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OSS

How open source is helping solve the plastic pollution problem

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OSS

In my work life, I often deal with geospatial data. This data not only carries the customary sorts of attributes we see every day but also geographic attributes, like points, lines, enclosed areas, polygons, and surfaces. This data is typically projected from latitude, longitude, and sea-level-elevation data to other coordinate systems to facilitate analysis and viewing.

One of the things I find odd about dealing with geospatial data is how much it is monetized and bound up in restrictive license agreements. If you search for "geospatial data" using your favorite search engine, you'll probably see several pages of links to organizations that sell data or create and sell geospatial analysis and visualization software, all under restrictive licensing. But if you dig deeper, you'll find some wonderful open data and open source software.

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Essential Utilities: Flash OS Images

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OS
Linux
OSS

Linux offers a gamut of open source small utilities that perform functions ranging from the mundane to the wonderful. In our eyes, it’s the breadth of these tools that help to make Linux a compelling operating system.

For beginners to Linux the range of distributions can be daunting. Should I investigate Ubuntu, Arch Linux, openSUSE, elementaryOS, or even try Solus? A good way to experiment with Linux distributions and find the one that best fits your needs is to create a bootable SD card or USB drive flashed with the Linux distros. The tools featured in this article make this process simple and safe. They are all easy to use with a simple interface, and hard drive friendly.

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Schedule appointments with an open source alternative to Doodle

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OSS
HowTos

In previous years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 13 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

Setting appointments with other people is difficult. Most of the time, we guess at a date and time and then start the "is this time bad for you? No, that time is bad for me, how about..." dance. It is easier with co-workers since you can see each others' calendars. You just have to find that magic spot that is good for almost everyone who needs to be on the call. However, for freelancers managing personal calendars, the dance is a routine part of setting up calls and meetings.

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Free, Libre, and Open Source Software Leftovers

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GNU
OSS
  • Raptor Announces Kestrel Open-Source, Open HDL/Firmware Soft BMC

    Raptor Engineering known for their work on open-source POWER9 systems has announced Kestrel, an open-source baseboard management controller (BMC) design that is open down to the HDL design and firmware.

    Raptor describes Kestrel as "the world's first open HDL / open firmware soft BMC, built on POWER and capable of IPLing existing OpenPOWER systems!" This isn't a physical BMC chip but a "soft" BMC that is currently designed and tested on Lattice ECP-5 FPGAs. It can currently handle an initial program load (IPL) for a POWER9 host like the Blackbird and Talos II systems of Raptor Computing Systems after deactivating the existing ASpeed hardware BMC found on those systems.

  • Apache Superset Reaches Top-Level Status For Big Data Visualizations

    The Apache Software Foundation announced on Thursday that Apache Superset reached "top-level" status.

    Apache Superset is the project's big data visualization and business intelligence web solution. Apache Superset allows for big data exploration and visualization with data from a variety of databases ranging from SQLite and MySQL to Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, and a variety of other compatible data sources.

  • Intel oneAPI Level Zero 1.1 Headers/Loader Released

    The oneAPI Level Zero repository consisting of the Level Zero API headers, Level Zero loader, and validation layer have reached version 1.1.

    Following last year's big oneAPI 1.0 "Gold" status, Intel's open-source oneAPI effort continues moving along with the Level Zero focus as their low-level, direct-to-metal interface for offload accelerators like GPUs and other "XPU" devices.

  • [Older] A short journey to x86 long mode in coreboot on recent Intel platforms

    While it was difficult to add initial x86_64 support in coreboot, as described in my last blog article how-to-not-add-x86_64-support-to-coreboot it was way easier on real hardware. During the OSFC we did a small hackathon at 9elements and got x86_64 working in coreboot on recent Intel platforms.

    If you want to test new code that deals with low level stuff like enabling x86_64 mode in assembly, it's always good to test it on qemu using KVM. It runs the code in ring 0 instead of emulating every single instruction and thus is very close to bare metal machines.

IPFire is Open Source software, and it going to be Open Source for forever

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Linux
OSS
Security

I feel that this is a pledge that needs repeating since many projects have recently turned their backs at Open Source software. Here is a quick ready why this is very dangerous to the future of the internet.

I am seriously concerned about the future of the Open Source eco system. Times are tough. The world is battling a pandemic and many companies are in trouble. Some have already shut down, others are close to that and that is a very bad thing in its own right.

Low confidence in business causes that people might be more likely to be made redundant and obviously having a little bit of money on the side would help you sleeping better in the night. But if that money would come from software that you have been developing as a hobby or slightly more than that, I can only tell you: Do not be greedy.

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Open source is still not a business model

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OSS

If you thought 2021 was going to be the year without big drama in the world of open source licensing, you didn’t have to wait long to be disappointed. Two stories have already sprung up in the first few weeks of the year. They’re independent, but related. Both of them remind us that open source is a development model, not a business model.

A few years ago, it seemed like I couldn’t go to any sysadmin/DevOps conference or meetup without hearing about the “ELK stack“. ELK stands for the three pieces of software involved: Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. Because it provided powerful aggregation, search, and visualization of arbitrary log files, it became very popular. This also meant that Amazon Web Services (AWS) saw value in providing an Elasticsearch service.

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Why KubeEdge is my favorite open source project of 2020

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OSS

I believe edge computing, which "brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed to improve response times and save bandwidth," is the next major phase of technology adoption. The widespread use of mobile devices and wearable gadgets and the availability of free city-wide WiFi in some areas create a lot of data that can provide many advantages if used properly. For example, this data can help people fight crime, learn about nearby activities and events, find the best sale price, avoid traffic, and so on.

Gartner says the rapid growth in mobile application adoption requires an edge infrastructure to use the data from these devices to further progress and improve quality of life. Some of the brightest minds are looking for ways to use the rich data generated from our mobile devices. Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. Edge computing can gather data that can help fight the spread of the virus. In the future, mobile devices might warn people about the potential for community infection by providing live updates to their devices based on processing and serving data collected from other devices (using artificial intelligence and machine learning).

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Solus OS 4.1 Released with Brand New Desktop and Other Improvements

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OS
OSS

Free and Open-source Solus OS recently released its most significant upgrade to version 4.1 (Fortitude) and now features a brand new desktop experience, updates to its software stacks, and hardware enablement.

Solus ships with the latest version, Budgie 10.5.1. It was released in October with improvements to the Budgie Menu, IconTracklist, Budgie Desktop Settings, Workspaces, Window Manager, and Raven.

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Signal – Beautiful Secure Multi-Platform Instant Messaging App

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OSS

Signal is a free beautiful, open-source, and secure multi-platform instant messaging application. It features a modern design with controls that are easy to use thanks to its familiar user interface that is consistent across the different platforms.

It employs state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption powered by its open-source ‘Signal Protocol‘ which keeps user communication secure. While there are other instant messaging apps that employ end-to-end encryption, Signal is the only app that doesn’t collect any form of user data thanks to its philosophy against ads, affiliate marketers, and trackers.

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Free/Open Source Software Leftovers

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OSS
  • Open source means surrendering your monopoly over commercial exploitation

    There are ways that you can influence how others use your FOSS software, mainly having to do with making sure that everyone else keeps this same promise. You cannot stop someone from making money from your software, but you can obligate them to share their improvements with everyone else, which you can incorporate back into the original product to make it more compelling for everyone. The GPL family of licenses is designed for this purpose.1

    Furthermore, if your business is a consumer of free and open source software, rather than a producer, you need to be aware that you may be subject to those obligations. It’s not a free lunch: you may be required to return your improvements to the community. FOSS licenses are important, and you should make it your business to understand them, both as a user, contributor, and author of free and open source software.

    FOSS is eating the world, and it’s a very attractive choice for businesses for a good reason. This is the reason. It increases wealth for everyone. Capitalism concerns itself with making monopolies — FOSS instead concerns itself with the socialized creation of software wealth.

  • People of WordPress: Thelma Mutete – WordPress.org

    From a young age Thelma was encouraged by her father to ‘work hard, and dream big’. In High School, she pursued a career in Computer Science. She said: “I did not know what I would be doing or how I would get there but I just knew that I was going to pursue a career in information technology.”

    She wrote her first line of code at the age of 16 living in Zimbabwe, Africa. This was to mark the beginning of her enthusiasm for computer programming.

    When she joined the school’s computer class, Thelma thought she would learn Excel and Word. Instead, the assignment was to write her first program in C. She said: “It was not easy, but it was very exciting. l remember writing up simple code for a Video Club – a check-in/out for VHS tapes and CDs. Thus began my fascination with computers.”

    Seven years later, she went on to university to study for a Bachelors in Business Management and Information Technology. Her third year internship was at a local web design and hosting company. Though she had hoped her placement would be at a local bank or telecommunications company, the chance to discover website design turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.

    In 2017, Thelma went on to work for a company designing websites using HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript and Joomla. She had heard about WordPress but had not used it. She recalls: “People have this misconception that WordPress is not for real developers and it is not secure and at that time I was one of those people.”

  • Google forcing users to Chrome after appearance of Edge

    ANALYSIS Google's recent move to limit the use of its APIs in Chrome, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, appears to be driven by the launch of Microsoft's Edge browser based on the open-source version of Chrome, known as Chromium.

  • A license change for Nmap

    It may be kind of an obvious statement, but licensing terms matter in our communities. Even a misplaced word or three can be fatal for a license, which is part of the motivation for the efforts to reduce license proliferation in free-software projects. Over the last few months, various distribution projects have been discussing changes made to the license for the Nmap network scanner; those changes seemed to be adding restrictions that would make the software non-free, though that was not the intent. But the incident does serve to show the importance of license clarity.

    On October 3, Nmap 7.90 was released; it came with a new license, the Nmap Public Source License (NPSL) version 0.92. The link here goes to the Wayback Machine as the usual location for the NPSL was updated to version 0.93 in mid-January. Previous versions of Nmap were available under the GPLv2, with some additional wording with regard to the project's definition of a "derivative work".

    As part of the release announcement and changelog for Nmap 7.90, the license change was made openly: "Upgraded the Nmap license [from] a sort of hacked-up version of GPLv2 to a cleaner and better organized version (still based on GPLv2) now called the Nmap Public Source License to avoid confusion." It did not take long for distributions to start noticing and reacting to the change.

  • Linux Foundation's Joshipura: Disaggregation is at the heart of open source, cloud-native and edge

    While disaggregation's roots in the telecom industry are deeper than shiny new concepts such as cloud-native and ORAN, it's foundational to open source and those new technologies, according to the Linux Foundation's Aprit Joshipura.

    During a Wednesday keynote address for FierceTelecom Winter Blitz Week, Joshipura defined disaggregation as the separation of hardware and software, as well as the separation of horizontal layers of software.

    Network disaggregation is "kind of old news," he said.

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More in Tux Machines

New in Linux 5.12

  • Linux 5.12 To Allow Voltage/Temperature Reporting On Some ASRock Motherboards - Phoronix

    Voltage, temperature, and fan speed reporting among desktop motherboards under Linux remains one of the unfortunate areas even in 2021... Many SIO ICs remain publicly undocumented and the Linux driver support is often left up to the community and usually through reverse-engineering. Thus the mainline Linux kernel support is left to suffer especially among newer desktop motherboards.

  • [Older] F2FS With Linux 5.12 To Allow Configuring Compression Level

    While the Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) allows selecting between your choice of optional compression algorithms like LZO, LZ4, and Zstd -- plus even specifying specific file extensions to optionally limit the transparent file-system compression to -- it doesn't allow easily specifying a compression level. That is fortunately set to change with the Linux 5.12 kernel this spring. Queued now into the F2FS "dev" tree ahead of the Linux 5.12 merge window is a patch that's been floating around for some weeks to allow easily configuring the compression level. The compress_algorithm mount option is expanded to allow also specifying a level, such that the format supported is [algorithm]:[level] should you want to override any level preference like with the LZ4 and Zstd compression algorithms.

Security and Proprietary Software

  • diffoscope 165 released

    The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 165. This version includes the following changes:

    [ Dimitrios Apostolou ]
    * Introduce the --no-acl and --no-xattr arguments [later collapsed to
      --extended-filesystem-attributes] to improve performance.
    * Avoid calling the external stat command.
    
    [ Chris Lamb ]
    * Collapse --acl and --xattr into --extended-filesystem-attributes to cover
      all of these extended attributes, defaulting the new option to false (ie.
      to not check these very expensive external calls).
    
    [ Mattia Rizzolo ]
    * Override several lintian warnings regarding prebuilt binaries in the
    * source.
    * Add a pytest.ini file to explicitly use Junit's xunit2 format.
    * Ignore the Python DeprecationWarning message regarding the `imp` module
      deprecation as it comes from a third-party library.
    * debian/rules: filter the content of the d/*.substvars files

  • SonicWall hardware VPNs hit by worst-case 0-zero-day-exploit attacks

    “…have information about hacking of a well-known firewall vendor and other security products by this they are silent and do not release press releases for their clients who are under attack due to several 0 days in particular very large companies are vulnerable technology companies,” BleepingComputer was told via email.

  • Cyber Firm SonicWall Says It Was Victim of ‘Sophisticated’ Hack

    The Silicon Valley-based company said in a statement that the two products compromised provide users with remote access to internal resources.

    The attackers exploited so-called “zero days” -- a newly discovered software flaw -- on certain SonicWall remote access products, the company said in a statement.

  • Former manager of Microsoft Taiwan investigated for fraud

    A former manager at the Taiwanese branch of software giant Microsoft was questioned Friday (Jan. 22) about an alleged fraud scam directed against the company.

    In 2016 and 2017, Chang Ming-fang (張銘芳) allegedly colluded with managers of other companies to forge orders to obtain discounts and products at lower prices, UDN reported.

  • School laptops sent by government arrive loaded with malware [iophk: Windows TCO]

    A number of the devices were found to be infected with a "self-propagating network worm", according to the forum, and they also appeared to be contacting Russian servers, one teacher wrote. The Windows-based laptops were specifically infected with Gamarue.1, a worm Microsoft identified in 2012.

  • Ransomware provides the perfect cover

    Look at any list of security challenges that CISOs are most concerned about and you’ll consistently find ransomware on them. It’s no wonder: ransomware attacks cripple organizations due to the costs of downtime, recovery, regulatory penalties, and lost revenue. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have added an extra sting to these attacks: they are using ransomware as a smokescreen to divert security teams from other clandestine activities behind the scenes.

    Attackers are using the noise of ransomware to their advantage as it provides the perfect cover to distract attention so they can take aim at their real target: exfiltrating IP [sic], research, and other valuable data from the corporate network.

  • Global ransom DDoS extortionists are retargeting companies

    According to Radware, companies that received this letter also received threats in August and September 2020. Security researchers’ analysis of this new wave of ransom letters suggested that the same threat actors from the middle of 2020 are behind these malicious communications.

    When the DDoS extortion campaign started in August of 2020, a single Bitcoin was worth approximately $10,000. It’s now worth roughly $30,000. The attackers cited this in the latest round of ransom letters, and it represents the impact the rising price of Bitcoin is having on the threat landscape.

    A few hours after receiving the message, organizations were hit by DDoS attacks that exceeded 200 Gbps and lasted over nine hours without slowdown or interruption. A maximum attack size of 237 Gbps was reached with a total duration of nearly 10 hours, the alert warned.

  • Boeing 737 MAX is a reminder of the REAL problem with software | Stop at Zona-M

    And that problem almost never is software.

7 Linux Distros to Look Forward in 2021

Here is a list of most anticipated Linux distributions you should keep an eye on in the year 2021. Read more

Games Leftovers

  • Gaming Like It's 1925: Last Week To Join The Public Domain Game Jam!

    Sign up for the Public Domain Game Jam on itch.io »

  • ujoy(4) added to -current

    With the following commit, Thomas Frohwein (thfr@) added a joystick/gamecontroller driver to -current: [...]

  • The First Online Conference Is Happening Today For The Godot Game Engine - Phoronix

    For those interested in Godot as the premiere open-source 2D/3D game engine or just looking for some interesting technical talks to enjoy this weekend, the first GodotCon Online is today. GodotCon 2021 is the open-source game engine's first entirely online conference for developers, users, and other contributors to this promising open-source project. The YouTube-based event has been running from 8:45 UTC today until 16:00 UTC, but fear not if you missed out as you can already go back and listen to the prior talks in the stream. The recordings will remain available for those wanting to enjoy it in the days ahead. All of the content is free of charge.