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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

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Ubuntu: Pop!_OS 19.04 is here!

It’s spring again! Leaves are budding and updates are blooming for Pop!_OS. Here’s what’s new in Pop!_OS 19.04: -The Slim Mode option maximizes your screen real estate by reducing the height of the header on application windows -Dark Mode gives your applications a relaxing ambience for nighttime viewing. Both Dark Mode and Slim Mode can be activated in the Appearance settings menu. Read more Also: System76 Releases Pop!_OS 19.04 for Its Linux PCs, Based on Ubuntu 19.04

Red Hat Breathes New Life Into Java

Red Hat is the new keeper of the keys to two popular versions of the open source Java implementation, OpenJDK 8 and OpenJDK 11. The company has taken over stewardship from Oracle, it announced last week. Oracle ended commercial support for Java 8 and the Oracle JDK 8 implementation of Java SE last year. Oracle left the enterprise Java business when it transitioned support and maintenance of Java Platform to the Eclipse Foundation, where it is now known as "Jakarta EE." Read more