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Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB FOSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB OSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software



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Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source



  • The state of open source security
    If there’s a poster child for the challenges facing open source security, it may be Werner Koch, the German developer who wrote and for the last 18 years has toiled to maintain Gnu Privacy Guard (GnuPG), a pillar of the open source software ecosystem.

    Since its first production release in 1999, GnuPG has become one of the most widely used open source security tools in the world, protecting the email communication of everyone from government officials to Edward Snowden.


  • A Data-Driven Look at the Open Source E-Commerce Market
    Compared to Q4 2013, last quarter’s US online sales rose 14.6 percent to a staggering $79.6 billion dollars. This accounted for 6.7 percent of the total US retail sales market. Major trends fueling this growth include the proliferation of mobile devices, faster online checkout flows and improved fulfillment practices.


  • Apple Acquires FoundationDB
    Allegedly, Apple has recently acquired FoundationDB, a company specialized in fast and cost-effective database software.


  • Don't Let Apple Scare You Away From Open Source
    Earlier this week, Ben Kepes reported here on Forbes that Apple acquired enterprise database startup FoundationDB. As often happens in these situations, FoundationDB stopped accepting new customers for its paid services. But the company’s code repository was also emptied or made private, leaving third party developers dependent upon open source code associated with this database with no official place to get it. Some have been quick to suggest this is a good reason not to build products or services that rely upon open source software. It would be a mistake to believe them.


  • What Happens When Apple Buys a Company You Depend On
    Travis Jeffery is a software developer who’s been using a database system called FoundationDB for a project at his startup. Earlier this week, he noticed that the software had been pulled from the web. He soon received a terse email confirming that the software had been taken down intentionally, but little else. “We have made the decision to evolve our company mission,” it read. “And as of today, we will no longer offer downloads.”


  • The dark side of commercial open source
    Apple's acquisition of FoundationDB is a warning to all: contribute to the open-source projects you love, or risk losing them.


  • Bazel: Google Build Tool is now Open Source
    Bazel, the tool that Google uses to build the majority of its software has been partially open sourced. According to Google, Bazel is aimed to build “code quickly and reliably” and is “critical to Google’s ability to continue to scale its software development practices as the company grows.”


  • Events



    • Qt Developer Days Videos and passing the torch


      For the past three years, KDAB has had the honor and pleasure to bring you the European Qt Developer Days Conference in Berlin.


    • Linux Seeks Security, Unity
      Linux is expanding its reach, promising to play a significant role in the Internet of Things. But the open source software needs more attention to interoperability, security and its kernel, according to experts at the Embedded Linux Conference here.




  • Web Browsers



    • Mozilla



      • Calling Out OkCupid
        Anyways, to the point, I hate to open a can of worms but when I heard this news I thought back to this same time last year and remembered how gung ho OkCupid was over Mozilla’s appointment of Brendan Eich because of his personal beliefs and that they ultimately decided to block all Firefox users.






  • SaaS/Big Data



    • Red Hat's Bet on OpenStack, OpenShift Shows Progress
      Yesterday, I reported on Red Hat delivering its fourth quarter and year-end financial results, which were strong. There were some interesting forces driving the numbers, though. In particular, Red Hat is now a couple of years into a strategic shift toward facilitating OpenStack cloud computing for enterprises, and CEO Jim Whitehurst pointed to that fork in the road as beginning to pay off. Here are some more detailed glimpses into Red Hat's increasingly significant cloud business.


    • OpenStack Kilo Now at Feature Freeze
      We're now in the stretch run for the OpenStack Kilo platform release.


    • Hadoop Security Still Evolving
      When it comes to security, what does it take to make Hadoop "enterprise ready?"


    • Open Source Cloud Firm GreenQloud to Stop Offering IaaS
      Icelandic cloud provider GreenQloud, which has been a major open source cloud supporter, has informed customers it is closing its public cloud service. The company will go on focusing on selling Apache CloudStack cloud called QStack to be managed by others. The public compute and and storage services are ending in October 2015.




  • Databases



    • Q&A: Databases, Open Source & Virtualisation with CEO Vinay Joosery
      Adding PostgreSQL coverage to the solution has enabled IT operators to manage the three most popular open source databases - MySQL, MongoDB and PostgreSQL - from one ClusterControl platform. The upgrade also boosts increased monitoring capabilities and encryption between MySQL and MariaDB to protect costumers from losing sensitive data.




  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice



    • 4 keys to success for LibreOffice as a service
      The announcement of LibreOffice Online this week came as welcome news to many people concerned about the paucity of online options for those who want software freedom with their online document solutions. But can open source SaaS succeed?

      The open source community needs a truly open alternative to current mainstream online document collaboration solutions, all of which are compromised by lock-in. LibreOffice Online will offer the full flexibility to deploy in-house or hosted cloud instances while using true open standards for its documents.


    • What will it take to merge LibreOffice and OpenOffice?
      Ordinarily, I'm all for diversity in free software projects. However, I make an exception in the case of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The sooner they become a single project, the better.

      In other cases, I'm slow to accept arguments against duplication of projects. Combining projects does not automatically make for greater efficiency or quicker development; especially in the beginning, personalities can sabotage or even reverse any gains.




  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC



    • Free Software’s Fifth Freedom
      So the next time you’re trying to convince someone of the important of free and open software, and they chime in with the fact that don’t want to change it, try pointing out that by using proprietary code they’re limiting their options for getting it fixed when it inevitably breaks.




  • Project Releases



  • Public Services/Government



    • Govt wants Open Source Software in all its departments
      The Government of India is soon coming out with an “Open software policy” according to Union Minister for Telecommunications and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Speaking at the 3rd Web Ratna Awards ceremony, the Minister mentioned that under the new policy, all proposals for e-governance projects will include a mandatory clause for considering open source software as a preferred option.


    • Microsoft and Oracle are 'not your trusted friends', public sector bods
      Software providers such as Microsoft and Oracle are aggressively targeting public sector customers with licence "audit reviews" in a bid to plug falling subscription revenue, according to research.

      Over one-third of the 436 councils surveyed across the UK have been subject to at least one software licence review in the last 20 months, according to a report from software licensing costs advice company Cerno.


    • eGoverment in the Netherlands
      Just a few days ago it was anounced publicly that not only is the Pleio community is hard at work on improving the platform to raise the bar yet again, but that Kolab will be a part of that. A joint development project has been agreed to and is now underway as part of a new Pleio pilot project.


    • EC to create level playing field for open source
      The European Commission will create a level playing field for open source software when procuring new software solutions, it announced on 27 March. Evaluation of open source and proprietary software will take into account their total cost of ownership and exit costs.


    • European Commission Open Source Software Strategy 2014-2017
      Equal treatment in procurement

      Contribution to communities

      Clarification of legal aspects

      Open-source and interoperable Commission-developed software

      Transparency and better communication


    • NHS rolls out Vendor Neutral Archive initiative to open source records
      NHS ENGLAND HAS been talking about the latest strand of its move toward open digital solutions to provide interoperability between the myriad departmental systems that are proprietary, incompatible or just plain disparate.

      The organisation is to adopt Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) as a standard format to store everything from X-rays to scanned letters and patient notes, in order to avoid lock-in with proprietary systems and allow easy sharing of data across the NHS.




  • Openness/Sharing





Leftovers



  • Prosecutors: Germanwings co-pilot hid illness from employers before crashing passenger flight
    Investigators didn't find a suicide note or claim of responsibility at the home of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, but they did find a torn-up sick note from the day of the plane crash, German authorities said Friday.


  • Andreas Lubitz: Evidence He 'Hid Illness From His Employer' In Germanwings Co-Pilot's Dusseldorf Flat
    The object will now be tested to see if it will illuminate why Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and engaged and reset the autopilot to take the doomed plane from 38,000 feet to just 100ft.


  • Science



    • Silicon Valley gender gap is widening
      Najla Bulous wants to change the face of Silicon Valley.

      The daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Egypt, Bulous is a Harvey Mudd College-trained software engineer. After graduation in May, she's starting a new job at a Silicon Valley technology giant.

      Bulous knows she isn't the stereotypical Silicon Valley geek. She didn't study computer science until college and never intended to major in it. But after just one introductory course, Bulous was hooked on the challenge of mastering problems with lines of code.

      Now this 21-year-old is not just planning a career in technology. She wants a hand in re-engineering the culture of Silicon Valley to be more inclusive of women and people from underrepresented groups.




  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression



    • Confused about the Middle East? So Is the United States
      Since the Arab Spring, many Middle Eastern countries have fallen into political chaos like dominoes. This week’s explosion of conflict in Yemen is just the most recent example. Though many of these conflicts are based on local grievances, they are being exacerbated by the involvement of the region’s larger states, and by the United States.




  • Transparency Reporting



    • What Have Whistleblowers Done for Elite Journalists Lately?
      This attitude is documented and questioned in a piece by John Hanrahan, a former Washington Post reporter who later headed the Fund for Investigative Journalism, that appeared on the pro-whistleblower Expose Facts site (3/24/15) and was reposted as “Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers” by Consortium News (3/25/15).




  • Privacy



    • Tech Companies, Privacy Advocates Call for NSA Reform
      A group of technology companies, non-profits and privacy and human rights organizations have sent a letter to President Barack Obama, the director of national intelligence and a wide range of Congressional leaders, calling for an end to the bulk collection of phone metadata under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.


    • Bankrupt RadioShack wants to sell off user data. But the bigger risk is if a Facebook or Google goes bust.
      The demise of RadioShack left techies with one less place to congregate and buy obscure batteries and soldering equipment. And if that wasn't bad enough, now the bankrupt company is trying to sell off the devotees' data.


    • New data world order: government can read every Australian like an open book
      The story of your life in metadata is an open book. It paints a picture of where you went, who you spoke with, how long you were there for. What were you doing talking on the phone to the sexually transmitted infections clinic? What were you doing on the street corner where the man was murdered last night?


    • Washington is coming for your personal data
      Little-noticed change to judicial rules gives the FBI greater powers to conduct remote searches, and the 'zombie bill' CISA is on the fast track to a Senate vote


    • This Newsletter Was Paranoid About the NSA in 1996, and It Was Eerily Correct
      ​Ever since Edward Snowden leaked thousands of top secret documents to journalists laying bare its most guarded secrets, the NSA, a government agency that was once known as the No Such ​Agency for its love for secrecy, has been thrown in the media limelight.


    • FBI director urges Congress to crack down on encryption
      Speaking before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey urged Congress to pass legislation requiring tech companies to install backdoors in their encryption programs. These backdoors would allow government agencies to easily intercept the electronic communications of American citizens, the District Sentinel reports.




  • Civil Rights



    • The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison
      The goal of the Norwegian penal system is to get inmates out of it.


    • Why Should Bergdahl Suffer More Than Generals Who Did Far Worse?
      What punishment should Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl receive for allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan? The answer comes by asking another question: What punishment has been handed out to American generals and politicians whose incompetence caused far more bloodshed and grief than anything Bergdahl did?

      A key thing about justice is that it should be fair — people should be punished no matter their rank or title. The problem with the bloodlust for more action against Bergdahl — beyond his five years of horrific suffering as a Taliban prisoner — is that inept generals, rather than being court-martialed or demoted or reprimanded, have been rewarded and celebrated despite their dereliction in Iraq and Afghanistan.


    • Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide's Secret Spy Network
      Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal's account.
    • The Government’s Fixation on Spying and Lying
      When Hillary Clinton learned that a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives had subpoenaed her emails as secretary of state and she promptly destroyed half of them – about 33,000 – how did she know she could get away with it? Destruction of evidence, particularly government records, constitutes the crime of obstruction of justice.


    • Government secrecy in the Obama White House
      As a candidate for president, Barack Obama promised that his would be the most “transparent” administration in American history. It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, it may be the most secretive, threatening the very fabric of representative democracy, which depends upon the American people and their elected representatives in Congress knowing exactly what government is doingin our name and with our taxpayer dollars.


    • State Department Now Just Making It Up to Explain Away Clinton’s Excesses
      State Department spokesdrone Jen Psaki is now just straight out making things up to explain away the questions surrounding Clinton and her email, and the State Department’s complicity.

      Her “misstatements” can now be debunked with a click of a mouse, which we will do in a moment.

      The devil is in the details on these things, as no one expects to find a notarized document that reads “Yes, I did it all to hide embarrassing stuff from the Freedom of Information Act because dammit it is my turn to be president, signed, Hillary”).

      So let’s drill down.


    • Report: US troops exposed to chemical agents in Iraq are dying — and the Pentagon is covering it up


    • US troops fighting war on drugs got away with raping dozens of Colombian girls: report
      According to an independent report commissioned by the Colombian government and FARC rebels, United States soldiers and military contractors are responsible for sexually abusing at least 54 children between 2003 and 2007 — but they were not prosecuted because of immunity clauses in the American diplomatic treaties with the government.


    • FBI’s Preventative Role: Hygiene for Corporations, Spies for Muslims
      For what it’s worth, Muslim communities increasingly agree that the FBI — and the federal government generally — should not be in the business of CVE. But that’s largely because the government approaches it with the same view Comey does: by thinking immediately of his analysts thinking dark thoughts at Quantico. So if some agency that had credibility — if some agency had credibility — at diverting youth (of all faiths) who might otherwise get caught in an FBI sting, I could support it moving someplace else, but I’m skeptical DHS or any other existing federal agency is that agency right now.

      While the Review doesn’t say explicitly in this section what it wants the FBI to be doing instead of CVE, elsewhere it emphasizes that it wants the FBI to do more racial profiling (AKA “domain awareness”) and run more informants. Thus, I think it fair to argue that the Ed Meese-led panel thinks the FBI should spy on Muslims, not reach out to them. Occupation-style federal intelligence gathering, not community based.


    • Investigator: Inmates forced like gladiators to fight as deputies took bets
      At just 150 pounds, it was hardly fair to pit Ricardo Palikiko Garcia against an opponent well over twice his size. But Garcia had to fight him -- or else he'd allegedly face torture.

      Running away was not an option for the inmate locked inside a San Francisco jail.

      Like the gladiators of old, Garcia and others were forced into pugilistic matches, local authorities said. Four sheriff's deputies then placed bets on their bouts.






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