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12.25.19

Links 25/12/2019: GNUnet 0.12.1 and Lots of Openwashing

Posted in News Roundup at 4:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Buy and Build Powerful Linux Server for Your Home

        In the era of cloud computing, building a home server may seem like a strange idea. Why would you invest time, money, and energy into building a powerful Linux home server when you can instantly create a virtual machine in the cloud and get as much compute and storage capacity as you need? Because setting up a home server is a wonderful learning experience whose result is a server built exactly according to your needs.

        Building a Linux home server from the ground up and without any previous experience is not nearly as complicated as it may seem. All you need to do is pick the right hardware, install a suitable operating system, and configure the server based on your needs. You can build a Linux server for your home on a very tight budget, but you can also spend a lot of money on premium server hardware and turn your home into a small datacenter.

        What Is a Home Server and What Can I Do with It?

        A server is any computer that processes requests from clients and delivers data to them over the internet or a different network, such as a local area network.

        Most servers are located in dedicated buildings with redundant or backup components and infrastructure for power supply, extra-fast internet connection, and precise environmental control, but there’s nothing preventing you from having a server at home.

      • The 10 Hottest Kubernetes Tools And Technologies of 2019
      • How Kubernetes Has Changed The Face Of Hybrid Cloud

        If Docker is the new hypervisor, Kubernetes became the replacement for proprietary virtual machine managers. With containers as the deployment unit and Kubernetes as the orchestration manager, the industry finally agreed on a standard infrastructure layer.

        Red Hat, VMware, Canonical, Mirantis, Rancher and other vendors offer Kubernetes-based platforms that can run in both enterprise data centers and the public cloud. The rise of Kubernetes forced hyperscale cloud vendors such as Alibaba, AWS, IBM, Google, Huawei, Microsoft and Oracle to offer managed Kubernetes services.

      • IBM

        • IBM to Google: Istio, Knative, TensorFlow should be under ‘open governance’

          What does a £63m investment even mean in a country where you don’t need to declare cash flow?

          IBM’s CTO of Open Technology, Chris Ferris, tells The Register that: “IBM believes firmly that open source, especially for projects that really are strategic to the industry, that the best way to manage those is under open governance, under the auspices of a foundation.”

          The kinds of projects IBM has in mind are the Kubernetes-related Istio and Knative, and the TensorFlow machine learning framework – all of which happen to be managed by Google.

        • IBM tailors Swift relationship after ‘review of open source priorities’

          Apple’s Swift language was released in late 2014 and soon became popular as a modern programming language for iOS and Mac applications. In 2015 Apple announced that Swift would be open source – and with a build for Linux as well as for Apple operating systems. “As soon as IBM learned this, we opened up conversations through partnership channels with Apple, and we began working on porting most of the major Foundation libraries in Swift to Linux,” said an IBM blog from January this year.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Best Linux Distro for 2020

        This video goes over what is the best Linux distro for 2020. I showcase how it is configured and how I use it to be extremely productive.

    • Kernel Space

      • Western Digital Has Been Developing A New Linux File-System: Zonefs

        Western Digital has been contributing a lot more to the Linux kernel in recent years from RISC-V architecture bits to storage enhancements. The most recent code they have been working on in recent weeks is a brand new Linux file-system.

        But before getting too bent out of shape over yet-another-Linux-filesystem, the new Western Digital creation isn’t intended to be a general purpose file-system for competing with the likes of EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and ZFS On Linux… This new file-system, Zonefs, is for specialty use-cases and running on zoned block devices. Zonefs exposes each zone of a zoned block device as a file, compared to traditional file-systems or how zoned block device support is exposed through the likes of F2FS and friends on host-managed/host-aware SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) disk drives.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Open-Source NVIDIA/Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Linux Driver At The End Of 2019 – Poor But A Lot Of Hope

        While the open-source Radeon Linux graphics stack has made some remarkable improvements this year not only from AMD but also the likes of Valve, unfortunately not as much can be said about the state of the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) driver. The Nouveau Linux graphics driver remains much slower than the proprietary driver, the hardware with the best support is several generations old, and due to the lack of signed firmware images there still isn’t yet any open-source 3D for the Turing GPUs that have been shipping for months. But there may be hope in 2020.

    • Applications

      • 6 Useful Linux Apps to Stress Test and Benchmark CPU Performance

        Benchmark and stress test methods are often used to gauge the performance of desktop PCs and servers. These tests are also useful in finding hardware problems and system anomalies that are observed only when a system is under heavy load.

        This article will list various utilities to perform CPU benchmarks and stress tests on your system. While many of these apps provide options to test other hardware components as well, this article will focus on CPU tests only.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Devices/Embedded

      • This Business Card Runs Linux And You Could Build One Too

        Business cards are a staple in the business world and can help make a good impression. What kind of impression would you make if your business card not only shared your contact information, but also ran Linux? One embedded systems engineer did just that. George Hilliard created his own business card that can run Linux and shared the process on his website.

        According to Hilliard, his idea for the business card came to him when he thought, “These processors are nearly cheap enough to give away.” He noted that he had seen electronic business cards before, but their functions tended to be rather limited. He believes that his own Linux business card could be a great idea for larger business, since they could likely get the needed materials at an even lower price.

      • This business card is a Linux computer (made from $3 in parts)

        Business cards continue to be a thing in the 21st century because despite the fact that many folks are carrying around smartphones capable of storing contact details for millions of people, it’s still quicker and easier to hand someone a card than to sit around while they type your details into a phone.

        A lot of cards probably get tossed out… but some folks have found ways to use to tech to make truly innovative, memorable, and maybe even useful business cards.

        There was the developer who made a business card that’s also a musical instrument, or the one who made a card that acts as a Magic 8-Ball game. But George Hilliard’s business cards may be the first that are actually wallet-sized computers that run Linux.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Open Source $50 Water Turbine From Repurposed Parts

          Easy access to reliable electrical power is something a lot of us take for granted, but in developing countries or after natural disaster, it can be a rare commodity. [Daniel Connelly] has been working hard to develop infrastructure people can build themselves, and his latest project is a 200 W water turbine (video after the break) that can be built for about $50.

          The core of the system is a wheel and motor from a hoverboard. What looks like 110 mm PVC tubing is connected together in a U-shape that can be mounted over the wall of a man-made channel. The inlet side is shorter than the outlet, and the system must be filled with water to allow the flow to start, like a siphon. The first two versions had the impeller sitting on the end of the outlet tube. V1 used a scrap plastic radial impeller of unknown origin, and did not work at all. V2 had a 3D printed impeller that worked pretty well, but the rotation speed wasn’t high enough to produce the voltage that [Daniel] wanted.

        • Bluespec Unveils Groundbreaking “RISC-V Factory” – Empowering Open Source Hardware Developers to Build Faster and More Efficiently

          Bluespec is thrilled to announce the launch of their latest innovation: the Bluespec RISC-V Factory. From developers to embedded systems engineers and beyond, those working in the RISC-V field now have a brand new resource at their fingertips that enables them to become RISC-V power users and design with RISC-V open source cores far more safely and efficiently.

          While open source cores provide a huge running start on the RISC-V value proposition, there is still a dangerous productization gap compared to proprietary cores. The RISC-V Factory supplies the missing layers of productization, enabling safe and easy deployment of RISC-V open source hardware.

        • How RISC-V is creating a globally neutral, open source processor architecture

          Arm dominates the microprocessor architecture business, as its licensees have shipped 150 billion chips to date and are shipping 50 billion more in the next two years. But RISC-V is challenging that business with an open source ecosystem of its own, based on a new kind of processor architecture that was created by academics and is royalty free.

          This month, 2,000 engineers attended the second annual RISC-V Summit in San Jose, California. The leaders of the effort, including nonprofit RISC-V Foundation CEO Calista Redmond, said they see billions of cores shipping in the future.

          RISC-V started in 2010 at the University of California at Berkeley Par Lab Project, which needed an instruction set architecture that was simple, efficient, and extensible and had no constraints on sharing with others. Krste Asanovic (a founder of SiFive), Andrew Waterman, Yunsup Lee, and David Patterson created RISC-V and built their first chip in 2011. In 2014, they announced the project and gave it to the community.

          RISC-V enables members to design processors and other chips that are compatible with software designed for the architecture, and it means licensees won’t have to pay a royalty to Arm. RISC-V is politically neutral, as it’s moving its base to Switzerland. That caught the attention of executives, including Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss, according to RISC-V board member Patterson. With RISC-V, Chinese companies wouldn’t have to depend on Western technology, which became an issue when the U.S. imposed tariffs and Arm had to determine whether it could license U.S. technology to Huawei.

        • An Open Source Boating Autopilot With Some Custom Tweaks

          Piloting a boat is all well and good, but can get dull when you’d rather be reclining on the deck with a cold beverage in hand. For [Timo Birnschein], this simply wouldn’t do. He began to gather parts to put together an autopilot to keep his boat on the straight and narrow.

          The build is based around OpenPlotter, which uses a battery of marine-ready software to handle routing charts, autopiloting, and providing a compass heading for navigation. Naturally, it all runs on a Raspberry Pi. In combination with PyPilot, it can be used to let the vessel drive itself around a series of waypoints, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere on the water without having to constantly steer the craft.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source in 2020: The future looks bright

        It’s not often I predict that one Linux distribution might change the landscape of open source, but everything I’ve seen and heard about the upcoming release for Deepin Linux has me thinking this could be the one. The developers of Deepin 15.11 are planning to release a feature that could shift the tectonic plates of Linux distributions. That feature is Deepin Cloud Sync.

        This feature will sync system settings–of your choosing–to the cloud. For instance, you could install another instance of the OS, connect it to your Deepin Cloud Sync account, and have that new instance of the OS automatically sync your settings. Imagine how much time that would save for the rollout of multiple desktop instances. Couple that with how gorgeous the Deepin desktop is, and you have something special.

        Deepin Linux is going to turn heads, and many users will jump the ship of their favorite distribution.

      • 4 predictions for Open Source in 2020

        As a way of approaching software development, open source has been with us for decades. For over twenty years, organisations like the Apache Software Foundation have supported the development of open source software projects that led to new applications and online services enjoyed by billions globally.

        However, what will happen to open source in 2020 and in the years ahead? Will the open source movement continue to support and develop software effectively, or are there future risks we need to address?

      • Best open source innovations of the decade

        It’s been an amazing decade for open source. So many things have happened–some of which have profoundly changed the way in which businesses work, and some of which greatly improved the Linux desktop experience.

        I’m highlighting what I believe are the best innovations to have come out of the open source community since 2010. Are there more great open source innovations? Yes, of course, but in my opinion these are some of the most important ones.

        [...]

        Let’s take it down a notch or two with a brief detour to the Linux desktop. Although some would argue that there are far better desktop environments, on April 6, 2011, GNOME 3 changed the game. This was the first time a popular Linux DE made a drastic shift to the popular desktop metaphor. Instead of the usual panel, main menu, system tray, etc., the GNOME developers opted to take a completely different approach—one that would not only be more efficient, but was touch-screen friendly, elegant, and unique. The GNOME team received a ton of flack for this change, but they stuck it out. Indirectly, it was the release of GNOME 3 that inspired the likes of Cinnamon and MATE, as well as Deepin Desktop. So even if you don’t like it, chances are the desktop you are using has benefited from GNOME 3.

      • Why giving away software for free makes good business sense

        Software used to be proprietary, but over the past decade, open-source tools have seen a meteoric rise. This software is freely available and is developed collaboratively, maintained by a broad network that includes everyone from unpaid volunteers to employees at competing tech companies. Here’s how the business model works.

      • Funding/Currency

        • Odoo Announces $90 Million Investment Led by Summit Partners
        • Odoo grabs $90M to sell more SMEs on its business app suite

          Belgium-based all-in-one business software maker Odoo, which offers an open source version as well as subscription-based enterprise software and SaaS, has taken in $90 million led by a new investor: Global growth equity investor Summit Partners.

          The funds have been raised via a secondary share sale. Odoo’s executive management team and existing investor SRIW and its affiliate Noshaq also participated in the share sale by buying stock — with VC firms Sofinnova and XAnge selling part of their shares to Summit Partners and others.

          “Odoo is largely profitable and grows at 60% per year with an 83% gross margin product; so, we don’t need to raise money,” a spokeswoman told us. “Our bottleneck is not the cash but the recruitment of new developers, and the development of the partner network.

        • Hugging Face raises $15 million to build open source community for cutting-edge conversational AI

          Hugging Face has announced the close of a $15 million series A funding round led by Lux Capital, with participation from Salesforce chief scientist Richard Socher and OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman, as well as Betaworks and A.Capital.

          New-York based Hugging Face started as a chatbot company, but then began to use Transformers, an approach to conversational AI that’s become a foundation for state-of-the-art algorithms. The startup expands access to conversational AI by creating abstraction layers for developers and manufacturers to quickly adopt cutting-edge conversational AI, like Google’s BERT and XLNet and OpenAI’s GPT-2 or AI for edge devices. More than 1,000 companies use Hugging Face solutions today, including Microsoft’s Bing.

        • Hugging Face Raises $15M For its Open-Source Natural Language Processing Platform

          Natural language processing (NLP) is at the core of breakthrough, AI technologies and has powered apps like SignAll, which is used to translated sign language into text. Hugging Face brings NLP to the mainstream through its open-source framework Transformers that has over 1M installations. Hugging Face’s NLP platform has led to the launch of several that address =customer support, sales, content, and branding, and is being used by over a thousand companies.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Ray

          Ray is an open-source distributed framework that makes it easy to scale applications and to leverage machine learning libraries. The project was developed by the distributed programming platform company Anyscale.

          Ray includes three libraries for accelerating machine learning workloads: Tune, RLlib and Distributed Training. According to the company, the machine learning libraries give developers the ability to include hyperparameter search, reinforcement learning, training and serving.

        • Founders of Open Source Project Ray Launch Anyscale with $20.6M in Funding to Democratize Distributed Programming

          With the funding, Anyscale will expand its leadership team and amplify its contribution to the open source community.

        • CertiPath Successfully Completes and Publishes to Open-Source, DHS-Funded Blockchain Gateway Capability

          CertiPath announced it received final sign-off on its yearlong effort to create a blockchain gateway on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

        • Gitcoin supports $200,000 for Open Source Projects-Ethereum

          Gitcoin, the open-source bounties platform, makes an upliftment for the open-source community workers and aims to start the New Year by promoting the Open Source Community. Since its launch in 2019, it has already funded $797,000 to open source projects.

        • Getting to Know the CEO of the Next Gen Open Source Platform PlatOn

          I began my career as a developer of deep-water missile systems for submarines and did this until 2001 when Google Earth was first released. This critically impacted how the industry operated and in turn, my career. After completing my PhD in photogrammetry and remote sensing, I decided to jump into the internet industry and eventually found my way to China UnionPay. There, I served as a Senior Researcher in Strategic Development, then a Senior Executive in Market Development, and finally as a Deputy General Manager of a third-party payment and clearing subsidiary of China UnionPay for two years. In 2013, I made my way to the blockchain space and focused on the development of consortium blockchain and privacy-preserving computation, and then founded PlatON to begin the development and commercial practise of blockchain-based infrastructure.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNUnet 0.12.1 released

            We are pleased to announce the release of GNUnet 0.12.1.

            This is a very minor release. It largely fixes one function that is needed by GNU Taler 0.6.0. Please read the release notes for GNUnet 0.12.0, as they still apply. Updating is only recommended for those using GNUnet in combination with GNU Taler.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • SD Times news digest: GitLab observability comes to Core, HackerRank acquires Mimir, and Boomi to acquire Unifi Software

          GitLab announced that it is moving its observability suite to Core to its open-source codebase in 2020.

          “If it’s a feature for a single developer who might be working on his or her own individual project, we want that to be in Core because it invites more usage of those tools and we get great feedback in the form of new feature requests and developer contributions,” said Kenny Johnston, the director of product of Ops at GitLab.

        • Python

          • Handling PEP 517 (pyproject.toml) packages in Gentoo

            So far, the majority of Python packages have either used distutils, or a build system built upon it. Most frequently, this was setuptools. All those solutions provided a setup.py script with a semi-standard interface, and we were able to handle them reliably within distutils-r1.eclass. PEP 517 changed that.

            Instead of a setup script, packages now only need to supply a declarative project information in pyproject.toml file (fun fact: TOML parser is not even part of Python stdlib yet). The build system used is specified as a combination of a package requirement and a backend object to use. The backends are expected to provide a very narrow API: it’s limited to building wheel packages and source distribution tarballs.

            The new build systems built around this concept are troublesome to Gentoo. They are more focused on being standalone package managers than build systems. They lack the APIs matching our needs. They have large dependency trees, including circular dependencies. Hence, we’ve decided to try an alternate route.

            Instead of trying to tame the new build systems, or work around their deficiencies (i.e. by making them build wheel packages, then unpacking and repackaging them), we’ve explored the possibility of converting the pyproject.toml files into setup.py scripts. Since the new formats are declarative, this should not be that hard.

          • Consider absl Python library to work with flags

            I have been writing a small scraping application these days. I wanted it to send metrics and use chromedriver. I also wanted to be able to run it locally and don’t send metrics while running locally. So, I needed some way to separate local and production environments. The easiest way to do that — use flags.

          • Xmas present from Thonny

            Today, a new version (3.2.5) of Thonny has been released. It incorporates support for Friendly-traceback (which needs to be installed separately). Currently, the download link on Thonny’s homepage still links to version 3.2.4. The latest version can be found on Github.

            Thonny is a fantastic IDE for beginners, especially those learning in a classroom environment, as it offers many useful tools that can be used effectively by teachers to demonstrate some programming concepts. Thonny is the work of Aivar Annamaa, who is apparently recognized as an excellent lecturer — which does not suprise me given the thoughtful design of Thonny. He has been interviewed about Thonny on PythonPodcast.

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