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Hardware, Science and History

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  • An Open Source Toolbox For Studying The Earth

    Fully understanding the planet’s complex ecosystem takes data, and lots of it. Unfortunately, the ability to collect detailed environmental data on a large scale with any sort of accuracy has traditionally been something that only the government or well-funded institutions have been capable of. Building and deploying the sensors necessary to cover large areas or remote locations simply wasn’t something the individual could realistically do.

    But by leveraging modular hardware and open source software, the FieldKit from [Conservify] hopes to even the scales a bit. With an array of standardized sensors and easy to use software tools for collating and visualizing collected data, the project aims to empower independent environmental monitoring systems that can scale from a handful of nodes up to several hundred.

  • The Early History of Usenet, Part II: Hardware and Economics

    There was a planning meeting for what became Usenet at Duke CS. We knew three things, and three things only: we wanted something that could be used locally for administrative messages, we wanted a networked system, and we would use uucp for intersite communication. This last decision was more or less by default: there were no other possibilities available to us or to most other sites that ran standard Unix. Furthermore, all you needed to run uucp was a single dial-up modem port. (I do not remember who had the initial idea for a networked system, but I think it was Tom Truscott and the late Jim Ellis, both grad students at Duke.)

    There was a problem with this last option, though: who would do the dialing? The problems were both economic and technical-economic. The latter issue was rooted in the regulatory climate of the time: hardwired modems were quite unusual, and ones that could automatically dial were all but non-existent. (The famous Hayes Smartmodem was still a few years in the future.) The official solution was a leased Bell 801 autodialer and a DEC DN11 peripheral as the interface between the computer and the Bell 801. This was a non-starter for a skunkworks project; it was hard enough to manage one-time purchases like a modem or a DN11, but getting faculty to pay monthly lease costs for the autodialer just wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, Tom and Jim had already solved that problem.

  • UNIX Version 0, Running On A PDP-7, In 2019

    WIth the 50th birthday of the UNIX operating system being in the news of late, there has been a bit of a spotlight shone upon its earliest origins. At the Living Computers museum in Seattle though they’ve gone well beyond a bit of historical inquiry though, because they’ve had UNIX (or should we in this context say unix instead?) version 0 running on a DEC PDP-7 minicomputer. This primordial version on the original hardware is all the more remarkable because unlike its younger siblings very few PDP-7s have survived.

    The machine running UNIX version 0 belongs to [Fred Yearian], a former Boeing engineer who bought his machine from the company’s surplus channel at the end of the 1970s. He restored it to working order and it sat in his basement for decades, while the vintage computing world labored under the impression that including the museum’s existing machine only four had survived — of which only one worked. [Fred’s] unexpected appearance with a potentially working fifth machine, therefore, came as something of a surprise.

More in Tux Machines

Foundations: prpl Foundation, Cloud Foundry and ASF

  • ASSIA Joins prpl Foundation to Make a Vendor-Neutral Wi-Fi Management Ecosystem a Reality

    Adaptive Spectrum and Signal Alignment, Inc. (ASSIA®) the market-leading supplier of AI-driven broadband and Wi-Fi optimization software, announced its official involvement in the prpl Foundation, an open-source, community-driven, not-for-profit consortium with a focus on enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices for the smart society of the future. ASSIA makes it possible for service providers' Wi-Fi management solutions to work with any Wi-Fi router and middleware solution and interoperate, scale, and evolve with technology and standards.

  • Google polishes platinum Cloud Foundry membership badge as foundation takes KubeCF under its wing

    Cloud Foundry, an open-source foundation dedicated to a cloud-oriented application platform, is now incubating the KubeCF project, and has also welcomed Google upgrading its membership to platinum – the highest level. Google has been a member of Cloud Foundry since January 2017, but platinum membership represents a higher level of commitment. Google's Jennifer Phillips, head of Open Source Programs, is to be on the foundation's board of directors. The other platinum members are Dell EMC, IBM, SAP, SUSE and VMware.

  • The Apache® Software Foundation Celebrates 21 Years of Open Source Leadership

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today its 21st Anniversary.

LibreOffice 6.4.3 Release Candidate Version 1 Released Today!

LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 Released: LibreOffice is one of the best open-source text editors. LibreOffice comes as default application release of Linux OS. LibreOffice is developed by Team Document Foundation. Today they announced that the LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 version has been released. As per their calendar, LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 has been released exactly on today!. This RC1 version has many bugs fixes and tweaks in essential features. Read more

Unifont 13.0.01 Released

Unifont 13.0.01 is now available. This is a major release. Significant changes in this version include the addition of these new scripts in Unicode 13.0.0: U+10E80..U+10EBF: Yezidi, by Johnnie Weaver U+10FB0..U+10FDF: Chorasmian, by Johnnie Weaver U+11900..U+1195F: Dives Akuru, by David Corbett U+18B00..U+18CFF: Khitan Small Script, by Johnnie Weaver U+1FB00..U+1FBFF: Symbols for Legacy Computing, by Rebecca Bettencourt Read more

Programming: micro.sth, RProtoBuf, Perl and Python

  • Introducing micro.sth

    Many developers turn their noses up at PHP, but I have a soft spot for it. For me, it's the most approachable programming language by far. It feels intuitive in a way no other languages do, and it makes it possible to cobble together a working application with just a handful of lines of code. So whenever I can't find a tool for a specific job, I try to build one myself. The latest project of mine is a case in point. I was looking for a simple application for keeping a photographic diary, and I was sure that I'd be able to find an open-source tool for that. I searched high and low, but I came back empty-handed. Sure, there are plenty of static website generators, but I'd prefer something that doesn't require me to perform the write-generate-upload dance every time I want to post a quick update. And I need something that I can use not only to maintain a simple diary, but also store notes, manage tasks, and draft articles -- all this without getting bogged down by configuring templates, defining categories, and tweaking settings. And because I want most of my content to be private, I should be able to protect access to it with a password.

  • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RProtoBuf 0.4.17: Robustified

    A new release 0.4.17 of RProtoBuf is now on CRAN. RProtoBuf provides R with bindings for the Google Protocol Buffers (“ProtoBuf”) data encoding and serialization library used and released by Google, and deployed very widely in numerous projects as a language and operating-system agnostic protocol. This release contains small polishes related to the release 0.4.16 which added JSON support for messages, and switched to ByteSizeLong. This release now makes sure JSON functionality is only tested where available (on version 3 of the Protocol Buffers library), and that ByteSizeLong is only called where available (version 3.6.0 or later). Of course, older versions build as before and remain fully supported.

  • Perl Weekly Challenge 53: Rotate Matrix and Vowel Strings

    These are some answers to the Week 53 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

  • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxi) stackoverflow python report
  • Python: Is And ==

    In Python, == compares the value of two variables and returns True as long as the values are equal.