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OSS Leftovers

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  • Can Open Source Improve Japan’s New Blockchain-based Voting System?

    Besides Switzerland and the USA, Japan is now the most recent implementer of Blockchain in its voting system. Let’s take a look at the news in brief and also the current challenges in the model. Can Open Source help in tackling them?

    [...]

    Complete details of the initiative (translated) are available on the Tsukuba city page.

    Though integrating Blockchain with the “My Number” system makes the voting process easier, there really are some notable setbacks, one of which is described in the video that needs to be dealt with in order to improve this voting system.

  • IRC's 30th Birthday; Mozilla Working on New JavaScript APIs for VR; Arch Linux Answering Questions on Reddit; Microsoft Splits Its Visual Studio Team Services; and Hortonworks, IBM and Red Hat Announce the Open Hybrid Architecture Initiative

    Mozilla yesterday announced it is beginning a new phase of work on JavaScript APIs "that will help everyone create and share virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) projects on the open web". Mozilla's new WebXR Device API has two goals: 1) "To support a wider variety of user inputs, such as voice and gestures, giving users options for navigating and interacting in virtual spaces"; and 2) "To establish a technical foundation for development of AR experiences, letting creators integrate real-world media with contextual overlays that elevate the experience." For more information, see the Immersive Web Community Group.

  • Converting a WebGL application to WebVR

    A couple months ago I ported the Pathfinder demo app to WebVR. It was an interesting experience, and I feel like I learned a bunch of things about porting WebGL applications to WebVR that would be generally useful to folks, especially folks coming to WebVR from non-web programming backgrounds.

    Pathfinder is a GPU-based font rasterizer in Rust, and it comes with a demo app that runs the Rust code on the server side but does all the GPU work in WebGL in a TypeScript website.

    We had a 3D demo showing a representation of the Mozilla Monument as a way to demo text rasterization in 3D. What I was hoping to do was to convert this to a WebVR application that would let you view the monument by moving your head instead of using arrow keys.

  • Combining the Benefits of Commercial & Open Analytics [Ed: "Commercial & Open" is misleading because Free/Open Source software is used a lot commercially. Some just attempt to spread the line/lie that only proprietary is suitable commercially.]
  • More Details On The AMD GCN Back-End For GCC That's Expected To Merge For GCC 9

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    Last week I reported on Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics posting their new AMD GCN port to the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). This GPU back-end for the widely-used GCC compiler is hoped for merging ahead of the GCC 9 stable release expected in early 2019. At this past weekend's GNU Tools Cauldron 2018 conference was a briefing by Mentor Graphics on undertaking funded by AMD.

  • Book review: The Economics of Open Access – on the Future of Academic Publishing

    Two decades ago, the world of academic publishing was taken by a storm called ‘open access’. The movement of ‘open access’ advocates for making published content available to the public for free. No fees and no (or little) right-based restrictions to limit access (apparently, the wisdom that authors need financial incentives to create does not apply to scholars who write for pleasure or reputation alone). The aim of open access is [was] to democratize access to knowledge. In ‘The Economics Open Access’, Thomas Eger and Marc Scheufen investigate whether ‘open access’ strategies have delivered on their promises.

    Combined with the rise of the Internet and digital technologies, open access strategies should have made the dissemination of knowledge (via academic publications) cheaper than ever. Instead, we find libraries facing higher subscription fees which forces them to cut back on their catalogue listing and monograph in-take…so what went wrong?

    The book offers an economic empirical analysis the impact of ‘open access’ has had on the academic publishing market world-wide. The analysis is based on two different sets of data: an ‘objective’ data set capturing the state of the academic publishing markets (i.e. growth in publication numbers, publishers, levels of open-access practices etc.), and a ‘subjective’ data set which documents scholars’ views on open access policies and how they engage with them in practice. This second set of data, based on over 10,000 responses from 25 different countries, is undoubtedly the most novel and original contribution of the book to the debate.

  • Europe's New 'Plan S' For Open Access: Daft Name, Great News

    Keeping copyright in the hands of authors is crucial: too often, academics have been cajoled or bullied into handing over copyright for their articles to publishers, thus losing the ability to determine who can read them, and under what conditions. Similarly, the CC-BY license would allow commercial use by anyone -- many publishers try to release so-called open access articles under restrictive licenses like CC-BY-NC, which stop other publishers from distributing them.

    Embargo periods are routinely used by publishers to delay the appearance of open access versions of articles; under Plan S, that would no longer be allowed. Finally, the new initiative discourages the use of "hybrid" journals that have often enabled publishers to "double dip". That is, they charge researchers who want to release their work as open access, but also require libraries to take out full-price subscriptions for journals that include these freely-available articles.

    Suber has a number of (relatively minor) criticisms of Plan S, which are well-worth reading. All-in-all, though, this is a major breakthrough for open access in Europe, and thus the world. Once "admirably strong" open access mandates like Plan S have been established in one region, others tend to follow in due course. Let's just hope they choose better names.

  • Open Jam, the open source game jam, returns for 2018

    Team Scripta is back with the second annual Open Jam, a game jam that promotes open source games and game creation tools.

  • AsioHeaders 1.12.1-1

    A first update to the AsioHeaders package arrived on CRAN today. Asio provides a cross-platform C++ library for network and low-level I/O programming. It is also included in Boost – but requires linking when used as part of Boost. This standalone version of Asio is a header-only C++ library which can be used without linking (just like our BH package with parts of Boost).

More in Tux Machines

Radio Telescopes Horn In With GNU Radio

Who doesn’t like to look up at the night sky? But if you are into radio, there’s a whole different way to look using radio telescopes. [John Makous] spoke at the GNU Radio Conference about how he’s worked to make a radio telescope that is practical for even younger students to build and operate. The only real high tech part of this build is the low noise amplifier (LNA) and the project is in reach of a typical teacher who might not be an expert on electronics. It uses things like paint thinner cans and lumber. [John] also built some blocks in GNU Radio that made it easy for other teachers to process the data from a telescope. As he put it, “This is the kind of nerdy stuff I like to do.” We can relate. Read more

New Releases: Kodachi 5.8, Tails RC, HardenedBSD Stable, KookBook 0.2.0

  • Kodachi 5.8 The Secure OS
    Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Debian 9.5 / Ubuntu 18.04 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure. Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side we do it all for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out. Kodachi is a live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to:
  • Call for testing: [Tails] 3.12~rc1
    You can help Tails! The first release candidate for the upcoming version 3.12 is out. We are very excited and cannot wait to hear what you think about it, especially the new simplified USB installation method (see below). :)
  • Stable release: HardenedBSD-stable 12-STABLE v1200058.2
  • KookBook 0.2.0 available – now manage your cooking recipes better
    Some people have started talking about maybe translation of the interface. I might look into that in the future. And I wouldn’t be sad if some icon artists provided me with a icon slightly better than the knife I drew. Feel free to contact me if that’s the case. Happy kooking!

Programming: Conway’s Game of Life, py3status and Teaching Python at Apple

  • Optimizating Conway
    Conway’s Game of Life seems to be a common programming exercise. I had to program it in Pascal when in High School and in C in an intro college programming course. I remember in college, since I had already programmed it before, that I wanted to optimize the algorithm. However, a combination of writing in C and having only a week to work on it didn’t leave me with enough time to implement anything fancy. A couple years later, I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Seven months away from computers, just hiking day in and day out. One of the things I found myself contemplating when walking up and down hills all day was that pesky Game of Life algorithm and ways that I could improve it. Fast forward through twenty intervening years of life and experience with a few other programming languages to last weekend. I needed a fun programming exercise to raise my spirits so I looked up the rules to Conway’s Game of Life, sat down with vim and python, and implemented a few versions to test out some of the ideas I’d had kicking around in my head for a quarter century.
  • py3status v3.16
    Two py3status versions in less than a month? That’s the holidays effect but not only! Our community has been busy discussing our way forward to 4.0 (see below) and organization so it was time I wrote a bit about that.
  • #195 Teaching Python at Apple

Games: Protontricks, vkQuake2, System Shock, Dead Ascend, Lord of Dwarves and Panda3D

  • Protontricks, a handy tool for doing various tweaks with Steam Play has been forked
    For those brave enough to attempt to get more Windows games to run through Steam Play, Protontricks is a handy solution and it's been forked.
  • vkQuake2, the project adding Vulkan support to Quake 2 now supports Linux
    At the start of this year, I gave a little mention to vkQuake2, a project which has updated the classic Quake 2 with various improvements including Vulkan support. Other improvements as part of vkQuake2 include support for higher resolution displays, it's DPI aware, HUD scales with resolution and so on. Initially, the project didn't support Linux which has now changed. Over the last few days they've committed a bunch of new code which fully enables 64bit Linux support with Vulkan.
  • The new System Shock is looking quite impressive with the latest artwork
    System Shock, the remake coming eventually from Nightdive Studios continues along in development and it's looking impressive. In their latest Kickstarter update, they showed off what they say is the "final art" after they previously showed the game using "temporary art". I have to admit, while this is only a small slice of what's to come, from the footage it certainly seems like it will have a decent atmosphere to it.
  • Dead Ascend, an open source point and click 2D adventure gameDead Ascend, an open source point and click 2D adventure game
    For those wanting to check out another open source game or perhaps see how they're made, Dead Ascend might be a fun choice for a little adventure. Developed by Lars from Black Grain Games, Dead Ascend features hand-drawn artwork with gameplay much like classic point and click adventures.
  • Lord of Dwarves will have you build large structures and defend them, developed on Linux
    Here's a fun one, Lord of Dwarves from developer Stellar Sage Games is a game about helping a kingdom of dwarves survive, build, and prosper. It's made on Linux too and releasing in Early Access in March. The developer emailed in about it and to let everyone know that it was "developed in Linux using only open source software". You can actually see them showing it off on Ubuntu in a recent video. While it's going to be in Early Access, they told me it's "feature complete with a full campaign and sandbox mode" with the extra time being used for feedback and to polish it as much as possible.
  • A Journey of the Panda3D
    I don’t know why am I still working on Panda 3D despite the failure to export the Blender mesh to the Panda 3D engine but anyway here is a quick update for the development of the Panda3D’s game. Yesterday after the Panda 3D engine had failed again to render the blender 3D mesh together with its texture on the game scene, I had made another search for the solution on Google but again...