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04.15.14

Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kick the NSA

Image by Will Hill

Summary: Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for — let alone deploy — proprietary software with back doors

A FEW days ago we spoke about those who choose PRISM at taxpayers' expense, essentially choosing spyware at the expense of taxpayers who will suffer from it. Glyn Moody has published a good article about how it’s done to the British public [1], where the government pays Microsoft a lot of money because Microsoft’s own software is very insecure. This is a problem not just here in the UK.

Mr. Pogson links to IDG reports that say US “Tax collector has 58,000 PCs still running the aged XP; will spend $30M to upgrade to Windows 7″ (not even immediately). There is more about this in the British press [2] and it turns out not to be the exception.

What’s worth noting, however, is that NSA works with Microsoft, a US-based company, so the above behaviour is even more irresponsible when done outside the US. There is an interesting new petition at Avaaz titled “Computers in the post-Snowden era: choose before paying!”

To quote: “When you buy a computer, a telephone, a tablet-pc, etc., you make your choice first, and then you pay. But meanwhile, quite often you first pay the licence of an operating system (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, etc) which you then choose to use or to replace with another one. As a result, the vast majority of us all use the operating system that mainly beneficiates from this forced sale. Our addiction is so high that even those actors that should be neutral in principle help this situation continue: state, administration, school, city administration, etc. We are thus technologically very dependent, hence vulnerable. Thanks to Edward Snowden, it is now established that intelligence agencies modify hardware (computers, routers, firewalls, etc) and software (Microsoft Windows, probably all Apple operating systems, probably one GNU-Linux distribution, etc) to massively listen to communications and illegally penetrate into computers.”

It is time to publicly chastise government institutions — more so than private businesses which are only accountable to themselves and the law — over use of spyware such as Microsoft Windows.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Windows XP: End of an Era, End of an Error

    This is little more than polite blackmail: if you don’t upgrade, your systems will become infected, you will lose data, and your reputation may well be ruined as a result. The stakes are incredibly high: the Microsoft-sponsored study I wrote about last week puts the global cost of flaws in Microsoft’s software at around $500 billion for 2014 alone.

    And yet despite the astonishing magnitude of the threat, laid out by Microsoft itself again and again, in various ways, people still stick with Windows XP. Really, there is no greater condemnation of Windows XP’s successors than the fact that huge swathes of Microsoft’s user base simply don’t want to upgrade.

    Shockingly, that applies to the UK government, too. Of course, they at least realise that they can’t simply carry on using Windows XP without at least nominal protection, but the price they pay for their stubborn refusal to move off XP is high…

  2. US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support

    The April 15 deadline for Americans to pay their federal income taxes is fast approaching, but the US Internal Revenue Service has already missed an important deadline of its own – namely, Microsoft’s end-of-support date for Windows XP.

  3. Windows XP Alive & Well in ICS/SCADA Networks

    End-of-life for XP support not raising many red flags in critical infrastructure environments, where patching is the exception.

GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

Posted in News Roundup at 9:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Gets Its Money’s Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Mono at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft’s console competitor

EARLIER this month we learned about Xamarin signing deals with Microsoft after receiving funds from the firm of ‘former’ Microsoft executives. Those two entities not only collaborate on code inside Mono but they also collaborate on many other things, including, based on Phoronix, infecting the PlayStation 4 like they tried to infect Android for years. “For those wanting to work on console games in C#, Mono’s PlayStation 4 support work appears to be progressing well,” Phoronix explains, citing Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza, who has more to say.

Never think that people who work for Microsoft will do anything other than promote Microsoft’s agenda. The firm Black Duck, created by a Microsoft manager (and now enjoying a special partnership with Microsoft), is still pretending to be a spokesperson for FOSS. How gross is that?

After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brendan Eich
Photo by Darcy Padilla

Summary: Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO

WE wrote a critical post immediately upon Eich's appointment, but it dealt with purely technical matters. Ever since then there has been no real discussion of Eich’s technical abilities and achievements (he is [cref very pro-Free software]. It has been just muck-raking, which was amplified by Microsoft's friends.

We have gathered some articles that help explain how the ousting was done [1], essentially trying to work around laws [2] by inducing resignation. Friends of mine have explained where bigotry really was [3] and it is clear that by stepping down Eich only let the bigots win [4], leaving the role to Chris Beard for now [5] (he might as well stay in this position because he is also good). Boycott are still being used [5], showing that this whole episode [6] is achieving nothing good (if lessons are to be learned [7]). Those from within Mozilla who started it all have essentially done huge damage to Mozilla, which is trying to move on [8,9] or have people speak about something technical and newsworthy.

As a vocal person (my Diaspora feed is a lot more vocal than Techrights), I was deeply disgusted to see how a personal opinion got used, opportunistically perhaps, to harm Eich’s career. I may not agree with his position, but I would go very far to defend the right to free speech. People inside Mozilla have just done a lot to harm free speech by promoting self-censorship. That’s basically making Mozilla look less like a freedom proponent. Perhaps those who are jealous of Chris Beard (inside Mozilla) can start going through the past decade’s activities and try hard to find something in his personal life with which to blackmail the organisation until he resigns. One reputable source said that opposition to Eich’s appointment was more to do with the company not hiring from the outside for CEO. Well, Beard — like Eich — is coming from inside Mozilla.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Brendan Eich’s ouster shows lynch mob at work

    Two of the communities that lay claim to being among the most tolerant and inclusive have shown intolerance of a very high order, acting like a lynch mob to ensure that a top technologist was forced to leave his job as chief executive of a well-known software group.

  2. Termination of Mozilla CEO Likely Violated California Law

    What these commentators seem to have overlooked, however, is that the California Labor Code has already resolved this debate. Under California law it is blatantly illegal to fire an employee because he has donated money to a political campaign.

  3. Brendan Eich, the bigots, and Software Freedom

    By now you may be wondering where I’m going with this. The point I feel very few people made in the controversy surrouding Brendan Eich is that Free Software does not care who you are voting for as an individual or even as an organization. What matters is respecting the license the software you are studying, using, modifyng and distributing is complied with, and to a broader extent, that the development community you are contributing to -if that is the case- is not deprived from its freedom. Now let’s take a few real, yet general cases of Free Software usage around the globe.

  4. Mozilla only made things worse by letting CEO Brandon Eich go
  5. Mozilla Names Former CMO Beard as Interim CEO

    After the short-lived tenure of Brendan Eich, a new interim CEO takes the helm at the open-source browser vendor—Greylock Partners’ Chris Beard.

  6. Caution Warranted on a Mozilla Boycott

    Regardless of how you feel about Eich’s departure and the reasons thereof, there is also a battle going on against unwanted online government, corporate, and other surveillance activities (much of which Edward Snowden brought to light). Mozilla is helping in this fight. Note that some calling for a Mozilla boycott are also the same ones who view Snowden as a traitor.

  7. Lessons Learned from Mozilla’s Edgy Eich Episode
  8. Brendan Eich’s Departure Will Mar Mozilla but Not Stop Its Innovation

    Brendan Eich’s resignation soon after being named Mozilla CEO will scar the company, but it won’t likely halt its major tech initiatives.

  9. North America Mozilla Reps Meetup

    This weekend, North America Mozilla Reps gathered in the not-so-sunny Portland, Oregon. We worked from the Portland Office during the weekend, where we collaborated on plans for North America for the next six month period. We also tackled a number of topics from websites and refined our priority cities which will help us be more successful in moving forward in our mission to grow contributors in North America.

Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

Posted in News Roundup at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

04.14.14

Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • With Death of Windows XP, Now Is Perfect Time to Switch to Linux

    With the official retirement of Windows XP, the release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and surprisingly healthy software and gaming ecosystems (yay, Steam!), there has never been a better time to switch to Linux. Linux will also run very well on any old, Windows XP-era hardware that you might still be using, too — and if you’re anxious that you’ll be filled with switchers remorse after nuking your Windows installation, don’t worry: dual-booting is a cinch as well, extremetech reported.

  • Cool and flexible: The Linux alternative
  • Windows XP alternative a free solution for many

    A wealth of other programs, many free, is available to augment the Ubuntu experience. If a user would like to edit some of the photos organized within Shotwell, for example, Krita and GIMP are two free image-manipulation programs that rival the functionality of Adobe Photoshop. In fact, Ubuntu presents users with a one-click option to download Krita when opening a Photoshop file for the first time.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cinnamon 2.2 Desktop Supports HiDPI, GTK CSD Support

        The Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop project has graduated to version 2.2 and it’s a very large update for this GNOME3-forked environment.

      • Cinnamon 2.2

        On behalf of the team and all the developers who contributed to this build, I am proud to announce the release of Cinnamon 2.2!

      • Cinnamon 2.2 Released With System Settings Improvements, HiDPI support And More

        Cinnamon 2.2 was released today, bringing various improvements to the System Settings, HiDPI/Retina Display support, client side decorations support along with other interesting refinements.

      • Did the GNOME Foundation spend too much money on women’s outreach?

        I took a look at the issue of gender in open source a while back in an article on ITworld. I noted in that article that I had worked for and with many different women over the last twenty years in my technology career. The women I worked with served in many different roles: IT managers, vice presidents, art directors, web producers, editors, editors-in-chief, marketing managers and plenty of other roles.

        In short, the women I’ve worked with over the course of my career have been at pretty much every level in technology publishing. But, as I noted in the ITworld article, they all had one thing in common: THEY. JUST. DID. IT. They didn’t get into technology because of an outreach program, they got into it because it was the career that they desired based on their own individual personalities.

      • JDLL 2014 report

        The 2014 “Journées du Logiciel Libre” took place in Lyon like (almost) every year this past week-end. It’s a francophone free software event over 2 days with talks, and plenty of exhibitors from local Free Software organisations. I made the 600 metres trip to the venue, and helped man the GNOME booth with Frédéric Peters and Alexandre Franke’s moustache.

  • Distributions

    • Ozon OS Will Be One of the Most Beautiful Linux Distros

      You might feel that the names of Nitrux and Numix sound a little familiar. The developers involved with these are responsible for numerous icon packs and themes for the Linux systems, and Nitrux also has its own Linux distribution called Nitrux OS.

      The collaboration between two teams has been going for quite a while, and the upcoming operating system that has been promised by Nitrux and Numix finally got a face. Until now there were only glimpses and teases, but the Linux community can now get a good look at Ozon OS.

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Out in the Open: Inside the Operating System Edward Snowden Used to Evade the NSA

        Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box. You install it on a DVD or USB drive, boot up the computer from the drive and, voila, you’re pretty close to anonymous on the internet. At its heart, Tails is a version of the Linux operating system optimized for anonymity. It comes with several privacy and encryption tools, most notably Tor, an application that anonymizes a user’s internet traffic by routing it through a network of computers run by volunteers around the world.

      • MakuluLinux: Awesome Debian-Based Distro Ships with MATE 1.8

        MakuluLinux Mate Imperium Edition has been released a few hours ago, and being based on Debian Testing, I took it for a test drive. This is a good opportunity to have a look at the latest MATE 1.8, since Ubuntu Trusty only includes the 1.6 version in the repositories, and for the Mint release we’ll probably have to wait for about another month.

        But except for MATE, some very interesting choices make MakuluLinux Imperium Edition stand out: it comes by default with applications like Steam, Wine, PlayOnLinux and even the Kingsoft Office suite instead of LibreOffice. Upon installing MakuluLinux, you have the possibility to choose which components will be installed and which not.

      • Makulu Linux 6 MATE hands-on: A good path to Linux for XP users

        The MATE Live desktop is shown below, it is exactly what I expect from Makulu — beautiful wallpaper, bright colourful icons, and lots of interesting-looking additions scattered around the screen. The Installer icon and an Installation Guide are on the upper left corner of the screen.

      • DPL election is over, Lucas Nussbaum re-elected

        The Debian Project Leader election has concluded and the winner is Lucas Nussbaum. Of a total of 1003 developers, 401 developers voted using the Condorcet method.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases the Most Stable and Advanced Ubuntu Touch Version So Far

            “It’s been ages since I haven’t been able to say it, but… we have a new promoted image (#294)! This image is now the best ubuntu Touch image we never had. It’s been a tedious path to get there, so we hope you will enjoy it! People on the devel channel will be able to get the new scope design experience as per numerous other features and bug fixes since latest promoted image (#250). This, week-end, multiple images have been spinned. Some blocker fixes, some regressions went in and are now fixed,” said Canonical’s Didier Roche.

          • Meizu MX3 With Ubuntu Spotted

            The Meizu MX3 was announced on an official basis last year, but it seems as though this particular smartphone is going to roll out over in the U.S. some time in the third quarter of this year, which is still a fair number of months away. Well, the Meizu MX3 holds the distinction of being one of the first smartphones that will ship with Ubuntu Linux, although one can always make do with an Android-powered version of this smartphone. The Ubuntu version of the Meizu MX3 was shown off at Mobile World Congress in February.

          • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) Arrives on April 17, Three Features to Look Forward to

            The developers have made a lot of improvements in their latest Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) and the Linux community is waiting for the release with great interest. One of the main reasons for this anticipation is the fact that Canonical made some important changes to the operating system and now it’s somewhat different from Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander), which is the current version.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) to Reach End of Life by the End of April

            The Ubuntu developers have changed their policy regarding the support period of non-LTS versions of Ubuntu, starting with the 13.04 version. This created a strange situation where Ubuntu 13.04, which had nine months of support, reached end of life before Ubuntu 12.10, which was the last with 18 months of support.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Install Lubuntu on old Windows XP PC, keep it alive

              Windows XP has officially died today as Microsoft pulls the plugs that leaves millions of users as juicy targets for crackers and cyber criminals and there will be massive attacks on these systems so it’s extremely important for Windows XP users to move away from this dead OS. There are two options for such users – either they upgrade to heavily criticized Windows 8 (which may not even work on their current hardware) or they simply move to Linux.

            • How to run XP on Linux Mint with Oracle VirtualBox

              VirtualBox, like any hypervisor, likes all the system resources it can get. Therefore, if you want to migrate your old XP box to Linux Mint and you have an older PC, you may not be able to use VirtualBox to run XP. In my experience, you could squeeze XP on top of Linux Mint and VirtualBox on a system with 1GB of RAM, but it’s going to be ugly. You want at least 2GBs of RAM and a 1GHz AMD or Intel processor.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • Google never copied Apple’s iPhone, says Android executive

          Lockheimer, who joined Google in 2006, was called by Samsung’s lawyers as a witness to demonstrate how the popular Android operating system was well into development before the first generation iPhone was introduced in 2007.

        • Android Doubles Apple Sales in Q2 Tablet Market

          Apple shipped less than half as many tablets as Android in Q2, representing 28.3% of the market compared with Android’s 67%. One year ago, during the second quarter of 2012, the two operating systems shipped almost equally.

        • Google rumoured to be testing 4.4.3 internally

          Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) was released some four months ago on the Nexus 4, 7, 10 and Google Play Edition phones that existed at the time. If you’re an avid follower of all things Android, then you may have figured that it’s just about time for Google to release another incremental upgrade to their dominant OS. A recent report from Android Police points to the rumoured ‘dogfooding’ (slow and controlled roll out of software for testing etc) of 4.4.3 to members of Google outside of the Android team. A move like this can only mean one thing. The Android team is confident and are ready to test it on a wider scale, before making it available to everyone.

        • Google Beta Testing Android App for Chrome Remote Desktop

          For about a year now, Google has been working on an Android version of its Chrome Remote Desktop app and new reports from Engadget, PCMag and other outlets claim that it is imminent. The origins of the project go all the way back to a short post from The Chromium Team, and many people have been waiting for the ability to access a remote computer or device from Android.

        • Moto G helps Motorola gain 6% market share in UK

          Moto G is the device that is turning things around for Motorola. The company has already accepted that the device is their most successful smartphone ever. According to latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Motorola is currently owing 6% share in the British smartphone market.

        • HTC publishes source code for HTC One M8 Google Play Edition

          The Taiwanese smartphone maker has plans to ship the HTC One M8 Google Play Edition in the next two-three weeks, but you will be glad to know that the kernel source is just a click away. The company has published the open source files for this device on its developer site, HTCdev.

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Holds Partners Back On Open Source?
  • Can Open-Source Infrastructure Move the Market?

    Kunkel says, “think of the open source foundation like Android.” The world’s most used mobile operating system can support free, paid, proprietary, or open source apps. There are great, decent, and downright terrible apps, but they’re all supported on nearly any Android device, from the soon-to-be-coveted Samsung Galaxy S5 to the budget-friendly burner.

  • When Should We Go Open Source?

    While the subject of open source used to be confined much more to software than to electronics and hardware, several changes over the past years have made it more universal. The advent of the 3D printer and other open source hardware projects along with Kickstarter as a vehicle for funding have made it much easier to bring a project to the open market than ever before.

  • Linksys launches new router with open source code

    Linksys has started shipping a new router, and it’s touting its latest offering as the first consumer-grade Wi-Fi router to provide thorough wireless coverage throughout the home through its four external antennas.

  • OSI Announces New Board

    The Open Source Initiative has announced the results of a ballot by its members to select new directors for its board. The outcome sees more diversity and strong community skills introduced, signalling new horizons for the 15 year old organisation.

  • [J.A.R.V.I.S.] Out in the Open: Build Your Own Siri With This Free Code

    In the Iron Man movies, Tony Stark uses a voice-controlled computer assistant called J.A.R.V.I.S. It manages the lights and security system in his home, helps him pilot his Iron Man suits, and even assists with his research. Some of this is still very much in the realm of science fiction, but not all of it. Inspired by the Iron Man movies, two Princeton students have built a J.A.R.V.I.S. for the real world.

  • Box joins the open source bandwagon with new showcase

    Box is getting into the mix, unveiling its own open source repository showcasing at least 20 projects to-date.

    Amid content and metadata SDKs for Android, iOS, Windows, and Java, more distinctive projects include the Box Anemometer (a MySQL slow query monitor) and the curiously-named Stalker, a jQuery plugin allowing elements to follow a user as he or she scrolls through a page.

  • Box Debuts ‘Box Open Source’ To Share Its Internal Tools With The Larger Developer World
  • Open source achievements based on merit, not age

    Lauren Egts is a student who loves technology. She teaches children and adults alike about computer programming, presenting about Raspberry Pi and Scratch at local area Mini Maker Faires and at the Akron Linux User Group. She’s enrolled in the Hathaway Brown School’s Science, Research, and Engineering program, and is a member of her school’s robotics team, The Fighting Unicorns. She also won a 2014 Ohio Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing from the National Center for Women in Technology.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Open Source Matters Elects New President, Sarah Watz, to Guide Joomla!

      Joomla, one of the world’s most popular open source content management systems (CMS) used for everything from websites to blogs to custom apps to Intranets, today announced the election of Sarah Watz as the President of Open Source Matters (OSM). The non-profit provides organization, legal and financial support to the Joomla project. Watz is the first-ever internationally based president of OSM.

    • Sarah Watz Elected by Open Source Matters to Guide Joomla

      More than 3 percent of the web runs on Joomla, with the platform being used for everything from websites to blogs to custom apps to Intranets.

  • Education

    • Community College Taps Open Source Software for Student Success

      Stanly Community College is using Student Success Plan (SSP), open source case management software from Unicon, to better engage at-risk students and promote student success. The Albemarle, NC, institution serves 10,000 curriculum, continuing education and basic skills students.

    • Teachers unite to influence computer manufacturing
    • Open source workshop explores FOSS in universities

      The Association for Computing Machinery’s annual meeting of their Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education is one of the largest academic computing meetings there is. This year’s event featured a full-day workshop on teaching open source practices, tools, and techniques by engaging students as contributors to humanitarian projects such as Ushahidi, OpenMRS, Gnome Accessibility, and others. TitanPad was used for collaborative notetaking during the event, and this article is a result. You could call it a crowd-sourced article.

    • Open source common in Irish education network

      Free and open source solutions are a common component in the ICT infrastructure of Heanet, Ireland’s National Education and Research Network, serving about one million students and staff in the country’s research and education institutes. Such tools are chosen over proprietary alternatives whenever possible, says Glenn Warren, one of Heanet’s IT security specialists.

    • Open education author shares valuable tools for any operating system

      I first read about Chris Whittum in an article on Fosters.com. Once I read that he was interested in using open source software in education, I knew I had to learn more about him. After working in education, Chris decided to share his knowledge in an eBook called: Energize Education Through Open Source: Using Open Source Software to Enhance Learning. This resource focuses on how schools can use open source to continue to offer great lessons to students without the high price tag of similar proprietary products.

    • Computational Thinking in Primary Schools
    • Book contest for Open Library Week

      It’s Open Library Week at Opensource.com, and we’re celebrating open source tools and methods for libraries with a contest.

  • Business

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Seeing SDR in action

      These are direct-conversion transceivers which can be configured for experiments and evaluation of signals in FM and TV broadcast reception, prototyping a GSM base station with OpenBTS, developing with GNU Radio GPS, Wi-Fi and ISM.

    • GNU Guix 0.6 released

      We are pleased to announce the sixth alpha release of GNU Guix.

    • Running GCC 4.9 On AMD’s AM1 Kabini With Jaguar Cores

      Using the AMD Athlon 5350 AM1 APU with its four “Jaguar” cores operating at 2.05GHz, I ran some benchmarks from Ubuntu 14.04 Linux comparing the performance of binaries compiled under GCC 4.8.2 and this week’s GCC 4.9.0 RC1. Is GCC 4.9 better able to exploit the potential out of AMD’s Jaguar microarchitecture? Let’s see.

    • Bringing Major Features, GCC 4.9 RC1 Has Been Released
    • Link-Time Optimizing Improved, But Still Takes A While On GCC 4.9

      The GCC 4.9 compiler that’s about to be released has many improvements, including in the area of LTO (Link-Time Optimizations), but you must still have a fair amount of patience to compile with LTO support.

    • GCC 4.9 Compiler Optimization Benchmarks For Faster Binaries

      For those curious about the impact of modern compiler tuning CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS when using the GCC 4.9 compiler with an Intel Core i7 “Haswell” processor, here are many benchmarks of many C/C++ code-bases when testing a variety of compiler optimization levels and other flags.

    • Almost there! Campaign ends this Friday, and we’re close!

      Whew! We’re in the midst of the last week of the MediaGoblin campaign! As you may already know, we already beat our first milestone. This means we’ve unlocked the most core and exciting things: federation and 1.0 support.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • Why MediaTek Should Release Their Source Code (Even Though the GPL States They Have To)

      Many of our readers will already know that as Android is built using the Linux Kernel as its foundation, companies that manufacture smartphones, and mobile processors that run Android must provide source code. This is because the Linux Kernel (and many other libraries that Android depends upon) is licensed using the GPL (the GNU General Public License) which, in a nutshell, requires those that use GPL code or software to redistribute their changes and such in the same manner. This sort of practice is what allowed Open Source Software to take off in the first place, and keeps free software getting better and better and of course keeps things free for users like us.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Win books and participate in Open Library Week
      • Top 5 open source tools libraries need to know about

        There was a time when working in the library I found it very frustrating (as many librarians do) that there were so few options for software that actually did what I needed. In libraries we’re so used to there being this vendor=software model. Where one vendor controls a product and while there might be other similar products, they too are controlled by a vendor.

        This is why libraries need to take a closer look at open source software. By removing the “owner” (aka the vendor) from the equation we get a lot more freedom to make software that does what we want, how we want, when we want. One of the hardest thing to teach libraries who are switching to an open source solution is that the power is now in their hands to direct the software!

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Consortium launches platform to share data from cancer trials

      The Life Sciences Consortium of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer today announced the launch of the Project Data Sphere initiative, a platform designed to facilitate the sharing, integration and analysis of data from phase 3, comparator arm cancer trials.

    • Europe to Have One Charger for All Mobile Phones, Global Standard Next?

      Back in December, last year, we told you that a universal laptop charger standard was in the cards for this year and now we’re hearing reports that the European Union wants to cut down electronic clutter by obliging OEMs to adopt an universal charger for mobile phones and tablets, as well. This way, you won’t have to ditch your previous charger whenever you buy a new one. And, to be frank, not all of us are that conscious and decide to recycle, so it all turns out to be electronic waste which puts in big danger our environment.

    • UK’s IT security agency: Communities are key for standards

      The quality of support from a software community is key to the lifecycle of a technical standard, says Chris Ulliott, Technical Director at the UK’s Technical Authority for information assurance, CESG. “We love open standards, they make life easier.”

Leftovers

TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

Posted in TechBytes at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes 2014

Direct download as Ogg (1:38:36, 54.2 MB) | High-quality MP3 (52.1 MB) | Low-quality MP3 (27.9 MB)

Summary: The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows.

As embedded (HTML5):

Read the rest of this entry »

Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KVM

  • Budge up VMware, array upstart Tintri’s ramming in Red Hat Linux KVM
  • The KVM Groundswell Continues

    KVM (Kernel based Virtual Machine) is a leading open source virtualization technology and an important tool in any Linux administrator’s handbook, especially with the increased adoption of cloud technologies such as OpenStack and the need for hypervisors to better manage compute, network and storage resources. The “potential” of KVM for enterprises is incredibly valuable far beyond its origins – just like Linux. After a year of contributing patches to the KVM community, IBM is announcing today that a Power Systems version of KVM, PowerKVM, will be available on IBM’s next generation Power Systems servers tuned for Linux before the end of the quarter.

  • Linux KVM Virtualization comes to IBM Power servers soon

ElasticHosts

Misc.

  • Full-stack developers

    Since Facebook’s Carlos Bueno wrote the canonical article about the full stack, there has been no shortage of posts trying to define it. For a time, Facebook allegedly only hired “full-stack developers.” That probably wasn’t quite true, even if they thought it was. And some posts really push “full-stack” developer into Unicorn territory: Laurence Gellert writes that it “goes beyond being a senior engineer,” and details everything he thinks a full-stack developer should be familiar with, most of which doesn’t involve coding.

    [...]

    LAMP dates back to the days when HTML was trivial, and all computation was done on the server. JavaScript was a toy language that helped to glue things together in the browser, but that was all. JavaScript has evolved into a serious, fully capable programming language in its own right, and CSS is almost there. If you are going to be a full-stack programmer, you certainly need to understand the platform on which the real front end of your application is running. The MEAN stack, Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node, a more up-to-date take on LAMP, shows how JavaScript has evolved into a platform of its own.

  • “Open Network Linux” could boost viability of vendor-neutral switches

    Intel, Broadcom, Mellanox, and Cumulus Networks jumped on board last November, contributing specifications and software that will bring the project closer to a finished design. They weren’t alone, though: Software-defined networking vendor Big Switch Networks in January donated what it calls Open Network Linux (ONL) to the project.

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