Switching to Linux, saying goodbye to Apple and Microsoft

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Veteran technology journalist Dan Gillmor's been using GNU/Linux since 2012, switching away from all the "control freak" services, tools and software that he'd grown used to over decades of computing. Read the rest

Guesstimate: a spreadsheet for adding up uncertainties

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Guesstimate is a new free/open source project from Ozzie Gooen: unlike normal spreadsheets, its cells accept confidence intervals, and it outputs models based on 5,000 Monte Carlo simulations. Read the rest

Ian "Debian" Murdock dies after threatening suicide

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Ian Murdock is half of the founding team of Debian, a popular and foundational flavor of GNU/Linux from which Ubuntu and Mint are descended. Earlier this week, he posted a series of bizarre, racialized tweets in which he threatened to commit suicide to call attention to the police brutality he was experiencing. He is now dead, though the cause of his death has not been disclosed. Read the rest

North Korea's paranoid GNU/Linux watermarks every file

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Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess downloaded the sourcecode for Red Star OS, North Korea's homegrown, paranoid fork of Red Hat's Fedora, a flavor of GNU/Linux. The researchers analyzed the OS and presented their findings to the thirty second Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg yesterday. Read the rest

Bro: a free/open intrusion detection system

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"Bro network" an (unfortunately named) open/free IDS that turns all your network traffic into events that can trigger scripts you write. As Nat writes, "Good pedigree (Vern Paxson, a TCP/IP elder god) despite the wince-inducing name." Read the rest

UK spy agency posts data-mining software to Github

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Gaffer is a graph database "optimised for retrieving data on nodes of interest" developed by the notorious UK spy agency GCHQ, and now you can download, run and improve it because they've posted it to Github under the permissive, free/open Apache license. Read the rest

The TPP's ban on source-code disclosure requirements: bad news for information security

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The secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership is 2,000 pages' worth of regulatory favors for various industries, but one that stands out as particularly egregious is the ban on rules requiring source-code disclosure. Read the rest

Free usability help for privacy toolmakers

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Simply Secure, a nonprofit I volunteer for, is launching a new series of usability programs for organizations, companies and individuals who are making cryptographic/privacy/security tools. Read the rest

The Tor project is soliciting donations in its first fundraising drive

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The nonprofit foundation that oversees development on Tor, the anonymity and privacy tool, has launched its first ever major cash fundraiser, seeking support for its crucial work. Read the rest

Mozilla will let go of Thunderbird

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The Mozilla Foundation stopped active development of the Thunderbird stand-alone email client in 2012, a year before Edward Snowden's revelations about mass email interception by spy agencies sparked an exodus from webmail platforms. Read the rest

Open source hardware autonomous tractor uses repurposed drone autopilot

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Matt Reimer's homebrew autonomous tractor uses open source components to accomplish the kind of automation that John Deere's super-proprietary tractors are known for. Read the rest

Syria secretly sentenced free software developer Bassel Khartabil to death

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Khartabil has been imprisoned in a Syria's Adra Prison since 2012, though as of October, he has been transferred to an undisclosed location. The free software/open culture activist was the lead for Creative Commons Syria and has contributed to Wikipedia, Firefox and many other projects. Read the rest

Google releases critical AI program under a free/open license

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Tensorflow, a sophisticated machine learning program that underpins Google Translate, speech recognition, image recognition and many other critical Google services, is now available under an Apache license, one of the least restrictive free/open licenses. Read the rest

TPP will ban rules that require source-code disclosure

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As we pick through the secret, 2,000-page treaty, we're learning an awful lot of awfulness, but this one is particularly terrible. Read the rest

Firefox's new privacy mode also blocks tracking ads

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Mozilla has shipped a new version of Firefox whose private mode also blocks tracking beacons for ad networks, which will make private Web usage much harder to track. Read the rest

Fighting Uber's Death Star with a Rebel Alliance of co-op platforms

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As Mark Andreessen noted, software is eating the world because once it's developed, it scales to infinity. That means that once a worker's co-op of drivers clones Uber's platform in free/open code, drivers in every city in the world can disrupt the company, throw off its rent-seeking, and fill their pockets with the money the company siphons off for providing very little at the margins. Read the rest

Citizen Maths: free/open adult math education for practical real-world numeracy

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Without scientific understanding, we don’t run the government, the government runs us” -Carl Sagan, in his final interview.

Last week we released a big batch of new CC-BY licensed content for Citizen Maths a free online course for adults who want to improve their grasp of maths at what in the UK is known as Level 2 (the level that 16 year old school leavers are expected to reach, though many do not).

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