Richard Stallman's Privacy Proposal, Valve's Commitment to Linux, New WordPress Update and More

News briefs for April 4, 2018.

Richard Stallman writes “A
radical proposal to keep personal data safe”
in The Guardian:
“The surveillance imposed on us today is worse than in the Soviet Union. We
need laws to stop this data being collected in the first place.”

WordPress 4.9.5 was released
yesterday. This is a security and maintenance release, and it fixes 28 bugs, so be sure to update
right away. To download or view the changelog, go here.

Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais writes
about the company’s commitment to Linux

after de-listing Steam Machines (it’s still available, just not from the main
navigation bar on the site due to low traffic): “While it’s true Steam
Machines aren’t exactly flying off the shelves, our reasons for striving
towards a competitive and open gaming platform haven’t significantly changed.
We’re still working hard on making Linux operating systems a great place forgaming and applications.” He then went on to say “we’re continuing to invest
significant resources in supporting the Vulkan ecosystem, tooling and driver
efforts. We also have other Linux initiatives in the pipe that we’re not quite
ready to talk about yet; SteamOS will continue to be our medium to deliver
these improvements to our customers, and we think they will ultimately benefit
the Linux ecosystem at large.” (Source: Phoronix’s “Valve
Reaffirms Commitment To Linux, SteamOS”
).

Amazon announced
the new Gadgets Skill API (beta), which will allow developers to build games
for Echo Buttons.

The Fedora Project announced the
release of Fedora 28 Beta. Features include Modular Repository for Fedora
Server, 64-bit Arm is now a primary architecture for Fedora Server, the
inclusion of GNOME
3.28, VirtualBox Guest Additions and more.

Read More

How Wizards and Muggles Break Free from the Matrix

How Wizards and Muggles Break Free from the Matrix

Image
red pill

Doc Searls
Wed, 04/04/2018 – 10:32

First we invented a world where everyone could be free. Then we helped
build feudal castles on it, where everyone now lives. Now it’s time to
blow up those castles by giving everybody much better ways to use their
freedom than they ever would enjoy in a castle.

I’m going to mix movie metaphors here. You’ll see why.

In April 1999, a few weeks after The Matrix came out, the entire
Linux
Journal
staff watched it in a theater not far from our headquarters at
the time, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. While it was instantly clear to
us that the movie was geek classic (hell, its hero was an ace
programmer), it also was clear that the title subject—a fully
convincing fake world occupied by nearly the whole human species—was
an allegory (which Wikipedia calls “a metaphor whose vehicle may be a
character, place or event, representing real-world issues and
occurrences”).

One obvious interpretation was religious. Neo was a Christ-like savior,
resurrected by a character named Trinity, who played the Holy Spirit role
after Neo got killed by the Satan-like Agent Smith—all while the few
humans not enslaved by machines lived in an underground city called Zion.

When the second and third installments came out in the years that followed,
more bits of the story seemed borrowed from other religions: Buddhism,
Gnosticism and Hinduism. Since the Wachowski brothers, who wrote and
directed the films, have become the Wachowski sisters, you also
can find, in retrospect, plenty of transgender takes on the series.

Then there’s the philosophical stuff. Prisoners in the Matrix believe the
world they inhabit is real, much as prisoners in Plato’s Allegory of the
Cave
believe the shadows they see on a wall are real, because they can’t
tell the source of light is a fire behind them. In Plato’s story, one
prisoner is set free to visit the real world. In The Matrix, that one
prisoner is Neo, his name an anagram for “The One” whose job is to rescue
everybody or at least save Zion. (Spoiler: he does.)

But I didn’t buy any of that, because already I saw marketing working to
turn the free and open online world into a commercial habitat
where—as in the fictional Matrix—human beings were reduced to
batteries for giant robotic machines that harvested human attention,
which they then processed and fed back to humans again.

This was the base design of the world marketing wanted to make for us in
the digital age: one where each of us were “targets”, “captured”,
“acquired”, “controlled”, “managed” and “locked in”, so personalized
“content” and “experiences” could be “delivered” to our ears and
eyeballs. Marketers talked like that long before the internet showed up,
but with every eyeball suddenly addressable, personally, the urge to jack
us into marketing’s Matrix became irresistible.

In fact, one reason four of us posted The Cluetrain Manifesto on the web
that very same month was that we wanted to make clear that the internet
was for everybody, not just marketing.

But, popular as Cluetrain was (especially with marketers), marketing got
engineering—including plenty of Linux wizards—to build a Matrix
for us. We live there now. Unless you have your hardware and software
rigged for absolute privacy while roaming about the online world (and can
you really be sure?), you’re in marketing’s Matrix.

The obvious parts of that Matrix are maintained by Google, Facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Amazon and so on. Much more of it
is provisioned by names you never heard of. To see what they’re up to,
equip your browser with a form of tracking protection that names sources
of tracking files. (Examples are Baycloud Bouncer, Disconnect, Ghostery,
Privacy Badger and RedMorph.) Then point your browser to the website of a
publisher whose business side has been assimilated by the Agent Smith
called “adtech”—The Los Angeles
Times
, for example. Then, check your
tracking-protection tool’s list of all the entities trying to spy on you.

Here are just some of the 57 suspects that Privacy Badger found for me on
the LA Times index page:

  • yieldmo.com
  • trbas.com
  • trbimg.com
  • trbdss.com
  • steelhousemedia.com
  • teads.tv
  • trb.com
  • truste.com
  • revjet.com
  • rflhub.com
  • rubiconproject.com
  • steelhousemedia.com
  • moatads.com
  • ntv.io
  • openx.net
  • postrelease.com
  • keewee.co
  • krxd.net
  • mathtag.net
  • ml314.net
  • indexwww.com
  • ixiaa.com
  • ensighten.com
  • everesttech.net
  • tronc.com
  • sitescout.com
  • jquery.com
  • bootstrapcdn.com
  • bouncexchange.com
  • chartbeat.com
  • cloudfront.net
  • agkn.com
  • adsrvr.org
  • gomnit.com
  • responsiveads.com
  • postrelease.com

Many of those appear more than once, with different prefixes. I’ve also
left off variants of google, doubleclick, facebook, twitter and other
familiars.

Interesting: when I look a second, third or fourth time, the list is
different—I suppose because third-party ad servers are busy trying to
shove trackers into my browser afresh, as long as a given page is open.

When I looked up
one of those trackers, “moatads”,
which I chose at random, most of the 1,820,000 search results were about
how moatads is bad stuff. In order, this is the first page of search
results:

  • Remove Moatads virus (Removal Guide) – Oct 2017 update – 2 Spyware
  • Moatads Malware Removal (What is moatads?) March 2018 Update …
  • What is z.moatads.com? – Webroot Community
  • moatads.com
  • How to remove Moatads.com fully – It-Help.info
  • Uninstall Moatads virus (Uninstall Guide) – Oct 2017 updated
  • Moatads Malware Removal | Mobile Security Zone
  • Moatads Removal Guide | Spyware Techie
  • This keeps cropping up and is a real problem. How do i get rid of it..

The fourth item says the company behind moatads, moat.com, “measures
real-time Attention Analytics over 33 billion times per day”. And that’s
just one Matrix-builder.

Clearly there is no Architect
or Oracle building this Matrix, or it
wouldn’t suck so bad. That’s to our advantage, but we’re still stuck in
an online world where spying is the norm rather than the exception, and
personal autonomy is mostly contained within the castles of giant service
providers, “social networks” and makers of highly proprietary gear.

Way back in 2013, Shoshana Zuboff called on us to “be the friction”
against “the New Lords of the Ring”
. In later essays, she labeled the
whole spying-fed advertising system both surveillance
capitalism
and
The
Big Other
. If things go according to plan, her new book, The Age of
Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier
of Power
, will come out soon. (Here’s
the Amazon link
.)

People are already fighting back, whether they know it or not.
PageFair’s 2017
Adblock Report
says at least 11% of the world’s
population is now blocking ads on at least 615 million devices.
GlobalWebIndex
says
37% of all the world’s mobile users were blocking ads
by January of 2016 and another 42% wanted to do so as well. Statista
says
the number
of mobile-phone users in the world would reach 4.77 billion at some point
this past year. Combine those last two numbers, and you get more than 1.7
billion people blocking ads already—a sum exceeding the population of
the Western Hemisphere. All of which is why I called ad blocking the
world’s
biggest boycott
, way back in 2015. Today I’d rather think of it
as a slave revolt.

But we need to be more than freed slaves. We need to be, as Shoshana
says, masters of our own lives and of all the relationships we have
online.

In The Matrix, Morpheus asks the still-captive Neo if he believes in
fate. “No”, says Neo, “because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in
control of my life.”

We can’t be in control of our lives as long as those lives are lived
within corporate castles and we lack the tools for mastery over our
virtual bodies and minds online.

It doesn’t matter if Facebook, Google and the rest have no malicious
intent, or if they really do want to “bring the world closer together”, or
“organize the world’s information and make it universally
accessible and useful”, or “develop services that significantly
improve the lives of as many people as possible”. We need to be free and
independent agents of our selves.

That can’t happen inside the client-server systems we’ve had online since
1995 and earlier—systems that might as well be called slave-master. It
can’t happen as long as we always have to click “accept” to the terms and
conditions of the online world’s defaulted slave-master system. It can’t
happen as long as everything useful in the online world requires a login
and a password. Each of those norms are walls in what Morpheus calls “a
prison for your mind”.

We have to think and work outside the walls in those prisons (formerly castles). And
it isn’t enough to free ourselves. To switch movie metaphors, it’s time
for the wizards to free the muggles
. Here’s a punch list of what we need
to do:

At the end of The Matrix trilogy, Neo succeeds at stopping the viral
Agent Smith program from destroying both the machine and human worlds.
But there is no vision of what all the people jacked into the Matrix
would do once they were free—or if freedom was in the cards at all.
In fact, all Neo does is save Zion and leave the rest of humanity living
in the same old Matrix: a machine-maintained illusory existence where
their only true purpose was to power the Matrix as batteries.

That bulleted list above is a set of visions missed by both The
Matrix

and the Harry Potter movies. All of them give everybody far more power
than even the wizards of the world—our readers and writers—now
possess.

Fortunately, the internet isn’t Hogwarts. Though it’s a product of
wizardry, everybody—wizards included—live and think inside its
walls. But digital technology and the internet were designed for freedom,
and not just for more enslavement on the industrial model.

So let’s finish making online civilization something better than the
digital feudal system we have now.

[Note: an ancestor of
this article appeared on the Linux Journal website in January
2018.]

Read More

Caption This

Caption This

Image
Amazon Echo plugged in to hamburger

Carlie Fairchild
Wed, 04/04/2018 – 10:14

Each month, we provide a cartoon in need of a caption. You submit your caption, we choose three finalists, and readers vote for their favorite. The winning caption for this month’s cartoon will appear in the May issue of Linux Journal.

 

To enter, simply type in your caption in the comments below or email us, publisher@linuxjournal.com.

Read More

The Slimbook Curve is a Stunning All-in-One Linux PC

The Slimbook Curve Linux PCYodel an aloha to the Slimbook Curve — an all-in-one Linux PC with an alluring curved edge-to-edge display. Call me old fashioned but I’m (still) a huge fan of desktop computers. I like having something big and bulky on my desk, purring away, helping me crunch through whatever workload I’m trying to avoid tackle. So all-in-one PCs are very […]

This post, The Slimbook Curve is a Stunning All-in-One Linux PC, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Read More

RHSA-2018:0627-1: Important: Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6.4 security update

Red Hat Enterprise Linux: An update is now available for Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6.4
for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and Red Hat
Enterprise Linux 7.

Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of
Important. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which gives
a detailed severity rating, is available for each vulnerability from the CVE
link(s) in the References section.
CVE-2018-8088

Read More