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Links 28/9/2015: Last News Catchup Before Resumption

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Being smart about open source: 5 practical tips for government use

    There is much written about the pros and cons of using open source software, generally with more emphasis on the pros. Open source evangelists have even convinced foreign governments (India and the United Kingdom, to name a few) to go so far as mandating the use of open source software. To make smart decisions, however, government agencies must carefully consider the project in question. Here are five tips for making sure important questions are not overlooked.

  • Github Open Sources a Tool That Will Teach Students to Code

    John Britton is Github’s “education liaison”, which means that he assists in bringing Github to schools and college campuses. The sweeping online service in the last few years have changed the way the way coders build software across Silicon Valley and beyond. According to Britton, it’s transforming the way that teachers teach coding now. In the end, Github is all about collaborating on code together.

  • Adblock Fast: A free and open source ad blocker for iOS 9
  • Adblock Fast is a free and open source way to banish ads in iOS 9
  • Open Source and Haiti: A Story of Care
  • Dropbox open-sources Zulip, the group chat app it acquired last year

    Dropbox has released Zulip, a group chat app, under an open-source Apache license. The move, announced today, comes after Dropbox acquired Zulip in March 2014.

    The client and server code is available on GitHub. You can download the client for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android here.

  • Study Reveals Insights About Enterprise Use of Open Source

    How is open source used in the large enterprise environment? A recent study from WIPRO and Oxford Economics titled “The Open Source Era” provided insights into that question. The report revealed that 21 percent of enterprises use open source software and 25 percent have deployed it in a business unit. However, 54 percent are in the planning phase of open source adoption.

  • Latest Brocade ODL controller, apps ease use of open source in cloud

    An OVSDB interface lets the Brocade controller direct a virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN) topology, which is an overlay network on existing Layer 3 infrastructure. VXLAN technology makes it easier for network engineers to scale out a cloud-computing environment.

  • Google, Twitter Reportedly Developing Open Source Instant Article Solution
  • Facebook Open Sources React Native For Android So Devs Can Reuse Code Across Web And iOS
  • Pinterest open-sources Terrapin, a tool for serving data from Hadoop

    Pinterest today announced the availability of Terrapin, a new piece of open-source software that’s designed to more efficiently push data out of the Hadoop open-source big data software and make it available for other systems to use.

    Engineers at Pinterest designed Terrapin as a replacement for the open-source HBase NoSQL database for this particular process, because HBase had proven slow and didn’t perform well beyond 100GB of data. The company looked at open-source key-value store ElephantDB as a possible alternative, but that wasn’t perfect, either.

  • DreamFactory: Building a better backend for your apps

    A free, open source solution for connecting mobile, IoT, or Web apps to backend server data and services

  • Could VW scandal lead to open-source software for better automobile cybersecurity?

    Could fallout from Volkswagen’s cheating lead to vehicle manufacturers open-sourcing millions of lines of code for the sake of enhanced automobile cybersecurity?

  • Price – One Measure Of Lock-in

    For many, ignorance is the key lock-in. Folks born and raised as slaves may not appreciate there is any other life. Slaves may feel any competition to their slave-master is a threat to their way of life. Education is key. Students exposed to FLOSS at school will certainly know there is another way, a better way to do IT. Students I taught even knew how to install GNU/Linux and applications like LibreOffice. Today, there are many more retail shelves bearing GNU/Linux and LibreOffice than the bad old days. The stats show it. LibreOffice has over 100 million users. GNU/Linux as the classic desktop and Chrome OS are slowly but surely taking share in the world. Android/Linux is kicking butt.

  • Dropbox releases its chat app Zulip under an open-source license
  • Google Launches “Brotli” Compression Algorithm For The Web
  • Mycroft Aims to Be the First Truly Open AI That Belongs to Everyone

    Mycroft is a very successful project defined as an AI and home automation system, but its makers are hoping that it’s going be a lot more than just that.

  • Mycroft AI Home Automation Needs a Mascot, Competition Organized

    The Mycroft AI home automation system has been gathering quite a following, especially after it completed a Kickstarter campaign. Now, its makers are looking to find a fitting mascot for the Mycroft.

  • Events

    • My Dance Card for “All Things Open”

      Systemv Startup vs systemd: With all the continuing brouhaha surrounding systemd, this is a must on my list. From the abstract on this talk, it appears as if this will be a positive take on systemd — pragmatic, since it seems to be here to stay, like it or not 00 and will seek to explain not only how it works and how to configure it, but to explain why its development was deemed necessary. This one is being conducted by open source software and Linux advocate David Both, who’s byline has appeared on OS/2 Magazine, Linux Magazine, Linux Journal, and OpenSource.com.

    • FUDCon Cordoba 2015
    • FUDCon LATAM 2015 – Cordoba

      FUDCon LATAM 2015 was held in Córdoba Argentina, and hosted by Valentin Basel, Matias Maceira and Laura Fontanesi, and all the local volunteers that helped make the event could happen.

    • DjangoGirls workshop in Pune

      During FUDCon, I heard that later in the year we might get a Django Girls workshop in Pune. If you never heard about Django Girls before, here is a quote from the website:

    • Dronecode workshop to be held at LinuxCon/ELCE in Dublin

      In a nod to the proliferation of Linux in drones, the Dronecode Project will host a workshop in conjunction with LinuxCon and the ELC in Dublin next month.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • How WebGL Works In Chromium

        If you’ve been curious how WebGL works in Chromium or other modern web browsers prior to hitting the graphics driver, here’s a lengthy explanation.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 41 Released With Many Small Improvements
      • Mozilla Releases SeaMonkey 2.38

        It’s not too often these days that we hear about SeaMonkey, Mozilla’s all-in-one Internet Suite, but an update to it is available this weekend.

        SeaMonkey continues to come equippped with email, IRC, HTML editing. and web browsing functionality and is powered by the latest Gecko engine release from Firefox. It was just earlier this week that Firefox 41 was released.

      • Firefox OS post-mortem

        So, it happened. My Flame stopped working, it just doesn’t react to anything (power off switch, power cable), and of course being a weird unknown China-only thing, no local repair shop would touch it. I probably could ask somebody at Mozilla for another one, but I already knew I wouldn’t. Let me write couple of words why I gave up on Firefox OS (not on Firefox or Mozilla!).

      • Mozilla’s Project Candle Aiming To Improve Firefox’s Power Efficiency
      • Webconverger Kiosk Devs Found Out Firefox Is Leaking Info

        “Prompted by the disturbing privacy defaults in Windows 10 and an inquiry whether Webconverger leaked any intranet information, we reviewed Firefox defaults. This review was accomplished with Wireshark, a tool that allows us to analyse every packet leaving and entering a Webconverger instance. Strictly speaking these Firefox defaults don’t leak any private information and elements like safe browsing should give an extra layer of malware protection, but in practice the network noise generated by these services are too risky for security,” reads the official announcement.

      • Rust 1.3 Further Stabilizes The API, More Efficient Substring Matcher
  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Building enterprise data applications with open source components

      I first found myself having to learn Scala when I started using Spark (version 0.5). Prior to Spark, I’d peruse books on Scala but just never found an excuse to delve into it. In the early days of Spark, Scala was a necessity — I quickly came to appreciate it and have continued to use it enthusiastically.

    • Survey shows huge popularity spike for Apache Spark

      One popular number often noted by the Spark community is that its roughly 600 contributors make it the most active project in the entire Apache Software Foundation, a major governing body for open source software, in terms of number of contributors. That’s no small feat considering the number of popular enterprise database and infrastructure projects currently governed by Apache.

      And new numbers released this week as part of survey from Databricks, a software startup founded by the creators of Spark, shed some new light on just how popular the technology has become. One of the standout statistics has to do with attendance at user conferences, which are usually a good sign of interest in a technology and who’s using it. In 2015, attendance at Spark Summit events grew 156% to nearly 3,000, and the number of companies represented grew 152% to more than 1,100.

    • Ossipee

      OpenStack is a big distributed system. FreeIPA is designed for security in distributed system. In order to develop and test each of them, separately or together, I need a distributed system. Virtualization has been a key technology for making this kind of work possible. OpenStack is great of managing virtualization. Added to that is the benefits found when one “Fly our own airplanes.” Thus, I am using OpenStack to develop OpenStack.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Making the case for Free Software at Universities

      Delivering this talk represented a challenge for me. My audience are freshman, that have been in college for all of three to four weeks. Your regular presentation is not going to work. My audience have left home, making new friends, and enjoying new freedoms, making adult decisions. For most freshman, their journey is just beginning and if I were to use my own experience, constantly evolving. Where you started out might be completely different and that could be said to continue even in your adult life. We are after all works in progress. The other challenge is that perception of Free Software / Open Source is applicable only to computer science. That is of course patently untrue, considering how this concept has now spread to so many other sectors. Creating something requires a wide range of skillsets and its just not about coding.

  • BSD


  • Openness/Sharing


  • Hardware

    • AArch64 desktop: day one

      Nowadays if you are lucky you can even have AArch64 hardware. The problem is that there is no desktop class one still. Mustang and Seattle are server boards, Juno is development platform, Hikey is out of stock, Dragonboard 410c has 1GB of memory (same as Hikey) and rest of “publicly available” AArch64 hardware is in Android or iOS devices.

    • AArch64 desktop: day two
    • AArch64 desktop — last day
  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. drug company sues Canada for trying to lower cost of $700K-a-year drug

      A U.S. drug company is taking the Canadian government to court for its attempt to lower the price of what has been called the world’s most expensive drug.

      Alexion Pharmaceuticals has filed a motion in Federal Court, arguing that Canada’s drug price watchdog has no authority to force the company to lower its price for Soliris.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Jeremy Corbyn loses the battle on Trident after trade unionists side with Labour MPs to block the move

      Jeremy Corbyn will avoid a divisive vote on the Labour party’s policy on Britain’s nuclear deterrent at its conference this week after major unions said they would block the new leader’s attempts to adopt an anti-Trident stance.

      Labour party delegates were expected to vote on whether to renew Trident nuclear weapons or scrap them as party policy on 30 September, but the motion failed to win the support needed from activists in a ballot selecting which topics the party will debate at its conference in Brighton.

    • Labour party torpedoes Trident debate in blow to Jeremy Corbyn

      Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was handed an embarrassing defeat yesterday afternoon, as his own party members voted against debating the renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system.

      Corbyn has long campaigned against replacing Trident, and it had widely been expected that delegates at the Labour party’s annual conference in Brighton this week would vote on a motion backing the newly elected leader’s views.

    • Jeremy Corbyn suffers blow as Trident vote rejected at conference
  • Finance

    • Opinion: Secret Trade Negotiations Threaten Sustainable Development Goals

      Yet as the United Nations announce goals to be achieved by 2030, a crucial but secret trade meeting is taking place to advance the Trans Pacific Partnership, which will set the economic rules for 40 percent of the world economy, and threatens to undermine the U.N. goals before they have even begun.

      The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, are made up of 17 general goals with 169 targets, including an end to extreme poverty and hunger, providing universal access to clean water and protecting the world’s oceans. The initiative is supported by 193 countries, the United Nations, the World Bank and countless non-profits, and establishes the international development agenda for the next 15 years.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Traveling to North Korea – 15 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

      There is probably no other place on this planet which receives so much negative press as North Korea. Given the totalitarian nature of DPRK’s government and the country’s isolation, one can easily understood why the country receives so little love. However, what’s really worrying though is that a lot of media outlets do not even make the slightest effort to really understand the country and its people or even pay a visit to the Hermit Kingdom to see how the country looks from inside.

      As a result, there are a lot of myths circulating around the web concerning traveling to North Korea. Some of them are totally ridiculous, others make a bit more sense. When I visited North Korea in August 2015, I had the unique opportunity to challenge some of the misconceptions about tourism in DPRK. As usual, I did my best to keep the mind open and at least for the time being, forget a lot what I had heard about traveling to North Korea before.

  • Privacy

    • RFC: Using video conferencing for GPG key signing events

      I have a geographically-diverse team that uses GPG to provide integrity of their messages. Usually, a team like this would all huddle together and do a formal key-signing event. With several large bodies of water separating many of the team members, however, it’s unlikely that we could even make that work.

    • Purism Librem 13 Funded, But Will Likely Fail To Provide Freedom & Privacy

      This known backdoor, the Intel Management Engine, is signed by Intel. This means that you can’t run your own version without Intel’s permission. Purism claims to be working on unlocking it (presumably to remove these nasty features), but customers who previously bought a librem (hundreds of librem 15 customers, myself included, and the hundreds of people that bought the librem 13) will be stuck with a locked Management Engine. If Purism is successful in unlocking the ME to run unsigned modified versions, that will only affect newer laptops shipped by the company, not older ones that were sold previously.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Hey FCC, Don’t Lock Down Our Wi-Fi Routers

      On the coastal edge of Tunisia, a signal bounces between 11 rooftops and 12 routers, forming an invisible net that covers 70 percent of the city of Sayada. Strategically placed, the routers link together community centers–from the main street to the marketplace. Not long ago, the Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali government censored access to the Internet. The regime is gone now. And this free network gives the community unfettered access to thousands of books, secure chat and file sharing applications, street maps, and more.

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