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07.28.17

Links 28/7/2017: Suricata 4.0, QML vs. HTML5, LibreOffice 5.4

Posted in News Roundup at 5:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Four Open Source Data Projects To Watch Now

    While open source isn’t the sole source of creativity and progress in big data, it’s a major driver in the space. Market-shaking tech like Kafka, Spark, Hadoop, and MongoDB all began as obscure open source projects backed by enthusiasic developers. Which open source project will be the next breakout star?

    Many open soruce projects are organized under the Apache Software Foundation, but not all. Here are four recently founded upstream big data projects – two hosted by the ASF and two that aren’t — that could find their way into your quiver of big data analytics tools.

  • The 4 Quadrants of Open Source Entrepreneurship

    Some time ago, I noticed something missing in our discussions about open source software development. A few somethings, in fact. Nobody was talking about product management as it pertains to open source development. Admittedly, this was spurred by a question from a product management team member who was confronted for the first time by the reality of working with an engineering team that runs an open source project. Her question was simply, “So… what should we be doing?” Her question was born of a fear that product management had no role in this new regime and thus rendered her unnecessary. I had to think for a moment because I, experienced open source project hand that I was, wasn’t quite sure. For quite some time, my standard response had been for product management and other “corporate types” to stay the hell away from my open source project. But that didn’t feel right. In fact, it felt darn right anachronistic and counterproductive.

  • Aiming to Be a Zero: The Ultimate Open Source Philosophy

    Guy Martin, Director of the Open@ADSK initiative at Autodesk, had two dreams growing up — to be either an astronaut or a firefighter. Martin has realized his second dream through his work as a volunteer firefighter with Cal Fire, but his love for space is what led to “Aiming to Be an Open Source Zero,” the talk he will be delivering at Open Source Summit NA.

  • Why you need more than just open-source

    In 2016, the Open Source Drives Digital Innovation study commissioned by Red-Hat and conducted by analyst house Forrester revealed that 52% of CIOs and senior IT decision makers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are already tapping open source software in areas such as cloud, mobility, big data and DevOps.

    More IT decision-makers are turning to open source to drive better efficiency and digital innovation, as its flexibility enables organisations to build new customer experiences, services and products more quickly.

    As more enterprises tap open source there are some misconceptions about what open-source means. Open source technology allows for incredible collaboration between people, communities and projects. Yet many inadvertently associate the words “free” and “easy” with open source which is not always true. Open source makes tech easily accessible and collaborative, which drives incredibly fast innovation. But open source is much more than easily accessible tech. Enterprise needs must be considered and that is why the business of open source tech is about more than just accessibility.

  • 5 open source alternatives to Trello

    I have to admit, I’ve fallen in love with Trello as a productivity tool. If you like keeping lists as a way to organize your work, it’s a very good tool. For me, it serves two primary purposes: keeping a GTD framework, and managing certain projects with a kanban-like schedule.

    But Trello is a closed source SaaS product, and I wanted to know whether I could find an open source alternative to meet my needs. As much as I love Trello, it lacks a few features that I’d really like to have in a list/task manager, and I wanted to explore my other options.

  • How startup Kite tried to ruin two open source communities

    Even though it can be hard to make money with open source, there are some strategies that should be off-limits. Take Kite, for example, which has reportedly infiltrated two open source projects to use them to push ads and promote spyware. In the open source edition of How to Win Friends and Influence People, Kite’s actions would write the chapter on failure.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • How Could You Use a Speech Interface?

        Last month in San Francisco, my colleagues at Mozilla took to the streets to collect samples of spoken English from passers-by. It was the kickoff of our Common Voice Project, an effort to build an open database of audio files that developers can use to train new speech-to-text (STT) applications.

        What’s the big deal about speech recognition?

        Speech is fast becoming a preferred way to interact with personal electronics like phones, computers, tablets and televisions. Anyone who’s ever had to type in a movie title using their TV’s remote control can attest to the convenience of a speech interface. According to one study, it’s three times faster to talk to your phone or computer than to type a search query into a screen interface.

        Plus, the number of speech-enabled devices is increasing daily, as Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod gain traction in the market. Speech is also finding its way into multi-modal interfaces, in-car assistants, smart watches, lightbulbs, bicycles and thermostats. So speech interfaces are handy — and fast becoming ubiquitous.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.4 Released With New Standard Color Palette, Improved File Handling

      The official update to LibreOffice 5.4 is now available following a slight delay.

      This cross-platform open-source office suite features a new standard color palette, improved file format compatibility, importing PDFs now yield much better quality, support for OpenPGP key signing of documents on Linux, better performance of LibreOffice Online, and many other improvements.

    • LibreOffice 5.4 Office Suite Debuts with New Features for Writer, Calc & Impress

      The Document Foundation today announced the release and immediate availability of the LibreOffice 5.4 office suite, the last to be released for the LibreOffice 5 series.

      Supported until June 11, 2018, with no less than six incremental updates, the LibreOffice 5.4 office suite is here to add an extra layer of improvements to the Writer, Calc, and Impress components. It also introduces a great number of incremental improvements to the Microsoft Office file compatibility and focuses on file simplicity, which is a very important concept for LibreOffice.

    • LibreOffice 5.4 Released with ‘Significant New Features’

      LibreOffice 5.4 serves as the final major release in the LibreOffice 5.x series (meaning LibreOffice 6.x will be next). The update is said to add “significant new features in every module” and (as always) improved Microsoft Office file compatibility.

    • LibreOffice 5.4 released with new features for Writer, Calc and Impress

      The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.4, the last major release of the LibreOffice 5.x family, immediately available for Windows, macOS and Linux, and for the cloud. LibreOffice 5.4 adds significant new features in every module, including the usual large number of incremental improvements to Microsoft Office file compatibility.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Binutils 2.29 Released

      Binutils 2.29 is now available as well as a Binutils 2.28.1 point release.

      Binutils 2.29 brings a lot for MIPS and SPARC users. MIPS improvements for Binutils 2.29 include support for microMIPS eXtended Physical Addressing (PXA), microMIPS Release 5 ISA for assembly/disassembly, support for the Imagination interAptiv MR2 CPU, and support for the MIPS16e2 ASE assembly/disassembly.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Public Domain Is Not Open Source

      Open Source and Public Domain are frequently confused. Here’s why it’s a mistake to treat the two terms as synonyms.

      Plenty of people assume that public domain software must be open source. While it may be free software within your specific context, it is incorrect to treat public domain software as open source or indeed as globally free software. That’s not a legal opinion (I’m not a lawyer so only entitled to layman’s opinions) but rather an observation that an open source user or developer cannot safely include public domain source code in a project.

    • 5 Reasons Facebook’s React License Was A Mistake

      In July 2017, the Apache Software Foundation effectively banned the license combination Facebook has been applying to all the projects it has been releasing as open source. They are using the 3-clause BSD license (BSD-3), a widely-used OSI-approved non-reciprocal license, combined with a broad, non-reciprocal patent grant but with equally broad termination rules to frustrate aggressors.

      The combination represents a new open source license, which I’ve termed the “Facebook BSD Plus Patent License” (FB+PL), and to my eyes it bears the hallmarks of an attempt to be compatible with both the GPL v2 and the Apache License v2 at the same time, in circumvention of the alleged imcompatibility of those licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How an open source board game is saving the planet

      Learning is supposed to be fun, and incorporating games into education is a great way for teachers to help kids have fun while they’re learning. There are many free online games that are appropriate for the classroom and there are also board games, including Save the Planet, a board game that teaches kids concrete solutions to environmental problems.

      Save the Planet is a free, DIY, cooperative board game that is openly licensed to encourage community contributions. In the game, players win by working together to clean up virtual pollution, while in real life they learn ways to save the planet. A recent study on distributed manufacturing of toys showed this game costs less than US$ 3 to make—70-90% less than a store-bought board game.

    • John Dylan’s Open Source Music Volume 2 [Ed: No real connection to "open source" just riding a buzzword]

      Dylan’s ‘Open Source Music Volume 2’ for ‘If I Want You To’ includes no fewer than 22 b-sides capturing some highly emotional and expressionist recordings made after John left his family and high school as a teenager. John commented that ‘I felt very isolated and angry and was wringing a lot of feeling out of myself during the creation of these recordings.’

    • Open Access/Content

      • CREATe Summer Summit 2017: Open Science, Open Culture & the Global South (and everything between)

        This was just one of various new web tools showcased last week, all of which work to further increase openness and indeed are generally available (at least as Creative Commons). There was the Copyright Evidence Wiki, a database for empirical copyright research; Online Media Behavioural Analytics (OMeBA) survey data; and – my personal favourite, and well worth a look – the digitisation of Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks.

  • Programming/Development

    • JavaScript explodes on the server side with the growth of Node.js

      Not so long ago, the idea that JavaScript could become an important server-side language would’ve sounded downright silly. Thanks to Node.js, JavaScript has become a vital language not just for web development, but for Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) such as Cloud Foundry. In fact, according to the Stack Overflow 2017 Developer Survey of 64,000 programmers, Node.js is the most popular of all developer frameworks.

      According to Mark Hinkle, executive director of the Node.js Foundation, a branch of The Linux Foundation, “With more than 8 million Node.js instances online, three in four users are planning to increase their use of Node.js in the next 12 months.”

      [...]

      Node.js, for those who don’t know it, is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model to be both lightweight and efficient for server side applications. Npm, its package ecosystem, is one of the largest open-source libraries collections in the world.

    • How is coinduction the dual of induction?

      Earlier today, I demonstrated how to work with coinduction in the theorem provers Isabelle, Coq and Agda, with a very simple example. This reminded me of a discussion I had in Karlsruhe with my then colleague Denis Lohner: If coinduction is the dual of induction, why do the induction principles look so different? I like what we observed there, so I’d like to share this.

      The following is mostly based on my naive understanding of coinduction based on what I observe in the implementation in Isabelle. I am sure that a different, more categorial presentation of datatypes (as initial resp. terminal objects in some category of algebras) makes the duality more obvious, but that does not necessarily help the working Isabelle user who wants to make sense of coninduction.

    • Metaphors We Compute By

      Programmers must be able to tell a story with their code, explaining how they solved a particular problem. Like writers, programmers must know their metaphors. Many metaphors will be able to explain a concept, but you must have enough skill to choose the right one that’s able to convey your ideas to future programmers who will read the code.

      Thus, you cannot use every metaphor you know. You must master the art of metaphor selection, of meaning amplification. You must know when to add and when to subtract. You will learn to revise and rewrite code as a writer does. Once there’s nothing else to add or remove, you have finished your work. The problem you started with is now the solution. Is that the meaning you intended to convey in the first place?

    • ActiveRuby polishes up gems, precompiled jewels sparkle
    • ActiveState Releases Beta Commercial Distribution for Ruby, Bridging Gap Between ‘Innovation Market’ and Established Enterprises

Leftovers

  • Polish public sector information rules ‘too complex’

    Poland should relax its rules on the reuse of public sector information, recommends the ePaństwo Foundation, a Polish NGO advocating open government. “Provisions that lack clear justification are hindering the reuse of government data”, the NGO concludes in its report on the transposing of European legislation on reuse of public sector information (the PSI Directive), published in early July.

  • Austria plans digital leaders training programme

    The government of Austria is considering a training programme to increase the digital skills of public sector leaders. The ‘Digital Leaders’ training should let the public sector embrace new forms of cooperation and other innovations, and help it face labour market challenges, said Muna Duzdar, the country’s State Secretary for Digitalisation at a press conference on 4 July.

  • Science

    • Gramophone audio from photograph, revisited

      [...] a childhood toy robot of mine. I’ve taken a look at his peculiar sound mechanism a few times before (#1, #2), in an attempt to recover the analog audio signal using only a digital camera. Results were noisy at best. The blog posts resurfaced in a recent IRC discussion which inspired me to try my luck with a slightly improved method.

    • Ancient DNA counters biblical account of the mysterious Canaanites

      When the pharaohs ruled Egypt and the ancient Greeks built their first cities, a mysterious people called the Canaanites dominated the Near East. Around 4000 years ago, they built cities across the Levant, which includes present-day Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and part of Syria. Yet the Canaanites left no surviving written records, leaving researchers to piece together their history from secondhand sources.

    • Our Minds Have Been Hijacked by Our Phones. Tristan Harris Wants to Rescue Them

      It started with 60 Minutes and its piece reviewing the ways the tech industry uses design techniques to keep people hooked to the screen for as long and as frequently as possible. Not because they’re evil but because of this arms race for attention.

    • A brief history of quantum alternatives

      In 1915, Albert Einstein, with a little help from his friends, developed a theory of gravity that overturned what we’d thought were the very foundations of physical reality. The idea that the space that we inhabit was not perfectly described by Euclidean geometry had been inconceivable—so much so that the philosopher Immanuel Kant, a radical thinker in so many ways, proclaimed that it was not possible for any theory of physics to dispense with it.A brief history of quantum alternatives

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Twitter’s user growth disappoints despite Trump tweets [iophk: “perhaps due to its heavy-handed censorship, including vigorous use of shadow bans”

      Despite its appeal among celebrities and public figures, Twitter has struggled to sustain its closely watched user growth even as it invests in features and live content to help draw viewers and boost user engagement.

    • Twitter revenue drops further as user growth stalls
    • Twitter’s stock plunges as user growth stalls

      That’s not going to happen, and investors are cluing in. Twitter had 328 million average monthly active users, or MAU, in the three months ending in June, which is unchanged from the previous quarter. The company’s shares were down more than 10 percent this morning on the news.

    • Wells Fargo also defrauded 800,000 car loan customers and stole 25,000 cars

      Wells Fargo didn’t just steal millions from its customers with crooked overdraft fees, didn’t just create 2,000,000 fraudulent accounts and threaten to blackball employees who tried to stop the frauds; didn’t just defraud broke mortgage borrowers by the bushel-load — they also defrauded 800,000 customers with car loans, forcing 274,000 of them into deliquency and “wrongfully repossessing” (that is, stealing) 25,000 of their cars.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Released Documents Show More Section 702 Violations By The NSA

      Always lawful and subject to strict oversight. Those are the NSA’s defenses any time someone leaks something about its surveillance programs or obtains documents indicating abuse of snooping powers. It gets a little old when it’s document after document showing the astonishing breadth of the NSA’s surveillance programs or the continual abuse and misuse of these powers.

      The Hill has dug through some recently-released documents and memos from the NSA which show long-term abuse of surveillance programs. The NSA recently ditched part of its Section 702 collection because it just couldn’t stop hoovering up Americans’ communications. This was “incidental,” according to the NSA, and supposedly impossible to stop. But the incidents detailed in these documents suggest a lot of over-collection happened because no one noticed and, if anyone did, no one cared.

    • Declassified Files Show FBI and NSA Routinely Broke Privacy Rules Under Obama

      The National Security Agency and FBI violated various civil liberty protections under President Barack Obama’s administration, improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on citizens and failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos uncovered by the American Civil Liberties Union.

      The documents cover compliance with privacy rules between 2009 and 2016. Released under a Freedom of Information Act request from the ACLU, they offer extensive detail on the two spying agencies’ apparent inability to obey their own rules. In all, the memos outline over 90 incidents in which the FBI and NSA violated restrictions on data collection, with many episodes involving multiple people and multiple violations over extended periods of time.

    • Google has stopped pre-empting your search results

      The feature introduced in 2010 which offered you results as you type has been discontinued effective immediately.

    • Accused NSA leaker’s supporters call on feds to drop charges against her

      Reality Winner’s supporters said they delivered petitions with more than 16,000 signatures to the U.S. Justice Department’s headquarters in Washington Thursday, asking the agency to drop its charges against the accused National Security Agency leaker.

      Among those delivering the petitions on “Whistleblower Appreciation Day” were representatives from several groups, including CodePink, Defending Rights & Dissent, RootsAction.org, Whistleblower and Source Protection Program and Stand with Reality, a nonprofit campaign that is supporting Winner’s case through advocacy and fundraising.

      “We should not be charging whistleblowers acting in the public interest, disclosing information responsibly to journalists, as if they were traitors to our country. Anyone who cares about a free press should be concerned about her case,” Rainey Reitman, co-founder of Stand with Reality, said in a prepared statement.

    • Senate bill would stop police from obtaining emails and location data without a warrant

      The Electronic Communications Privacy Modernization Act, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), would update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act by requiring police to obtain a warrant for remotely stored emails that are more than 180 days old, which law enforcement can currently obtain through a lower legal standard.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting

      Prosecutors have indicted over 200 people on felony riot charges for protests in Washington, D.C. on January 20 that broke windows and damaged vehicles. Some defendants face up to 75 years in prison, despite little evidence against them. But a new court filing reveals that investigators have been able to crack into at least eight defendants’ locked cell phones.

    • TSA To Require Separate Scanning Of Electronics ‘Bigger Than Cellphone’

      Because that’s exactly the sort of thing we don’t need: more TSA personnel/policies stating that bigger is more dangerous. We already have the problem with laptops because the TSA’s math says potential threat level is directly proportionate to screen size.

      [...]

      Haha… oh my god, she’s serious.

      God bless the TSA, where enhanced screening is something to be inflicted on travelers, but never job applicants.

      The TSA notes this change “may” cause delays during screening, which can be read as “will,” especially as everyone gets the hang of the latest thing the TSA’s doing (including the TSA). More items will be headed to checked bags, which works out for airlines. And more people will be piled up at security checkpoints, which works out well for terrorists.

    • San Francisco DA: Anti-theft law results in huge drop in stolen phones [Ed: Promotion of kill switches in digital devices]

      San Francisco’s district attorney says that a California state law mandating “theft-deterring technological solutions” for smartphones has resulted in a precipitous drop in such robberies.

      Those measures primarily include a remote kill switch after a phone has been stolen that would allow a phone to be disabled, withstanding even a hard reset,

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Information, Access, And Development: Setting A Course For The Sustainable Development Goals

      IFLA’s Development and Access to Information (DA2I) report 2017, produced in partnership with the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington, underlines that access to information is as important as ever today for development. But just as important is the question of whether this is meaningful – simply having the possibility to connect to the Internet is not enough.

    • The Worst Internet In America

      FiveThirtyEight analyzed every county’s broadband usage using data from researchers at the University of Iowa and Arizona State University and found that Saguache was at the bottom. Only 5.6 percent of adults were estimated to have broadband.

    • Can Facebook Connect the Next Billion?

      Our key findings:

      [...]

      Free Basics violates net neutrality principles: Free Basics does not allow users to browse the open Internet. It offers access to a small set of services and prioritizes the Facebook app by actively urging users to sign-up for and log into the service. Free Basics also divides third-party services into two tiers, giving greater visibility to one set of information over another.

    • Free Basics in Real Life : Six case studies on Facebook’s internet “On Ramp” initiative from Africa, Asia and Latin America [Warning for PDF]

      We are skeptical of Facebook’s contention that this technology is truly serving as an “on ramp” to using the global internet, i.e. convincing people to purchase a data plan. There is not sufficient evidence to suggest that first – time users will be motivated to make this transition. And ample evidence suggests that most users of this technology had in fact used the internet many times before they had Free Basics. They were motivated to use the tool not as an intermediary ste p towards full internet access, but rather as a way to supplement their mobile data allowances while limiting spending.

      With this in mind, we wonder what kinds of ideas first – time users will have about the internet, if Free Basics is how they become acquainted with the internet. How will people understand what lies beyond the confines of Free Basics? How will this formative experience affect their behavior if or when they do begin using the global internet?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sci-Hub’s cache of pirated papers is so big, subscription journals are doomed, data analyst suggests

        Given that Sci-Hub has access to almost every paper a scientist would ever want to read, and can quickly obtain requested papers it doesn’t have, could the website truly topple traditional publishing? In a chat with ScienceInsider, Himmelstein concludes that the results of his study could mark “the beginning of the end” for paywalled research. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

      • Sci-Hub provides access to nearly all scholarly literature

        Finally, we estimate that over a six-month period in 2015–2016, Sci-Hub provided access for 99.3% of valid incoming requests. Hence, the scope of this resource suggests the subscription publishing model is becoming unsustainable. For the first time, the overwhelming majority of scholarly literature is available gratis to anyone with an Internet connection.

      • Police Confirm ‘Extra’ Illegal Spying on Kim Dotcom

        New Zealand Police have confirmed that Kim Dotcom was unlawfully surveilled for two months longer than previously admitted. The revelation is an embarrassment for local law enforcement and increases pressure on those responsible. Dotcom, meanwhile, is smelling blood: “What’s next? What are the consequences?” he says.

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