A Debian user has recently discovered that systemd prevents the skipping of fsck while booting:
With init, skipping a scheduled fsck during boot was easy, you just pressed Ctrl+c, it was obvious! Today I was late for an online conference. I got home, turned on my computer, and systemd decided it was time to run fsck on my 1TB hard drive. Ok, I just skip it, right? Well, Ctrl+c does not work, ESC does not work, nothing seems to work. I Googled for an answer on my phone but nothing. So, is there a mysterious set of commands they came up with to skip an fsck or is it yet another flaw?
One user chimed in with a hack to work around the flaw, but it involved specifying an argument on the kernel command line. Another user described this so-called "fix" as being "Pretty damn inconvenient and un-discoverable", while yet another pointed out that the "fix" merely prevents "systemd from running fsck in the first place", and it "does not let you cancel a systemd-initiated boot-time fsck which is already in progress."
Further investigation showed that this is a known bug with systemd that was first reported in mid-2011, and remains unfixed as of late December 2014. At least one other user has also fallen victim to this bug.
How could a severe bug of this nature even happen in the first place? How can it remain unfixed over three years after it was first reported?
IEEE Spectrum has an article on building your own Enigma machine from a supplied kit:
Nearly a century after its invention, the electromechanical Enigma cipher machine still strikes a deep chord among the digerati. Used by the German military to encode communications in the run-up to and during World War II, the Enigma has achieved a mythic quality in computing history—the Medusa slain by the hero Turing with the new weapon of digital logic.
This is built around the kit from S&T GeoTronics, which was funded through a kickstarter in April.
NTP, the Network Time Protocol, has announced six serious vulnerabilities. Not surprising, I guess, for 192,870 lines of code dating back to the early 80s. For anyone else that's shocked by that bloat, OpenBSD's OpenNTPD manages to get the job done in under 5,000 lines. [Ed's Comment: To be fair, the linux implementation of ntp does achieve far more than the OpenBSD version. This is acknowledged in one of the links below.]
Note: Additionally, noted Danish FreeBSD developer extraordinaire Poul-Henning Kamp (PHK), operating under the influence of the Linux Foundation's cash hoard, has been working on an ntp replacement which is expected to preview this weekend.
El Reg reports
Linux is saved! Again!
[...]Last year, SCO managed to secure approval to re-open the case against IBM.
Groklaw's now posted a ruling(PDF) from last week in which Judge David Nuffer of the US District Court for the District of Utah appears to deliver good news for IBM.
The crucial bit of the ruling looks to be this paragraph:
SCO is bound by, and may not here re-litigate, the rulings in the Novell judgement that Novell (not SCO) owns the copyrights to the pre-1996 UNIX source code, and that Novell waived SCO's contract claims against IBM for alleged breaches of the licensing agreements pursuant to which IBM licensed such source code.
Interestingly, it looks like IBM is hurrying this one along: the ruling says Big Blue moved for partial summary [judgement] in the case. The ruling also appears to knock out SCO's claims that IBM has indulged in unfair competition or other commercial no-nos.
A German steel factory suffered significant damage after attackers gained unauthorized access to computerized systems that help control its blast furnace, according to a report published Friday by IDG News.
The attackers took control of the factory's production network through a spear phishing campaign, IDG said, citing a [pdf] report published Wednesday by the German government's Federal Office for Information Security. Once the attackers compromised the network, individual components or possibly entire systems failed.
Osvaldo Nunez reports that a recent study out of UC Berkeley says that golden-winged warblers can predict the coming of storms and tornadoes while the closest tornado is still hundreds of miles away. In April, a massive thunderstorm ravaged central and southern United States, causing more than $1 billion in damage across 17 states. The birds nest and breed around the Great Lakes and the Appalachian Mountains every summer. After flying 1,500-miles down to Tennessee, two days before the storms, flocks of songbirds and golden-winged warblers departed the areas and flew 900-miles to Florida and Cuba. They escaped just south of the tornadoes' path - and then went straight home again. By May 2, five tagged birds were back in their nesting area. "At the same time that meteorologists on The Weather Channel were telling us this storm was headed in our direction, the birds were apparently already packing their bags and evacuating the area," says Henry Streby.
The most likely tip-off was the deep rumble that tornadoes produce, well below what humans can hear. Noise in this "infrasound" range travels thousands of kilometers, and may serve as something of an early warning system for animals that can pick it up. "It's very unlikely that this species is the only group doing this," says Streby. The new study is the first time that migratory birds have been seen taking such dramatic evasive action. "We know that birds can alter their route to avoid things during regular migration. But it hadn't been shown before that they would leave once the migration is over, and they'd established their breeding territory, to escape severe weather." With the predicted increase in severity and frequency of similar storms as anthropogenic climate change progresses, understanding large-scale behavioral responses of animals to such events will be an important objective of future research.
boing boing brings us - Usbdriveby: horrifying proof-of-concept USB attack
Samy Kamkar has a proof-of-concept attack through which he plugs a small USB stick into an unlocked Mac OS X machine and then quickly and thoroughly compromises the machine, giving him total, stealthy control over the system in seconds, even reprogramming the built-in firewall to blind it to its actions.
Unlike most hacks, this one is visually pretty spectacular, since the attack emulates a keyboard and mouse, making windows appear and disappear at speed, while phantom words appear in the terminal and a phantom hand clicks the mouse on interface items deep in the OS.
Last week Imagination Technologies put up a set of videos of the MIPS based CI20 board in action.
Today we will be showing you a selection of these demonstrations that focus on three areas: gaming, multimedia streaming and web browsing.
Our setup rig includes one Creator CI20 microcomputer, two Jongo S3x wireless speakers from Pure, one power meter courtesy of Hardkernel, a 1080p HDMI-equipped monitor, a USB keyboard and mouse, and a custom-designed Android robot keeping us company.
While watching the videos keep an eye on the power meter too; no matter what gets thrown at it, Creator CI20 rarely pushes more than 2.5W!
And on a related note Tom's Hardware is running a hands on review of the latest board with the stock Linux Debian and Android images, and is slightly less than impressed by the performance of the Android images, however:
When running Linux, the Creator Ci20 has decent system performance (what you'd expect from a low-end mobile chip), can play HD videos well, and supports several I/O options. It performs better, and supports more features, than the Raspberry Pi, for only a little extra cost. While it may just be powerful enough for use in a cheap computer for checking email or Facebook, its performance and price may be overkill for some maker projects.
The CI20 is a Dual Core MIPS32 board built around the Ingenic JZ4780 SoC running at 1.2GHz with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU, 1GB of DDR3 RAM and various connectivity and storage connections. More detailed specifications are available, as well as a comparison against Raspberry Pi/B+ and BeagleBone black boards. Note that the original revision had 8GB of NAND Flash, but the newer version only has 4GB, which appears to be the only difference between RevA & RevB.
Imagination ran a giveaway for the RevA boards in August (and rapidly ran out), but the next batch of CI20 boards (Rev B) is stated as being available from the end of January 2015, and Imagination appears to be taking pre-orders now, with links to buy available at the Imagination site.
If you're tired of the Imperialist cheerleading of the USA corporate press, you will find this item interesting. If "Heartbreak Ridge" is the version of events you have, this is required reading. There's quite a different perspective when you're on the receiving end of aggression rather than the aggressor who gets to write the "history".
Matt Peppe has written under a Creative Commons License
Twenty five years ago, before dawn on December 20, 1989, U.S. forces descended on Panama City and unleashed one of the most violent, destructive terror attacks of the century. U.S. soldiers killed more people than were killed on 9/11. They systematically burned apartment buildings and shot people indiscriminately in the streets. Dead bodies were piled on top of each other; many were burned before identification. The aggression was condemned internationally, but the message was clear: the United States military was free to do whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted, and they would not be bound by ethics or laws.
[...]U.S. government officials needed to put the world on notice. At the same time, President George H.W. Bush's needed to shed his image as a "wimp"(PDF). So they did what any schoolyard bully would: pick out the smallest, weakest target you can find and beat him to a bloody pulp. The victim is irrelevant; the point is the impression you make on the people around you.
Panama was an easy target because the U.S. already had a large military force in 18 bases around the country. Until 1979, the occupied Panama Canal Zone had been sovereign territory of the United States. The Panama Canal was scheduled to be turned over to Panama partially in 1990 and fully in 2000. The U.S. military would be able to crush a hapless opponent and ensure control over a vital strategic asset.
[...]Washington began disseminating propaganda about "human rights abuses" (NYT paywall) and drug trafficking by President Manuel Noriega. Most of the allegations were true, and they had all been willingly supported by the U.S. government while Noriega was a CIA asset receiving more than $100,000 per year. But when Noriega was less than enthusiastic about helping the CIA and their terrorist Contra army wage war against the civilian population in Nicaragua, things changed.
"It's all quite predictable, as study after study shows," Noam Chomsky writes. "A brutal tyrant crosses the line from admirable friend to 'villain' and 'scum' when he commits the crime of independence."
[...]The documentary The Panama Deception demonstrates how the media uncritically adopted U.S. government propaganda, echoing accusations of human rights violations and drug trafficking while ignoring international law and the prohibition against the use of force in the UN Charter. The Academy Award-winning film exposed what the corporate media refused to: the lies and distortions, the hypocrisy, the dead bodies, the survivors' harrowing tales, and the complete impunity of the U.S. military to suppress the truth.
[...]the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning the invasion. But the United States--joined by allies Great Britain and France--vetoed it. American and European officials argued the invasion was justified and should be praised for removing Noriega from power. Other countries saw a dangerous precedent.
[...]The stage was set for the even more horrific invasion of Iraq the following summer. Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia, the NATO bombing of Serbia, Iraq (again), and the Bush and Obama interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq (a third time), Pakistan, Libya, Somalia (again), Yemen, Iraq (a fourth time) and Syria would follow.
Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct are different manifestations of the same thing. Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner made the breakthrough while at the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore. They found that 'wave-particle duality' is simply the quantum 'uncertainty principle' in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.
Victoria Shannon writes in the NYT that fifty years ago was a good year for music with the Beatles appearing on Billboard’s charts for the first time, the Rolling Stones releasing their first album, the Supremes with five No. 1 hits and Simon and Garfunkel releasing their debut album. The 50-year milestone is significant, because music published within the first half-century of its recording gets another 20 years of copyright protection under changes in European law. So every year since 2012, studios go through their tape vaults to find unpublished music to get it on the market before the deadline.
The first year, Motown released a series of albums packed with outtakes by some of its major acts, and Sony released a limited-edition collection of 1962 outtakes by Bob Dylan, with the surprisingly frank title, “The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. I.” In 2013, Sony released a second Dylan set, devoted to previously unreleased 1963 recordings. Similar recordings by the Beatles and the Beach Boys followed. This year, Sony is releasing a limited-edition nine-LP set of 1964 recordings by Dylan, including a 46-second try at “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which he would not complete until 1965. The Beach Boys released two copyright-extension sets of outtakes last week. And while there's no official word on a Beatles release, last year around this time, “The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963” turned up unannounced on iTunes.
Two years ago, a journalist from InfoWorld switched from a MacBook Pro to a Chromebook. For Simon Phipps, swapping Apple’s walled garden for Google’s fenced yard was the right move.
In the linked article below, he discusses how Chromebooks have simplified his work and home computing requirements, and saved him and his family a considerable amount of money while doing so.
The IRS seriously looking at shutdowns to save money isn't generally news of the Soylent variety. But as juggs and mrcoolbp are hard at work getting our fiscal house in order over the next twelve days so as to lose as little of your generous contributions as strictly necessary to taxes, I figured this was worth a story.
The IRS is considering its own temporary shutdown due to recent budget cuts enacted by Congress, its chief said Thursday.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said furloughs — forced unpaid days off for employees as part of an IRS closure — is one idea reluctantly being tossed about to save money, though they are hoping they will not have to go there.
“People call it furloughs; I view it as: Are we going to have to shut the place down? And at this point, that will be the last thing we do, … but there is no way we can say right now that that wont happen,” Koskinen told reporters at a Thursday press conference on the upcoming tax season. “Again, I would stress that would be the last option.”
I for one welcome the decrease in power of our wealth-destroying overlords.
Over at PandoDaily, Nanthaniel Mott writes, Are Peer-to-Peer Mesh Networks the Future of Internet Freedom?
"Open Garden has raised $10.8 million to create the next Internet. And as crazy as that sounds, thanks to the success of its FireChat peer-to-peer messaging service, it might just work.
Instead of sending messages through an Internet connection or cellphone network, FireChat uses the Bluetooth and WiFi radios on every smartphone to create its own “mesh network,” which can then transfer data between the networks’ members without requiring any external infrastructure.
That second Internet, or Internet Two or whatever it will be called, is likely to become increasingly popular in the coming years. Countries around the world have started to restrict Internet freedoms, whether it’s through laws requiring companies to keep data on domestic servers or via the imprisonment of people who use the Internet to share information the government doesn’t want them to share."
Are peer-to-peer mesh networks the future of internet freedom?
The Center for American Progress reports
A new report [carried out on behalf of Scottish government by the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of the Highlands and Islands' Environmental Research Institute] found that over 99 percent of seabirds were likely to alter their flight paths in order to avoid collision with offshore wind farms. While the analysis offers new estimates of which seabirds and what percentage change course to avoid wind turbines, it still leaves many questions about the overall impacts of wind turbines--on and offshore--on bird populations.
[...]thousands of birds could still be killed each year and that this "could even significantly reduce the total populations of some species."
"It is therefore vital that individual developments avoid the most important places for seabirds," [said Aedan Smith of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds]. "Impacts on seabirds must be reduced significantly if offshore wind is to realize its full potential of delivering much needed sustainable renewable energy."
Different birds have markedly different reactions to the wind farms, according to the report. Gannets, which are large, white birds, avoid entering wind farms altogether, while gulls are "less cautious" and may even be drawn to the sites for their foraging benefits. Even so, the report says that inside the farms, gulls "seem to show a strong avoidance of the turbine blades."
Wind Turbines Kill Birds and Bats