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OSS

Best open source help desk software

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The help desk market is crowded and dominated by player like Zendesk, Salesforce and Spiceworks, but there are some solid open source alternatives for smaller businesses with the time and patience.

A good piece of help desk software should allow any business to log, track and respond to customer support queries across a range of platforms.

Open source solutions may not be as feature rich or fully formed out of the box, and they won't look as good as Zendesk or Salesforce, but they give great customisation options and are much more cost effective than closed source solutions.

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Openwashing Apple and Microsoft Proprietary Frameworks/Services

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Openwashing Cars

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  • Open source: sharing patents to speed up innovation

    Adjusting to climate change will require a lot of good ideas. The need to develop more sustainable forms of industry in the decades ahead demands vision and ingenuity. Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, believes he has found a way for companies to share their breakthroughs and speed up innovation.

    Fond of a bold gesture, the carmaker and space privateer announced back in 2014 that Tesla would make its patents on electric vehicle technology freely available, dropping the threat of lawsuits over its intellectual property (IP). Mr Musk argued the removal of pesky legal barriers would help “accelerate the advent of sustainable transport”.
    The stunning move has already had an impact. Toyota has followed Tesla by sharing more than 5,600 patents related to hydrogen fuel cell cars, making them available royalty free. Ford has also decided to allow competitors to use its own electric vehicle-related patents, provided they are willing to pay for licences.

    Could Telsa’s audacious strategy signal a more open approach to patents among leading innovators? And if more major companies should decide to adopt a carefree attitude to IP, what are the risks involved?

  • Autonomous car platform Apollo doesn't want you to reinvent the wheel

    Open source technologies are solving many of our most pressing problems, in part because the open source model of cooperation, collaboration, and almost endless iteration creates an environment where problems are more readily solved. As the adage goes, "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."

    However, self-driving vehicle technology is one rapidly growing area that hasn't been greatly influenced by open source. Most of today's autonomous vehicles, including those from Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo, Uber, and Google, ride on proprietary technology, as companies seek to be the first to deliver a successful solution. That changed recently with the launch of Baidu's Apollo.

OSS Leftovers

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  • Open source crucial to Orange as it prepares for ONAP deployment

    Orange has long played a key part in the testing and adoption of ONAP, dating back to when its ECOMP predecessor was created by AT&T as a platform for managing a software-defined network. The move to open source and its development as the ONAP project has made the platform a key component of the new telco open networking movement. But why should other telcos look to ONAP as they embark on their network transformation strategies, and how does it help enable the automated network that will lead to new business opportunities?

  • Lessons from OpenStack Telemetry: Deflation

    At some point, the rules relaxed on new projects addition with the Big Tent initiative, allowing us to rename ourselves to the OpenStack Telemetry team and splitting Ceilometer into several subprojects: Aodh (alarm evaluation functionality) and Panko (events storage). Gnocchi was able to join the OpenStack Telemetry party for its first anniversary.

  • Dev-tools in 2018

    This is a bit late (how is it the middle of April already?!), but the dev-tools team has lots of exciting plans for 2018 and I want to talk about them!

    [...]

    We're creating two new teams - Rustdoc, and IDEs and editors - and going to work more closely with the Cargo team. We're also spinning up a bunch of working groups. These are more focused, less formal teams, they are dedicated to a single tool or task, rather than to strategy and decision making. Primarily they are a way to let people working on a tool work more effectively. The dev-tools team will continue to coordinate work and keep track of the big picture.

  • Nonny de la Peña & the Power of Immersive Storytelling

    This week, we’re highlighting VR’s groundbreaking potential to take audiences inside stories with a four part video series. There aren’t many examples of creators doing that more effectively and powerfully than Nonny de la Peña.

    Nonny de la Peña is a former correspondent for Newsweek, the New York Times and other major outlets. For more than a decade now, de la Peña has been focused on merging her passion for documentary filmmaking with a deep-seeded expertise in VR. She essentially invented the field of “immersive journalism” through her company, Emblematic Group.

  • Collabora Online 3.2 Brings More Powerful Features to LibreOffice in the Cloud

    Michael Meeks of the Collabora Productivity has the pleasure of informing Softpedia today on the availability of Collabora Online 3.2, the second point release of the Collabora Online 3 series that promises yet another layer of new features and improvements to the enterprise-ready, cloud-based office suite.

    Based on the LibreOffice 6.1 open-source office suite, Collabora Online 3.2 introduces support for creating and inserting charts into Writer and Impress documents, and the ability to validate data in Calc, which might come in handy for engineers who want to do a final assembly inspection on their tablets, as well as to collaborate with their colleagues to ensure all tests are passed by a complete product.

  • Oracle demands dev tear down iOS app that has 'JavaScript' in its name

    Oracle, claims developer Zhongmin Steven Guo, has demanded that Apple remove an app he created because it contains the trademarked term "JavaScript."

    The app in question, published by Guo's Tyanya Software LLC – which appears to be more a liability shield than a thriving software business – is titled "HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, HTML, Snippet Editor."

    The name, Guo explains in a Hacker News comment, was chosen in an effort to "game the App Store ranking by adding all the keywords to the app name."

  • FoundationDB is Open Source

    Starting today, FoundationDB starts its next chapter as an open source project!

    FoundationDB is a distributed datastore, designed from the ground up to be deployed on clusters of commodity hardware. These clusters scale well as you add machines, automatically heal from hardware failures, and have a simple API. The key-value store supports fully global, cross-row ACID transactions. That's the highest level of data consistency possible. What does this mean for you? Strong consistency makes your application code simpler, your data models more efficient, and your failure modes less surprising.

    The great thing is that FoundationDB is already well-established — it's actively developed and has years of production use. We intend to drive FoundationDB forward as a community project and we welcome your participation.

  • Apple Open Sources FoundationDB, Releases Code On GitHub

    Back in 2015, Apple bought FoundationDB, a NoSQL database company. It created a distributed database of the same name designed to deal with large masses of structured data across clusters of servers. In a recent development, Apple has shared the FoundationDB core and turned it into an open source project.

  • Microsoft offers limited-time 30 percent discount on SQL Server on Linux [Ed: Microsoft is googlebombing Linux again and as I predicted it would be done only to help Microsoft sell malicious proprietary software. Mary Jo Foley is like Microsoft marketing at CBS. In this case she promotes proprietary software.
    She also says "SQL Server on Linux" (no such thing exists, it's an illusion).]
  • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: April 20th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

    Help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. Every Friday we meet on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

    Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

  • Researchers deliver open-source simulator for cyber physical systems

    Cyber physical systems (CPS) are attracting more attention than ever thanks to the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its combination with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the cloud. These interacting networks of physical and computational components will provide the foundation of critical infrastructure, form the basis of ‘smart’ services, and improve the quality of life in areas ranging from energy and environment to transportation and healthcare.

    CPS technologies are already transforming the way people interact with engineered systems in the ‘real’ or ‘physical’ world, just as the internet has transformed the way people interact with information. Yet, due to their complexity, the developers of CPS face a major problem: the lack of simulation tools and models for their design and analysis.

  • Creators face an evolving challenge protecting IP

    The GNU General Public License, under which the operating system Linux and much open-source software is shared, is another example of copyleft.

    Open-source software, where programs are worked on together by loosely connected developer communities rather than traditional software houses, show one way IP can be shared without stifling innovation. Linux, the mobile operating system Android and the database system MySQL have all achieved widespread adoption, and are continually innovating despite, or perhaps because of, being open source.

  • Emerging Tech Speaker Series Talk with Rian Wanstreet

    This is an opportunity for the open source community, as alternative technologies and platforms are being developed which provide farmers the ability to farm outside of walled gardens. From open source seed initiatives, to open farm technologies, to data platform cooperatives, there is a small, but growing, collaborative movement that recognizes that farmers are at a critical moment: they can help to establish tools that advance freedom, or accept machines that foster dependencies.

  • Williamson Schools to develop open source social studies curriculum

    The open source science curriculum saved the district about $3.3 million. An open source social studies curriculum may post similar savings, with estimates at about $3.5-4 million, Gaddis said.

  • Large Open-Source Data Set Released to Help Train Algorithms Spot Malware

    For the first time, a large dataset has been released by a security firm to help AI research and training of machine learning models that statically detect malware. The data set released by cybersecurity firm Endgame is called EMBER is a collection of more than a million representations of benign and malicious Windows-portable executable files. Hyrum Anderson, Endgame's technical director of data science who worked on EMBER, says: "This dataset fills a void in the information security machine learning community: a benign/malicious dataset that is large, open and general enough to cover several interesting use cases. ... [We] hope that the dataset, code and baseline model provided by EMBER will help invigorate machine learning research for malware detection, in much the same way that benchmark datasets have advanced computer vision research."

3-D Printing and Open Hardware

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Hardware
OSS
  • Open Source Innovation Could Put a 3D Bioprinter in Your Living Room

    3D bioprinting traditionally requires high-level expertise, proprietary technology and a five-figure investment. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University setout to change all that. In a paper published earlier this month in HardwareX, the group released the design of a fully functional 3D bioprinter it built by altering a widely available desktop 3D machine. The team’s innovation could be a game changer in terms of the overall accessibility of bioprinting.

  • 3D Printing the SynDaver Open-Source Healthcare Mannequin

    As desktop 3D printers become more robust, reliable, and feature-rich, we are seeing a definite shift in professional use-cases from prototyping to producing final products.

  • Unlock & Talk: Open Source Bootloader & Modem

    Since [Tom Nardi] introduced Hackaday readers to postmarketOS, the team has made progress on compiling a standard bootloader for MediaTek System-on-Chip (SoC) processors. Many Android phones use the MIT-licensed Little Kernel as the base of their bootloader and then apply custom closed-source modifications. [McBitter] has worked to eliminate this closed-source code by porting Little Kernel to the MT6735P used in the Coolpad Modena 2. By understanding the modifications MediaTek used for this particular SoC, the postmarketOS team hopes to use their modified, open-source Little Kernel bootloader with other MediaTek-based devices. While progress has been difficult and attempts at using emulators to probe bootloader memory have failed, [McBitter] was able to decode the DRAM configuration settings by searching for a leaked portion of the configuration strings. Now that he can set up the DRAM, there should be few barriers to running Little Kernel.

FoundationDB Source Code Shared

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OSS Leftovers

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  • Prospects for free software in cars

    Car manufacturers, like most companies, navigate a narrow lane between the benefits of using free and open-source software and the perceived or real importance of hiding their trade secrets. Many are using free software in some of the myriad software components that make up a modern car, and even work in consortia to develop free software. At the recent LibrePlanet conference, free-software advocate Jeremiah Foster covered progress in the automotive sector and made an impassioned case for more free software in their embedded systems. Foster has worked in automotive free software for many years and has played a leading role in the GENIVI Alliance, which is dedicated to incorporating free software into in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. He is currently the community manager for the GENIVI Alliance.

    First, Foster talked about the importance of software in modern vehicles. He pointed out that software increasingly becomes the differentiator used to market cars. Horsepower no longer sells these vehicles, Foster says—features do. He claims that some companies even sell the car at cost (the old "razor/blades" or "printer/ink" business model) and make their money on aftermarket apps and features. Companies are finding it effective to get hardware from other manufacturers while improving the user experience through their software. Some of these features contribute to safety (such as alerts that help you drive within the lane or parallel park), and some may be critical, such dashboard icons that warn the driver of electrical system problems or low brake fluid.

  • Productising open source integration

    We asked Lumina Networks’ CEO Andrew Coward, how companies can make best use of open source. “Open source is not a spectator sport,” says Andrew. “Sitting around and waiting for somebody to show up and deliver the equivalent of your existing vendor’s offering is not the right approach. So we work best when our customers are very engaged. And really, it’s all about how you automate things.”

  • Riot: A Distributed Way of Having IRC and VOIP Client and Home Server

    Riot is a free and open source decentralized instant messaging application that can be considered an alternative to Slack. We take a look at features of Riot, installation procedure and usage.

    It’s surprising that many Linux users and open source projects use a proprietary messaging service like Slack. Even we at It’s FOSS use Slack for our internal communication which I don’t like. This is why I came up with the proposal of using an open source alternative to Slack, called Riot.

  • Announcing the 2018 Fractal Hackfest

    For the past few months, I’ve been contributing to a new group messaging app called Fractal. Its aim is to be so good that we can maybe, eventually, finally replace IRC as the primary communication channel for GNOME development.

  • The ticking time bomb: Fake ad blockers in Chrome Web Store

    People searching for a Google Chrome ad blocking extension have to choose from dozens of similarly named extensions. Only few of these are legitimate, most are forks of open source ad blockers trying to attract users with misleading extension names and descriptions. What are these up to? Thanks to Andrey Meshkov we now know what many people already suspected: these extensions are malicious. He found obfuscated code hidden carefully within a manipulated jQuery library that accepted commands from a remote server.

  • Google Chrome now blocks autoplaying video with sound

    Video that plays without audio, or that a user has tapped or clicked on, will still play. On mobile, autoplaying videos will be allowed on sites that have been added as a bookmark to the home screen, while desktop sites that a user frequently actively watches video on will be allowed to autoplay videos with sound as ranked by the firm’s new Media Engagement Index (MEI).

  • Israeli Government Is Open Sourcing Its Software Code

    Just yesterday, we told you about German government’s decision to go ahead with an open source solution for creating its private cloud. The government announced a partnership with Nextcloud, which is a popular open source solutions provider.

    In another encouraging development for the open source enthusiasts, the Israeli government has decided to open source its software code. As a result, the released code will be available to public and free to reuse.

3 tips for organizing your open source project's workflow on GitHub

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Managing an open source project is challenging work, and the challenges grow as a project grows. Eventually, a project may need to meet different requirements and span multiple repositories. These problems aren't technical, but they are important to solve to scale a technical project. Business process management methodologies such as agile and kanban bring a method to the madness. Developers and managers can make realistic decisions for estimating deadlines and team bandwidth with an organized development focus.

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How will the GDPR impact open source communities?

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016, and will be enforced beginning May 25, 2018. The GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC which was designed "to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy."

The aim of the GDPR is to protect the personal data of individuals in the EU in an increasingly data-driven world.

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Linux Kernel 4.15 Reached End of Life, Users Urged to Move to Linux 4.16 Now

After a very busy cycle due to the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, which were publicly disclosed earlier this year and later discovered to put billions of devices using modern processors at risk of attacks, the Linux 4.15 kernel series was released at the of January heavily redesign against two critical hardware bugs. Now, nearly three months and only eighteen maintenance updates later, the Linux 4.15 kernel series reached end of life and it will no longer receive support. As such, all those using a kernel from the Linux 4.15 branch on their GNU/Linux distributions are urged to upgrade to the latest Linux 4.16 kernel series as soon as possible. Read more

LibreOffice 6.1 Lands Mid August 2018, First Bug Hunting Session Starts April 27

Work on the next big release of the widely-used open-source and cross-platform office suite for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems, LibreOffice 6.1, has already begun this week with a focus on revamping the online experience and improving the Writer and Calc components. A first bug hunting session was scheduled for the end of next week, on April 27, 2018, when developers will hack on the first alpha milestone of LibreOffice 6.1, which should be available to download for all supported platforms a few days before the event. During the bug hunting session, devs will try to fix as many bugs as possible. Read more

This Chart Shows How The Radeon RX 580 vs. GeForce GTX 1060 Now Compete Under Linux

It was just last year that open-source RadeonSI/RADV developers were trying to get the Radeon RX 580 "Polaris" GPU to be competitive with the GeForce GTX 1060 as it is under Windows given each GPU's capabilities. We've seen the RX 580 and GTX 1060 dancing under Linux the past few months and yesterday's 20-way GPU comparison with Rise of the Tomb Raider was quite significant -- perhaps most surprising being how well the RX 580 performed. Heck, just one or two years ago it was an accomplishment seeing any official Radeon driver support at-launch for new Linux game releases. So here are some extensive tests looking closer at the GTX 1060 vs. RX 580 battle in this latest Vulkan-powered Linux game port. Read more

Linux 4.9.95

I'm announcing the release of the 4.9.95 kernel. All users of the 4.9 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 4.9.y git tree can be found at: git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.9.y and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser: http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st... Read more