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11.19.13

GNU/Linux News Sites in 2014

Posted in Site News at 1:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paper

Summary: The scarcity of independent coverage of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and GNU/Linux and what it all means

2013 was an exceptionally bad year for news sites which focus on FOSS. The H ceased publication, Groklaw did too (this time for good), Tux Machines relinquished control due to lack of time (my wife and I keep it going now), and some blogs that focused on Linux and GNU no longer do. In addition, audiocasts which used to regularly cover FOSS no longer do (or rarely do).

“Real journalism tries to appeal to readers, not advertisers and sponsors.”For one who pursues news items and good reporting in this area, the sources became meager and some are repetitive/unoriginal. In order to keep the message out there and in order to prevent FOSS from being abducted by large corporations that sell proprietary software we really need to consider our options. If there is no light shed on the success stories of FOSS and actions of enemies of FOSS (those who seek to destroy it) we will definitely lose momentum. Sure, Linux and FOSS are everywhere, but without the community’s scrutiny companies like IBM and Google silently close down some parts (e.g. in Android) or turn them hostile (TPM, UEFI restricted boot, DRM and so on).

Free-as-in-freedom software is 30 years old, but the second half of its life (about 15 years) characterised corporate transformation under the “open source” wing or brand. Right now, even a hugely corrupt proprietary software giant like Microsoft affiliates itself with this movement. This is wrong.

Real journalism tries to appeal to readers, not advertisers and sponsors. The latter should be an afterthought and hardly a consideration at all. “Linux Voice” will be fresh breath of air because no more will its talented writers be pressured (implicitly) to write corporate sponsors-friendly articles (I have seen it from the inside); the sponsors are people who read the work and this is how it should be done. This is how independent news channels like “Democracy Now” work. It is the only way to guarantee that software patents get bashed (large corporations like IBM love them) and companies like Novell get treated very harshly for colluding with Microsoft to extort FOSS using patent lawsuit threats. The community’s voice has been an essential regulator and proactive enforcer of ethics.

“Those who honestly believe that profit-driven stewardship on its own will take us in a better direction should learn the history of Hippies and their movement.”In 2014 we won’t have many independent sites left. Those that remain deserve to get support from their readers. Ruling out a sellout, their only other option is to shut down, potentially paying for hosting to keep old stories accessible free of charge (some old newspapers turn to paywalls). Once we lose our collective voice as a community, it will all be left for corporate vultures to devour (companies like Cisco and Microsoft, which go out of their way to help the NSA).

There is an important point worth reiterating (we already made it earlier this month). Don’t count on the Linux Foundation to represent the community. It is all about corporations, which make up almost all of its budget. Recently, Juniper joined the circles of the Linux Foundation. Juniper is a company heavily occupied by many Microsoft executives who moved there. Former Microsoft staff inside those circles is now in management, too, not just membership.

Those who honestly believe that profit-driven stewardship on its own will take us in a better direction should learn the history of Hippies and their movement. The direction taken when corporations alone dominate a movement is surely good… for corporations. It gives them more power at people’s expense. They extinguish grassroots and leave activists a little sandbox to play in, mostly as a marketing exercise. In recent years it has felt like this is where the Open Source folks are taking us, unlike the FSF.

Worldwide Adoption of FOSS in Public Services, Including Education and Healthcare

Posted in America, Australia, Free/Libre Software at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Government

Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is increasingly being adopted by those whose budget comes from the public (through the state)

Federal agencies are said to be embracing more and more FOSS [1] and Australia follows a similar trajectory [2], realising that savings and quality through sharing and collaboration serve the public better. In education, which is also funded by taxpayers (and thus should serve the public), FOSS has new gains [3] and in healthcare too we see major signs of progress [4-6]. What makes the public sector so unique is that by definition it must serve the public interest, which typically means creating jobs for domestic developers, reducing spendings on unnecessary software, and giving back all the code to the public which paid for it. Every branch of the public sector should make FOSS obligatory, not just a recommended item.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Agencies Widen Open-Source Use

    Federal agencies, looking for new ways to lower their IT costs, are exploiting open-source software tools in a wider range of applications, not only to reduce software costs, but also to tighten network security, streamline operations, and reduce expenses in vetting applications and services.

  2. South Australia to test use of Joinup for sharing and re-use

    The South Australian Government is considering running a trial of the Joinup platform, hoping to use it as their internal sharing and collaboration platform, a spokesperson for the CIO confirmed today. According to Stephen Schmid, general manager of the Open Technology Foundation, the South Australian is also working towards federating the internal platform with Openray, a similar platform open to the public sector in Australia and New Zealand.

  3. Open hardware for education with littleBits library of electronic modules

    Littlebits is disrupting the open hardware space. It’s “an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.” The company is the invention of Ayah Bdeir, an MIT graduate and TED senior fellow, and was founded in September 2011.

  4. Open source collaboration with VA betters VistA EHR security
  5. OpenEMR Free Hosting
  6. OSEHRA, VA reveal open source EHR security patching benefits

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the open source IT community have paired up to prove the benefits of fixing technical security flaws within an open source system. According to the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA) corporation, Georgia Tech graduate student Doug Mackey evaluated the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) EHR for a term project on computer security and found a substantial security vulnerability.

Links 18/8/2013: Free/Open Source Software News

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • OSv: The Open Source Cloud Operating System That is Not Linux

    For most tech professionals, the words “open source operating system” naturally translate to Linux. And so it’s understandable that those same tech pros would be a bit confused by startup Cloudius Systems’ announcement in September of a new open source operating system for the cloud, OSv.

  • 25 Open Source Alternatives For Costly Applications
  • Inspiring words from a Citrix open source exec, using GitHub for beehive building, and other interesting news
  • Inside the OpenMIND: Open Source Social Media Datamining and “Predictive” Policing

    Records obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) shed new light on a technology, OpenMIND, utilized by law enforcement/counter-terrorism fusion center personnel in gathering and analyzing mass amounts of “open source intelligence” derived from the online lives of Americans.

  • SourceForge responds to GIMP grump with crowdsourcing caper
  • Andy Hunt: What are you going to invent next?

    Andy’s first point began with an astute observation. Open source software is often discussed in terms of being a “stack” (LAMP, for instance). It is no longer a stack, however, but a tower. A tower that spans software and hardware. With the source or schematics being available, not only can we stand on the shoulders of the giants of our field but on the shoulders of everyone who contributes. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

  • How to Run Your Small Business With Free Open Source Software

    From simple bookkeeping packages to full-blown ERP systems, open source software can provide free options for small businesses that don’t have the budget for big-ticket enterprise applications.

  • GIMP leaves SourceForge, EFF Tackles NSA & More…
  • Then, now, and the future of open source fonts

    In August, the Fedora Project held its first Flock conference, a replacement for the North American and European FUDCon (Fedora Users and Developers Conference) events. Flock was a four-day, planned conference with talks, workshops, and hackfests, in contrast to FUDCon’s barcamp model. In the interest of reaching beyond the community and reminding everyone that Fedora is so much broader than just a Linux project, the invited keynote speakers were from open source areas outside of the Fedora Project. One of those keynotes was by Dave Crossland, creator of the open font Cantarell and an active part of the free font movement.

  • Open Source: A Platform for Innovation

    The hobbies that inspired the scientific curiosity of my generation were Erector Sets, Science Fair Electronic Kits from Radio Shack and model rockets with balsa wood fins that we meticulously assembled and painted. While these toys piqued our curiosity in science and engineering our ability to share our discoveries were limited by geography. These fascinating distractions were often purpose-built and confined our creativity within their intended purpose.

  • A developer’s story about passion for Open Source and Security

    This story is definitely a first for me. Not just because every story is unique in itself, but that it’s one of personal matter. The thing is, I quit my well-paid job, just to spend time on the things I’m very passionate about: open source development and information security. Not only was quitting my job a serious step, also the decision to share my personal story after 10+ years of working with open source software and security. Well, here you go. It’s my hope to intrigue others, find their passion in life and also go for it!

  • Salsa: an open source syllabus creator for educators

    Who wants to tackle the complex problem of helping educators create learning service agreements? I don’t see too many hands. How about you there, reading this article? Wait, you weren’t aware that this is an issue that impacts the education system? Well, here’s an open source project that solves this problem and needs more collaborators.

  • Facebook Open Compute Project picks switch specs
  • Facebook’s hardware VP says we’re very close to open source switches
  • Cisco-threatening open switch coming from Facebook, Intel, and Broadcom
  • This 23-year-old’s open-source project, a server running on Raspberry Pi, gives the middle finger to Google

    For most of us, Google shutting down Reader was annoying. For Jacob Cook, it was a call to arms.

    He’s now building an operating system that anyone can use to replace all of the services that Google provides — or any other cloud company, for that matter. Email, chat, file sharing, web hosting: With Cook’s arkOS, you’ll be able to run all of those essential services on a secure, private server in your own home that’s about the size of a credit card.

  • HHVM Going On A Big Performance, Feature Push

    Facebook’s HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) open-source project that’s been seeking to implement a high-performance PHP, is in the middle of a lock-down and for three weeks they are focusing on nothing bot boosting the performance of their PHP implementation and seeking to hit feature parity.

  • Matt Dugan Makes Case for Enterprise Open Source

    There was nothing new in what Matt Dugan said. There were no ground breaking revelations. He just methodically made his case, point by point, explaining why open source was usually, if not always, the best solution for business.

    To me, this was just what the doctor ordered. I’d just sat through a forty-five minute lecture in that very same room from an open core guy that had left me fearing that enterprise open source companies were just as greedy and potentially as unethical as the proprietary guys. Dugan fixed that and quickly reaffirmed my faith in the notion that open source is where the good guys live.

  • Machine Learning with Apache Mahout: Refining the Recommender

    Mahout components implement popular algorithms and can be unplugged easily when no longer needed.

  • MediaCore CE renamed to MediaDrop

    MediaCore CE is the community edition of MediaCore, a Web application that powers a multimedia hosted platform targeted towards the educational market and run by MediaCore, Inc. It is a Python application built atop the Django Web framework.

    Published under the GNU General Public License version 3, MediaDrop is free to download and use. However, because it is a Django application, installing it is a little bit more involved than the point-and-click process commonly associated with PHP applications.

  • OpenWFD Aims to Bring Wireless Display Streaming to Tablets, Phones

    Wireless connectivity between devices and display monitors remains mostly fantasy today, Google’s Chromecast notwithstanding. But it could become a big deal for tablets, smartphones and even traditional PCs in the future. And it may even work on Linux, if the nascent OpenWFD project succeeds—which would be very good news for open source hardware vendors.

  • Open-Source HTML5 Terminal Emulator To Support X11

    The Gate One HTML5-powered terminal emulator and SSH client that goes without needing any browser plug-ins and supports many SSH/terminal features is working on bringing X11 support to the web-browser. The developer claims that this X11 support in the browser written in HTML5 will be fast enough to support video playback and he’s made a video demo as proof.

  • 5 Open Source Platforms That Will Define 2014

    Linux and MySQL are old news. Partners must now open their minds to NoSQL, Hadoop, KVM, OpenStack and OpenDaylight

Free/Open Source Software Almost Reduced to Marketing Label

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

National Organic Program

Summary: Exploitation of the good reputation of FOSS as noticed in habitual non-factual media coverage

IN a recent article about “misconceptions”, misconceptions were being spread, using FUD to supposedly counter FUD [1]. If a piece of software is not Free/Open Source software (FOSS), then it is proprietary. By that standard, TrueCrypt for example is proprietary, as the OSI’s president explained a few days ago [2]. Being “half open” is like being “half pregnant”, so the misuse of terminology needs to stop. To some, the debate about FOSS is not about freedom; it is framed as “To Pay or Not to Pay” [3] or a matter of “Profiting”, to use Matt Dugan’ angle [4].

There are many companies out there which claim that they spread FOSS while they are in fact some kind of a mixture (like WSO2 [5]). When dealing with such companies it’s often found that “Open Source” is just a marketing label to them; in practice they make money by selling proprietary software. We need to put more emphasis on this issue and help reveal companies which merely exploit FOSS for promotion (without delivering FOSS).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. On the misconceptions of open source vs. proprietary debate in Big Data

    When it comes to open source versus open core proprietary there can be some mistaken assumptions. For instance, proprietary is equated to meaning closed and implies vendor lock-in. Yet, not all “non-open source” software solutions are proprietary or closed.

  2. TrueCrypt or false? Would-be open source project must clean up its act

    Security isn’t TrueCrypt’s only controversial point — its claim to be open source doesn’t hold water, either

  3. FOSS in the Enterprise: To Pay or Not to Pay?

    One of the big attractions behind the growing popularity of open source software is the ability to get it and use it for free. In a world of ever-rising costs in pretty much every other aspect of business and life, “free” is an offer that’s increasingly difficult to refuse.

  4. All Things Open: On Vendor Mistrust, Containerization & Profiting From Open Source

    I was very pleased, however, with Matt Dugan’s presentation, “In Defense of Vendor Mistrust.” A Middle Solutions Architect for Shadow-Soft, Dugan was on target with the reasoning behind his conclusion that in most cases enterprise users will gain in the long run if they move to open source.

  5. Boeing uses open source to build cloud-based digital aviation platform

    The world’s largest aerospace company and aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, has used open-source application development software firm WSO2′s service-oriented architecture (SOA) to build a cloud-based digital aviation platform.

    The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution, dubbed the Boeing Edge, has been used to refocus the manufacturer’s attempts at connecting with its airline customers, Jim Crabbe, senior product manager at Boeing, told delegates at WSO2′s developers’ conference in San Francisco.

FreeBSD is Having an Impact on Leading Gaming Consoles

Posted in BSD at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FreeBSD

Summary: The role of FreeBSD in PlayStation 4 is explained and news from the FreeBSD world may suggest plenty of promise in version 10.0

NOT too long ago, FreeBSD turned 20. It has some unique features but also antifeatures. Some companies may prefer it because they can turn it into proprietary. The licence permits this. One such company was rumoured to be Sony and there is new evidence surfacing [1]. In the FreeBSD world, according to Phoronix, there is a move from GNU (GDB) to LLDB and there is also a discussion about the Bhyve virtualization hypervisor [3], which FreeBSD 10.0 is expected to boast.

BSD and GNU/Linux have co-existed for decades and there is no reason why they cannot continue to co-exist. Each has its strengths (or weaknesses) and its philosophical aspects which may appeal more (or less) to corporations. it is easy to see why a crude company like Sony — and Apple likewise — prefers BSD.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sony’s new PlayStation 4 and open source FreeBSD: The TRUTH

    The PS4′s Orbis OS is based on the tech.

  2. Why FreeBSD Is Liking LLDB For Debugging

    Yesterday I had written how the Leadwerks Linux developer has some issues with GDB for debugging — as do other game developers. Besides game developers, BSD developers also have issues with GDB and seek for better alternatives beyond just a more liberal code license.

  3. The State Of FreeBSD’s Bhyve Virtualization

    This week in California was a one-day FreeBSD Vendor Summit and during the event was an update on the Bhyve virtualization hypervisor that is playing an important role in FreeBSD 10.0.

Links 18/8/2013: Applications and Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 18/11/2013: Games-related News

Posted in News Roundup at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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