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Interviews

LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Steve Fanning

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LibO
Interviews

LibreOffice has extensive documentation in many languages, thanks to the great work of our worldwide docs community. Today we’re talking to Steve Fanning, who has been working on the updated LibreOffice Calc Guide…

Hi Steve! Tell us a bit about yourself…

I live near Bolton in the North West of England with my wife and, sometimes, our adult son (he has recently been working in Australia for a year). I studied applied mathematics and theoretical physics at university and subsequently enjoyed a career mostly spent implementing and designing complex real-time software systems.

Passionate about improving the documentation for the company’s systems, I moved into specialist technical writer roles during the last few years of my employment. I retired around two years ago and now enjoy indulging in my main hobbies, which are bridge, computing, reading and coarse fishing. I guess that some readers might wonder about coarse fishing – it is angling for freshwater fish for pleasure and relaxation rather than food (all fish caught are returned to the water alive).

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20 years FSFE: Interview with Georg Greve, founder president

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GNU
Interviews

In 2021 the Free Software Foundation Europe turns 20. A moment that we like to use to celebrate our community and who has accompanied us in the past or still does with a series of publications. In our first publication we look back where everything got started and conducted an interview with the FSFE's first president Georg C. F. Greve.

It was Georg Greve who in April 2001 handed all necessary documents to the notary in Hamburg, Germany, to officially register the association "Free Software Foundation Europe". Which was only the last official step after many weeks of preparation and strategy meetings beforehand. Neatly with the official registration, Georg Greve became the first President of the newly founded FSFE and led the organisation in a full-time capacity until June 2009. On 18 December 2009 Georg Greve was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on ribbon by the Federal Republic of Germany for these years and his achievements in Free Software and Open Standards.

20 years later we interview Greve about the creation of FSFE, his first days in office and how it evolved from there.

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Can Open Source Hardware Emulate Linux?

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Linux
Hardware
Interviews

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Linux kernel’s release. Serving as the basis of the open source software movement, the open source code spawned hundreds of projects using free, public Linux distributions. The result has been a lengthy list of robust, stable and flexible products.

Given its success, can the same approach be applied to enabling the adoption of open source hardware? Can an instruction set architecture (ISA) like RISC-V create the basis for the proliferation of open source hardware in the same way that the Linux kernel served as the foundation for open source software?

The answer is both yes and no.

[...]

Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of the OpenHW Group, equates RISC-V with the Linux kernel “The RISC-V ISA is really what the kernel was for Linux at the beginning, and other open source software projects and initiatives sprung up as a result,” O’Connor told EE Times. “Certainly, the kernel was the seed on the software side 20 years ago, and the ISA is that same seed, I think, on the hardware side.”

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The Linux Setup – Leah Neukirchen, Void Linux

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GNU
Linux
Interviews

I found Leah through a fascinating tweet where she charted out her IRC activity over the past 10 years. Leah’s setup is just as interesting, mostly in that there’s no desktop environment. Leah also helps maintain Void Linux, which is a rolling release built from scratch. It’s a little too hardcore for me, but it seems pretty beloved on Reddit. So this setup is technical and intense, but also a lot of fun.

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Getting to know Kyeong Sang Kim, Red Hat general manager for Korea

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Red Hat
Interviews

We’re delighted to welcome Kyeong Sang Kim to Red Hat as a general manager for Korea. In the new role, he will be responsible for Red Hat’s business operations in the country.

Kyeong Sang is an expert in the field of IT consulting, supporting numerous business innovation projects for more than 25 years. Prior to joining Red Hat, Kyeong Sang served as the CEO of SICC (Ssangyong Information & Communications Corp), where he successfully led the company’s digital transformation to the cloud. He has also held several other leadership roles at global companies, including Accenture.

We caught up with Kyeong Sang to find out more about his interest in open source and Red Hat, and his insights on leadership.

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My Linux Story: How an influential security developer got started in open source

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Linux
Interviews
OSS

Open source is a way to express creativity in software while solving a problem. With the right license, it allows almost anyone to use the software, typically for free. That is also important, as not everyone has the luxury to pay for software or related services. The Dutch are known to be humble, outspoken, and in love with things being "gratis." This word is the same in Latin and means "for thanks" or "for nothing." While the F in FOSS does not refer to this type of free, I believe it is a powerful driver to bring the software into more people's hands. That is valuable in itself, as it can open the gates to more feedback, ideas, or even code improvements.

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Insights on the reproducibility and future of free software with Chris Lamb

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GNU
Interviews

The Reproducible Builds project seeks to integrate a set of development practices into software which emphasize build reproducibility, or the ability to ensure that a given build process will lead to verifiably integrous binaries which correspond to their source code. Reproducibility is especially important in software that is used for sensitive applications or even by users living in repressive regimes under mortal danger – repressive governments, for example, may choose to introduce vulnerabilities into software used by dissidents to connect to the Internet by targeting pre-compiled binaries and build processes rather than source code. The project is working towards making many widely used pieces of free software reproducible, from its aims towards making (at the very least the packages of) several widely used distributions of GNU/Linux reproducible to achieving reproducibility for individual pieces of critical software like Tor and Tails.

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Interview with A. Cord-Landwehr about REUSE adoption in the KDE community

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KDE
Interviews

In 2017, the FSFE launched its REUSE campaign and it not only has received many important updates since then but also an overwhelming international attention. Since the release of version 3.0 last year, we have been focusing on supporting Free Software projects in adopting the underlying best practices. And 2020 marks another successful year of this initiative.

On one hand this is thanks to the FSFE's role as a consortium member of the Next Generation Internet Zero (NGI0). In this position, the FSFE's legal team assists all participating software projects with any Free Software copyright and licensing issues that they may run into. And we are encouraging and assisting the projects in becoming REUSE compliant. More than 150 projects that we are reviewing in the scope of our NGI0 involvement are in process of adopting the REUSE specifications and many of them are already REUSE compliant.

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Ben Cotton: How Do You Fedora?

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Red Hat
Interviews

If you follow the Fedora’ Community Blog, there’s a good chance you already know who Ben is.

Ben’s Linux journey started around late 2002. Frustrated with some issues on using Windows XP, and starting a new application administrator role at his university where some services were being run on FreeBSD. A friend introduced him to Red Hat Linux, when Ben decided it made sense to get more practice with Unix-like operating systems. He switched to Fedora full-time in 2006, after he landed a job as a Linux system administrator.

Since then, his career has included system administration, people management, support engineering, development, and marketing. Several years ago, he even earned a Master’s degree in IT Project Management. The variety of experience has helped Ben learn how to work with different groups of people. “A lot of what I’ve learned has come from making mistakes. When you mess up communication, you hopefully do a better job the next time.”

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An Interview with LearnLinux.TV’s Jay LaCroix

Filed under
Linux
Interviews

For me, Linux is an amazing thing. I’m obsessed, it’s like my hobby and it just happens to pay. What are the odds that something you love to do can generate a paycheck? There’s nothing as great as that.
In addition to the YouTube channel, I write books, so my newest book is going to be coming out at the end of the year. The book is Mastering Ubuntu Server — Third Edition. It’s just an update to the 2nd Edition, but it became a lot more than just an update. Surprisingly the amount of work I’ve had to do on it is about the same as writing a brand new book from scratch, because it’s taken at least six months now to finish. The 2nd one has been a very big success, and this one I think is going to be even better. The important thing to note is this book is written entirely on System76 hardware and entirely on LibreOffice.

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Programming Leftovers

  • ThreatMapper: Open source platform for scanning runtime environments - Help Net Security

    Deepfence announced open source availability of ThreatMapper, a signature offering that automatically scans, maps and ranks application vulnerabilities across serverless, Kubernetes, container and multi-cloud environments.

  • Josef Strzibny: Organizing business logic in Rails with contexts

    Rails programmers have almost always tried to figure out the golden approach to business logic in their applications. From getting better at object-oriented design, to service objects, all the way to entirely new ideas like Trailblazer or leaving Active Record altogether. Here’s one more design approach that’s clean yet railsy.

  • Status update, October 2021

    On this dreary morning here in Amsterdam, I’ve made my cup of coffee and snuggled my cat, and so I’m pleased to share some FOSS news with you. Some cool news today! We’re preparing for a new core product launch at sr.ht, cool updates for our secret programming language, plus news for visurf. Simon Ser has been hard at work on expanding his soju and gamja projects for the purpose of creating a new core sourcehut product: chat.sr.ht. We’re rolling this out in a private beta at first, to seek a fuller understanding of the system’s performance characteristics, to make sure everything is well-tested and reliable, and to make plans for scaling, maintenance, and general availability. In short, chat.sr.ht is a hosted IRC bouncer which is being made available to all paid sr.ht users, and a kind of webchat gateway which will be offered to unpaid and anonymous users. I’m pretty excited about it, and looking forward to posting a more detailed announcement in a couple of weeks. In other sourcehut news, work on GraphQL continues, with paste.sr.ht landing and todo.sr.ht’s writable API in progress. Our programming langauge project grew some interesting features this month as well, the most notable of which is probably reflection. I wrote an earlier blog post which goes over this in some detail. There’s also ongoing work to develop the standard library’s time and date support, riscv64 support is essentially done, and we’ve overhauled the grammar for switch and match statements to reduce a level of indentation for typical code. In the coming weeks, I hope to see date/time support and reflection fleshed out much more, and to see some more development on the self-hosted compiler. [...] The goal of this project is to provide a conservative CSS toolkit which allows you to build web interfaces which are compatible with marginalized browsers like Netsurf and Lynx.

  • Monthly Report - September

    The month of September is very special to me personaly. Why? Well, I got married in the very same month 18 years ago. The best part is, I choose the day 11 to get married. I have never missed my wedding anniversary, thanks to all the TV news channel.

  • My Favorite Warnings: uninitialized | Tom Wyant [blogs.perl.org]

    This warning was touched on in A Belated Introduction, but I thought it deserved its own entry. When a Perl scalar comes into being, be it an actual scalar variable or an array or hash entry, its value is undef. Now, the results of operating on an undef value are perfectly well-defined: in a nuneric context it is 0, in a string context it is '', and in a Boolean context it is false. The thing is, if you actually operate on such a value, did you mean to do it, or did you forget to initialize something, or initialize the wrong thing, or operate on the wrong thing? Because of the latter possibilities Perl will warn about such operations if the uninitialized warning is enabled.

today's leftovers

  • CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu Run Through - Invidious

    In this video, we are looking at CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu.

  • CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu

    Today we are looking at CutefishOS Built on Ubuntu. It comes with Linux Kernel 5.11, based on Ubuntu 21.10, and uses about 900MB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

  • Google adds VM support to Anthos, admits not everyone is ready for containerised everything [Ed: Kubernetes becoming increasingly just an openwashing shim for proprietary software with back doors]

    Google has added support for workloads running in virtual machines to its Anthos hybrid Kubernetes platform. "While we have seen many customers make the leap to containerization, some are not quite ready to move completely off of virtual machines," wrote Google Application Modernization Platform vice-presidents Jeff Reed and Chen Goldberg. "They want a unified development platform where developers can build, modify, and deploy applications residing in both containers and VMs in a common, shared environment," the pair added.

  • The Dell Inspiron 15 3501 supports Linux

    With the Inspiron 15 3501, Dell has a 15.6-inch office laptop in its lineup with its technology housed in a slim, matte-black plastic case. The chassis lacks stability: The lid and the base unit in particular can be twisted a bit too much. The matte display (Full HD, IPS) offers stable viewing angles, good contrast, and decent color reproduction. However, the brightness and color-space coverage are too low. The built-in combination of the Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16 GB of RAM (dual-channel mode), and a 512 GB NVMe SSD (M.2 2230) equips the laptop for office and Internet applications. If the storage space isn't enough, an additional 2.5-inch storage drive can be installed. You can also replace or expand the RAM.

  • Linux Foundation raises USD 10 mln to secure software supply chain
  • ISO establishes SBOM standard for open source development with SPDX

    You’re not getting attention because of your choice of text editor or the number of spaces you use to indent code blocks. However motivating those preferences are for you and me, the non-technical world sees them as private choices. You find your code in the headlines for a different and unpleasant reason: open source dependency management.

  • Printed Piano Mechanism Sure Is Grand | Hackaday

    Do you know how a piano works? Sure, you press a key and a hammer strikes a string, but what are the finer points of this operation? The intricacy of the ingenious mechanism is laid bare in [Mechanistic]’s 3D-printed scale model of a small section of the grand piano keyboard. The ‘grand’ distinction here is piano length-agnostic and simply refers to any non-upright. Those operate the same way, but are laid out differently in order to save space.

  • FPGA Boards Add VGA And HMDI Interfaces To The Original Game Boy | Hackaday

    The classic Game Boy remains a firm favorite in the realm of retrocomputing. Revolutionary as it was at the time, by today’s standards its display is rather primitive, with no backlight and a usable area measuring only 47 mm x 44 mm. [Martoni] figured out a way to solve this, by developing GbVGA and GbHdmi, two projects that enable the Game Boy to connect to an external monitor. This way, you can play Super Mario Land without straining your eyes, and we can also image potential uses for those who stream their gameplay online.

  • Art Project Fast And Fouriously Transforms Audio Into Eye Candy | Hackaday

    The overall build is relatively simple. Audio is acquired via a line-in jack or a microphone, and then piped into an ESP32. The ESP32 runs the audio through the FFT routine, sampling, slicing, and dicing the audio into 16 individual bands. The visual output is displayed on a 16 x 16 WS2812 Led Matrix. [mircemk] wrote several routines for displaying the incoming audio, with a waterfall, a graph, and other visualizations that are quit aesthetically pleasing. Some of them are downright mesmerizing! You can see the results in the video below the break.

IBM/Red Hat Leftovers

  • Reach your open source community with content marketing [Ed: IBM has totally lost direction; this is how they think of Free software...]

    Both startups and more established firms are increasingly turning to content marketing as a way of reaching prospective customers. However, corporate marketers often consider the open source software (OSS) community a challenge to reach. This article features ways your technology and content marketing teams can work together to target and reach the community around an OSS project your organization supports.

  • Why digital transformation demands a change in leadership mindset

    Recently a key retail executive forecast that their industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the past fifty. Another executive believes society will change more in the next fifty years than it has in the last three hundred. A recent headline declared that, “We are approaching the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history”, and Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director of Engineering and co-Founder of Singularity University, has said that there will be fourteen internet size revolutions in the next decade. Whichever way you look at it, things are shifting… fast. When you speak with the visionaries and entrepreneurs actually building the solutions of tomorrow, from on-demand retail to vertical farms, and ask how far into this new era we are, almost universally the reply is: “only one percent”. Imagine then, where we will be ten years from now? How about 50? Major industries, from medicine to energy to travel to entertainment, are radically transforming, putting pressure on others such as manufacturing, construction, transportation, finance, education…frankly, all of it. What an extraordinary opportunity this presents.

  • DevSecOps lessons learned during a pandemic | The Enterprisers Project

    As we’ve seen over the past year and a half, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and forever changed workplace culture. Increased reliance on digital tools has elevated the value of DevSecOps, as enterprises of all sizes and across all industries realize the importance of automating and integrating security at every phase of the software development lifecycle – from initial design through integration, testing, deployment, and product delivery. My engineering team was no exception to this shift – we had to quickly prepare to build a new Virtana SaaS platform and deliver several new modules, all while working remotely. Here I’ll share some observations, pain points, and lessons learned to help others intelligently embrace DevSecOps best practices within their teams.

Security Leftovers

  • White House ransomware summit calls for virtual asset crackdown, without mentioning cryptocurrency [Ed: They need to crack down on Microsoft Windows, instead; they use their NSA back doors as a ruse to protect big banks. Microsoft has infiltrated think tanks about ransomware, so now instead of tackling the security breaches themselves (which can lead to sabotage or worse) they treat it like a financial transaction issue.]

    The 30-nation gabfest convened under the auspices of the US National Security Council’s Counter-Ransomware Initiative has ended with agreement that increased regulation of virtual assets is required to curb the digital coins' allure to criminals. A joint statement issued after the event's conclusion opens with anodyne observations about the need for good infosec, international collaboration, and the benefits of private sector engagement. The first mention of concrete action comes in a section of the statement entitled "Countering Illicit Finance" – and while the document never mentions cryptocurrencies, it's plain they're a target. "Taking action to disrupt the ransomware business model requires concerted efforts to address illicit finance risks posed by all value transfer systems, including virtual assets, the primary instrument criminals use for ransomware payments and subsequent money laundering."

  • Thingiverse suffers breach of 228,000 email addresses • The Register

    Thingiverse, a site that hosts free-to-use 3D printer designs, has suffered a data breach – and at least 228,000 unlucky users' email addresses have been circulating on black-hat crime forums. News of the breach came from Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), whose maintainer Troy Hunt uploaded the 228,000 breached email addresses to the site after being tipped off to their circulation on the forums. Hunt claimed on Twitter that in excess of two million addresses were in the breach. He qualified that by saying the majority were email addresses that appeared to be generated by Thingiverse itself, judging from their format: webdev+$username@makerbot[.]com. HIBP's maintainer also claimed that some of the data included poorly encrypted passwords: one he highlighted was an unsalted SHA-1 hash which resolved to the password "test123".

  • Thingiverse Data Leaked — Check Your Passwords | Hackaday

    Every week seems to bring another set of high-profile data leaks, and this time it’s the turn of a service that should be of concern to many in our community. A database backup from the popular 3D model sharing website Thingiverse has leaked online, containing 228,000 email addresses, full names, addresses, and passwords stored as unsalted SHA-1 or bcrypt hashes. If you have an account with Thingiverse it is probably worth your while to head over to Have I Been Pwned to search on your email address, and just to be sure you should also change your password on the site. Our informal testing suggests that not all accounts appear to be contained in the leak, which appears to relate to comments left on the site.

  • New PureBoot Feature: Scanning Root for Tampering – Purism
    With the latest PureBoot R19 pre-release we have added a number of new changes including improved GUI workflows and new security features and published a ROM image so the wider community can test it before it turns into the next stable release. To test it, existing PureBoot users can download the R19-pre1 .rom file that corresponds to their Librem computer and flash it like any other PureBoot release. In this post I want to highlight a new experimental security feature we added in this release that will extend the tamper detection PureBoot already does with the boot firmware and the /boot directory into the main root file system. This will allow you to detect attacks that modify system binaries (like /bin/bash) with backdoored versions. I also want to give some background on this feature and my thought process behind it so people understand where I’m coming from and why I made the design decisions I did.