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OSS

FOSS in Government

Filed under
Microsoft
OSS
  • Uganda eager to tap into open source

    Uganda's Ministry of ICT recently developed a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) policy to regulate the deployment of open source software and use of open standards to accelerate innovation and develop local content.

    At the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), organised in conjunction with Uganda's National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to encourage industry partnerships and uptake of OSS in East Africa, open software was recognised for its contribution to innovation.

    Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda, said, "Free and open software services will help my ministry to innovate better because it forms the platform (for) many of the innovative ideas. Free and open source software in Uganda is certainly something we have been talking about and I am sure we will do so even more in the next few days. Some of the things Uganda has put in place to harness the benefit from free and open source software include a Software Strategy and Policy in accordance with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) Trade, Services and Development expert meeting's determination that free and open source software is an inseparable component of the global technology ecosystem."

  • Ireland's govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

    Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble.

    As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    Falling tax income and the need to bail out banks saw the Irish government spending in other areas of public life.

    The government had introduced the Public Sector Recruitment Embargo in 2009, which stopped hiring of all civil servants across government and cut pay and pensions – in return for a promise of no compulsory redundancies.

  • Oh! The Horror! Ireland Stays Enslaved To MS

    For 15 years or so, I was in those same financial straits in schools where I taught and GNU/Linux and FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) was the obvious solution. Obviously, one is better off to have IT for all rather than paying monopolistic prices for IT for a few. In schools, that meant extending the life of IT, elimination of malware and re-re-reboots, freedom from paper, freight for paper, storage for paper, … For governments freedom from lock-in to M$ and “friends” saved huge sums which could have been better spent on hardware or employees. Sigh.

FOSS content management systems (CMS)

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OSS
Drupal
Web
  • How to Resolve Your Open Content Management Quandary

    After years of development and competition, open source content management systems (CMS) have proliferated and are very powerful tools for building, deploying and managing web sites, blogs and more. You're probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla.

    As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue. The good news is that free, sophisticated guides for evaluating CMS systems have flourished. There are even good options for trying open CMS systems online before you choose one. Here, in this newly updated post, you'll find some very good resources.

    he first thing to pursue as you evaluate CMS systems to deploy, including the many free, good platforms, is an overview of what is available. CMSMatrix.org is a great site for plotting out side-by-side comparisons of what CMS systems have to offer. In fact, it lets you compare the features in over 1200 content management system products. Definitely take a look. This site also has a good overview of the options.

  • Postleaf is an open-source blogging platform for the design-conscious

    Content management systems are boring until you have to use one. You can install a little Drupal or WordPress, pick up some Squarespace, or just dump to Medium, the graveyard for posts about protein shakes and VC funding. But what if you could roll your own CMS? And what if you made it really cool?

    That’s what Cory LaViska did. LaViska is the founder of SurrealCMS and has been making it easy to edit stuff on the web for nine years. Rather than build and sell an acceptable CMS, however, he took all of his best ideas and made a far better CMS. And he made it open source and called it Postleaf.

NGINX’s Plan to Create a $1 Billion Business from its Open Source Software

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OSS

NGINX Inc. has a set an ambitious goal for itself: To become a $1 billion company within the next eight to 10 years. It will not be an easy task, especially given that its biggest competitor may be its own well-engineered open source software. For NGINX, the key to success will be to successfully get customers from additional markets.

The open source NGINX project, which began in 2002, is a widely-used high-performance web server and reverse proxy. However, the commercial company, NGINX Inc., created to support the open source project, was founded much later, in 2011, with the first commercial product in 2013.

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Schools that #GoOpen should #GoOpenSource

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OSS

School administrators know that traditional proprietary textbooks are expensive. Teachers in budget-strapped schools often face shortages of textbooks. Worse, print content is usually out-of-date as soon as the ink dries on the page. There has to be something better than students hauling bulbous backpacks loaded with dead knowledge stamped on dead trees.

In the fall of 2015, the U.S. Department of Education launched the #GoOpen campaign, an initiative encouraging public schools to adopt openly-licensed digital educational materials to transform teaching and learning, and perhaps lighten both backpacks and textbook bills. The Department recently published the #GoOpen District Launch Packet, a useful step-by-step implementation guide for schools planning a transition from traditional textbooks to Open Educational Resources (OER).

We should applaud the Department of Education's efforts to promote affordable, equitable, and quality educational materials for all schools. Their initiative empowers educators to curate, shape, and share educational content at a local level. No longer is the written word of proprietary publishers like Pearson the fountain of all classroom knowledge. Districts that choose to #GoOpen opt to honor teacher expertise, empower them to build communities of shared practice, and encourage collaboration with colleagues across counties and states. Given unfettered permission to revise, remix, and redistribute curriculum material, teachers are trusted to become active agents in the creation of high-quality learning materials.

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3 open source alternatives to Office 365

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OSS

It can be hard to get away from working and collaborating on the web. Doing that is incredibly convenient: as long as you have an internet connection, you can easily work and share from just about anywhere, on just about any device.

The main problem with most web-based office suites—like Google Drive, Zoho Office, and Office365—is that they're closed source. Your data also exists at the whim of large corporations. I'm sure you've heard numerous stories of, say, Google locking or removing accounts without warning.

If that happens to you, you lose what's yours. So what's an open source advocate who wants to work with web applications to do? You turn to an open source alternative, of course. Let's take a look at three of them.

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Hackable voice-controlled speaker and IoT controller hits KS

Filed under
Linux
OSS

SeedStudio’s hackable, $49 and up “ReSpeaker” speaker system runs OpenWrt on a Mediatek MT7688 and offers voice control over home appliances.

The ReSpeaker went live on Kickstarter today and has already reached 95 percent of its $40,000 funding goal with 29 days remaining. The device is billed by SeedStudio as an “open source, modular voice interface that allows us to hack things around us, just using our voices.” While it can be used as an Internet media player or a voice-activated IoT hub — especially when integrated with Seeed’s Wio Link IoT board — it’s designed to be paired with individual devices. For example, the campaign’s video shows the ReSpeaker being tucked inside a teddy bear or toy robot, or attached to plant, enabling voice control and voice synthesis. Yes, the plant actually asks to be watered.

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Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

Filed under
OSS
  • Digital Asset to Open Source Smart Contract Language

    Digital Asset Holdings has announced it intends to open-source DAML, the smart contracting language it acquired from startup Elevence earlier this year.

    Though no date has been set for the transition, the Blythe Masters-led blockchain startup credited its bid to "advance industry adoption" of the tech as the impetus for the move.

  • Reasons behind Enterprises' Appeal towards Open Source Analytics Frameworks

    Big Data might be a relatively new term but not an entirely new concept. It has been around for millennia. Even in the Paleolithic age, the cavemen of Africa etched markings into bones or sticks to monitor their food supplies. Then came the abacus, the library of Alexandria, the Antikythera Mechanism (the world’s first computational device), and the list goes on. As time passed by, the art of data analysis or deduction evolved giving rise to new sciences and technologies– statistics, data storage, business intelligence, and data centers.

    When the internet storm took over the human world in the latter part of the 20th century, analog storage systems made way for digital storage and cloud services. In another ten years or so, the total storage information processed in the world grew from 1.5 billion gigabytes to 9.57 zettabytes (9.57 trillion gigabytes to be specific). In the meantime, Wired gave a name to this vast ocean of information– Big Data, (quite undervalued if you ask me, how about Cosmic Data!). At the same time, something else also passed under the radar. It was Hadoop, an open source framework for Big Data analysis, developed by the Apache Software Foundation, the open source advocates. Soon, Hadoop was extensively adopted by businesses for two reasons; firstly, it was cost-efficient, secondly, it was fast.

    Since then, open source has been the buzzword for Big Data analytics. But, what makes open source analytics platform attractive for enterprises even though there is no guarantee about security or the quality of the software?

  • Walmart's OneOps open source cloud management platform could become part of OpenStack

    The retailing giant is pondering a move where its OneOps open source platform could be lumped under OpenStack.

  • Apache CloudStack Still Going, Arrives in New Version

    In case you don't know its history, CloudStack had more momentum a few years ago as an open cloud platform than OpenStack has now. Citrix, which owned it, passed the open source CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, and CloudStack continues to advance and is widely used. It has even inspired a popular forked version.

    Now, the Apache CloudStack project has announced the availability of Apache CloudStack v4.9, the latest version of the cloud platform used for creating private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Apache remains a steady steward for CloudStack, even as OpenStack has overtaken it in popularity.

  • Time To Move To PostgreSQL

    Sigh… I understand that businesses need to make money but proper businesses don’t jerk their customers around in the process. That drives them away.

    Large businesses that use MySQL/MariaDB depend on the MaxScale component and changing the licence for that jerks them around. In the process, MariaDB is preventing a larger community from sharing in the development, a major plus of FLOSS. So, this is essentially kicking a large segment of the market for SQL databases to a non-Free solution. It really is time to go to PostgreSQL, a truly Free/Libre Open Source database from top to bottom.

  • Your wget is broken and should DIE, GitHubbers tell Microsoft

    Well, that didn't take long: within a week of applause for Microsoft's decision to open-source PowerShell, a comment-war has broken out over curl and wget.

    For those not familiar with these commands: they're open source command line tools for fetching internet content without a browser. Apart from obvious applications like downloading whole sites (for example as backup), they're also under the hood for a lot of other toolsets (an example the author is familiar with – GIS tools use curl and/or wget to fetch maps from Web services).

    For some reason, Microsoft's team decided to put aliases for curl and wget in Windows PowerShell – but, as this thread begins, those aliases don't deliver curl and wget functionality.

  • Kontena Announces Funding and Launches Developer-Friendly, Open Source Container and Microservices Platform
  • CNCF Offers Open Source Developers Free Access to Its 1000 Node Server Community Cluster
  • UK Government Digital Service looking for a "Chief Penguin"

    According to the job description on LinkedIn, the new role has been created as part of a change of course to "a more concerted approach to open source, building collaboration and reuse internally and making higher impact contributions to the wider open source community". The new Lead will "work with teams in GDS and across government to help build their open source community, both through driving specific, focused projects and by providing tools and an environment that allow the work to grow and thrive". At the same time, the job requires technical hands-on capabilities as well: "day to day responsibilities will alternate between programming, liaising with colleagues from other professions (eg. communications, legal and delivery management), community building and leading projects".

  • Dutch Accountability Hack set for week before Little Prince's Day

    On Friday 9 September, an Accountability Hack will be organised at the Dutch Court of Audit in The Hague. Developers and open data adepts are asked to participate and work on innovative (mobile) apps that allow people to check on government spending and returns. Increased transparency helps strengthen democracy, fight corruption and waste, and improve efficiency and accountability.

  • 7 resources for open education materials

    Shrinking school budgets and growing interest in open content has created an increased demand for open educational resources. According to the FCC, "The U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material." There is an alternative: openly licensed courseware. But where do you find this content and how can you share your own teaching and learning materials?

  • Open education is more than open content

    The famous playwright George Bernard Shaw once said: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

    I love that quote, and in May I shared it with a room full of educators, administrators, and open source advocates at New York University during the Open Summit, an open conversation about education. I believe it reveals something critical about the future of education and the positive role openness can play in the future, if we embrace it.

  • Iranian architects release open-source parametric brick wall script and stencil
  • Open-Source CNC Farming Machine Reimagines Food Production

    It’s open-source. It’s customizable. And it’s just as exciting to gardeners as is it is to garage tinkerers. Meet FarmBot, humanity’s first open-source Computer Numeric Control (CNC) farming machine.

Proprietary licences both frustrating and pushing move to PostgreSQL

Filed under
OSS

Proprietary licences that are very complex, impossible to comply with, and abused to squeeze customers are frustrating public agencies in their effort to make IT infrastructures more open and interoperable. On the other hand, these licensing problems are motivating the same agencies to move to open source software. The Swedish National Heritage Board, the Dutch City of Ede, and the Dutch DUO agency all mention complex licences from their traditional proprietary suppliers as an important reason to deploy PostgreSQL as an open alternative for their database systems. At the same time, suppliers are abusing their inscrutable licensing models to hinder public agencies in their migration and consolidation efforts.

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How IBM’s LinuxONE Has Evolved For the New Open Source Cloud

Filed under
Interviews
OSS

LinuxONE is IBM’s Linux Server. The LinuxONE server runs the major distributions of Linux; SUSE, Red Hat and Canonical’s Ubuntu. The server also runs open source databases like Mongo DB , PostgreSQL and MariaDB allowing for both horizontal growth and vertical scale, as demonstrated by running a 2TB Mongo database without sharding. Several of the features built into this system support the constant innovation inherent in the open source movement while maintaining the performance and reliability required by Enterprise clients; for example, Logical Partitions (LPARs) allow clients to host a development environment on the same system as production with zero risk.

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Openwashing

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OSS
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  • GUADEC 2016
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Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • #MyOpenHA Part 1 -Philosophy
    Home Automation. The holy hipster and geek grail. I have played with it. I have tried. I have failed. But today I am proud to have a solution I can truly endorse. So join me on this journey. This series will explain my solution, in excruciating detail. In the hope that I can learn from you while I am explaining. This series will be filled over time with more and more articles. But now, let’s talk about philosophy. The Why. Soon you will see the What and How. One promise, or the TL;DR: It is all 100% Open Source. Well, almost. I have integrated some quite non-open things but always in an Open Source Way.
  • Disable the new Firefox 48 location bar - Tutorial
    Here we are. Seven minutes later, our life is bearable again, but not perfect. Thank you Mozilla, thank you very much. This is exactly what I needed to enrich my life. After all, we all know, cosmetic changes are good, because that's what plants crave. Stop with these idiotic tweaks please. No one cares. It won't make the browser better. It won't change the market share. It will not attract idiots, as idiots are happy. It will only alienate diehard users who keep on using your browser because they have no alternative. From a loved favorite to the least of evils choice. That's what Firefox has become.
  • What’s Happening in OpenStack-Ansible (WHOA) – August 2016
    My goal with these posts is to inform more people about what we’re doing in the OpenStack-Ansible community and bring on more contributors to the project.
  • PowerShell on Linux? No, Thank You [comic]
  • LLVM Might Get An AAP Back-End (Altruistic Processor)
    There's an active proposal to incorporate a back-end into LLVM for AAP, a processor ISA for deeply-embedded Harvard architectures. AAP is designed for FPGA usage and there is an open-source soft-core with commercial deployments also being available. AAP is short for the Altruistic Processor and is described in technical detail here. AAP is said to be an original design but inspired by the OpenRISC / RISC-V projects.
  • UK-French Data Taskforce publishes joint report
    "Invest in and share experiences building core data registers, learning from the French National Address Database experience”; “develop initiatives to bring basic data literacy into primary and secondary education”; and “commission research into algorithmic transparency and accountability” are among the recommendations listed in a report published in July by the joint French-UK Data Taskforce.
  • Tuscany: how to promote the economy of sharing and collaboration
    In June, the region of Tuscany (Italy), in collaboration with Open Toscana and ANCI Toscana, launched a project, the goal of which is to “build a regional policy on the economy of sharing and collaboration”.
  • MS Tries But Just Doesn’t Get FLOSS
    This is what drove me to GNU/Linux so many years ago.
  • Microsoft's maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data
    Microsoft has laid part of the blame for Bing Maps' mis-location of the Australian city of Melbourne by a whole hemisphere on Wikipedia. Yes, Wikipedia, “the free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit.” Microsoft made its admission after your correspondent took to Twitter on Monday to do what we in publishing call “pimping"the story of Melbourne's mis-placement. Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, noticed that pimping and responded as follows.
  • Northern Ireland promotes Open Data in education
    The Northern Ireland Department of Finance has supported a challenge that encourages the re-use of public Open Data in education. Called the OpenDataNI Challenge – Using Open Data for Education” (ODNI4EDU), this project, officially launched on June 14, intends to award two applications or educational tools and resources that make use of at least one dataset published on the portal OpendataNI.
  • Try this handy tool to convert a Web site into a native app with Electron
  • Introducing CloudiumOS [Ed: built on Electron]
    It is a complete multi platform operating system that allows you to manage your documents, access your media files and collaborate with other people on the go. CloudiumOS can work side-by-side with another operating system (either via a VM, a Desktop app or Mobile App) or as a standalone installation.

Opera Data Breach, Security of Personal Data

  • Opera User? Your Stored Passwords May Have Been Stolen
    Barely a week passes without another well-known web company suffering a data breach or hack of some kind. This week it is Opera’s turn. Opera Software, the company behind the web-browser and recently sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million, reported a ‘server breach incident’ on its blog this weekend.
  • When it comes to protecting personal data, security gurus make their own rules
    Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of a company devoted to protecting people from hackers, has safeguarded his Twitter account with a 14-character password and by turning on two-factor authentication, an extra precaution in case that password is cracked. But Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and chief technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, doesn’t bother running an anti-virus program on his computer. And Bruce Schneier? The prominent cryptography expert and chief technology officer of IBM-owned security company Resilient Systems, won’t even risk talking about what he does to secure his devices and data.

Android Leftovers