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OSS

Can You Build An Open Source Pocket Operator?

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Hardware
OSS

Toys are now musical instruments. Or we’ll just say musical instruments are now toys. You can probably ascribe this recent phenomenon to Frooty Loops or whatever software the kids are using these days, but the truth is that it’s never been easier to lay down a beat. Just press the buttons on a pocket-sized computer.

One of the best examples of the playification of musical instruments is Pocket Operators from Teenage Engineering. They’re remarkable pieces of hardware, and really just a custom segment LCD and a few buttons. They also sound great and you can play real music with them. It’s a game changer when it comes to enabling musicianship.

Of course, with any popular platform, there’s a need for an Open Source copy. That’s where [Chris]’ Teensy Beats Shield comes in. It’s a ‘shield’ of sorts for a Teensy microcontroller that adds buttons, knobs, and a display, turning this into a platform that uses the Teensy’s incredible audio system designer.

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OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • cairo release 1.16.0 now available

    After four years of development since 1.14.0, version 1.16.0 of the cairo 2D graphics library has been released.

  • Cairo 1.16 Released With OpenGL ES 3.0 Support, Colored Emojis

    It's been four years since the debut of the Cairo 1.14 stable series and today that has been succeeded by Cairo 1.16. Cairo, as a reminder, is the vector graphics library for 2D drawing and supports back-ends ranging from OpenGL to PDF, PostScript, DirectFB, and SVG outputs. Cairo is used by the likes of the GTK+ tool-kit, Mozilla's Gecko engine, Gnuplot, Poppler, and many other open-source projects.

  • Open source MDM offers flexibility, with challenges

    Open source platforms may require more effort from IT than commercial products do, but they can also address an organization's specific requirements -- if the company is willing to invest in the necessary resources.

    The open source mobile device management (MDM) market is very limited, but there are a few options. If organizations determine that an open source platform is worth the effort, then they can weigh a few different options for open source MDM tools.

  • Three-Year Moziversary

    Another year at Mozilla. They certainly don’t slow down the more you have of them.

    For once a year of stability, organization-wise. The two biggest team changes were the addition of Jan-Erik back on March 1, and the loss of our traditional team name “Browser Measurement II” for a more punchy and descriptive “Firefox Telemetry Team.”

  • Citus Data donates 1% equity to non-profit PostgreSQL orgs

    There’s open source and there’s open source.

    There’s genuine free and open source software (FOSS) and then there’s largely locked down proprietary non-dynamic library open source that is generally supplied as a commercially supported version of an open source kernel base that doesn’t see whole lot of real world code commits — and, no, there’s no acronym for that.

    Then, there’s other ways of evidencing real open openness such as non-technical contributions (could be language translation/localisation etc.) and then there’s plain old contributions.

    Scale-out Postgres database technologies ​​​​Citus Data is donating 1 percent of its equity to non-profit PostgreSQL organisations in the US and Europe.

  • Pagely NorthStack Makes WordPress Serverless

    WordPress is getting the serverless treatment, thanks to a new effort from managed WordPress hosting provider Pagely.

    The new NorthStack platform disaggregates the usual stack that WordPress requires into a series of services that largely run on serverless infrastructure at Amazon Web Services (AWS). The NorthStack effort is an attempt to lower the fixed costs and infrastructure needed to deploy and run WordPress.

    "WordPress itself is based on 12-year-old code. It does not want to be in a serverless environment," Joshua Strebel, CEO of Pagely, told eWEEK. "WordPress wants to live on one AWS EC2 node up next to its database with everything all contained in it."

  • Why Open Source Healthcare is Vital for Innovation

    Dana Lewis’ story is far from being a rarity. The diabetes industry is one of the worst offenders for overcharging or price gouging medication and equipment for patients. This is leading many individuals to take the same path as Dana Lewis.

    Open source platforms like OpenAPS, GitHub pages, and social media offer DIYers step-by-step instructions on how to build their own artificial pancreas tools.

    Kate Farnsworth built a DIY monitor device that keeps blood sugar levels of her diabetic daughter in constant check

    This tool, that has dramatically improved the life of a 15-year-old Sydney, cost her mom just $250.

  • The EU has approved Microsoft’s $7.5 billion GitHub acquisition

     

    Microsoft’s upcoming $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub has cleared another major hurdle: the EU has approved the deal after determining that there are no antitrust concerns in Microsoft buying the popular open-source software repository, via the Financial Times.  

  • EU watchdog waves through Microsoft's GitHub takeover

     

    The EC noted that, in making its decision, it probed whether Microsoft would leverage the popularity of GitHut to boost sales of its own DevOps tools and cloud services, and looked into whether Microsoft would have the ability and incentive to further integrate its own DevOps tools and cloud services with GitHub while limiting integration with third parties' DevOps tools and cloud services.

  • Microsoft’s $7.5BN GitHub buy gets green-lit by EU regulators

     

    The Commission decided Microsoft would have no incentive to undermine the GitHub’s openness — saying any attempt to do so would reduce its value for developers, who the Commission judged as willing and able to switch to other platforms.

  • EU clears Microsoft acquisition of GitHub
  • Doing your civic duty one line of code at a time

    When it comes to doing our civic duty in today's technologically driven world, there is a perception that we don't care like older generations did. History teaches us that in the early 20th century's New Deal, Americans stepped up to the nation's challenges on a wide range of government-financed public works projects. Airport construction. Infrastructure improvements. Building dams, bridges, hospitals. This was more than just individuals "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps" but, by design, performing incredible civic duties. Quite an amazing feat when you think about it.

Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

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Hardware
OSS

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming.

The Makerphone is a pretty sweet-looking gadget, and it comes ready to be programmed with Scratch and python, providing a good progression from a fully graphic programming environment to a command-line language that's still beginner-friendly.

$94 gets you a kit and the tools to assemble it; $99 gets you an assembled phone. The project's runners have previously delivered on kickstarted open source hardware kits, which bodes well for getting something for your money.

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OSS and Sharing Leftovers

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OSS
  • HarfBuzz 2.0 Released For Advancing Open-Source Text Shaping

    The HarfBuzz open-source text shaping library that is used by GNOME, KDE, Firefox, LibreOffice, Chrome OS, Java, and countless other desktop applications has reached version 2.0.

  • 5 open source intrusion detection tools that are too good to ignore

    As cybersecurity professionals, we try to prevent attackers from gaining access to our networks but protecting perimeters that have grown exponentially with the rise of mobile devices, distributed teams, and the internet of things (IoT) is not easy. The unpalatable truth is that sometimes the attackers are going to get through and the cost of a data breach grows the longer it takes you to uncover the attack.

    By employing a solid intrusion detection system (IDS) backed up by a robust incident response plan, you can reduce the potential damage of a breach.

  • How Open Source Marketers Can Leverage Community For Success

    If you’re an open source marketer, you have some unique challenges to overcome. Not only does one of your primary audiences -- developers -- shy away from marketing, despite the fact open source needs it (as I wrote about previously), but you must let go of the traditional mindset that your job is to differentiate the product from its competitors. Products built on open source differentiate themselves, of course, but when you’re talking about the open core, that’s just not how it works.

  • Petter Reinholdtsen: Release 0.2 of free software archive system Nikita announced

    This morning, the new release of the Nikita Noark 5 core project was announced on the project mailing list. The free software solution is an implementation of the Norwegian archive standard Noark 5 used by government offices in Norway.

  • UTSA creates web-based open source dashboard of North Pole

    UTSA professors Hongjie Xie and Alberto Mestas-Nuñez examine images of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

    Xie along with Xin Miao at Missouri State University started working on the project five years ago. Now the National Science Foundation has given the green light in the way of funding to develop the online system which uses high resolution imaging either obtained on-site, via satellites, or via airborne monitoring.

    The system will allow the scientific community the ability to readily extract detailed information of various ice properties including submerged ice, ice concentration, melt ponds or ice edge—the boundary between an area of ice and the open sea. The on-demand database will be dynamic and allowed to include new algorithms as well as additional datasets as they become available. Currently, the cloud-based system holds about a terabyte of images but that number will surely grow. The earliest dataset is from 1998 from the Sheba expedition which conducted 13 flights over the Beaufort Sea. Now researchers will include close to 1760 declassified images.

  • Open Access Is the Law in California

    Governor Jerry Brown recently signed A.B. 2192, a law requiring that all peer-reviewed, scientific research funded by the state of California be made available to the public no later than one year after publication.

    EFF applauds Governor Brown for signing A.B. 2192 and the legislature for unanimously passing it—particularly Assemblymember Mark Stone, who introduced the bill and championed it at every step. To our knowledge, no other state has adopted an open access bill this comprehensive.

    As we’ve explained before, it’s a problem when cutting-edge scientific research is available only to people who can afford expensive journal subscriptions and academic databases. It insulates scientific research from a broader field of innovators: if the latest research is only available to people with the most resources, then the next breakthroughs will only come from that group.

    A.B. 2192 doesn’t solve that problem entirely, but it does limit it. Under the new law, researchers can still publish their papers in subscription-based journals so long as they upload them to public open access repositories no later than one year after publication.

  • How to use Pandoc to produce a research paper

    This article takes a deep dive into how to produce a research paper using (mostly) Markdown syntax. We'll cover how to create and reference sections, figures (in Markdown and LaTeX) and bibliographies. We'll also discuss troublesome cases and why writing them in LaTeX is the right approach.

  • LLVM Continues Working On Its Transition From SVN To Git

    In addition to LLVM's multi-year effort on re-licensing their code, some developers also remain hard at work on officially migrating the project from an SVN development workflow to Git.

    For the past few years LLVM has been wanting to move from SVN to Git. While there are read-only Git copies of the LLVM repositories already and it's been that way for a while, officially moving over their code-bases to Git has proven to be a challenge for preserving all of the branches, keeping accurate commit messages, etc, for a sane transfer process. This is just like the complex process of moving the GCC compiler over to Git as well.

  • Enterprise Java caretakers float new rules of engagement for future feature updates

    The Eclipse Foundation, saddled with oversight of Java EE last year after Oracle washed its hands of the thankless business of community governance, wants to revise the process by which enterprise Java – rechristened Jakarta EE when Oracle declined to grant use of its Java trademark – gets improved.

    Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, on Tuesday posted a draft of the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process (EFSP), seeking community review and comment. The intent is to replace the Java Community Process (JCP), the current system for evolving the technical specifications related to Java technology, as least as it applies to the enterprise flavored brew of Java.

    The need to replace the JCP for Jakarta EE arises from intellectual property concerns. As software developer Richard Monson-Haefel observed over the summer, "Unfortunately, Oracle was not able to donate all of the Java EE 8 specification documents (e.g. JMS, EJB, Servlet) because these specifications were developed under the Java Community Process and included the efforts of hundreds of people, many of who are not Oracle employees."

  • Security updates for Friday

FOSS in Digital Currencies

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OSS
  • Braiins OS: An Open Source Alternative to Bitcoin Mining Firmware

    The company behind Slush Pool recently rolled out the initial release of its ASIC miner firmware: Braiins OS. The operating system is advertised as “the very first fully open-source, Linux-based system for cryptocurrency embedded devices,” an alternative to the factory-default firmware that comes with most popular mining hardware.

    Upon visiting the project’s website, visitors are greeted with a clear message, a mantra that resonates with its related industry’s ethos: “Take back control.”

  • Cryptoexchange Coinbase open sources its security scanner tool Salus

    The renowned United States-based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase always focuses on the security of its platform. Moreover, it has developed novel solutions to implementing security protocols to further strengthen their security. Furthermore, just recently, they announced that they are listing their security scanner execution tool, Salus as open source.

  • Crypto Exchange Coinbase Open-Sources Its Security Scaling Tool

    U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is making a recently developed automated security scaling tool available to the public.

    Called Salus, after the Roman the goddess of safety and well-being, the program can automatically choose to run and configure different security scanners and issue a report on the results, according to a Thursday blog post from Coinbase developer Julian Borrey.

    Available as an open-source tool on GitHub from today, Salus is said to offer the advantage of being able to centrally coordinate security scans across a large number of software storage repositories, avoiding having to configure a scanner for each different project.

OSS Leftover

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OSS
  • How an affordable open source eye tracker is helping thousands communicate

    In 2015, while sat in a meeting at his full-time job, Julius Sweetland posted to Reddit about a project he had quietly been working on for years, that would help people with motor neurone disease communicate using just their eyes and an application. He forgot about the post for a couple of hours before friends messaged him to say he'd made the front page.

    Now three years on Optikey, the open source eye-tracking communication tool, is being used by thousands of people, largely through word of mouth recommendations. Sweetland was speaking at GitHub Universe at the Palace of Fine Art in San Francisco, and he took some time to speak with Techworld about the project.

    [...]

    Originally, Sweetland's exposure to open source had largely been through the consumption of tools such as the GIMP.

    "I knew of the concept, I didn't really know how the nuts and bolts worked, I was always a little blase about how do you make money from something like that... but flipping it around again I'm still coming from the point of view that there's no money in my product, so I still don't understand how people make money in open source...

  • Fission open source serverless framework gets updated

    Platform9 just released updates to Fission.io - the open source, Kubernetes-native Serverless framework, with new features enabling developers and IT Operations to improve the quality and reliability of serverless applications.

    Other new features include Automated Canary Deployments to reduce the risk of failed releases, Prometheus integration for automated monitoring and alerts, and fine-grained cost and performance optimization capabilities. With this latest release, Fission offers the most complete set of features to allow Dev and Ops teams to safely adopt Serverless and benefit from the speed, cost savings and scalability of this cloud native development pattern on any environment - either in the public cloud or on-premises.

  • Alphabet’s DeepMind open-sources key building blocks from its AI projects
  • United States: It's Ten O'Clock: Do You Know Where Your Software Developers Are? [Ed: Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP are liars. Dana Hustins says FSF "purport to convert others' proprietary software into open source software" in there. They paint GPL as a conspiracy of some kind to entrap proprietary s/w developers.]
  • Transatomic Power To Open Source IP Regarding Advanced Molten Salt Reactors [Ed: There's no such thing as "IP", Duane Morris LLP. There are copyrights, trademarks, patents etc. and Transatomic basically made code free.]
  • Code Review--an Excerpt from VM Brasseur's New Book Forge Your Future with Open Source

    Even new programmers can provide a lot of value with their code reviews. You don't have to be a Rockstar Ninja 10x Unicorn Diva programmer with years and years of experience to have valuable insights. In fact, you don't even have to be a programmer at all. You just have to be knowledgable enough to spot patterns. While you won't be able to do a complete review without programming knowledge, you may still spot things that could use some work or clarification.

    If you're not a Rockstar Ninja 10x Unicorn Diva programmer, not only is your code review feedback still valuable, but you can also learn a great deal in the process: Code layout, programming style, domain knowledge, best practices, neat little programming tricks you'd not have seen otherwise, and sometimes antipatterns (or "how not to do things"). So don't let the fact that you're unfamiliar with the code, the project, or the language hold you back from reviewing code contributions. Give it a go and see what there is to learn and discover.

PostgreSQL 11 released

Filed under
Server
OSS

The PostgreSQL Global Development Group today announced the release of
PostgreSQL 11, the latest version of the world’s most advanced open
source database.

PostgreSQL 11 provides users with improvements to overall performance of
the database system, with specific enhancements associated with very
large databases and high computational workloads. Further, PostgreSQL 11
makes significant improvements to the table partitioning system, adds
support for stored procedures capable of transaction management,
improves query parallelism and adds parallelized data definition
capabilities, and introduces just-in-time (JIT) compilation for
accelerating the execution of expressions in queries.

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Also: PostgreSQL 11.0 Released With Better Robustness, Performance Improvements

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • Financial Services Embracing Open Source to Gain Edge in Innovation

    By now, it’s pretty much a cliché to say that all companies should be technology companies. But in the case of banks and financial services these days, it's true.

    Many finance companies are early adopters of new technologies such as blockchain, AI and Kubernetes as well as leaders in open source development. And as they seek an edge to retain customers and win new ones, they are not afraid to try new things.

    At the Linux Foundation's inaugural Open FinTech Forum here last week, attendees got a chance to discuss the latest state of open source adoption and the extent that open source strategies are changing financial service businesses.

    The fact is, banks really do have tech businesses inside of them. Capital One's DevExchange boasts several products that it has developed for internal use and also made available as open source, including the Cloud Custodian DevOps engine and the Hydrograph big data ETL tool.

  • Why the Open Source Enterprise Search Trend Will Only Accelerate

    Enterprise search has been going through a dramatic shift as of late. We've watched as some of the leaders in search, those platforms usually found in the upper right quadrant on Gartner reports, have fallen off through acquisition or from simply not keeping up with the market.

    But behind the scenes an even bigger shift is taking place: from proprietary kernels to core technologies based on open source projects.

    Some, like Lucidworks, have always been based on the open source Apache Solr project. Others, like Coveo, have joined the open source movement by offering the choice of using its traditional proprietary kernel or licensing the Coveo user experience built on top of the Elastic kernel.

  • Bentley Systems Releases Open-Source Library: iModel.js
  • Bentley Releases iModel.js Open-Source Library

    Bentley Systems, Inc., the leading global provider of comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure, today announced the initial release of its iModel.js library, an open-source initiative to improve the accessibility, for both visualization and analytical visibility, of infrastructure digital twins. iModel.js can be used by developers and IT professionals to quickly and easily create immersive applications that connect their infrastructure digital twins with the rest of their digital world. iModel.js is the cornerstone of Bentley’s just-announced iTwin Services that combine iModelHub, reality modeling, and web-enabling software technologies within a Connected Data Environment (CDE) for infrastructure engineering.

  • Software Heritage Foundation Update

    I first wrote about the Software Heritage Foundation two years ago. It is four months since their Archive officially went live. Now Roberto di Cosmo and his collaborators have an article, and a video, entitled Building the Universal Archive of Source Code in Communications of the ACM describing their three challenges, of collection, preservation and sharing, and setting out their current status: [...]

The case for open source classifiers in AI algorithms

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OSS

Dr. Carol Reiley's achievements are too long to list. She co-founded Drive.ai, a self-driving car startup that raised $50 million in its second round of funding last year. Forbes magazine named her one of "20 Incredible Women in AI," and she built intelligent robot systems as a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University.

But when she built a voice-activated human-robot interface, her own creation couldn't recognize her voice.

Dr. Reiley used Microsoft's speech recognition API to build her interface. But since the API was built mostly by young men, it hadn't been exposed to enough voice variations. After some failed attempts to lower her voice so the system would recognize her, Dr. Reiley enlisted a male graduate to lead demonstrations of her work.

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4 open source alternatives to Microsoft Access

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OSS

When small businesses, community organizations, and similar-sized groups realize they need software to manage their data, they think first of Microsoft Access. That may be the right choice if you're already paying for a Microsoft Office subscription or don't care that it's proprietary. But it's far from your only option—whether you prefer to use open source alternatives from a philosophical standpoint or you don't have the big budget for a Microsoft Office subscription—there are several open source database applications that are worthy alternatives to proprietary software like Microsoft Access or Apple FileMaker.

If that sounds like you, here are four open source database tools for your consideration.

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today's howtos

Licensing in Kate and Other KDE News/Changes

  • MIT licensed KSyntaxHighlighting usage
    With the KDE Frameworks 5.50 release, the KSyntaxHighlighting framework was re-licensed to the MIT license. This re-licensing only covers the actual code in the library and the bundled themes but not all of the syntax highlighting definition data files. One of the main motivation points was to get QtCreator to use this, if possible, instead of their own implementation of the Kate highlighting they needed to create in the past due to the incompatible licensing of KatePart at that time (and the impossibility to do a quick split/re-licensing of the parts in question).
  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 41
  • KDE Will Now Set Scale Factor For GTK Apps, Plasma Gets Other Scaling & UI Polishing Too
    KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his weekly recap of interesting development activities impacting Plasma, Frameworks, and the Applications stack. When the display scaling factor for KDE is set to an integer, KDE will now export that as well to the GNOME/GTK environment variables of GDK_SCALE/GDK_DPI_SCALE, for helping out GTK applications running on the KDE desktop so they should still scale appropriately. The Wayland behavior was already correct while this should help out GTK X11 applications. The GNOME/GTK scaling though only supports scaling by integer numbers.

Graphics: NVIDIA, Kazan, Sway and Panfrost

  • NVIDIA Developers Express Interest In Helping Out libc++/libstdc++ Parallel Algorithms
    NVIDIA developers have expressed interest in helping the open-source GCC libstdc++ and LLVM Clang libc++ standard libraries in bringing up support for the standardized parallel algorithms. C++17 brings parallelized versions for some of the algorithms exposed by the C++ standard library, but sadly GCC's libstdc++ and LLVM's libc++ do not yet support these parallel algorithms while the rest of their C++17 support is in great shape. Going back over a year Intel has been interested in contributing parallel support code to these C++ standard libraries that could be shared by both projects. The Intel path builds in abstractions for supporting different underlying thread/parallelism APIs.
  • The Rust-Written Kazan Vulkan Driver Lights Up Its Shader Compiler
    This week the Kazan project (formerly known as "Vulkan-CPU") celebrated a small but important milestone in its trek to having a CPU-based Vulkan software implementation. As a refresher, Kazan is the project born as Vulkan-CPU during the 2017 Google Summer of Code. The work was started by student developer Jacob Lifshay and he made good progress last summer on the foundation of the project and continued contributing past the conclusion of that Google-funded program. By the end of the summer he was able to run some simple Vulkan compute tests. He also renamed Vulkan-CPU to Kazan (Japanese for "volcano").
  • Sway 1.0 Beta Released - Offers 100% Compatibility With i3 Window Manager
    The Sway Wayland compositor inspired by X11's i3 window manager is now up to its beta ahead of the big 1.0 release. Sway 1.0 Beta offers "100%" compatibility with the i3 window manager. The Sway 1.0 release has also been working on many other changes including improved window handling, multi-GPU support, virtual keyboard protocol, real-time video capture, tablet support, and many other changes.
  • Panfrost Open-Source GPU Driver Continues Advancing For Mali GPUs
    The Panfrost open-source, community-driven, reverse-engineered graphics driver for ARM Mali graphics processors continues panning out pretty well. Alyssa Rosenzweig has provided an update this weekend on the state of Panfrost for open-source Mali 3D support. The developers involved have been working out some texture issues, various OpenGL / GLES issues around GLMark2, and support now for running Wayland's Weston reference compositor.

Android Leftovers