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2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Lorien Smyer: Bookkeeper Turned Technologist

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I was a bookkeeper for many years. Long ago, I had to hand-enter all data to a paper spreadsheet with a pencil.

When my clients started getting computers, I was fascinated by everything about these amazing tools: the hardware, the software, how customizable it all was. In my spare time, I started taking occasional computer-related classes at my local community college, and doing many IT-related tasks for my clients, in addition to the bookkeeping I was already doing for them.

In 1995, I met the man who became my husband. He got a personal computer that same year, and happily allowed me to become our home IT expert.

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The top three Wi-Fi pen testing tools in Kali Linux

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Every hacker and security researcher loves Kali Linux. The developers of Kali Linux ethical hacking distro have released the second Kali Rolling ISO release i.e. Kali 2016.2. Just like the previous one, Kali promises to deliver lots of new updates and changes in this release. Over the course of past few months, Kali developers have been busy adding new tools to Kali and fixing multiple bugs. For example, they have added HTTPS support in busybox that allows secure installation over SSL.

Kali Linux provides you the flexibility to install your favorite desktop environment and personalizing your experience. However, Kali developers note that users often talk about how they would love to see another desktop environments instead of GNOME.

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Linux Kernel News: Jim Zemlin, LinuxCon. and Torvalds

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  • Legends of Linux Part 4: Jim Zemlin

    LINUXCON IS over for another year, but while we were there we got some time with friend of the INQ Jim Zemlin, head honcho of the Linux Foundation, and took the opportunity to ask him our Legends of Linux questions to celebrate 25 years of the operating system.

  • In praise of LinuxCon

    LINUXCON EUROPE rolled into Berlin last week, attracting thousands of developers and enthusiasts from around the world from giant multinationals to back bedrooms.

    The event took a slightly different approach this year. ContainerCon was moved to the second week, meaning a smaller venue and a more intimate feel.

  • Linus Torvalds says ARM just doesn't look like beating Intel

    Linus Torvalds believes ARM has little chance of overhauling x86, because the latter has built an open hardware ecosystem that the former just doesn't look like replicating.

    Torvalds voiced his opinions in a fireside chat with David Rusling, chief technology officer of ARM tools vendor Linaro.

    Rusling asked Torvalds if he has a favourite architecture and Torvalds quickly responded that “x86 is still the one I favour most and that is because of the PC.”

    “The infrastructure is there there and it is open in a way no other architecture is.”

    “The instruction set and the core of the CPU is not very important,” Torvalds added. “It is a factor people kind of fixate on but it does not matter in the end. What matters is the infrastructure around the instruction set. x86 has it and has it at a lot of levels.”

Linux and Linux Foundation

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  • Hyperledger Blockchain Project Is Not About Bitcoin

    The technology concept of blockchain gained notoriety due to the rise of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, but blockchain has much wider implications and uses, according to Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Hyperledger Project.

    In December 2015, the Linux Foundation announced the launch of the Hyperledger Project in an effort to build an open-source blockchain platform. Blockchain is an approach that enables a ledger of transactions that can be verified through a distributed model. Among the backers of the Hyperledger project are Accenture, ANZ Bank, Cisco, CLS, Credits, Deutsche Börse, Digital Asset Holdings, DTCC, Eris Industries, Fujitsu, IC3, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, London Stock Exchange Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MFUG), R3, State Street, SWIFT, VMware and Wells Fargo.

    Behlendorf joined the project in May 2016 as executive director helping to lead the effort forward. Behlendorf is well-known in the open-source community as one of the founders of the Apache Software Foundation.

  • Linux Kernel 4.7.7 Has NFS Improvements, Updated Wireless and InfiniBand Drivers

    After announcing the imminent release of Linux kernel 4.8.1, as well as the availability of Linux kernel 4.4.24 LTS, Greg Kroah-Hartman has informed the community about the launch of the seventh maintenance update to the Linux 4.7 kernel series.

  • Linux Kernel 5.0 to Be Released When We Hit 6M Git Objects, Says Linus Torvalds

    According to a recent Google+ post, Linus Torvalds has teased us with the release of Linux kernel 5.0, which should happen when the project reaches 6 million Git objects.

    It appears that major kernel milestones, such as Linux 3.0 or Linux 4.0, were released when the Git object count was around two and four million marks respectively. As of October 8, 2016, the current Gib object count crossed the 5 million mark, which means that after one more million Git objects, the Linux 5.0 kernel should be released.

Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 Beta and September Donation Totals

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We are finally nearing the end of the 4.0.0 release cycle. If all goes as planned I will publish a final set of ISO images by the end of the month flagged as stable. These ISO images come with only one known issue and that is the file selector in the theme tool currently does not display selectable files. A work around for the time being is to click the “advanced” button to assign theme components.

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4 versatile boards for fast, inexpensive IoT development

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Want to develop wearable or very compact applications, networked applications, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and prototype your brainstorms quickly and inexpensively? Then this roundup of versatile open source hardware boards is for you. All you need is a few pieces of hardware, basic soldering skills, and some JavaScript know-how.

With the commoditization of chips for connecting to networks, more and more devices can now be controlled via the Internet to do everything from remote temperature sensing to turning off lights in your home while you’re halfway around the world. In years past, however, if you were a JavaScript developer and wanted prototype network-connected devices, you either needed to learn how to develop firmware using a vendor’s custom tool chain, master C or C++ to write Arduino sketches, or partner with a hardware engineer.

Thankfully, with the proliferation of IoT platforms, a vibrant community has emerged and tools have been developed with which anyone can create prototypes using only a few pieces of hardware, some basic soldering skills, and JavaScript code.

Let's take a look at four excellent popular platforms: MbientLab MetaWear, ESP8266, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi.

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Also: Amazon's Alexa Can Now Run on Your Windows, Mac, or Linux Machine

Linuxcon Europe 2016

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  • Slides from Linuxcon Europe 2016
  • LinuxCon Europe 2016 - Veni, Vidi, Vici

    There we are. It feels like a dream. It happened too fast, and I did not get to absorb the full aroma of the conference. But never mind. There will always be another opportunity, and LinuxCon will be there next year, waiting, beckoning. Despite a somewhat less than perfect circumstances, I am quite happy. I enjoyed my session, if I'm allowed to say that, and I think I served my audience well, and their feedback was good and open. There is nothing that would have made it better except a little more time to network, talk to people, pilfer some more free shirts and electronics, and actually see the city.

    Anyhow, I hope you find these little field reports entertaining. And maybe we will meet somewhere next year, and you will come over and say, oh so you are that crazy guy, why are you not wearing a fedora huh? Indeed. 2017, so let the countdown begin. The Final Countdown. By a band called Europe. What can be more appropriate? OMG. See you next autumn.

GNU/Linux Desktop

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  • 6 Great Chrome OS Alternatives You Can Install

    Chrome OS has been taking huge strides off late, what with Android apps finally making an appearance on selected Chromebooks. However, some would argue that wouldn’t an Android build designed for desktop be better than Chrome OS running Android apps. Also, while Android apps add functionality to Chrome OS, the base features remain the same.

  • Putting the Personal Back in Personal Computing

    One thing that open source teaches us is that software is a negotiation, with all of the good and the bad that implies. Sometimes we have to bend and twist software to get things to work. For instance, as a Linux user, I’ve often struggled downloading digital music from Amazon. Right now, as I write this, I’m able to download my purchases like a normal human being, but prior to this recent detente, downloading my Amazon purchases meant configuring my browser to identify as being Firefox on Windows, downloading proprietary .amz files, and using a command line utility to open those files (while it sounds awful, once I figured out the process, it didn’t take much longer than downloading a zipped file of MP3s). Open source taught me resilience and flexibility in terms of using different tools to accomplish my goals, rather than just accepting Amazon’s limitation. I wanted to use Amazon and I wanted to use Linux and I didn’t think the two ideas should be mutually exclusive.

  • Linux: Trial by Fire

    I have been learning Linux since the last few weeks. By learning, I mean, delving seriously with books and into the command line, making notes and the like. It has been an interesting experience and I have really learnt a lot of new stuff.

  • Heads up: emails are going out for the PS3 Linux removal class action lawsuit. If you're eligible you may be entitled to $50.
  • Linux & Open Source News Of The Week — Linux 4.8, Plasma 5.8, Mintbox Mini And More

Linux Kernel News

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  • Perf Subsystem Updates Submitted For Linux 4.9
  • A look at the 4.8 development cycle [Ed: no longer behind paywall]

    As of this writing, the 4.8 development cycle is nearing its end. Linus has let it be known that a relatively unusual -rc8 release candidate will be required before the final release, but that still means that the cycle will only require 70 days, fitting into the usual pattern. A look at the development statistics for this release also fits the pattern about now.

    With regard to the release cycle, it has become boringly regular in recent years. The 3.8 kernel, released on February 18, 2013, came out on a Sunday, as has every subsequent release with the exception of 3.11, which was released on Monday, September 2, 2013. In these last few years, the only cycle that has taken longer than 70 days was 3.13, which required 77 days. The extra week that time around was forced by Linus's travels, rather than anything inherent in that cycle itself. Since then, every cycle has taken 63 or 70 days, with the sole exception of 3.16, which showed up in 56 (and one could quibble that it was really a 63-day cycle as well — that was the time Linus experimented with opening the merge window before the previous final release had been made).

  • What Makes the Linux Kernel Media API Documentation so Challenging?

    The first article of this series, described the efforts to provide a better documentation for the Linux Kernel. This article will explain how we handled the conversion of the Linux Media subsystem documentation.

  • MuQSS - The Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler v0.105
  • Systemd programming, 30 months later
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TheSSS 20.0 Server-Oriented Linux Distro Ships with Linux Kernel 4.4.17, PHP 5.6

4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia today, October 26, 2016, about the release and immediate availability of version 20.0 of his server-oriented TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) GNU/Linux distribution. Read more

Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) Daily Build ISO Images Are Now Available for Download

Now that the upcoming Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) operating system is officially open for development, the first daily build ISO images have published in the usual places for early adopters and public testers. Read more

Today in Techrights

OSS Leftovers

  • Chain Releases Open Source Blockchain Solution for Banks
    Chain, a San Francisco-based Blockchain startup, launched the Chain Core Developer Edition, which is a distributed ledger infrastructure built for banks and financial institutions to utilize the Blockchain technology in mainstream finance. Similar to most cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin, developers and users are allowed to run their applications and platforms on the Chain Core testnet, a test network sustained and supported by leading institutions including Microsoft and the Initiative for Cryptocurrency and Contracts (IC3), which is operated by Cornell University, UC Berkeley and University of Illinois.
  • Netflix Upgrades its Powerful "Chaos Monkey" Open Cloud Utility
    Few organizations have the cloud expertise that Netflix has, and it may come as a surprise to some people to learn that Netflix regularly open sources key, tested and hardened cloud tools that it has used for years. We've reported on Netflix open sourcing a series of interesting "Monkey" cloud tools as part of its "simian army," which it has deployed as a series satellite utilities orbiting its central cloud platform. Netflix previously released Chaos Monkey, a utility that improves the resiliency of Software as a Service by randomly choosing to turn off servers and containers at optimized tims. Now, Netflix has announced the upgrade of Chaos Monkey, and it's worth checking in on this tool.
  • Coreboot Lands More RISC-V / lowRISC Code
    As some early post-Coreboot 4.5 changes are some work to benefit fans of the RISC-V ISA.
  • Nextcloud Advances with Mobile Moves
    The extremely popular ownCloud open source file-sharing and storage platform for building private clouds has been much in the news lately. CTO and founder of ownCloud Frank Karlitschek resigned from the company a few months ago. His open letter announcing the move pointed to possible friction created as ownCloud moved forward as a commercial entity as opposed to a solely community focused, open source project. Karlitschek had a plan, though. He is now out with a fork of ownCloud called Nextcloud, and we've reported on strong signs that this cloud platform has a bright future. In recent months, the company has continued to advance Nextcloud. Along with Canonical and Western Digital, the partners have launched an Ubuntu Core Linux-based cloud storage and Internet of Things device called Nextcloud Box, which we covered here. Now, Nextcloud has moved forward with some updates to its mobile strategy. Here are details.
  • Using Open Source for Data
    Bryan Liles, from DigitalOcean, explains about many useful open source big data tools in this eight minute video. I learned about Apache Mesos, Apache Presto, Google Kubernetes and more.