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Open Data and Open Government Partnership

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  • What does open government mean for digital transformation?

    Openness is a critical tenet for democracy. It enables transparency, which enables accountability, which in turn drives better public outcomes and ideally a useful check and balance on power. But openness is also a critical tenet for modern public sectors if they are to be capable of responsiveness and resilience in the face of dramatic and rapid change, and to best ensure evidence-driven policy, programs, and service delivery. As part of this Public Sector Pia Review, I wanted to talk about open government as it applies to digital transformation of the public sector, beyond the usual (but important!) scope of transparency and freedom of information.

    I do recommend you also check out the Open Government Partnership (including Australia’s participation and the community around it), the great work of Open Australia over many years, and the Digital 9 (a collection of governments committed to open digital government), all three of which sit in the interesting intersection of open and digital government. I also encourage you to look closely at how Taiwan is dramatically raising the bar for open inclusive government in a digital world. There are also a lot of initiatives around the non-digital specific world of open government, including the Accountability Roundtable, Transparency International Australia, and many more. I also encourage you to read some of the great case studies that explore the intersection of digital and open government in this report on ‘Upgrading Democracy’ by the Centre for Policy Development from 2009.

  • (the struggle) Towards an open source policy

    Public availability and tracability of results from publically-funded work is a topic that gets more and more attention from funding agencies and scientific policy makers. However, most policies focus on data as the output of research. In this contribution, we focus on research software and we introduce the ASTRON Open Source Policy. Apart from the license used (Apache 2.0), the policy is written as a manual that explains how to license software, when to assign a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and defines that all code should be put in an ASTRON managed repository. The policy has been made publically available, a DOI has been assigned to it and it has been put in a repository to stimulate the ADASS community to start a conversation on how to make our code publically accessible and citable.

  • Philadelphia to dissolve Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

    ODDT’s Open Data team has joined OIT’s centralised data team under Chief Geographic Information/Data Officer, Henry Garie. Content strategists, user experience designers and visual designers are moving to OIT at the end of the year. ODDT developers will also join OIT’s software engineering team, led by the Director of Software Engineering, Dan Lopez.

    ODDT service designers and design researchers will spin off into the Service Design Studio, led by Dragoman. The Studio will work on City-wide process-improvement efforts.

Openwashing Leftovers

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Events: Open Source Summit & Embedded Linux Conference, Hacktoberfest, Red Hat Forum, Supercon

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Red Hat
  • Using Heaptrack and Hotspot

    Some weeks ago at the Open Source Summit & Embedded Linux Conference there was also a talk by David about using heaptrack and hotspot. Since these tools are extremely valuable, I thought I’d blog to make these tools a bit more visible in the KDE community.

  • Hacktoberfest 2019

    I've been marking student submissions in my open source course this weekend, and with only a half-dozen more to do, the procrastinator in me decided a blog post was in order.

    Once again I've asked my students to participate in Hacktoberfest. I wrote about the experience last year, and wanted to give an update on how it went this time.

    I layer a few extra requirements on the students, some of them to deal with things I've learned in the past. For one, I ask them to set some personal goals for the month, and look at each pull request as a chance to progress toward achieving these goals. The students are quite different from one another, which I want to celebrate, and this lets them go in different directions, and move at different paces.

  • Obsidian joins Red Hat Forums in South Africa to highlight the power of open source

    Leading open source technology and services provider Obsidian Systems has confirmed its participation as a silver sponsor of the EMEA Red Hat Forum 2019. This will be held at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town on November 19 and at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg on two days later.

    The Red Hat Forum is an opportunity for business leaders to deep dive into the opportunities represented by technology and technology trends including open source cloud computing, platforms, virtualisation, middleware, storage and system management.

    “We endorse the central theme of the Red Hat Forum which is that in as far as establishing a firm technical foundation for your business, the thinking and rationale around strategy should be flexibility, achieving scale, expansion and clever control,” said Muggie van Staden, Managing Director of Obsidian Systems.

    “Interoperability, adjustability and elasticity – these are the hallmarks of a market that is fast maturing and ready to benefit from hybrid cloud, from Linux and containers, and positioning the business to build using open source infrastructure.”

  • Supercon Keynote: Dr. Megan Wachs On RISC-V

    The RISC-V isn’t a particular chip, but rather it’s a design for how a CPU works, and a standard for the lowest-level language that the machine speaks. In contrast to proprietary CPUs, RISC-V CPUs from disparate vendors can all use the same software tools, unifying and opening their development. Moreover, open hardware implementations for the silicon itself mean that new players can enter the space more easily, bring their unique ideas to life faster, and we’ll all benefit. We can all work together.

    It’s no coincidence that this year’s Supercon badge has two RISC-V cores running in its FPGA fabric. When we went shopping around for an open CPU core design, we had a few complete RISC-V systems to pick from, full compiler and development toolchains to write code for them, and of course, implementations in Verilog ready to flash into the FPGA. The rich, open ecosystem around RISC-V made it a no-brainer for us, just as it does for companies making neural-network peripherals or even commodity microcontrollers. You’ll be seeing a lot more RISC-V systems in the near future, on your workbench and in your pocket.

    We’re tremendously excited to hear more about the project from the inside, and absolutely looking forward to Megan’s keynote speech!

OSS Leftovers

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  • What is Datashare? FAQs about our document analysis software

    Datashare is free, open-source software built by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that helps users better analyze information, in all its forms.

    Datashare allows you to index, search, star, tag, filter and analyze the key content in your own documents – whatever the format (text, spreadsheets, pdf, slides, emails, etc). Datashare will automatically highlight and extract the names of people, locations and organizations in your documents, as well as email addresses.


    Datashare won’t give you access to any of ICIJ’s leaks or data, of course. But it will help you search through your own documents.

    Datashare has been developed by ICIJ’s tech team under an open-source license. Anyone can read the code, use it and suggest contributions.

  • The future of innovation is collaboration — Tech Leaders Summit keynote 2019

    The culmination of innovation over the last 50 years has been the invention of internet — Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s creation. However, in its nascent stage, connectivity hindered the convergence of the internet with tech. Brock pointed to smart tablets and fridges — these are nothing new and existed in the 1990s, but were unable to scale because of a lack of connectivity.

    What was the game changer? According to Brock, it was the arrival of the smartphone, specifically Apple’s iPhone in 2007. “You have to give credit where credit is due,” she said. The arrival of the smartphone was the beginning of interactive and converged devices. Since 2007 and the emergence of the smartphone, the number of applications and connected interactions has skyrocketed, and data has become the new oil. Where has all this taken place? For the most part, in the cloud; which is now “largely outsourced,” explained Brock, moving onto the next part of her keynote.

    Innovation in the cloud has stemmed from open source. “Red Hat,” explained Brock, “went hammer and tong against Canonical, but both collaborated on Open Stack [the open source software platform.

    “It created an environment where competitors could sit at the table together, something I call, coopetition.”

    But, there was another factor stifling this innovation in the cloud… software patents.

  • The challenge of making money through open source software [Ed: Overlooking the point that proprietary software can also be extremely difficult to profit from. What proportion of 'secret code' programs actually make money? Very tiny.]
  • Waves Releases WavesFX, a New Open Source Crypto Wallet for Desktop

    Waves is an open blockchain platform and toolset development for Web 3.0 applications and decentralized solutions. The platform has recently introduced WavesFX, its new wallet product, according to CryptoNinjas.

  • Binance CEO: New Open-Source Wallet Solution Will “Reshape the Landscape” of Custodial Services

    Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, is known for making big strides in the cryptocurrency industry, and he seems to have a lot of faith in their new solution available to wallet providers and custodians. In fact, CZ states that the open-sourced option is “far superior” to the multi-sig security presently offered by many custodians, and he believes that its introduction will reshape the entire industry.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® SINGA™ as a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache® SINGA™ as a Top-Level Project (TLP).

    Apache SINGA is an Open Source distributed, scalable machine learning library. The project was originally developed in 2014 at the National University of Singapore, and was submitted to the Apache Incubator in March 2015.

  • Chinese companies fuelling OpenStack adoption in APAC

    Led by Chinese tech giants such as Tencent and China Mobile, the Asia-Pacific region will account for a third of the global OpenStack market by 2023

  • OpenStack Foundation and China Electronics Standardization Institute Create Partnership to Advance OpenStack in China

    Today at the Open Infrastructure Summit in Shanghai, representatives from the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) and China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) announced a strategic partnership to implement new technology, assessment and certification for OpenStack software in China. The collaboration highlights the validation of OpenStack as the open source infrastructure cloud standard in China partnered with the OSF's commitment to the growing OpenStack community in China, a region expecting significant growth in a global market valued at 53.9 billion yuan ($7.7 billion USD) in 2023.

  • Capitalize on the advantages of open source software in IT

    Another advantage of open source software is always a major business factor: cost. Open source tools are inherently free to use, which means businesses can reallocate their budget to hire better talent to use and support the tools. For instance, Git is a completely free open source IT tool that developers commonly use for software version control.

    In addition, open source tools offer enterprises the ability to further customize software to meet their specific needs.

  • NearForm clocks in with hackable open source JavaScript AI smartwatch

    The Irish county town of Kilkenny is known for its medieval buildings and castle, its rich history of brewing, its distinctive black marble and as the home of White House architect James Hoban.

    In more recent times, Kilkenny has become known as the home of the NodeConf EU conference, a coming together of Node.js specialists who all gravitate towards this open source cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment that executes JavaScript code outside of a browser.

    This year’s event saw NearForm Research and Espruino surprise delegates by giving out something better than plain old lanyards and name tags — the two companies came together to offer an arguably rather more exciting Machine Learning (ML)-driven smartwatch to act as attendee’s conference badges.

    Bangle.js is said to be the first open source JavaScript (JS) smartwatch to be powered by Machine Learning via Google’s TensorFlow Lite. It is hoped to be a step towards the mainstream adoption of JS and ML in low cost consumer electronics.

  • Deezer Releases AI Tool That Quickly Isolates Vocal Tracks
  • Deezer releases open-source AI tool that splits vocals from finished tracks

County unveils new election machines

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The machine is “not a bad one,” said Coastsider Brent Turner, secretary of the California Association of Voting Officials, a nonprofit whose mission is to develop new voting systems that utilize open-source software.

But Turner said he objects to the system “because it is not open-source — the public has no oversight regarding the software code.”

Some reports suggest closed-source voting system vendors like DVS use vulnerable software, have outdated equipment, and provide faulty voting machines.

“So, we don’t know if the final tabulation is correct or not,” said Turner. “There’s no way to subpoena that code.”

Irizarry said the new DVS machines address this problem.

“This system leaves a paper-audit trail and a digital one,” said Irizarry. “We will know every step of the way who touched that ballot, what scanner scanned it, what vote center processed it, and how it was adjudicated.”

However, multiple reports suggest these new machines still have vulnerabilities: They auto-fill the parts of any ballot that are left blank, and they do not allow voters to verify that the information in the printed barcode matches their voting choices.

Support for open-source voting has gained traction over the years. In a letter sent to the country’s three largest voting system vendors, including DVS, four U.S. senators noted the potential for open-source voting systems to overcome technical vulnerabilities in existing voting machines.

Government agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are currently funding research and development of an open-source voting system. Microsoft, in an effort to make elections more secure and transparent, recently released ElectionGuard, an open-source voting platform for handling voting data.

The security of open-source voting systems, however, depends on its users.

According to a 2018 report by a San Francisco civil grand jury, since the source code in an open-source project is available for anybody to inspect, it becomes easier to find vulnerabilities and potentially exploit them. However, the larger the number of people inspecting and maintaining the source code, the more secure the system will be. A 2016 report by the University of Pennsylvania concluded the same.

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Here's why Indians are joining open-source social network Mastodon in large numbers

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Mastodon is a "free and open-source project" that is Indian cyberspace's latest obsession. The network, named after an extinct elephant-like mammal (reflected in its logo), was launched almost two years ago.


Mastodon is clean and clutter-free, and the social network has gained immense popularity in the country over the past 24-36 hours. Local search interest has spiked significantly November 6 onward, according to Google Trends.

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OSS Leftovers

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  • The best LibreOffice Extensions. Remove Duplicates Fast

    There are many good extensions for LibreOffice. You can find it all on site I want to tell you about the best from it.
    So, there is an enhancement 85976 about adding of Remove Duplicates feature to LibreOffice Calc. That is really useful function and LibreOffice Calc isn't having it now.
    However, there is Remove Duplicates Fast extension that adds need feature to Calc. It's a fork of another extension Remove Duplicates.

  • Open source tool predicts which security vulnerabilities are most likely to be exploited [Ed: When the source is visible at least you know what you are dealing with]

    With thousands of vulnerabilities being discovered and filed every year, one of the greatest challenges security teams face is knowing which threats to deal with first. And untimely responses can result in irreversible security incidents.

    A new open source utility released by Kenna Security last week aims to help security teams decide which vulnerabilities will cause a greater threat to their organization and need urgent attention.

  • NUS team's AI system first from South-east Asia to enter ranks of world's top open-source software
  • NUS team's AI system first from South-east Asia to enter ranks of world's top open-source software

    An artificial intelligence (AI) engine built by a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has become the first software tool from South-east Asia to be ranked in the top 300 projects by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the largest open-source software community in the world.

    The software, called Apache Singa, joined the ranks of other Apache Top-Level Projects in October.

    It is a platform for deep learning, the branch of AI that attempts to most closely approach the workings of a human brain. This means the software can learn on its own and does not need to be fed all the answers by a human.

  • PulseAudio Adds GStreamer-Powered RTP Implementation

    As an alternative to PulseAudio's existing RTP implementation, a new GStreamer-based Real-Time Transport Protocol has been introduced.

    PulseAudio already had its own RTP implementation but now a new GStreamer-based implementation has been added that is better than their own. By making use of the GStreamer code, PulseAudio's RTP support can now support more advanced features like RTCP, non-PCM audio, and opening up the door to synchronized playback.

  • Rav1e 0.1 Marks This Rust-Written AV1 Encoder's First Official Release

    Rav1e has been in development for more than one year now as the "safest and fastest AV1 encoder" thanks to being written in Rust while now their first official release is available.

    There have been weekly snapshots that have brought interesting features recently like SSSE3 support and AArch64 NEON along with SSE4.1 support and other x86 optimizations while now they feel this AV1 open-source encoder is mature enough for the first official release. This rav1e 0.1 release was made on Friday during the Video Developer Days 2019 event in Tokyo.

  • The value of open source in next generation networks

    Where is the value of open source in next generation networks, where are the locations that open source can be leveraged to deliver functional value in 5G and MEC networks, and what are the main deployment challenges that CSPs need to consider? Doing open source well is challenging, so what have CSPs learned from early deployments? Beyond technological changes to the network, the service provider internal culture also plays a crucial role for successful implementation of open source.

Openwashing Leftovers

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Open Data for Genome Research: Multiplex Assays of Variant Effect (MAVE)

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  • New, open-source database improves genomics research collaboration

    Sharing datasets that reveal the function of genomic variants in health and disease has become easier, with the launch of a new, open-source database developed by Australian and North American researchers.

    The MaveDB database is a repository for data from experiments - called multiplex assays of variant effect (MAVEs) - that systematically measure the impact of thousands of individual sequence variants on a gene's function.

  • Open-source database enhances genomics research collaboration

    An open-source database of genomic variants in health and disease has been developed by Australian and North American researchers to simplify the sharing of this information between academics.

    The MaveDB database stores data from multiplex assays of variant effect (MAVE) experiments, which systematically measure the impact of thousands of individual sequence variants on a gene’s function. It was developed by researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, as well as the University of Washington in the US and the University of Toronto in Canada.

  • Open-source Database Enhances Genomics Research Collaboration

    The MaveDB database is a repository for data from experiments – called multiplex assays of variant effect (MAVEs) – that systematically measure the impact of thousands of individual sequence variants on a gene’s function. These experiments can provide valuable information about how proteins produced by that gene function, how variants in that gene may contribute to disease, and how to engineer synthetic versions of naturally occurring proteins that are more effective than the original protein.

    MaveDB is the first publicly accessible database for this data. Its development was led by Alan Rubin from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia, Associate Professor Douglas Fowler from the University of Washington, US, and Professor Frederick Roth from the University of Toronto, Canada.

A cure for unfair competition in open source

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In many ways, open source has won. Most people know that open source provides better quality software, at a lower cost, without vendor lock-in. But despite open source being widely adopted and more than 30 years old, scaling and sustaining open source projects remain challenging.

Not a week goes by that I don’t get asked a question about open source sustainability. How do you get others to contribute? How do you get funding for open source work? But also, how do you protect against others monetizing your open source work without contributing back? And what do you think of MongoDB, Cockroach Labs, or Elastic changing their license away from open source?

This article (in five parts) talks about how we can make it easier to scale and sustain open source projects, open source companies, and open source ecosystems.

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