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OSS

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • How an NSA researcher plans to allow everyone to guard against firmware attacks

    The project will increase security in machines essentially by placing a machine’s firmware in a container to isolate it from would-be attackers. A layer of protection is being added to the System Management Interrupt (SMI) handler — code that allows a machine to make adjustments on the hardware level — as part of the open source firmware platform Coreboot.

    Eugene Myers, who works in the National Security Agency’s Laboratory for Advanced Cybersecurity, told CyberScoop that the end product — known as an SMI Transfer Monitor with protected execution (STM-PE) — will work with x86 processors that run Coreboot. Attackers are increasingly targeting firmware in order to run malicious attacks. Just last year, the first-ever documented UEFI rootkit was deployed in the wild, according to ESET researchers.

  • Manly McManface: Endgame

    Rather than track sales of this book forever, I’ve rounded up the amount I donated to $250. I expect this will cover the lifetime sales of this particular edition. Tilted Windmill Press is now a proud sponsor of SIGP’s Stop Traffic 5K Walk/Run on 21 September.

  • Seven God-Like Bash History Shortcuts You Will Actually Use

    Here I outline the shortcuts I actually use every day. When people see me use them they often ask me “what the hell did you do there!?”, conferring God-like status on me with minimal effort or intelligence required.

  • Bringing students together with open source technology

    Recently, Tamarind Tree, a collective from India that works towards social justice, open knowledge and open technology, shared a beautiful story of how a class of students in their School is using group messaging within their Moodle site. Because one of their classmates cannot attend school currently due to family circumstances, the students are using group messaging to update their friend about what’s happening in class and encouraging her to come back to school as soon as possible.

How to Run a Usability Test

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OSS

Conducting usability testing on free software shouldn’t be an afterthought of the development process but rather it should be a deeply integrated component. However, the reality is that the resources of free software projects (including large ones like GNOME) are quite limited, so one of my goals with this post is to empower you to do more usability testing on your own—you don’t have to be an expert—and to help out and contribute to larger software projects to make up for the limits on resources.

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DeepMind details OpenSpiel, a collection of AI training tools for video games

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OSS
Gaming

Reinforcement learning, the AI training technique that’s brought to fruition systems capable of defeating world poker champions and guiding self-driving cars, isn’t the simplest thing in the world to wrangle. That’s particularly true in the gaming domain, where cutting-edge approaches sometimes require bespoke tools that aren’t publicly available.

Fortunately, that’s changing. In a paper recently published on the preprint server Arxiv.org, researchers at Alphabet’s DeepMind describe a game-oriented reinforcement learning framework dubbed OpenSpiel. At its core, it’s a collection of environments and algorithms for research in general reinforcement learning and search and planning in games, with tools to analyze learning dynamics and other common evaluation metrics.

“The purpose of OpenSpiel is to promote general multiagent reinforcement learning across many different game types, in a similar way as general game-playing but with a heavy emphasis on learning and not in competition form,” wrote the researchers. “We hope that OpenSpiel could have a similar effect on general [reinforcement learning] in games as the Atari Learning Environment has had on single-agent [reinforcement learning].”

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Also: FFmpeg Lands OpenCL-Powered Video Stabilization Filter

Ghostwriter is an open source markdown editor with a polished interface

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Software
OSS

Ghostwriter is a distraction-free open source markdown editor that is available for Linux and Windows.

Windows users can install the Ghostwriter program on their device or use a portable version instead that does not need to be installed. Ghostwriter is based on Qt5.

We reviewed similar applications in the past. You can check out Zim, an open source wiki-like text editor, the distraction-free Linux app FocusWriter, the Atom text editor for Linux, or Text Editor Pro for Windows.

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Open Source is more than licenses

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OSS
Legal

A few weeks ago I was honored to deliver the keynote of the Open Source Awards in Edinburgh. I decided to talk about a subject that I wanted to talk about for quite some time but never found the right opportunity for. There is no video recording of my talk but several people asked me for a summary. So I decided to use some spare time in a plane to summarize it in a blog post.

I started to use computers and write software in the early 80s when I was 10 years old. This was also the time when Richard Stallman wrote the 4 freedoms, started the GNU project, founded the FSF and created the GPL. His idea was that users and developers should be in control of the computer they own which requires Free Software. At the time the computing experience was only the personal computer in front of you and the hopefully Free and Open Source software running on it.

The equation was (Personal Hardware) + (Free Software) = (Digital Freedom)

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Also: How to crack Open Source?

Late Coverage of Confidential Computing Consortium

Filed under
Linux
OSS
  • Microsoft Partners With Google, Intel, And Others To Form Data Protection Consortium

    The software maker joined Google Cloud, Intel, IBM, Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent to establish the Confidential Computing Consortium, a group committed to providing better private data protection, promoting the use of confidential computing, and advancing open source standards among members of the technology community.

  • #OSSUMMIT: Confidential Computing Consortium Takes Shape to Enable Secure Collaboration

    At the Open Source Summit in San Diego, California on August 21, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium. Confidential computing is an approach using encrypted data that enables organizations to share and collaborate, while still maintaining privacy. Among the initial backers of the effort are Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

    “The context of confidential computing is that we can actually use the data encrypted while programs are working on it,” John Gossman, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, said during a keynote presentation announcing the new effort.

    Initially there are three projects that are part of the Confidential Computing Consortium, with an expectation that more will be added over time. Microsoft has contributed its Open Enclave SDK, Red Hat is contributing the Enarx project for Trusted Execution Environments and Intel is contributing its Software Guard Extensions (SGX) software development kit.

    Lorie Wigle, general manager, platform security product management at Intel, explained that Intel has had a capability built into some of its processors called software guard which essentially provides a hardware-based capability for protecting an area of memory.

Events: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON, Intel's OSTS, LibreOffice Hackfests and Debian at ICFP 2019

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OSS
  • GNOME on the Road: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON

    Linux Fest Northwest took place back in April, and we were there! Sri Ramkrishna and I hung out in Bellingham, Washington (USA), meeting GNOMEies, free software contributors, and open source enthusiasts.

  • Intel Shares Highlights From Their 2019 Open-Source Technology Summit

    Taking place back in May at the beautiful Skamania Lodge in Washington was Intel's OSTS 2019 for their annual Open-Source Technology Summit that traditionally was internal-only but has begun opening up including allowing external participants this year. I was at OSTS 2019 and it's by far my highlight of the year with many really great sessions and a lot of useful networking at the event. Intel's open-source team has now shared some video recordings from this open-source/Linux event. 

  • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice Hackfests

    Most LibreOffice developers are working from their home offices, so hackfests provide a unique opportunity to spend some time working shoulder-to-shoulder with their peers. In 2018, LibreOffice developers and community members met at four hackfests in Brussels, Hamburg, Tirana and Munich.

  • ICFP 2019

    ICFP 2019 in Berlin ended yesterday, and it was – as always – a great pleasure. This year was particularly noteworthy for the quite affordable conference hotel and the absolutely amazing food during the coffee breaks.

OSS Leftovers

Filed under
OSS
  • How open source is benefitting SUSE, its channel partners and customers

    Open source technology is being talked about even more rampantly today. Phillip Cockrell, Vice President of Global Channels, SUSE articulates, “More than anything, open source is the core of innovation. It is by all and for all and propelling all aspects of technology development today.”

    SUSE, a native open source software company, which provides reliable, software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions that give organisations greater control and flexibility, is a seasoned 25-year-old player in the domain.

  • What is AOSP? Android Open Source Project, the ‘Android without Google’

    AOSP is the acronym for Android Open Supply Challenge ; that’s, ‘Android Open Source Project’. So it's simply the supply code of Android, the cellular working system of the Mountain View firm. However what’s it for? Its fundamental software is by OEMs; cellular producers obtain AOSP and make their 'ROM inventory', but additionally serves as the premise for customized ROMs and forks.

    AOSP, or Android Open Supply Challenge, isn’t the identical as Android Inventory . Whereas AOSP is the supply code of the working system, Android Inventory is the 'pure model' with out bloatware of any sort and solely with apps and Google providers, in addition to the native launcher. AOSP, nevertheless, is the premise of Android Vanilla , which is the model that’s distributed to smartphone producers and is topic to modifications. On it, the producer's personal purposes and providers are launched, and naturally the customization layer and the variations which can be essential for particular elements to work.

  • How to Avoid Technical Debt in Open Source Projects
  • Introducing OpenDrop, an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python

    A group of German researchers recently published a paper “A Billion Open Interfaces for Eve and Mallory: MitM, DoS, and Tracking Attacks on iOS and macOS Through Apple Wireless Direct Link”, at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (August 14–16), USA. The paper reveals security and privacy vulnerabilities in Apple’s AirDrop file-sharing service as well as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks which leads to privacy leaks or simultaneous crashing of all neighboring devices.

    As part of the research, Milan Stute and Alexander Heinrich, two researchers have developed an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python – OpenDrop. OpenDrop is like a FOSS implementation of AirDrop. It is an experimental software and is the result of reverse engineering efforts by the Open Wireless Link project (OWL). It is compatible with Apple AirDrop and used for sharing files among Apple devices such as iOS and macOS or on Linux systems running an open re-implementation of Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL).

  • The Top 13 Free and Open Source Storage Solutions

    In this article we will examine free and open source storage solutions by providing a brief overview of what to expect, as well as blurbs on each tool.

  • Open Source Origination Technology Platform for Online Lenders

    DigiFi was founded by Joshua Jersey and Bradley Vanderstarren in 2014. It started its life as Promise Financial, an online lender, and raised $110 million in credit capital. It built up its own proprietary tech as there was no solution provider in 2014 offering an end-to-end loan origination platform that could automate the entire process. They sold off the tech to a large lending institution in 2017 and pivoted to DigiFi, one of the world’s first open source loan origination systems (LOS) which equips the lenders with flexible and modern tools to create unique platforms and digital experiences.

  • IT favors open source networking over Cisco ACI, VMware NSX

    Companies trying to avoid or lessen the use of expensive network automation software from Cisco and VMware are turning to open source tools that are often good enough for many tasks associated with managing complex modern networks.

    Cisco's application-centric infrastructure (ACI) and VMware's NSX are powerful technologies for operating networks built on the vendors' respective products. But many large enterprises have data centers filled with perfectly good multivendor hardware and software that very few organizations are willing to swap for an all Cisco or VMware alternative.

    Therefore, companies are turning to open source networking products, such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet and SaltStack, for automating many network-related chores across as much of the data center as possible, while relegating ACI and NSX to Cisco- or VMware-only portions of the network.

  • What Attorneys Should Know About Open Source Software Licensing

    With the next waves of technological change, such as autonomous vehicles, blockchain, and IoT, newer, more complex OSS licenses may be drafted, and argued in the courts, to protect the interests of software innovators and the OSS community.

Open Data: Schlumberger and Waymo

Filed under
OSS
  • Schlumberger open-sources data ecosystem, contributing to industrywide data development
  • Schlumberger Open Sources Data Ecosystem

    Oilfield services company Schlumberger said it will open source its data ecosystem and contribute to The Open Group Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) Forum to accelerate the delivery of the OSDU Data Platform.

    The OSDU Forum is an international forum of oil and gas operators, cloud services companies, technology providers, suppliers of applications to oil and gas operators, academia and other standards organizations working together to develop an open, standards-based, data platform that will bring together exploration, development and wells data.

  • Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors

    Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary that hopes to someday pepper roads with self-driving taxis, today pulled back the curtains on a portion of the data used to train the algorithms underpinning its cars: The Waymo Open Dataset. Waymo principal scientist Dragomir Anguelov claims it’s the largest multimodal sensor sample corpus for autonomous driving released to date.

    “[W]e are inviting the research community to join us with the [debut] of the Waymo Open Dataset, [which is composed] of high-resolution sensor data collected by Waymo self-driving vehicles,” wrote Anguelov in a blog post published this morning. “Data is a critical ingredient for machine learning … [and] this rich and diverse set of real-world experiences has helped our engineers and researchers develop Waymo’s self-driving technology and innovative models and algorithms.”

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: CUDA, Radeon and Vulkan

  • HIPCL Lets CUDA Run On OpenCL+SPIR-V

    Based off AMD's GPUOpen HIP as part of their ROCm stack, researchers at Tampere University in Finland have created HIPCL as leveraging HIP as well as POCL for routing CUDA codes to run on any hardware supporting OpenCL+SPIR-V. HIPCL provides a path of running CUDA on top of OpenCL, permitting the OpenCL driver also supports the SPIR-V intermediate representation. The OpenCL implementation also needs to support Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) so that actually rules out using NVIDIA's own driver for taking this route in place of their actual CUDA driver. HIPCL also relies upon a patched version of the LLVM Clang compiler.

  • Radeon RADV Vulkan Driver Tackling NGG Stream-Out

    One of the areas the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV/AMDVLK Vulkan drivers have had a challenging time promptly support with AMD Navi GPUs has been the NGG (Next-Gen Geometry) functionality but it's slowly getting worked out. The NGG engine support has required various fixes to the graphics drivers, Navi 14 NGG support is borked, and various other Next-Gen Geometry support issues in the Navi driver code. At least on the software side the open-source developers have continued to improve the support and today the latest improvements arrived for the Mesa RADV Vulkan driver.

  • Radeon Navi 12/14 Open-Source Driver Support Now Being Marked As "Experimental"

    In an interesting change of course, the open-source driver support for AMD Radeon Navi 12 and Navi 14 GPUs is being flagged as experimental and hidden behind a feature flag. Back at the start of August AMD sent out their AMDGPU Linux kernel driver support for Navi 12 along with Navi 14. That Navi 12/14 support has since been queued up for introduction in the Linux 5.4 kernel along with the new Vega-based Arcturus GPU.

  • Vulkan 1.1.123 Released With Two New Extensions

    Vulkan 1.1.123 is the latest weekly update to this high performance graphics API and it's formally introducing two more extensions. Besides the usual variety of documentation clarifications and corrections, there are two new Vulkan extensions with version 1.1.123.

Purism: A Privacy Based Computer Company

It all started when Todd Weaver, Founder and CEO of Purism, realized Big Tech could not be trusted as moral guardians of his and his children’s data. The current paradigm of corporations data hoarding is, as Todd describes it, built on “a tech-stack of exploitation”–and not by accident, but by design. Companies such as Google and Microsoft–and especially Facebook–intentionally collect, store and share user data to whomever they see fit. In recent events, the California Consumer Privacy Act, which becomes effective on January 1, 2020, will make residents of California able to know what personal data is being collected about them, know whether their personal data is sold or disclosed and to whom, say no to the sale of personal data, access their personal data, request a business delete any personal data information about a consumer collected from that consumer and not be discriminated against for exercising their privacy rights. This sounds good, and it is, but not according to Big Tech. Big Tech such as Facebook hired a firm to run ads that said things like “Your next click could cost you $5! Say no to the California Consumer Privacy Act”. Big Tech does not care about privacy, they care about their bottom line. This is where Purism comes in. Purism is a privacy focused company. Their devices, the Librem5, Librem13 and Librem15 run PureOS–a GNU/Linux distribution that puts privacy, security and freedom first, by design. It includes popular privacy-respecting software such as PureBrowser. The OS helps you “Surf the web safely without being tracked by advertisers or marketers” and allows you to easily encrypt your entire OS and data with your own encryption keys. This is huge, especially if you understand how much of your “private” data is actually being shared. Read more

Benchmarks: Linux Boot Times, 16-Core HoneyComb LX2K ARM Workstation and New PTS Release

  • A Look At The Speedy Clear Linux Boot Time Versus Ubuntu 19.10

    Given the interest last week in how Clear Linux dropped their kernel boot time from 3 seconds to 300 ms, here are some fresh boot time benchmarks of Clear Linux compared to Ubuntu 19.10 on both Intel and AMD hardware. The systemd-reported boot time was compared between the latest Clear Linux and Ubuntu 19.10 daily images. Ubuntu 19.10 was used for offering the bleeding-edge packages and being more in line to what is offered by the rolling-release Clear Linux. As well, Canonical has been working on some boot time improvements for Ubuntu 19.10.

  • 16-Core HoneyComb LX2K ARM Workstation Looks To Offer A Decent Performance Oomph

    When it comes to ARM-powered workstation boards there hasn't been a whole lot to get excited about with the likes of the Socionext 96Boards Developerbox being quite expensive and not yielding good performance or featureful boards compared to alternative Intel/AMD/POWER workstation/enthusiast boards. One of the more promising ARM workstation boards we have been following is the HoneyComb LX2K (formerly the "ClearFog" board) and it's looking like it could end up being a decent offering in this space. The HoneyComb LX2K / ClearFog is the 16-core mini-ITX workstation board we have been following since earlier this year. They have been aiming for this 16-core ARM workstation board for $500~750 USD and it looks like they will actually strike on the lower-end of that price-range.

  • Phoronix Test Suite 9.0 Released With New Result Viewer, Offline/Enterprise Benchmarking Enhancements

    Phoronix Test Suite 9.0 is now available as the latest quarterly feature release to our cross-platform, open-source automated benchmarking framework. With Phoronix Test Suite 9.0 comes a rewritten result viewer to offer more result viewing functionality previously only exposed locally via the command-line or through a Phoromatic Server (or OpenBenchmarking.org when results are uploaded), new offline/enterprise usage improvements, various hardware/software detection enhancements on different platforms, and a variety of other additions.

SDR dev kit builds on Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC

Avnet has launched an “RFSoC Development Kit” that extends Xilinx’s eval kit for its Linux-powered, Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC. The kit adds a Qorvo 2×2 Small Cell RF front-end for SDR prototyping and integrates MATLAB and Simulink. Xilinx launched its 5G-focused Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC variant of its Arm/FPGA hybrid Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoc last year and then announced a Gen3 update in early February. Avnet has now launched an extended version of the Linux-driven Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC ZCU111 Evaluation Kit that adds a Qorvo 2×2 Small Cell RF Front-end 1.8GHz Card and MATLAB support for software-defined radio (SDR) prototyping, Read more Also: SMARC 2.0 module runs Linux on i.MX8M Mini