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Programming: Thoughts From Jussi Pakkanen, Releases From Debian Developers, GSoC Projects and Python Leftovers

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  • Jussi Pakkanen: Open source does not have a reward mechanism for tedious

    Many software developers are creators and builders. They are drawn to problems of the first type. The fact that they are difficult is not a downside, it is a challenge to be overcome. It can even be a badge of merit which you can wave around your fellow developers. These projects include things like writing your own operating system or 3D game engine, writing device drivers that saturate the fastest of transfer links, lock free atomic parallelism, distributed file systems that store exabytes of data as well as embedded firmware that has less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. Working on these kinds of problems is rewarding on its own, even if the actual product never finishes or fails horribly when eventually launched. They are, in a single word, sexy.

    Most problems are not like that, but are instead the programming equivalent of ditch digging. They consist of a lot of hard work, which is not very exciting on its own but it still needs to be done. It is difficult to get volunteers to work on these kinds of problems and this is where the problem gets amplified in open source. Corporations have a very strong way to motivate people to work on tedious problems and it is called a paycheck. Volunteer driven open source development does not have a way to incentivise people in the same way. This is a shame, because the chances of success for any given software project (and startup) is directly proportional to the amount of tedious work people working on it are willing to do.

  • ledger2beancount 2.0 released

    I released version 2.0 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter.

  • digest 0.6.25: Spookyhash bugfix

    digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64, murmur32, and spookyhash algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects. It is a fairly widely-used package (currently listed at 889k monthly downloads with 255 direct reverse dependencies and 7340 indirect reverse dependencies) as many tasks may involve caching of objects for which it provides convenient general-purpose hash key generation.

    This release is a one issue fix. Aaron Lun noticed some issues when spookyhash is used in streaming mode. Kendon Bell, who also contributed spookyhash quickly found the issue which is a simple oversight. This was worth addressing in new release, so I pushed 0.6.25.

  • Google announces 200 open-source mentors for the 2020 GSoC event

    With this year's Google Summer of Code event right around the corner, the organizers considered this to be the perfect time to announce the mentoring organizations for the participants. In this year's edition of GSoC, there will be 200 mentoring organizations, including 30 new teams. Read on to find out more details of this open-source event.

  • Python 101 2nd Edition Sample Chapters

    I have put together some sample chapters for the 2nd edition of Python 101 which is coming out later this year. You can download the PDF version of these sample chapters here. Note that these chapters may have minor typos in them. Feel free to let me know if you find any bugs or errors.

  • Python 3.7.6 : The SELinux python package.

    The tutorial for today is about the SELinux python package.

  • Release 0.7.0 of GooCalendar
  • Python in Production

    I’m missing a key part from the public Python discourse and I would like to help to change that.

    The other day I was listening to a podcast about running Python services in production. While I disagreed with some of the choices they made, it acutely reminded me about what I’ve been missing in the past years from the public Python discourse.

  • Python Packaging Metadata

    Since this topic keeps coming up, I’d like to briefly share my thoughts on Python package metadata because it’s – as always – more complex than it seems.

    When I say metadata I mean mostly the version so I will talk about it interchangeably. But the description, the license, or the project URL are also part of the game.

  • Better Python tracebacks with Rich

    One of my goals in writing Rich was to render really nice Python tracebacks. And now that feature has landed.

    I've never found Python tracebacks to be a great debugging aid beyond telling me what the exception was, and where it occurred. In a recent update to Rich, I've tried to refresh the humble traceback to give enough context to diagnose errors before switching back to the editor.

Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organizations Announced

  • Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organizations Announced

    You can find the full list of organizations/projects on GSoC website. For each company, you can click on “View Idea List” to see more details about the potential projects. Students will be invited to apply and submit proposals between March 16-31. Selected students will be working on the project between May 19, 2020 – August 11, 2020, with regular evaluation and final results on August 26, 2020.

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More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu 18.04 vs. 20.04 LTS Performance Preview With Intel Xeon Scalable

There is less than one month to go until the official release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS "Focal Fossa" but we've already begun experimenting with it for weeks across a variety of platforms. For the most part we have found Ubuntu 20.04 slated to offer some nice performance improvements, especially if upgrading from the existing LTS series, Ubuntu 18.04. In this article are our initial benchmarks looking at the Intel Xeon Scalable from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to the current 20.04 near-final state. Read more

Linux 5.6

So I'll admit to vacillating between doing this 5.6 release and doing
another -rc.

This has a bit more changes than I'd like, but they are mostly from
davem's networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I
looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It's just slightly
more than I'd have preferred at this stage - not doesn't really seem
worth delaying a release over.

So about half the diff from the final week is network driver fixlets,
and some minor core networking fixes. Another 20% is tooling - mostly
bpf and netfilter selftests (but also some perf work).

The rest is "misc" - mostly random drivers (gpio, rdma, input) and DTS
files. With a smattering of fixes elsewhere (a couple of afs fixes,
some vm fixes, etc).

The shortlog is appended, nothing really looks all that exciting, and
most of the discussions I've seen are already about things for the
next merge window.

Which obviously opens now as of the release, and I'll start doing
pulls tomorrow. I already have a couple of pull requests in pending in
my inbox - thank you.

And while I haven't really seen any real sign of kernel development
being impacted by all the coronavirus activity - I suspect a lot of us
work from home even normally, and my daughter laughed at me and called
me a "social distancing champ" the other day - it may be worth just
mentioning: I think we're all reading the news and slightly
distracted.  I'm currently going by the assumption that we'll have a
fairly normal 5.7 release, and there doesn't seem to be any signs
saying otherwise, but hey, people may have better-than-usual reasons
for missing the merge window. Let me know if you know of some
subsystem that ends up being affected.

So we'll play it by ear and see what happens. It's not like the merge
window is more important than your health, or the health of people
around you.

                  Linus
Read more

Openwashing Leftovers

'Open' Surveillance 'Apps'

  • Singapore to open-source national Coronavirus encounter-tracing app and the Bluetooth research behind it

    The app, named TraceTogether and its government is urging citizens to run so that if they encounter a Coronavirus carrier, it’s easier to trace who else may have been exposed to the virus. With that info in hand, health authorities are better-informed about who needs to go into quarantine and can focus their resources on those who most need assistance. The app is opt-in and doesn’t track users through space, instead recording who you have encountered. To do so, it requires Bluetooth and location services to be turned on when another phone running the app comes into range exchanges four nuggets of information - a timestamp, Bluetooth signal strength, the phone’s model, and a temporary identifier or device nickname. While location services are required, the app doesn't track users, instead helping to calculate distances between them.

  • Singapore says it will make its contact tracing tech freely available to developers

    Less than a week after launching an app to track potential exposure to the coronavirus, Singapore is making the technology freely available to developers worldwide. The city-state rolled out an app called TraceTogether on March 20 and described it as a supplementary tool for its contact tracing efforts that relied on the recall and memory of infected individuals. Contact tracing is the process of identifying those with close contact with infected patients.

  • Over 600k users installed TraceTogether, app to be made open source

    A mobile application developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) that helps in contact tracing for Covid-19 has been installed by more than 620,000 users since its launch last Friday. With a decision to make the technology behind it available to developers around the world, even more people could stand to benefit. Developed in collaboration with the Health Ministry (MOH), the TraceTogether mobile app works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones.

  • 620,000 people installed TraceTogether in 3 days, S’pore’s open source contact tracing app

    TraceTogether, a mobile app to support contact tracing efforts developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), was launched on Friday, Mar. 20.

  • The Shield: the open source Israeli Government app which warns of Coronavirus exposure
  • Israel Unveils Open Source App to Warn Users of Coronavirus Cases

    A new Israeli app can instantly tell users if they have crossed paths with someone known to have been infected with the coronavirus. On Sunday, the country’s health ministry unveiled the app, called “The Shield”(“HaMagen”, in Hebrew.) The app takes location data from the user’s phone and compares it with the information in Health Ministry servers regarding the location histories of confirmed cases during the 14 days before their diagnosis.