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Free software is what unites us

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This spring, as the time for planning our biannual appeal came around, we discussed the difficult time all of us are experiencing: charities like us, the free software community, and every individual. And it led us to consider why people from all walks of life cherish user freedom.

The socially distant, digital way in which we are carrying on our work and private lives is affecting our software freedom. Globally, decisions to transition to an online and remote life were made with less consideration than we normally put into them, giving proprietary corporations access to parts of our lives we normally protect. Lately, we have been pointing to grim examples of bulk surveillance and privacy violations in the realms of education and communication to help everyone understand why this fight is so important.

But we shouldn't forget that free software is an inherently positive story. It celebrates the creativity and skill that come from collaboration, and the freedom that you have if you understand a program or can freely choose to rely on information about it from someone you trust. Having the right to read, modify, contribute to, and share software we use has changed our lives, and countless others. There are so many people who continue to motivate us to fight for free software with their work, so we decided to ask them to share their stories on why they love free software, and what user freedom means to them or their business.

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More in Tux Machines

IBM/Red Hat Leftovers

  • Do host firewalls matter in cloud deployments?

    Cloud deployments enable incredible amounts of network flexibility for any workload. Companies build, connect, and configure networks at a rapid pace via convenient application programming interfaces (APIs). However, these easily configurable interconnections lead to situations where dangerous network paths remain open due to misconfiguration or complexity. Someone asked me recently if host firewalls still matter in cloud deployments. In short: they do still matter. Host firewalls, such as iptables or nftables, play a key role in a defense-in-depth strategy, and they often close gaps in critical network infrastructure. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) includes firewalld, a firewall management framework, that delivers reasonable defaults and makes rule management easy. This post covers some potential scenarios where a host firewall could reduce risk in a cloud deployment.

  • Saaf Water provides insights for safe water consumption

    Many of us take for granted that clean, safe drinking water will be instantly available when we turn on a tap in our home. But 2 billion people around the world lack access to safely managed drinking water, and in order for that to change by 2030, the current rate of progress would need to double in 129 countries. The issue is especially challenging for remote communities who have to gather their drinking water from unreliable sources. Helping these communities make informed decisions about their drinking water can greatly mitigate the risks. For the team in India behind Saaf Water (“saaf” is a Hindi word for “clean”), the inspiration to take on the issue of clean drinking water was personal. Team member Hrishikesh saw firsthand the danger of unsafe drinking water when his mother became ill by drinking from her village’s groundwater supply that was assumed to be safe. Even though the team members are all from different villages, they all have friends or family members impacted by contaminated water. They realized that communities need data and information about their local drinking water to be able to make safe decisions about purification and consumption.

  • Honestly leads consumers to more ethical purchases

    How can you really know the environmental impact of that pair of jeans you just ordered online? Household consumption of goods contributes to over 60% of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change. Now, e-commerce is causing an increasing share of the environmental damage created by consumer goods: The UN reports that during the COVID-19 pandemic, online sales jumped from 16% to 19% of all retail sales. Individual consumers want to do the right thing and are often willing to spend a bit more to make sustainable purchases. However, it can be overwhelming to try to fully understand the ethical practices of the businesses they buy from or the environmental footprint of the products they consume.

  • Top Call for Code Global Challenge University Teams

    In the fight against climate change, we know fresh thought and innovation can come from anywhere. Yet every year we’re continually inspired by the Call for Code submissions from universities. And this year is no different. The top five entrants cover a broad range of solutions, ranging from agriculture to waste management, and from sanitation to zero hunger. Check out the entries from across the globe and tune in to the 2021 Call for Code Awards on November 16 to learn who will be the winner of the University Edition of the Call for Code Global Challenge.

  • Plenti cuts kitchen waste to shrink carbon footprint [Ed: IBM pretends to care about carbon footprint; same as Microsoft]

    Did you know the average household throws away 1 in 5 bags of spoiled groceries? Beyond the economic impact on households, the environmental impact is exacerbated by the fact that food products create a considerable carbon footprint from the farm, to the store, and into your kitchen before getting dumped. The Plenti team are looking to change this and help us better manage our groceries. As a Top Five finalist in the 2021 Call for Code Global Challenge, Plenti was developed as a mobile app that alerts you before your food goes off.

  • Project Scavenger manages e-waste for a healthier world [Ed: IBM kicked off another greenwash campaign today]

    Once an anomaly, working remotely has become a common practice for many employees over the course of the past 20 months — and it shows no sign of receding. Gartner estimates that remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021. While there are wide-ranging opinions surrounding the work-from-home dynamic, one objective truth is that there has been a massive increase in home office set-ups, and demand for home office devices like keyboards, mice, CPUs and more. Manufacturers are trying to keep up with this rapid increase in demand. Combine those new devices with the thousands still residing in now abandoned on-site offices, and the result is an alarming amount of e-waste.

  • Green Farm supports sustainable community agriculture

    Agriculture accounts for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. While sustainable farming plays an important role in helping reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, it still only represents a small share of all agricultural production. Community supported agriculture (CSA) has increased in popularity during recent years as an answer to this global challenge, especially during the supply chain disruptions and day-to-day hurdles consumers have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the rapid growth of this type of farming model brings its own set of challenges. Small farmers struggle to ensure their planting methods are sustainable, eco-friendly, and transparent as they attempt to scale and reach new customers. It is difficult for them to experiment with alternative agricultural methods because of local volatility, both ecologically and in the market, brought on by climate change and the ongoing pandemic. Consumers, meanwhile, face uncertainty about the quality and availability of local produce.

  • Digital transformation: 7 in-demand technology skills

    The pandemic jolted businesses across the globe, forcing them to accelerate their digital initiatives – some achieved years’ worth of digital transformation initiatives in a matter of months. And with remote work in effect, organizations also had to invest in collaborative platforms for employees and self-service portals for customers to ensure business continuity. Organizations today continue to invest in digital transformation priorities, and the demand for those with skills in cloud, rapid application development (low code), and new-age technologies is growing. As companies compete to attract candidates who are proficient in emergent technologies, candidates with extensive experience in these areas are in a strong position to drive digital transformation initiatives, optimize costs, approach complex issues innovatively, and aid in the decision-making process.

  • How to put people at the center of digital transformation

    Many businesses saw the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerate their digital transformation plans. Going digital is imperative in the new reality, characterized by hyper-connection and an ever-increasing consumption of online products and services. Even so, many still struggle to understand and apply the concept of going digital in real life. However, some organizations have failed in their digital transformation journey as they overlooked a fundamental aspect in these times of change ‒ the human factor. At first glance, it may seem odd that this is considered a factor. Still, digital transformation and innovation are related to profound human transformation. A Boston Consulting Group publication, “It’s Not a Digital Transformation without a Digital Culture,” argues that “like any major transformation, a digital transformation requires instilling a culture that supports the change while enabling the company’s overarching strategy.”

From ‘guix environment’ to ‘guix shell’

There are times when what looked like the right design choice some years back comes out as an odd choice as time passes. The beloved guix environment tool is having that fate. Its command-line interface has become non-intuitive and annoying for the most common use cases. Since it could not be changed without breaking compatibility in fundamental ways, we devised a new command meant to progressively replace it; guix shell—that’s the name we unimaginatively ended up with—has just landed after a three-week review period, itself a followup to discussions and hesitations on the best course of action. This post introduces guix shell, how it differs from guix environment, the choices we made, and why we hope you will like it. Read more

SUSE/OpenSUSE: Digest of YaST Development Sprints, SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1, and Documentation by Meike Chabowski

  • Digest of YaST Development Sprints 133 & 134

    Let us start by quoting our latest report: “regarding the management of users, we hope to report big improvements in the next blog post”. Time has indeed come and we can now announce we brought the revamped users management described in this monographic blog post to the last parts of YaST that were still not taking advantage of the new approach. The changes are receiving an extra round of testing with the help of the Quality Assurance team at SUSE before we submit them to openSUSE Tumbleweed. When that happens, both the interactive YaST module to manage users and groups and its corresponding command line interface (not to be confused with the ncurses-powered text mode) will start using useradd and friends to manage users, groups and the related configurations.

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 is Generally Available

    Today, we are proud to announce the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 – a lightweight and secure operating system built for containerized and virtualized workloads. [...] SLE Micro can be used as a single-node container host, Kubernetes cluster node, single-node KVM virtualization host or in public cloud. Since its built to scale, customers can incorporate SLE Micro into their digital transformation plans – whether at the edge or supporting edge deployments with mainframes – in a way that allows them to transition workload designs from monolithic to microservices, at their own pace. They can start with container workloads or virtualize their current legacy workloads, then move to containerized workloads when they are ready, with no change in the underlying system platform.

  • SUSE Expands Computing Possibilities Beyond the Edge with SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1
  • SUSE Expands Computing Possibilities Beyond the Edge with SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1
  • Document formats – There is choice [Ed: Meike Chabowski on formats of documentation files in SUSE]

    For publishing large documentation projects, DocBook is the ideal framework. It consists of a language (DocBook XML) and a set of stylesheets to translate this language into different output formats such as HTML, PDF, and EPUB. The stylesheets define the layout you want to apply when transforming the XML sources into output formats. For SUSE documentation, we wrote our own XSLT stylesheets to ensure the corporate design is properly reflected. The language DocBook XML is based on the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and defines the content in a semantic way through elements like in HTML. DocBook itself is written as a schema that defines the element names and the content and where they can appear. The DocBook schema is used to fulfill two tasks: guided editing and validation. Guided editing is done via an XML editor (such as oXygen, Vim or Emacs). The editor reads in the DocBook schema and suggests which elements are allowed in the current context. Validation gives hints about structural errors in an XML document; this could, for example, be a missing element.

Authelia: Open-source SSO Single Sign-on for enterprise

Single Sign-on (SSO), is a technology that combines several app login screens into one single login. In contrast, it offers a session and user authentication service for a user to use a single login for many apps. Let us take Google as an example, soon as login into your Google Gmail account, you have access to all Google services like Google calendar, Google Drive, Developer account YouTube, and Google Play Store, and more other services. Read more