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OSS

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • This Program Makes It Even Easier to Make Deepfakes

    A new method for making deepfakes creates realistic face-swapped videos in real-time, no lengthy training needed.

    Unlike previous approaches to making deepfakes—algorithmically-generated videos that make it seem like someone is doing or saying something they didn’t in real life—this method works on any two people without any specific training on their faces.

    Most of the deepfakes that are shared online are created by feeding an algorithm hundreds or thousands of images of a specific face. The algorithm "trains" on that specific face so it can swap it into the target video. This can take hours or days even with access to expensive hardware, and even longer with consumer-grade PC components. A program that doesn’t need to be trained on each new target is another leap forward in making realistic deepfakes quicker and easier to create.

    [...]

    On their project website, the researchers say that the project code will eventually be available on GitHub...

  • 5 Free and Open Source CRM Software

    We’re here to save you time by going over some of the most popular free and open source CRM solutions and when you should consider paid system...

  • A free/open tool for making XKCD-style "hand-drawn" charts

    Tim Qian, a "full stack developer and open source activist," has published chart.xkcd, a free/open tool that lets you create interactive, "hand-drawn" charts in the style of XKCD comics. It's pretty fabulous!

  • The Secret Source: Machine Learning and Open Source Come Together

    There was a time when banks and asset managers would dare not talk about their use of AI—and, specifically, machine learning—in public forums, as they either viewed it as taboo or they wanted to hide its power from competitors. The secret, though, is out of the black box.

  • How China became a hero in open source

    China was once a relative zero when it came to software. Not anymore. In both proprietary and open source development, China's influence is growing. Sure, open source has helped to fuel that rise—as Swim.ai CTO Simon Crosby has suggested, "Now [China] can download our best, for free, every day"—but this tells an incomplete story. China may have been a net consumer of code once upon a time, but now has gone from zero to hero in open source.

  • The 7 Best Tools for Open-Source Network Bandwidth Monitoring

    Network bandwidth monitoring is a very specific type of monitoring. What it does is measure the amount of traffic passing a given point on a network. Typically, the measuring point is a router or switch interface but it’s not uncommon to monitor bandwidth utilization of a server’s LAN interface. The important thing here is to realize that all we’re measuring is the amount of traffic. Bandwidth monitoring won’t give you any information about what that traffic is, only how much of it there is.

    There are several reasons for wanting to monitor network bandwidth utilization. First and foremost, it can help you pinpoint areas of contention. As a network circuit’s utilization grows, its performance starts degrading. This is a fact of life. The more you approach the maximum capacity, the more impact there is on performance. By allowing you to keep an eye on network utilization, bandwidth monitoring tools give you a chance to detect high utilization—and address it—before it becomes noticeable by users.

    Capacity planning is another major benefit of network monitoring tools. Network circuits—especially long-distance WAN connections—are expensive and will often have only the bandwidth that was required when they were initially installed. While that amount of bandwidth might have been OK back then, it will eventually need to be increased. By monitoring the evolution of your network circuits’ bandwidth utilization, you’ll be able to see which ones need to be upgraded and when.

    Bandwidth monitoring tools can also be useful for troubleshooting poor application performance. When a user complains that some remote application has slowed down, looking at the network bandwidth utilization can give you a pretty good idea whether or not the problem is caused by network congestion. If you see low network utilization, you can likely concentrate your troubleshooting efforts elsewhere.

  • Au Revoir DTW

    While I wanted to use it for my tiny, crazy, work in progress thoughts, I find that it was increasingly being subsumed by my new shiny Mastodon.

    And as the volume of things I write now scales up, I do not want another place to maintain.

  • How To Promote Real Social Good

    It was big news this week when the nation’s most powerful chief executives finally acknowledged that corporations should contribute more to society than maximizing shareholder value.

    [...]

    This news story caught our attention here at Purism because we have been thinking about how to build a company that promotes social good. Our company was incorporated in Washington State as a Social Purpose Corporation.

    [...]

    We at Purism are grateful to the many US states offering to give companies the freedom to actually benefit society, rather than contribute to its ills. We believe that consumers who really care about their freedom, privacy, and security, or other issues like climate change, seek out companies like ours that exist, first and foremost, to do something important that can better people’s lives. We use capitalism, and the corporate form, to build a sustainable company that can continue to serve our mission. Making money is a means to an end, not the end itself. We exist for our customers, not for our shareholders, and our shareholders back us because know the social good that comes from our efforts. People parting with their hard-earned money for products and services deserve that much.

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • Open-Source Project Unveils Detailed Road Map for New Mainnet

    An open-source project that aims to create a smart economy based on blockchain technology has unveiled a new program designed to fuel its ecosystem’s growth — while setting out a detailed road map for its new mainnet.
    Neo says its EcoBoost scheme has been designed to support developers and projects that are already in its ecosystem, as well as those that wish to join. A total of $100 million has been allocated to the initiative — and in the first phase, the firm is seeking to establish long-term partnerships that will fuel the organic growth of its network. Media outlets, exchanges, decentralized application (DApp) distribution platforms and other blockchain infrastructures are being encouraged to express an interest in becoming an EcoBoost Partner, and Neo says it has already received numerous applications from “leading institutions and projects in the industry.”

  • Square Crypto Hires Blockstream Co-Founder, Open Source Bitcoin Dev

    Square Crypto announced on Twitter that they have hired Matt Corallo, Bitcoin software developer and co-founder of Blockstream.

  • 5 Arenas Where Open Source is the Undisputed Champion

    Open source software has come of age. It has now reached a level of maturity and capability where it simply cannot be ignored. Recent research[1] suggests that 82 percent of large organizations are more receptive to open source than they were five years ago and that C-level IT executives are now most likely to prefer an open source solution over proprietary alternatives.
    Over the years, everyone’s confidence and trust in open source software has been steadily growing. We’ve now reached the point where open source is the dominant player in many of the key technology trends shaping our world.

    [...]

    It’s widely acknowledged that Linux is the power behind the vast majority of public internet servers and that Unix-like operating systems are being used by about 70 percent of all web servers, with Linux taking the lion’s share.
    Why is that important?  Because even though we pay them little thought or attention, web and internet servers are responsible for stitching together the digital fabric that most of us rely on for communications and services every day.

    [...]

    There’s no denying that open source is here to stay.  I’ve been working with open source for almost a decade now and over that time I’ve seen how quickly open source solutions have taken off, gained acceptance and become the front runner is so many areas.

  • U-Boot Has Been Seeing Better x86 Support, EFI Improvements

    Google's Simon Glass who is part of the Chromium / Chrome OS team presented at this week's Embedded Linux Conference in San Diego on U-Boot. 

    U-Boot continues making good progress particularly on the embedded front for where this bootloader is most well known, but it's also been seeing increasing x86 support. Currently U-Boot supports around 10 different Intel SoCs and can handle booting from Coreboot on most boards. Intel Apollolake support is forthcoming to U-Boot. Additionally, FSP2 support for the newer version of Intel's firmware support package is being worked on for U-Boot. Also new on U-Boot's x86 front is slimbootloader support. 

  • Dustin J. Mitchell: Outreachy Round 20

    Outreachy is a program that provides paid internships working on FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) to applicants from around the world. Internships are three months long and involve deep, technical work on a mentor-selected project, guided by mentors and other developers working on the FOSS application. At Mozilla, projects include work on Firefox itself, development of associated services and sites like Taskcluster and Treeherder, and analysis of Firefox telemetry data from a data-science perspective.

    The program has an explicit focus on diversity: “Anyone who faces under-representation, systemic bias, or discrimination in the technology industry of their country is invited to apply.” It’s a small but very effective step in achieving better representation in this field. One of the interesting side-effects is that the program sees a number of career-changing participants. These people bring a wealth of interesting and valuable perspectives, but face challenges in a field where many have been programming since they were young.

  • AI open source leader H2O.ai secures funding worth $72.5 million

    Over the past couple of years, the Silicone-based company has raised a total of $147 million. Since its founding, H2O.ai has gone through a series of funding including its seed round in 2013. In 2017, it saw one of its biggest growth after a Series C funding that raised $75 million. Wells Fargo and NVIDIA led the funding with their $40 million investment. Other participants included Crane Venture Partners, New York Life, Transamerica Ventures, and Nexus Venture Partners.

Linux Foundation: Automotive Grade Linux Announcement and Calling Surveillance Operations "Confidential Computing"

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Linux
OSS
Security
  • Automotive Grade Linux Announces New Instrument Cluster Expert Group and UCB 8.0 Code Release

    Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), an open source project developing a shared software platform for in-vehicle technology, today announced a new working group focused on Instrument Cluster solutions, as well as the latest code release of the AGL platform, the UCB 8.0.

    The AGL Instrument Cluster Expert Group (EG) is working to reduce the footprint of AGL and optimize the platform for use in lower performance processors and low-cost vehicles that do not require an entire infotainment software stack. Formed earlier this year, the group plans to release design specifications later this year with an initial code release in early 2020.

    “AGL is now supported by nine major automotive manufacturers, including the top three producers by worldwide volume, and is currently being used in production for a range of economy and luxury vehicles” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at the Linux Foundation. “The new Instrument Cluster Expert Group, supported by several of these automakers, will expand the use cases for AGL by enabling the UCB platform to support solutions for lower-cost vehicles, including motorcycles.”

  • Shhh! Microsoft, Intel, Google and more sign up to the Confidential Computing Consortium

    The Linux Foundation has signed up the likes of Microsoft and Google for its Confidential Computing Consortium, a group with the laudable goal of securing sensitive data.

    The group – which also includes Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent – will be working on open-source technologies and standards to speed the adoption of confidential computing.

    The theory goes that while approaches to encrypting data at rest and in transit have supposedly been dealt with, assuming one ignores the depressingly relentless splurts of user information from careless vendors, keeping it safe while in use is quite a bit more challenging. Particularly as workloads spread to the cloud and IoT devices.

  • Tech giants come together to form cloud security watchdog

    Some of the world’s biggest technology companies are joining forces to improve the security of files in the cloud. This includes Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and many others.

    The news first popped up on the Linux Foundation, where it was said that the Confidential Computing Consortium will work to bring industry standards and identify the proper tools to encrypt data used by apps, devices and online services.

    At the moment, cloud security solutions focus to protect data that’s either resting, or is in transit. However, when the data is being used is “the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data.”

  • Tech firms join forces to boost cloud security

    Founding members of the group – which unites hardware suppliers, cloud providers, developers, open source experts and academics – include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

    [...]

    “The earliest work on technologies that have the ability to transform an industry is often done in collaboration across the industry and with open source technologies,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation.

    “The Confidential Computing Consortium is a leading indicator of what is to come for security in computing and will help define and build open technologies to support this trust infrastructure for data in use.”

  • Google, Intel and Microsoft form data protection consortium
  • Intel Editorial: Intel Joins Industry Consortium to Accelerate Confidential Computing

    Leaders in information and infrastructure security are well versed in protecting data at-rest or in-flight through a variety of methods. However, data being actively processed in memory is another matter. Whether running on your own servers on-prem, in an edge deployment, or in the heart of a cloud service provider’s data center, this “in-use” data is almost always unencrypted and potentially vulnerable.

  • Confidential Computing: How Big Tech Companies Are Coming Together To Secure Data At All Levels

    Data today moves constantly from on-premises to public cloud and the edge, which is why it is quite challenging to protect. While there are standards available that aim to protect data when it is in rest and transit, standards related to protecting it when in use do not exist. Protecting data while in use is called confidential computing, which the Confidential Computing Consortium is aiming to create across the industry.

    The Confidential Computing Consortium, created under the Linux Foundation, will work to build up guidelines, systems and tools to ensure data is encrypted when it’s being used by applications, devices and online services. The consortium says that encrypting data when in use is “the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data.” Members focused on the undertaking are Alibaba, ARM, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

  • IT giants join forces for full-system data security

    Apple is conspiciously missing from the consortium, despite using both Intel hardware and inhouse designed ARM-based processors.

    Of the first set of commitments, Intel will release its Software Guard Extensions (SGX) software development kit as open source through the CCC.

  • Google, Intel, and Microsoft partner to improve cloud security

    Some of the biggest names in tech have banded together in an effort to promote industry-wide security standards for protecting data in use.

  • Alibaba, Baidu, Google, Microsoft, Others Back Confidential Computing Consortium

    The Confidential Computing Consortium aims to help define and accelerate open-source technology that keeps data in use secure. Data typically gets encrypted by service providers, but not when it’s in use. This consortium will focus on encrypting and processing the data “in memory” to reduce the exposure of the data to the rest of the system. It aims to provide greater control and transparency for users.

  • Microsoft, Intel and others are doubling down on open source Linux security

    In other words, the operating system could be compromised by some kind of malware, but the data being used in a program would still be encrypted, and therefore safe from an attacker.

  • Microsoft, Intel, and Red Hat Back Confidential Computing

    The Linux Foundation’s latest project tackles confidential computing with a group of companies that reads like a who’s who of cloud providers, chipmakers, telecom operators, and other tech giants.

    Today at the Open Source Summit the Linux Foundation said it will form a new group called the Confidential Computing Consortium. Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent all committed to work on the project, which aims to accelerate the adoption of confidential computing.

Raccoon – APK Downloader for Linux, MacOS, and Windows

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OSS

We’ve covered APK stories before in articles like the one about F-Droid and Google Play Downloader, but never have we covered an app as cool as this one with a name inspired by the North American mammal, Raccoon.

Raccoon is a free and modern open-source APK downloader application that enables you to safely download any Android app available on Google Play Store to your Linux, Windows, or Mac desktop.

The incentive of Raccoon is to enable users to install Android apps without sending any kind of information to Google. It also works to store APK files locally, use a “Split APK” format, bypass application region restrictions, and aims to improve your phone’s battery life.

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OSS: OpenSMTPD, Connexta, Square and Google

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OSS
  • FLOSS Weekly 543: OpenSMTPD

    OpenSMTPD is a FREE implementation of the server-side SMTP protocol as defined by RFC 5321, with some additional standard extensions. It allows ordinary machines to exchange emails with other systems speaking the SMTP protocol.

  • Octo Acquires Connexta to Enhance Open Source Software Development Capabilities

    Octo, a premier provider of next-generation services for the Federal market, today announced its acquisition of Connexta, a Phoenix, Arizona-based global leader in open source software development and secure discovery solutions for government and commercial customers

  • Square Crypto’s Open Source Endeavor, Fostering Bitcoin Development will Witness Matt Corallo On Board

    Square, Inc. is a mobile payment company based in San Francisco, California. The company markets software and hardware payments products and has expanded into business services. Square Crypto the division of parent company Square, Inc. is a payments solutions provider and focuses on open source Bitcoin development.

    Jack Dorsey, CEO of the Square, Inc. foresees a bullish vehement regarding the acceptance of Bitcoins and the urge to conceptualize Bitcoin as a utopia invigorates the formation of this new team which will be headed by Steve Lee, a former director at Google and Matt Corallo as the first development engineer.

  • Google open-sources gesture tracking AI for mobile devices

    Real-time hand shape and motion trackers are an invaluable part of sign language recognition and gesture control systems, not to mention a number of augmented reality experiences. But they’re often hobbled by occlusion and a lack of contrast patterns, preventing them from performing reliably or robustly.

    Those challenges and others motivated scientists at Google to investigate a new computer vision approach to hand perception — one bolstered by machine learning. They say that in experiments, it managed to infer up to 21 3D points of a hand (or multiple hands) on a mobile phone from just a single frame.

Open Source platforms to now help students

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OSS

The technical institutes in the State are now asked to use free and open-source software developed by a team, headed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The MHRD has also promoted their FOSSEE (Free and Open Source Software for Education) projects which uses tools so that students can easily use them.

Recently, the MHRD made a decision that FOSSEE should be promoted amongst the student community so they can aim at reducing dependency on proprietary software in educational institutions. The MHRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank too took to twitter urging students to use FLOSS tools in various languages to meet academic and research requirements.

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Analysis of the state of play of Open Source policies in EU Member States

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The study on OSS policies will answer the following research questions, each of which will be elaborated upon in dedicated chapters: [...]

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5 notable open source 3D printers

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Open source hardware and 3D printers go together like, well, open source hardware and 3D printers. Not only are 3D printers used to create all sorts of open source hardware—there are also a huge number of 3D printers that have been certified as open source by the Open Source Hardware Association. That fact means that they are freely available to improve and build upon.

There are plenty of open source 3D printers out there, with more being certified on a regular basis. Here’s a look at some of the latest.

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Marek’s Take: Why open source communities are critical to operators

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Open source locks down standards in code and makes sure it is interoperable, Rice said. “That’s why it’s symbiotic. Standards are options but they come together because they are built on one another.”

And, similar to standards bodies, where delegates work side-by-side with competitors to develop global specifications, the same occurs in open source groups.

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The cloud isn't killing open source software

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OSS

The most common reason given for software vendors making these changes is "foul play" by cloud vendors. The argument is that cloud vendors unfairly offer open source software "as a service," capturing large portions of the revenue, while the original software vendor continues to carry most of the development costs. Market rumors claim Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes more revenue from MySQL than Oracle, which owns the product.

So, who is claiming foul play is destroying the open source ecosystem? Typically, the loudest voices are venture-funded open source software companies. These companies require a very high growth rate to justify their hefty valuation, so it makes sense that they would prefer not to worry about additional competition.

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PCLinuxOS 2019.09 updated installation media release

The KDE versions both full and the minimalistic Darkstar contain kernel 5.2.15 plus a fully updated KDE Plasma desktop. Plasma desktop 5.16.5, Plasma Applications 19.08.1 and Plasma Frameworks 5.62. The Mate Desktop was refreshed with kernel 5.2.15 and the applications and libraries were updated to their most recent stable versions from the previous release. The Xfce Desktop was tweaked and now uses the Whisker menu by default. A login sound was added and the applications were updated along with some minor bug fixes. In addition all ISOs now include the Nvidia 430.50 driver and will be used instead of the nouveau driver if your video card supports it. Hardware detection scripts were updated to provide better support for video cards that can use the Nvidia 430.50 driver. Pulseaudio has been updated to the stable 13.0 release. The Simple Update Notifier was reworked and now works for keeping you notified of system updates and the ability to update from the applet using apt-get. Small improvements were made to the Live media boot scripts. Vbox test media is also included on the installation media. This program allows you to quickly test an ISO on the fly or usbstick with various options without having to create a permanent VM in Virtualbox. Requires a valid Virtualbox installation. Thanks to the people involved for their contributions to this program. Read more

Android Leftovers

OSGeoLive 13.0 Released, which Brings Some New Applications

Astrid Emde has announced the new release of OSGeoLive 13.0 on Sep 12, 2019. This release has improved the Python experience a lot by adding an additional Python modules like Fiona, rasterio, cartopy, pandas, geopandas, mappyfile. Also, added the following new applications MapCache, GeoExt, t-rex, actinia. Many packages have been updated to the latest version. [...] It is featuring a large collection of open-source geospatial software and free world maps. It provides bootable ISO-Images and Virtual Machines which allow users to try out fully-operational versions of popular Free Geospatial Software without the need to install a thing. Read more