Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Sony Fixes Flubbed Dash Download (sony.com) 39

New submitter FourG writes: Not much fanfare (which is to be expected given the niche of the device now) but it looks like Sony posted a fix for the much maligned "can't download dashboard" error. It requires a USB key and can't be done over-the-air. My Dash required a factor reset afterward before it successfully downloaded the dashboard, but YMMV...
GNU is Not Unix

Linux 4.6 Brings NVIDIA GTX 900 Support, OrangeFS, Better Power Management (phoronix.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.6-rc1 kernel has been released. New to the Linux 4.6 kernel are a significant number of new features including NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 open-source 3D support when using the closed-source firmware files, Dell XPS 13 Skylake laptop support, a fix for laptops that were limiting their own performance due to incorrectly thinking they were overheating, AHCI runtime power management support, Intel graphics power management features enabled by default, a new file-system (OrangeFS), and a range of other improvements.

Patent That Cost Microsoft Millions Gets Invalidated (arstechnica.com) 45

An anonymous reader links to a report on Ars Technica: One of the oldest and most profitable patent trolls, Uniloc, has been shot down. Its US Patent No. 5,490,216, which claims to own the concept of "product activation" in software, had all claims ruled invalid by the Patent Trademark and Appeals Board (PTAB). The process through which PTAB eliminated the patent is called an "inter partes review," or IPR. The IPR process, created by the America Invents Act, is an increasingly popular and effective way for defendants to challenge patents outside federal courts. It was Uniloc's lawsuit against Microsoft that provided the company with its original headlines. Uniloc said that Microsoft's system of checking software licenses -- in other words, type in a key number and have your software validated violated -- the patent. That case led to a $388 million jury verdict against Microsoft.

Google Opens Access To Its Speech Recognition API, Going Head To Head With Nuance (techcrunch.com) 46

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google is planning to compete with Nuance and other voice recognition companies head on by opening up its speech recognition API to third-party developers. To attract developers, the app will be free at launch with pricing to be introduced at a later date. The company formally announced the service today during its NEXT cloud user conference, where it also unveiled a raft of other machine learning developments and updates, most significantly a new machine learning platform. The Google Cloud Speech API, which will cover over 80 languages and will work with any application in real-time streaming or batch mode, will offer full set of APIs for applications to "see, hear and translate," Google says. It is based on the same neural network tech that powers Google's voice search in the Google app and voice typing in Google's Keyboard. Google's move will have a large impact on the industry as a whole -- and particularly on Nuance, the company long thought of as offering the best voice recognition capabilities in the business, and most certainly the biggest offering such services.

How One Dev Broke Node and Thousands of Projects In 11 Lines of JavaScript (theregister.co.uk) 480

An anonymous reader quotes an article written by Chris Williams for The Register: Programmers were left staring at broken builds and failed installations on Tuesday after someone toppled the Jenga tower of JavaScript. A couple of hours ago, Azer Koculu unpublished more than 250 of his modules from NPM, which is a popular package manager used by JavaScript projects to install dependencies. Koculu yanked his source code because, we're told, one of the modules was called Kik and that apparently attracted the attention of lawyers representing the instant-messaging app of the same name. According to Koculu, Kik's briefs told him to take down the module, he refused, so the lawyers went to NPM's admins claiming brand infringement. When NPM took Kik away from the developer, he was furious and unpublished all of his NPM-managed modules. 'This situation made me realize that NPM is someone's private land where corporate is more powerful than the people, and I do open source because Power To The People,' Koculu blogged. Unfortunately, one of those dependencies was left-pad. It pads out the lefthand-side of strings with zeroes or spaces. And thousands of projects including Node and Babel relied on it. With left-pad removed from NPM, these applications and widely used bits of open-source infrastructure were unable to obtain the dependency, and thus fell over.

After Decades of Abuse, Microsoft Adds an Anti-Macro-Malware Feature To Office (softpedia.com) 119

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is finally addressing the elephant in the room in terms of security for Office users and has announced a new feature in the Office 2016 suite that will make it harder for attackers to exploit macro malware. Sysadmins can now use group policies to disable the execution of macro scripts that retrieve content off the Internet, a tactic used by malware developers to trick users into allowing the download & automatic installation of malware on their PCs. "Macro malware" as this category is known, is the preferred method of distribution for most malware these days, especially ransomware.

Google Will Kill Its Chrome App Launcher For Windows, Mac, and Linux In July 77

An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced plans to kill off the Chrome app launcher for Windows, Mac, and Linux in July. The tool, which lets users launch Chrome apps even if the browser is not running, will continue to live on in Chrome OS. So why is Google removing the Chrome app launcher from Chrome? Well, it turns out Google has finally figured out what everyone all already knew: "we've found that users on Windows, Mac, and Linux prefer to launch their apps from within Chrome."
Emulation (Games)

Wine Makes It Possible To Run Vulkan Windows Programs On Linux (phoronix.com) 52

The cool Wine-related news of the week isn't just for Android Remix; an anonymous reader writes with some news applicable to a wider set of users: While no Windows-only Vulkan games have yet to be released, Wine developers are ready and have worked out experimental support for wrapping Vulkan Windows programs on Linux. Assuming you have a Vulkan Linux driver, the latest Wine-Staging build allows for Vulkan Windows programs/games to be dynanically translated and run on Linux 32-bit and 64-bit. Wine's Vulkan wrapper is passing all Khronos conformance tests, but hopefully the ever-expanding Linux game catalog will make this 10k+ lines of code not necessary moving into the future.

iMessage Bug Allows Attackers to Decrypt Photos and Videos 27

Researchers at John Hopkins University have found a bug in the instant messaging client iMessage which, if exploited, could allow an attacker to decrypt photos and videos sent as secured messages. "Even Apple, with all their skills -- and they have terrific cryptographers -- wasn't able to quite get this right," said Matthew D. Green, whose team of graduate students at the aforementioned university found the bug. "So it scares me that we're having this conversation about adding back doors to encryption when we can't even get basic encryption right." Apple acknowledged the bug to The Washington Post, adding that it had "partially" fixed the glitch with iOS 9 software update last year. The company assures that it will be offering a complete patch for the bug with iOS 9.3, which will be released on Monday.
Open Source

Rust-Based Redox OS Devs Slam Linux, Unix, GPL 354

Freshly Exhumed writes: Redox OS, a project on GitHub aimed at creating an alternative OS able to run almost all Linux executables with only minimal modifications, is to feature a pure Rust ecosystem, which they hope will improve correctness and security over other OSes. In their own words, 'Redox isn't afraid of dropping the bad parts of POSIX, while preserving modest Linux API compatibility.' They also level harsh criticisms at other OSes, saying "...we will not replicate the mistakes made by others. This is probably the most important tenet of Redox. In the past, bad design choices were made by Linux, Unix, BSD, HURD, and so on. We all make mistakes, that's no secret, but there is no reason to repeat others' mistakes." Not stopping there, Redox documentation contains blunt critiques of Plan 9, the GPL, and other mainstays.
Open Source

Snowden: What Happened In 2013 Couldn't Have Happened Without Free Software (networkworld.com) 120

An anonymous reader writes from a NetworkWorld article: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke at Free Software Foundation's LibrePlanet 2016 on free software, privacy, and security. He credited free software for his ability to help disclose the U.S. government's far-reaching surveillance projects. "What happened in 2013 couldn't have happened without free software," he said, particularly citing projects like Tor, Tails (a highly secure Linux distribution) and Debian. "I didn't use Microsoft machines when I was in my operational phase, because I couldn't trust them," Snowden stated. "Not because I knew that there was a particular back door or anything like that, but because I couldn't be sure."

NY Bill Would Provide Tax Credit For Open Source Contributors 54

An anonymous reader writes: For many years, the open source software community has made the distinction between "free as in freedom" (the software can be used or modified as the user sees fit) and "free as in beer" (the software is available at no cost). Some have added a third type of free: "free as in puppy". Like a puppy, adopting open source software has ongoing cost. What many people don't consider is that developing open source software has a cost, too. Many developers purchase extra hardware for testing or pay for code hosting, a website, etc. A pending bill in the New York Senate aims to help offset those costs. The bill, sponsored by Senator Daniel Squadron (D-26th) and co-sponsored by Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-36th), would provide a tax credit of 20% of "expenses associated with the development of open source and free software", up to an annual maximum of $200. Based on a 2006 report by the Center for American Progress, this bill appears to be the first of its kind introduced to a state legislature. I'd rather they require that any software developed at taxpayer expense be released as open source.

Sony Outage Disables DASH Devices, No ETA On a Fix 116

New submitter Jack Greenbaum writes: In 2012 Sony closed the developer site for the DASH, their version of the Chumby platform. Sony never officially killed off the product, and they kept the back end servers on line, until recently at least. About two weeks ago DASH owners started seeing their devices fail with a cryptic error message "Unable to download the Control Panel (No download information available). Please restart your dash to try again." Sony acknowledges that the issue is at their end, but no ETA for a fix has been provided. The passionate DASH community is not pleased that Sony is being so quiet about a fix. One user even overslept for work because they depended on the alarm clock feature. Now every DASH is dead until Sony decides to not abandon its walled garden.

Apple Files Final Response In San Bernardino iPhone Case (reuters.com) 250

An anonymous reader writes: In its final briefing before a court showdown next week, Apple said, "The court must consider the national debate surrounding the issue of mandating a backdoor or the dangers to the security and privacy of millions of citizens. According to Apple, the government also believes the courts can order private parties "to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up. The Founders would be appalled." In response to the government, Apple said, "the catastrophic security implications of that threat only highlight the government's fundamental misunderstanding or reckless disregard of the technology at issue and the security risks implicated by its suggestion." According to TechCrunch, Apple made an interesting change in its strategy in the court on Tuesday. From its article, "The tone of today's filing and subsequent call was much more cold and precise. Apple got some time to consider the best way to respond and went with dissecting the FBI's technical arguments in a series of precise testimonies by its experts. Where the FBI filing last week relied on invective, Apple's this week relies on poking holes in critical sections of the FBI's technical narrative." Edward Snowden also made a remark about the hearing. He tweeted, "Today I learned that "#Apple has way better lawyers than the DOJ."

Malvertising Campaign Hits MSN, NY Times, BBC, AOL 159

An anonymous reader quotes an article on Help Net Security: In the last couple of days, visitors of a number of highly popular media outlets including the NY Times, the BBC, and Newsweek have been targeted with malicious adverts that attempted to install malware (mostly ransomware, but also various Trojans) on their systems. The websites themselves weren't compromised as the problem was with the ad networks these sites use -- Google, AppNexus, AOL, Rubicon. The ad networks were tricked into serving malicious ads to the visitors.

Slashdot Top Deals

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"