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12.15.14

Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Magical Open Source Music Workstations

    Linux is an ideal platform for professional audio production. It is an extremely stable operating system that has good support for audio hardware. Using a Linux machine as the focus of your recording setup opens a world of possibilities for an affordable price.

    Ubuntu Studo is an officially recognised version of Ubuntu that is aimed at professional musicians, and audio, video and graphic enthusiasts. The distribution includes an excellent range of open source multimedia software, and has a tweaked Linux kernel which offers good operation for audio applications at lower latencies, lower than the human perception threshold. The time that elapses between a hardware device issuing a hardware interrupt, and the time the process that deals with it is run is known as latency. Linux can be set up well to handle realtime, low-latency audio.

  • What is good audio editing software on Linux

    Whether you are an amateur musician or just a student recording his professor, you need to edit and work with audio recordings. If for a long time such task was exclusively attributed to Macintosh, this time is over, and Linux now has what it takes to do the job. In short, here is a non-exhaustive list of good audio editing software, fit for different tasks and needs.

  • Watson wannabes: 4 open source projects for machine intelligence

    Over the last year, as part of the new enterprise services that IBM has been pushing om its reinvention, Watson has become less of a “Jeopardy”-winning gimmick and more of a tool. It also remains IBM’s proprietary creation.

    What are the chances, then, of creating a natural-language machine learning system on the order of Watson, albeit with open source components? To some degree, this has already happened — in part because Watson itself was built in top of existing open source work, and others have been developing similar systems in parallel to Watson. Here’s a look at four such projects.

  • Neil Anderson Re-Joins Sopra As Principal Open Source Architect For Scotland

    Neil Anderson re-joined Sopra last week as a Principal Open Source Architect for Scotland. This appointment will help us meet the growing demand for Open Source solutions both in Scotland and across the UK. Sopra has been leveraging Open Source software to deliver business solutions for many years and, whilst working with Open Standards, is delivering the flexibility, collaboration, sharing and “best of breed” solutions that the public sector demands.

  • Why Open-Source Software is Changing the Face of the Information Age

    Few advancements in modern technology have taken the world by storm as much as open-source software (OSS). Once the domain of geeks, idealists, computer scientists and activists, OSS has become a mainstream fact of life and given rise to a plethora of operating systems, technologies and applications that are often taken for granted.

    However, becoming mainstream can sometimes mean a death sentence to a cause. All too often, “mainstream” becomes synonymous with “mundane.” And when something reaches that point, it often loses its appeal along with the very support that drove it to mainstream status.

  • AllSeen’s Open Source Internet of Things: One Year On

    Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about one of the Linux Foundation’s Collaborative Projects, with the rather disconcerting name of AllSeen. I found that problematic, since the AllSeen Alliance hopes to create the de facto standards for the much-hyped Internet of Things. One of the my chief concerns with this idea is that it could make today’s surveillance look positively restrained – imagine if spy agencies and general ne’er-do-wells had access to detailed knowledge about and perhaps even control over individual components of your “intelligent” home.

  • Events

    • OSI 2014 Annual Report

      First, let me start off by thanking all of you in the open source software community for your tremendous support and help throughout my first year with the Open Source Initiative. It has been quite a transition for me, moving from the formality and conventionalism of institutions of higher education, to what in many ways feels like a start-up. I’m truly fortunate—the OSI and the open source software community are energetic, creative, smart and for me personally, motivational. I was honored to join the OSI in November 2013, thrilled to work with the Board and our members this year, and excited about the possibilities and opportunities in 2015.

    • Web Engines Hackfest 2014

      Last week I attended the Web Engines Hackfest. The event was sponsored by Igalia (also hosting the event), Adobe and Collabora.

      As usual I spent most of the time working on the WebKitGTK+ GStreamer backend and Sebastian Dröge kindly joined and helped out quite a bit, make sure to read his post about the event!

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google’s Software Removal Tool Keeps Chrome Humming Properly

        One of the ways in which Google has been preserving the purity of its Chrome browser is to carefully police what kinds of extensions will work with it. In late 2013, Google decreed that the longstanding Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI), which extensions have worked with for many years, is the source of many problems. Google has also delivered an update on its plan to remove NPAPI from Chrome.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • 10,000 OpenStack questions, debunking myths, and more
    • Supporting 3 init systems in OpenStack packages

      Providing support for all 3 init systems (sysv-rc, Upstart and systemd) isn’t hard, and generating the init scripts / Upstart job / systemd using a template system is a lot easier than I previously thought.

      As always, when writing this kind of blog post, I do expect that others will not like what I did. But that’s the point: give me your opinion in a constructive way (please be polite even if you don’t like what you see… I had too many times had to read harsh comments), and I’ll implement your ideas if I find it nice.

  • BSD

    • LLVM 3.5.1 Is Coming Soon

      Tom Stellard of AMD released the LLVM 3.5.1-rc1 release prior to the weekend to solicit testing prior to officially putting out this first point release to LLVM 3.5. Stellard in large part continues to organize these point releases for yielding more frequent stable LLVM updates to help out users and distribution packagers in getting out AMD GPU LLVM back-end fixes and improvements.

    • Get started with FreeBSD: A brief intro for Linux users

      Among the legions of Linux users and admins, there seems to be a sort of passive curiosity about FreeBSD and other *BSDs. Like commuters on a packed train, they gaze out at a less crowded, vaguely mysterious train heading in a slightly different direction and wonder what traveling on that train might be like — for a moment. The few who cross over find themselves in a place that is equal parts familiar and foreign. And the strange parts can be scary.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC Has Been Ported To The Visium Architecture

      The newest platform that the GNU Compiler Collection has been ported to is Visium. AdaCore is now looking to contribute their GCC Visium port to mainline.

      Never heard of Visium before? Neither have we, but it’s yet another platform where GCC can serve as the code compiler. Eric Botcazou of AdaCore explained Visium as “a 32-bit RISC architecture with an Extended Arithmetic Module implementing some 64-bit operations and an FPU designed for embedded systems…The Visium is a classic 32-bit RISC architecture whose branches have a delay slot and whose arithmetic and logical instructions all set the flags, and they comprise the moves between GP registers (which are inclusive ORs under the hood in the traditional RISC fashion).”

  • Public Services/Government

    • Justice’s API release signals bigger win for open source

      The Justice Department’s first foray into the open data world with the launch of two APIs is noteworthy. But the underlying reason why DoJ could release the software code is really the story here.

      First, the APIs, or application programming interfaces, that Justice released are codes for Web developers to build mobile apps and other software more easily to find press releases and job openings.

      Nothing ground breaking in terms of APIs.

      Skip Bailey, a former chief information officer at the DoJ’s Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the APIs are part of how Justice is moving to open source platform, Drupal. And that, he said, is the big accomplishment.

  • Licensing

    • GPLv2 goes to court: More decisions from the Versata tarpit

      The General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2) continues to be the most widely used and most important license for free and open source software. Black Duck Software estimates that 16 billion lines of code are licensed under GPLv2. Despite its importance, the GPLv2 has been the subject of very few court decisions, and virtually all of the most important terms of the GPLv2 have not been interpreted by courts.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Rust 1.0: Scheduling the trains

      With the launch of Cargo and crates.io, Rust’s ecosystem has already seen significant expansion, but it still takes a lot of work to track Rust’s nightly releases. Beginning with the alpha release, and especially approaching beta1, this will change dramatically; code that works with beta1 should work with 1.0 final without any changes whatsoever.

      This migration into stability should be a boon for library writers, and we hope that by 1.0 final there will be a massive collection of crates ready for use on the stable channel – and ready for the droves of people trying out Rust for the first time.

    • Python Update Limits Risk of POODLE Attacks

      Python 2.x was supposed to be long gone by now. Instead, it’s getting security fixes to keep legacy users current.

    • Peering into the future of software development

      Now is the best time ever to be a software developer – in terms of employment, organizational impact, and the amazing breadth of tools and platforms available. The future seems even brighter: Over time, I’m betting software development will become the No. 1 technology priority for most enterprises.

      That might seem like an overreach, when today’s biggest enterprise technology budget items remain networking, storage, servers, and licensed software. But over the next 10 or 15 years, enterprises will move more and more of their operations to the cloud — and devote more and more resources to building and revising applications on those cloud platforms to differentiate their businesses.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship

    • Haia closes over 10,000 Twitter accounts in 2014

      The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) has shut down 10,117 Twitter accounts during the year because of religious violations, its spokesman, Turki Al-Shulail, has revealed.

      “Their users were committing religious and ethical violations. Haia blocked and arrested some of their owners. However, it was hard to follow all the accounts due to the advanced security used in this kind of social media,” he told the media.

  • Civil Rights

    • Weasel Words

      Straw has climbed down a bit from his days of power and glory, when he told the House of Commons, immediately after sacking me, that there was no such thing as the CIA extraordinary rendition programme and its existence was “Mr Murray’s opinion.” He no longer claims it did not exist and he no longer claims I am a fantasist. He now merely claims he was not breaking the law.

      His claim of respect for the law is a bit dubious in the light of Sir Michael Wood’s evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry. Wood said that as Foreign Office Legal Adviser, he and his elite team of in-house FCO international lawyers unanimously advised Straw the invasion of Iraq would be an illegal war of aggression. Straw’s response? He wrote to the Attorney General requesting that Sir Michael be dismissed and replaced. And forced Goldsmith to troop out to Washington and get alternative advice from Bush’s nutjob Republican neo-con lawyers.

    • Update: NPR Doesn’t Ban ‘Torture’–but Offers Euphemisms to Use in Its Place

      Of course NPR did not ban the word “torture”–but it did, according to ombud Alicia Shepard (6/21/09) a few months earlier, decide “to not use the term ‘torture’ to describe techniques such as waterboarding but instead [use] ‘harsh interrogation tactics,’” because “the role of a news organization is not to choose sides in this or any debate.”

    • At Least 26 People Who Had Nothing To Hide Tortured By CIA

      Twenty-six innocent people have been tortured by the CIA. These were people who had literally nothing to hide, but they had something to fear anyway. Civil liberties are either applied to everybody without exception, or will be reliable for nobody.

    • Video shows John Crawford’s girlfriend aggressively questioned after Ohio police shot him dead in Walmart

      Police aggressively questioned the tearful girlfriend of a young black man they had just shot dead as he held a BB gun in an Ohio supermarket – accusing her of lying, threatening her with jail, and suggesting that she was high on drugs.

      Tasha Thomas was reduced to swearing on the lives of her relatives that John Crawford III had not been carrying a firearm when they entered the Walmart in Beavercreek, near Dayton, to buy crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars on the evening of 5 August.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sony orders news outlets to stop reporting on stolen data

        Sony Pictures has demanded that news organisations stop reporting on the information stolen by hackers in the crippling attack on the studio.

        The demand was sent to media companies in a three-page letter written by Sony Pictures’ lawyers Boies, Schiller & Flexner after a wave of highly embarrassing data releases by hackers.

        “Sony Pictures Entertainment does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use of the stolen information,” the letter read.

      • Pirate Bay Responds to The Raid, Copies and The Future

        The Pirate Bay crew has broken its silence for the first time since the site was knocked down hard by a raid in Sweden last week. The people behind the site are still considering their options and have no concrete comeback plans yet. Nevertheless, they encourage the public to keep the Kopimi spirit alive.

      • “How To Learn Absolutely Nothing In Fifteen Years,” By The Copyright Industry

        The Pirate Bay was shut down this week. Whether or not it resurfaces, that event has already triggered a wave of innovation that will spawn exciting new sharing technologies over the coming years, just like when Napster was shut down fifteen years ago

      • Leaked Emails Reveal MPAA Plans To Pay Elected Officials To Attack Google

        Okay, it’s no secret that the MPAA hates Google. It doesn’t take a psychology expert to figure that out. But in the last few days, some of the leaks from the Sony Pictures hack have revealed the depths of that hatred, raising serious questions about how the MPAA abuses the legal process in corrupt and dangerous ways. The most serious charge — unfortunately completely buried by this report at The Verge — is that it appears the MPAA and the major Hollywood studios directly funded various state Attorneys General in their efforts to attack and shame Google. Think about that for a second.

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