News and feature lists of Linux and BSD distributions.
Daisuke Suzuki has announced the release of Vine Linux 6.3, an updated version of the project’s general-purpose Japanese Linux distribution (and one of the world’s oldest one, with beginnings dating back to 1999) featuring GNOME 2.32 as the default desktop environment: "Vine Linux 6.3 (Malartic-Lagraviere). Vine Linux 6.3 has following features (highlights): update the software collection; update Linux kernel to 3.4.106 (latest LTS kernel 3.4.y); bundle newer software – Firefox 33.0, Thunderbird 24.0, Sylpheed 3.4.2, LibreOffice 4.3.5, OpenSSL 1.0.1; stability improvement; improvements of look and feel; newer hardware support; new user-friendly tools. Since this is not a commercial version (Vine Linux CR), non-free applications and fonts are not included on the CD/DVD. Instead of proprietary ATOX X/Wnn7/Wnn8/VJE Japanese inputs and Ricoh/Dynacomware fonts, this FTP edition contains Anthy and free TrueType fonts." Here is the brief release announcement (in Japanese), with further information provided in the release notes (in English). Download the installation DVD image from here: Vine63-DVD-x86_64.iso (2,027MB, SHA1, pkglist).2015-02-25NEW • Distribution Release: KaOS 2015.02
Anke Boersma has announced the release of KaOS 2015.02, a brand-new version of the project’s rolling-release Linux distribution featuring the Plasma 5 desktop: "KaOS is very proud to announce the availability of the February release of a new stable ISO image. This release brings the end of KDE 4 as the default Desktop Environment for KaOS. Almost ten months ago work started to fully migrate to Frameworks 5, Plasma 5-based distribution and with the release of Plasma 5.2.1 this migration is now deemed ready to bring a better user experience then KDE 4. From the unset of this migration there was never a plan to mix the two environments. What you will see on this ISO is a pure Plasma 5-based environment. As many might have noted KDE Applications 14.12 did not contain more then a handful of Plasma 5 applications. Just about all applications that users have become used to seeing in a KDE 4 version are available as a Plasma 5 port. A few are not ready yet, and those will be missing from the KaOS repositories until their ports are ready for daily use." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots. Download: KaOS-2015.02-x86_64.iso (1,398MB, MD5, pkglist).2015-02-24NEW • Distribution Release: Tails 1.3
Tails 1.3, a new version of the live distribution designed for anonymous Internet browsing via the Tor network, is out. Among the new features is the inclusion of Electrum, a lightweight Bitcoin client: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.3, is out. This release fixes numerous security issues and all users must upgrade as soon as possible. New features: Electrum is an easy-to-use Bitcoin wallet, you can use the Bitcoin client persistence feature to store your Electrum configuration and wallet; the Tor Browser has additional operating system and data security, this security restricts reads and writes to a limited number of folders; the obfs4 pluggable transport is now available to connect to Tor bridges, pluggable transports transform the Tor traffic between the client and the bridge to help disguise Tor traffic from censors; Keyringer lets you manage and share secrets using OpenPGP and Git from the command line." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details. Download: tails-i386-1.3.iso (910MB, torrent, pkglist).2015-02-24NEW • Development Release: RISC OS Open RC14
Steve Revill has announced the availability of a new version of RISC OS Open, a special edition of RISC OS designed for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer. RISC OS is an operating system designed specifically to run on the ARM chipset; it is not based on UNIX, Linux or any other existing system. From the release announcement: "Today marks the availability of the very latest beta release candidate for the popular Raspberry Pi educational platform. This ROM now includes support for the Mark 2 Model B Raspberry Pi hardware, using the newer BCM2836 system on chip and a total of 1 GB of RAM. The model A, B, and B+ are still supported too. This follow-up to the earlier RC12 is in fact RC14 and includes the following headline changes in addition to the Mark 2 Model B support: the kernel now understands and can render sprites with alpha levels of transparency, and hence the desktop can use these facilities too; the kernel now supports a much wider array of pixel buffer formats for the screen including 4k and 64k…." See also the brief release notes. Download (MD5) the compressed SD card image from here: riscos-2015-02-17.14.zip (99.9MB).
There was a section so common in big name CES tech presentations that it was almost comical. After announcing some widget or the other, a cheerful CEO would..
Furthermore, much of the data these IoT devices collect is unaccounted for yet required for device operation. One TechDirt reader noted that his LG “smart” TV turned dumb when he refused to allow it to listen to him.
￼of the TV’s network based programs:Iplayer, Skype, 3D etc.As of the 7th May following a software update to our less than two year old LG TV. I was confronted with a message asking me to read and agree with a couple of important new documents. So like a good little citizen I read and agreed with the first doc regarding use of said TV. but having read the Privacy Doc I was not best pleased with the companies assumption that I would simply agree to their sharing all our intimate viewing details (plus what ever else they can see)with all and sundry.Since I agreed not to hack into installed software (as if I Could)We cannot get around the block.
I think the company must be in breach of contract since the smart functions are no longer available. Surely in the uk at least you should not be able to change the goal posts at will. Any one sorted this problem yet??
I do not trust connected devices but I also don’t fear them. Many companies will do the right thing when called out – Samsung backed out of an Orwellian clause in their smart TVs – but the danger of security flaws grows with a system’s complexity. What happens when someone is able to activate my PS4’s camera remotely? What happens when my Wii U starts listening to my kids? What happens when someone is able to hack more complex, higher-quality IP cameras just like they did the cheaper ones? I’m more afraid of error than outright malice.
Maybe it’s time for our devices to be dumber. Until there is an open security standard for health data, for example, maybe it’s not the best idea to strap a device to your child overnight. Until Belkin or Samsung or Withings can show that it can’t be hacked through published source code and an independent audit, maybe I shouldn’t buy their products. I know I won’t follow my own advice and I know I’ll be burned. That’s why CE manufacturers aren’t worried about this. It’s not a problem until it is. Then it’s a huge problem.
I’m fine with smart devices. But I know that as each one of these devices is connected to my Wi-Fi network or my cellphone I add an attack vector to a very private place – my home and my body. By all means lets run headlong into the future but let’s open things up so the future is more Clarke than Orwell.
Featured Image: Bryce Durbin
The BNLYFilm Daily, by BNLYFilm: updated automatically with a curated selection of articles, blog posts, videos and photos.
huffingtonpost.com – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doubled down Wednesday on her belief that Citizens United was the worst decision made by the current U.S. Supreme Court, saying it is the the first decisio…
Screenwriting apps can format your masterpiece and transfer the results between your smartphone or tablet and your desktop computer.
WHEN you are a writer, inspiration often strikes when you are not near a computer. Apps can save the day for screenwriters who do their work on the go.
Fade In Mobile is one screenwriting app that I immediately liked. It is free on both iOS and Android, and, unlike some of its rivals, it has been recently updated and should work smoothly on the newest devices. It is a no-nonsense screenwriting app, designed specifically to make it easy to get ideas out of the writer’s mind and into the script.
This means its interface is unfussy, with few bells and whistles apart from features that let you write or edit screenplays with standard formats that describe how the page is set up and how character names are displayed.
This kind of writing environment helps keep me focused. But if you need to be able to make notes or keep descriptions of the characters or lists of scenes, this app is probably not for you.
Fade In Mobile lets you import and export files to Dropbox so you can get to your screenplays on other devices or the company’s desktop screenwriting software. One big downside: Your files are saved in a proprietary format that is probably not compatible with other editing software.
The free edition of the app allows you to work on only one script at a time. The full version allows more scripts and lets you import screenplays written in other file formats, but it costs $5 both on iOS and Android.
A great alternative on iOS is Scripts Pro. Like Fade In, it does an excellent job of keeping scriptwriting and editing straightforward.
The Scripts Pro interface is uncluttered and mostly shows the script you’re working on and the on-screen keyboard. A nice touch is being able to quickly tab through your script, and a handy suggestions prompt appears when you’re typing something like a character name you’ve already entered.
Better yet, the app supports editing of files saved in other formats, including plain text files and files from the popular desktop scriptwriting software Final Draft. You can even transfer files to and from the app wirelessly using iTunes transfers and Dropbox. It’s not the most feature-rich app in the world, but its aim is simple and it does its job well. A $12 price tag may be its only sticking point.
On Android, there’s a free alternative to Scripts Pro called DubScript Screenplay Writer. It has a clean editing interface and uses a scriptwriting standard called Fountain to format the text you write. This means you can type in plain text format as the script forms in your mind, entering character names and so on without having to stop and let the app know that “Arthur,” for example, is a character name.
Once you’ve finished writing, the app automatically tries to identify things and then formats the script by indenting lines. Add in extra features like a customizable interface and the ability to read scripts aloud, and DubScript looks impressive. It may be great for beginning screenwriters.
MyScreenplays is another Android app worth looking at, not least because it’s free. It’s not quite as full-featured or good-looking as DubScript, but it does have some good tricks, like being able to auto-indent and auto-format some parts of your script.
Plus, it has a feature called nonlinear editing, which lets you move sections of your script around when you’re editing. It also exports scripts in files compatible with Final Draft.
Finally, check out Celtx Script. Screenwriters will recognize this brand from its desktop apps. It’s a good-looking and full-featured scriptwriting app that is compatible with script files you’ve written in its desktop versions. The app can synchronize your files so edits and adjustments you make when working on one device will appear on a different one. It costs $5 on iOS and is free on Android, but it may be best suited for more experienced writers.
Timeline is a new kind of news app that stands out from many rivals in the app store by adding context to news stories. Instead of mere headlines and facts, the app curates current news stories by adding relevant historical facts. You may be surprised how it makes you think differently about headline news. It is free on iOS.
Out with the old and in with the GNU
Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguinOut with the old and in with the GNU 3 Dec 2014 at 10:02, Shaun Dormon
Product round-up Much to the dismay of many a sysadmin, Linux is no longer purely the domain of Captain Command-Line and his trusty side-kick Admiral APT. For those looking to make the most of their new-fangled graphics-capable hardware, here’s a selection of freeware to start with, in our case as installed on Ubuntu 14.04:
Neat-freaks and fans of the tin-foil hat will find BleachBit a most welcome addition to their arsenal in the war against unwanted data. If you’ve used CCleaner on Windows platforms, then you’ll be familiar with the concept – just tick the boxes relevant to the clutter that you want gone and BleachBit will see it out the door.
There’s more to it than meets the eye though. BleachBit is also capable of truly getting rid of unwanted data, not just marking it as deleted, but overwriting it with random noise. If you’re not in a hurry, you can go ahead and enable this on all files or run it over every empty sector, but those who value their time can opt to perform such actions on a per-file basis too.
Developer Andrew Ziem
More info BleachBit
Viruses may not be so prolific in the domain of *nix systems as they are for those who fly the four-quadrant flag, but that’s no reason to put your feet up – there are the odd few nasties out there that do occasionally pose threat to even the wariest of sysadmins. It’s also important to take pity on those who use more vulnerable systems, particularly if you share files with them on a regular basis, for the risk of inadvertently becoming a carrier is high.
My tool of choice to keep things in check is the venerable ClamAV engine coupled with the simple, user-friendly and effective ClamTK front-end. It gets the job done without any of the nonsense that’s generally associated with antivirus kit, there’s no reason not to have this on your system running in the background.
Developer Dave M.
More info ClamTK
Did Ulbricht’s lawyer believe the defendant, or did he cynically want to keep getting paid?
Law & Disorder / Civilization & Discontents Op-Ed: Ross Ulbricht got a fair trial (but not a fair investigation)Did Ulbricht’s lawyer believe the defendant, or did he cynically want to keep getting paid?
by Nicholas Weaver Feb 4 2015, 12:03am +0100
72Aurich Lawson / ThinkstockNicholas Weaver is a staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute. This post originally appeared on Medium.
As I write this, the trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged “Dread Pirate Roberts” behind Silk Road, is just winding down. The last minute defense experts, having been blocked from testifying, have already resulted in yet more cries that Ulbricht’s trial is unfair and stacked against the defendant. Having carefully watched the case from the moment of Ulbricht’s arrest (and with the PACER bills to prove it), such cries are unfounded. Ulbricht received a fair trial. The investigation, and the quality of Joshua Dratel, Ulbricht’s well compensated and well regarded lawyer, on the other hand…
The arrest of Ross Ulbricht got its start when the FBI somehow discovered the real location of the Silk Road server in Iceland. They asked their friends in Iceland to look into this, and the Icelandic authorities created a copy of the server. With the server image in hand, everything else fell into place. They were able to identify Ulbricht through a plethora of links from the server, ranging from a bit of code in a question to StackOverflow posted in early 2013 to ssh access to the administration interface. Using this information, the investigators obtained more search warrants and an eventual arrest warrant, leading up to the moment when the FBI tackled Ulbricht in the Library with the Laptop Forensics Toolkit. Once they seized the laptop, they found a gold mine. For Ross Ubricht apparently committed one of the cardinal sins of drug dealing…
He kept notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy.
Yet how the FBI discovered the server in the first place remained a mystery: it was presented as effectively a gift from God. And when the FBI finally had to reveal this mystery, they didn’t. To put it politely, the FBI response was inconsistent with reality. Others have been more blunt, calling it “lying” and “gibberish.” And it is the FBI’s own evidence, provided to the defense, that shows that the FBI effectively lied in the court filing detailing server discovery.
Every shred of evidence except for two “hey, I found this site” posts derives solely from the server seizure. Now apparently an IRS investigator had found these two posts before the server was discovered, but these posts wouldn’t sustain a search warrant of Ulbricht’s gmail account, let alone an arrest warrant for Ulbricht. So if the defense could get the blatantly illegal search of the server tossed, the defendant could walk away.
So why is Ross Ulbricht still on trial and rapidly heading toward an almost certain “guilty” verdict and a few decades’ worth of mandatory minimum sentences? Because Ulbricht’s lawyer either believed a transparently bullshit story from the defendant about how Ulbricht was framed, Ulbricht was a recalcitrant defendant, or Dratel cynically wanted to keep getting paid…
One of the foundations of US jurisprudence is “standing”: if you don’t have an interest in something, you have no say in court. In 4th amendment case law, this requires that the defendant declare a legal interest in the item searched. For example, if the police conduct a blatantly illegal search of my car, but the only thing they find is evidence concerning someone else’s criminal activity, that someone else has to declare a privacy interest in my property. So in order for Ross Ulbricht (rather than the “Dread Pirate Roberts”) to contest the server seizure, he’d have to file a declaration stating “The Silk Road server seized in Iceland was mine.” Without such a declaration, the court can’t even consider whether the seizure was legal.
Such a declaration is not an admission of guilt: it can only be used by the prosecution if the defendant testifies. So as long as Ulbricht doesn’t testify, the jury never learns that Ulbricht admits to controlling the server. Mysteriously, the defense never claimed the server, even after a 12th hour, handwritten “Are you sure about this dude” opportunity from the judge. The defense refused, so the judge denied the motion to suppress.
So why these mysterious tactics? The first possibility is that Dratel believed his client. If so, you’d want to preserve his ability to testify. Yet the defense had the server and laptop for months, complete with both the infamous diary and Ulbricht’s admitted stash of Bitcoins. It was a simple matter for me, with just public information and a couple hours of coding, to trace 20% of Ulbricht’s stash as coming directly from Silk Road. It turns out that the wallet.dat files were able to trace many more. To my mind, a defense attorney simply believing a client’s falsifiable statements, without at least checking, seems incompetent.
So the defense should have known that putting Ulbricht on the stand would be absolute suicide: the prosecution would start with “So why were you holding the Dread Pirate’s Bitcoins?” and the day would get worse from there.
The second, and most likely, possibility was that Ulbricht was simply a difficult client. Every lawyer can tell stories of clients who, after receiving sound advice, simply refuse to listen.
The final, and cynical option is that Dratel simply wants to keep getting paid. Ulbricht’s defense is largely funded by donations. Although Roger Ver initially contributed a substantial amount, most subsequent donations have been relatively small. Although a declaration couldn’t be used in court, it would have convicted Ulbricht in the court of public opinion. How many would give money to Ulbricht’s defense if Ulbricht admitted he was the Dread Pirate Roberts?
But in any case, the moment the judge wrote that “Defendant has, however, brought what he must certainly understand is a fatally deficient motion to suppress,” the good ship Revenge was sunk. And this is the point where the defense turned to farce.
The defense, in its opening, presented two theories, that Ulbricht was framed and that the Bitcoins were legitimate. Yet the defense can’t just simply say “my client was framed.” The defense must be able to provide evidence to this effect. Otherwise, this becomes the Chewbacca defense, as any defendant could say “I Wuz Framed” and walk away.
So at that moment, the defense implied that they had some evidence to back these statements and also gave the prosecution a road map for the remainder of the case.
The prosecution responded by dropping so much evidence as to make the rubble bounce, evidence which was already disclosed to the defense. Rather than just introduce a chat with “Variety Jones” where the Dread Pirate mentions heading into the jungle, then introduces Ulbricht’s Facebook post about his Thai vacation. Rather than just introduce the defendant’s laptop, the prosecution introduced a USB backup from the defendant’s apartment, apparently made two weeks earlier. And don’t forget the scrap of paper with both Silk Road’s rating system and the phone number of Ulbricht’s intended date.
The only 11th hour surprise to the defense involved tracking the Bitcoins. Apparently nobody realized that Bitcoins were trivial to trace. After the defense’s opening, the prosecution scrambled to analyze the wallet.dat files, not only discovering a huge amount of Bitcoins directly from Silk Road to Ulbricht (apparently Ulbricht’s wallets were also the Silk Road “cold” storage) but even sourcing the “hitman” payments as coming from Ulbricht’s wallet!
Now the courts generally frown on 11th hour surprise evidence, having a natural dislike for trial by ambush. Unfortunately for the defense, they invited this ambush in their opening statements.
The materials that underlie the analysis were produced long ago. Based upon the opening statement and based upon one of the theories of the defense, which is that the defendant was a bitcoin trader and that any bitcoins in his possession were from bitcoin trading, it was reasonable to expect that you yourself had done such an analysis and, therefore, that you had some intention of presenting something that would have shown the opposite. In any event, you’ve opened the door to it, and we’re going to proceed. And the fact that the government adjusted and was able to do so is not something that is particularly problematic or unusual. So that’s my ruling on that. -Judge Forrest
So what was the defense to do? Pound the table. And pound it they did.
The defense tried a frankly ridiculous “Karpeles-did it” approach, which was shot down by the judge the next day. Then the defense tried to elicit strange testimony from prosecution witnesses about insanely remote possibilities. The judge was having none of this. If the defense wants to introduce alternate suspects and alternate theories, rather than just triple-hearsay, they would need their own evidence and their own witnesses.
So in a final move, the defense attempted a bit of “trial by ambush,” disclosing two expert witnesses at well beyond the last minute with no details as to the expertise or opinions offered.
Of course, Dratel had to go with the ambush approach: these witnesses could only support the defense’s theories if the prosecution wasn’t prepared. Any Bitcoin expert unwilling to commit perjury would have to acknowledge that direct wallet to wallet transactions are traceable, that Ulbricht’s “legitimate” trading these Bitcoins would require unimaginably good returns, that Ulbricht’s “mining” these Bitcoins is impossible unless he had a room full of nonexistent computers, and that anyone willingly keeping several million in Bitcoin in Silk Road as a “bank” would have been a delusional idiot.
Similarly, if I had to pick a New York-area expert to testify for the prosecution about the ridiculousness of the mysterious hacker who somehow managed to both plant evidence two weeks before, maintain persistent access, and yet leave no trace in the syslog or other logs, I’d select Steve Bellovin. In short, if the defense properly notified the prosecution, these experts would become tools of the prosecution: one last bounce in the rubble.
But of course, trial by ambush is frowned upon. The judge was particularly scathing, including a full page that basically translates to “this is case law saying you need to get your shit done on time” and such quotes as:
Lacking are any expected opinions, lacking are the bases for such opinions. Lacking is any description of analysis or methodology. Lacking also is any indication that Antonopolous has any expertise in the areas in which he seeks to testify. His resume lists that he has worked as a consultant in crypto-currencies and published unnamed “articles” in that area (not a single publication of the alleged group of “200” is listed, let alone information sufficient to assess the seriousness or depth of such articles). Of course, not all consultants are experts.
If defense counsel truly planned his trial strategy around his ability to bend the rules and examine witnesses outside of the scope of their direct, then he should have had a “Plan B” that included complying with the rules. Defense counsel took a calculated risk.
In short, there is only one person responsible for the Defense not having their experts: the defense attorney Joshua Dratel.
And with that scathing order, the case pretty much ended. The defense has offered only a few character witnesses and no concrete evidence of the mysterious elves which planted not only the journal on Ulbricht’s computer, but also the mountains of remaining evidence.
Ulbricht received a fair trial. The judge was hard on the defense, but that is largely due to how the defense acted and their strange tactical decisions. The defense threw away the case in October and then proceeded with farce for the trial.
When all you can do is pound the table, judges sometimes get mad and ask you to stop.