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OSS

Freespire Linux: A Great Desktop for the Open Source Purist

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Linux
OSS

Quick. Click on your Linux desktop menu and scan through the list of installed software. How much of that software is strictly open source? To make matters a bit more complicated, have you installed closed source media codecs (to play the likes of MP3 files perhaps)? Is everything fully open, or do you have a mixture of open and closed source tools?

If you’re a purist, you probably strive to only use open source tools on your desktop. But how do you know, for certain, that your distribution only includes open source software? Fortunately, a few distributions go out of their way to only include applications that are 100% open. One such distro is Freespire.

Does that name sound familiar? It should, as it is closely related to Linspire. Now we’re talking familiarity. Remember back in the early 2000s, when Walmart sold Linux desktop computers? Those computers were powered by the Linspire operating system. Linspire went above and beyond to create an experience that would be similar to that of Windows—even including the tools to install Windows apps on Linux. That experiment failed, mostly because consumers thought they were getting a Windows desktop machine for a dirt cheap price. After that debacle, Linspire went away for a while. It’s now back, thanks to PC/OpenSystems LLC. Their goal isn’t to recreate the past but to offer two different flavors of Linux...

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OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • YouTube Begins Rolling Out AV1 Support In Beta

    YouTube has begun transcoding videos into the new royalty-free AV1 video codec.

    So far just a handful of videos are available with this AV1 beta support on YouTube. The Google company is supporting AV1 in MP4 within the Media Source for Chrome 70+ and the newest Firefox Nightly builds as of today. The Firefox Nightly support also requires media.av1.enabled and media.mediasource.experimental.enabled preferences enabled.

  • The Evolving Role of Build Engineering in Managing Open Source
  • NetBSD 7.2 comes with Security & Stability Enhancements as well as USB 3.0 Support

    NetBSD has come out with a new release for the 7.x series. The second feature update of NetBSD 7, NetBSD version 7.2, comes with a few new features and enhancements including, most prominently, the support of the USB 3.0 device as well as improvements for the Linux emulation. The latest release also supports the Raspberry Pi 3 computer range, adapting the release to be compatible for running on those devices, and the release ramps up updates for several drivers to make all of this possible.

    The release announcement for the NetBSD 7.2 states that this update incorporates substantial bug fixes and enhancements for overall improvement of the stability and security of NetBSD. The update also introduces new features such as the few mentioned above and other fixes in binary compatibility for ancient NetBSD executables. The iwm(4) driver for Intel Wireless 726x, 316x, 826x, and 416x has also been incorporated and a legacy network adapter has been improved to resolve a setup interruption found in the Hyper-V VMs.

  • LibreJS 7.17 released

    GNU LibreJS aims to address the JavaScript problem described in Richard Stallman's article The JavaScript Trap*. LibreJS is a free add-on for GNU IceCat and other Mozilla-based browsers. It blocks nonfree nontrivial JavaScript while allowing JavaScript that is free and/or trivial.

  • What We Mean When We Say "Data Portability"

    “Data portability” is a feature that lets a user take their data from a service and transfer or “port” it elsewhere. This often comes up in discussions about leaving a particular social media platform and taking your data with you to a rival service. But bringing data to a competing service is just one use for data portability; other, just-as-important goals include analyzing your data to better understand your relationship with a service, building something new out of your data, self-publishing what you learn, and generally achieving greater transparency.

    Regardless of whether you are “porting” your data to a different service or to a personal spreadsheet, data that is “portable” should be easy to download, organized, tagged, and machine-parsable.

    EFF supports users’ legal right to obtain a copy of the data they have provided to an online service provider. Once you move beyond that, however, the situation gets more complicated. Data portability interacts, and sometimes even conflicts, with other digital rights priorities, including privacy and security, transparency, interoperability, and competition. Here are some of the considerations EFF keeps in mind when looking at the dynamics of data portability.

  • Hortonworks plans to revamp Hadoop and its big data tools with cloud best practices in mind

    One big disadvantage that comes with a hybrid cloud strategy is forcing your developers to learn and understand the different techniques required by cloud providers and on-premises software vendors for lots of applications. Hortonworks, the company behind several tools for big-data darling Hadoop, plans to revamp its software over the next few years in order to make modern cloud-native development practices part of its on-premises tools, giving hybrid cloud developers one less thing to worry about.

    Hortonworks plans to announce the Open Hybrid Architecture Initiative Monday, kicking off the project that will allow customers running Hadoop and Hortonworks tools on their own servers to take advantage of newer infrastructure ideas that have become popular since the big-data analysis software was created, said Arun Murthy, co-founder and chief technical officer of Hortonworks. It’s yet another sign that while self-managed servers aren’t disappearing as fast as people once thought they might, the infrastructure concepts of the cloud-native era are going to eventually become de facto standards.

Catalyst IT Buys Open Query, Linux Academy Buys Jupiter Broadcasting

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OSS
  • Brisbane open-source database specialist Open Query acquired by Catalyst IT Australia

    Queensland-based open-source database expert Open Query has been acquired by Catalyst IT Australia, the local arm of New Zealand-born open-source technology integrator.

    Open Query delivers training and support for MySQL, MariaDB, Percona XtraDB and related open source technologies, and offers system administration and security services.

    Open Query's flagship service offering is the support and maintenance of databases on the aforementioned open-source platforms, with offerings spanning initial health checks and ad-hoc consulting, to subscription-based proactive support and remote database monitoring.

  • Linux Academy Announces Acquisition of Jupiter Broadcasting

    Linux Academy, a leading provider of hands-on online training in Linux and cloud technologies, today announced it has acquired Jupiter Broadcasting, a podcasting network covering Linux, security, privacy, community and other open source content, to further strengthen its contributions to the open source and free software industry. Linux Academy will acquire Jupiter Broadcasting's shows, assets, and employees.

Open-source software may aid brain imaging to find disease treatments

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Researchers say the open-source software, called PySight, acts as a photon counting add-on for laser scanning microscopes. Because it can image deep into tissue, a laser-based technique known as multiphoton microscopy is often used to study the rapid activity of neurons, blood vessels and other cells at high resolution over time. The method uses laser pulses that excite fluorescent probes, eliciting the emission of photons, some of which are detected and used to form 2D and 3D images.

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How to save 11 million Euros by switching to open-source software

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OSS

In 2003, Microsoft stopped supporting the Windows NT4 desktop operating system. As a result, Munich's city government had to migrate over 15,000 personal computers (PCs) to a new operating system. This made the disadvantages of dependence on big proprietary software providers obvious to local policy makers.

In 2004, the City Council decided to migrate its PCs to Linux, a free and open-source operating system, to achieve more independence and stimulate the local economy by using local developers for the migration. The choice for Linux was made despite the fact that Microsoft's CEO personally offered Munich a 90 percent discount on new software. The project, called LiMux, took seven years to complete and saved Munich over 11 million euros ($12.3 million). Other advantages include more flexibility in software management, better security, and a lower number of support calls.

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Openwashing: Altair, Microsoft and SmartBear

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5 Open-Source Trends to Watch

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OSS

Open-source software use in business has come a long way since the first LinuxWorld Conference & Expo was held in San Jose, California, in March 1999. Linux had been around as an operating system since its invention in 1991 by Finnish-American developer Linus Torvalds, but its use in business computing was just beginning to germinate by the early 2000s.

Fast-forward to 2018. Open-source software powers the internet, much of the world’s cloud computing infrastructure, thousands of companies around the globe and a wide range of technologies, including software used in motor vehicles, consumer devices, in-home systems and more. Channel partners are increasingly involved in open source today, selling services, offering advice and helping clients use open source effectively.

And despite that phenomenal growth, millions of developers continue to devote countless hours to projects. By the end of 2017, more than 24 million developers in more than 200 countries had contributed to some 67 million GitHub project repositories. Many more projects are also used by more developers on code repositories offered by GitLab, Bitbucket, SourceForge and others.

For almost every customer software need, there is likely an open-source project working on the problem.

With all of this activity around the world, some open-source trends could become even more important to partners in the future.

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Create and publish video with open source Kaltura editor

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OSS

Video has long been an integral part of education—back in the day, movies shown on huge reel-to-reel projectors were wheeled into classrooms to supplement teaching. Today, even the youngest students demonstrate their knowledge with multimedia video presentations recorded and edited on smartphones or Chromebooks, the "flipped classroom" (where students watch video lectures for homework and do assignments in class) is taking hold in K-12 schools, and professors make live video recordings of their classes available online for motivated students who want to review a lecture they attended (or for lazy learners who can't quite make it to their morning biology class).

Video software-as-a-service provider Kaltura offers a platform that helps businesses, cloud TV providers, and—increasingly—educators make video available to their audiences. The company started in 2006 as a business-to-consumer (B2C) platform for open video collaboration. Of the company's beginnings, Zohar Babin, Kaltura's vice president of platform and growth, says, "we built a platform where people from all around the world could collaborate to create online video shows. The platform would enable anyone to integrate video into their show and have the ability to edit and publish episodes all via the browser."

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The (awesome) economics of open source

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OSS

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Consider how changed a world we live in today when The Economist openly questions the bulk behavior of capitalists as evil bureaucratic rent-seekers and suggests that perhaps Karl Marx has something to teach after all. But the world remains stubbornly the same, as expert after supposed expert attempts to argue that open source software makes no economic sense and that a company like Red Hat cannot, therefore, exist (the latest example being this article on Medium.com).

Arrgh!

W. Edwards Deming said "experience teaches nothing without theory," so I'm going to explain the theory that I believe underlies the 30+ years of experience I've witnessed in the world of successful open source software. A disclaimer: I didn't develop this theory. Credit goes to Ronald Coase (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1991), Oliver Williamson (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2009), and others. And indeed, I was unaware of this theory when I started Cygnus Support, the world's first company to provide commercial support for free software back in 1989. But I did joke, in all seriousness, that someday an economist would win the Nobel Prize in Economics for explaining the theoretical basis of that company. Open source exceeded expectations yet again when not one, but two economists were so honored. And so I begin with a lengthy paraphrase of Coase's Nobel Prize lecture to set up the theory.

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More in Tux Machines

New SparkyLinux 5.5 "Nibiru" ISOs Released with Latest Debian Buster Updates

The new SparkyLinux 5.5 "Nibiru" Rolling images are now synced with the Debian Testing (soon to become Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster") software repositories as of September 17, 2018, which means that they are now shipping the Linux 4.18.6 kernel, the Calamares 3.2.1 installer, as well as the latest GCC 8 system compiler by default aas GCC 7 has been completely removed. "There are new live/install iso images of SparkyLinux 5.5 “Nibiru” available to download. The live system of MinimalGUI/CLI uses Debian’s Linux kernel 4.18.6 as default. The live system of LXQt, due to a problem with long loading the desktop, features Sparky’s Linux kernel 4.18.8 (32bit pae/64bit amd64) as default; and the Debian’s one as well," reads the release announcement. Read more

Today in Techrights

Android Leftovers

Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10 Hybrid Laptop Users Invited to Test Nvidia PRIME Support

With the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) as the first LTS (Long Term Support) Ubuntu release to ship with the GNOME desktop environment by default instead of Canonical's in-house built Unity desktop, hybrid laptop users with Intel and Nvidia GPUs lost the way Nvidia PRIME worked in the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) series. But it looks like some Ubuntu developers like Alberto Milone never stopped looking for a fix, and he and his team have successfully released a patch for the bug causing increased power consumption when using the power saving profile with the Nvidia GPU turned off, as well as the inability to switch between power profiles when logging out. Read more