree wholeheartedly.


We’ve encrypted many of our most important products and services to protect against snooping by governments or other actors. This includes encryption of the traffic moving between Yahoo data centers; making browsing over HTTPS the default on Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Homepage; and implementing the latest in security best-practices, including supporting TLS 1.2, Perfect Forward Secrecy and a 2048-bit RSA key for many of our global properties such as Homepage, Mail and Digital Magazines. We’ve also rolled out an end-to-end (e2e) encryption extension for Yahoo Mail, now available on GitHub. Our goal is to provide an intuitive e2e encryption solution for all of our users by the end of 2015. We are committed to the security of this solution and oppose mandates to deliberately weaken it or any other cryptographic system.

Credo Mobile, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Wikimedia Foundation all signed onto a letter organized by the Open Technology Institute (OTI) that opposed efforts to intentionally weaken security, which states:

We urge you to reject any proposal that U.S. companies deliberately weaken the security of [our] products… Whether you call them “front doors” or “back doors,” introducing intentional vulnerabilities into secure products for the government’s use will make those products less secure against other attackers. Every computer security expert that has spoken publicly on this issue agrees on this point, including the government’s own experts.

What can we conclude from this? There’s tremendous amount of opposition among the technology companies against compelled backdoors.

Last week EFF, along with a diverse coalition of technology companies and civil liberties groups, launched SaveCrypto.Org, a petition site where concerned individuals can let President Obama know that the administration should come out in favor of strong encryption. While Obama has clarified his initial position, he’s also promised to respond to any We the People petition that gets over 100,000 signatures. That means there's still time to influence him.

In an era of ubiquitous malicious hacking and sensitive personal information data breaches, it’s time for President Obama to listen to Internet users and the companies that are standing up for users’ security and privacy.

You can add your voice to the petition below.

  • 1. If you’d like to know the exact origin of a statement opposing encryption, please look through our Who Has Your Back report.

    Wickr’s statement is available here:

Related Issues: Security
Share this:   ||  Join EFF

Verizon Boosts Price of Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans By $20

Slashdot -

nicholasjay writes: In November, Verizon Wireless is going to start charging its customers with the grandfathered "unlimited data" plans an extra $20 for the data. This is obviously an attempt to get people off of the old unlimited data plans. Even though a Verizon spokesperson confirmed the change, I'm hoping they won't go through with this plan — but right now I'm weighing all my options.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

HP, SanDisk partner to make “storage class memory” for enterprise

Liliputing -

HP has been developing a new type of storage and memory technology called a “memristor” for years, and now the company is partnering with SanDisk to work together to turn that technology into real products that could be used data centers and other enterprise areas. Eventually this sort of collaboration could pave the way for consumer […]

HP, SanDisk partner to make “storage class memory” for enterprise is a post from: Liliputing

Apple Approves, Then Removes In-App Ad Blocker

Slashdot -

Mickeycaskill writes: Apple has pulled a number of applications from the App Store, most notably the "Been Choice" ad blocker, because of concerns the methods they employ to rid adverts could compromise sensitive user data. iOS 9 allows for the installation of applications that block adverts in Safari, but other apps like Been Choice go one step further and let users remove adverts from applications – including Apple News. Been Choice routes traffic through a VPN to filter out adverts in some applications, but it this technique has attracted the attention of Apple, which is concerned user data could be exposed. Apple says it is working with developers to get their apps back up and Been is refining its application for resubmission. In any case, Been says users must opt-in for in-app ad blocking and that no data is stored on its servers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

LogMeIn acquires LastPass password manager

Liliputing -

Password management service LastPass provides a way to generate and save secure passwords and access them across a range of devices including desktop web browsers and mobile phones and tablets. Now the company, which was founded in 2008, has been acquired by LogMeIn, a company that provides remote desktop, web conferencing  and cloud storage and […]

LogMeIn acquires LastPass password manager is a post from: Liliputing


Subscribe to debianHELP aggregator - Geek Stuff