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OSS

Will Microsoft’s Embrace Smother GitHub?

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Microsoft
OSS

Microsoft has had an adversarial relationship with the open-source community. The company viewed the free Open Office software and the Linux operating system—which compete with Microsoft Office and Windows, respectively—as grave threats.

In 2001 Windows chief Jim Allchin said: “Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer.” That same year CEO Steve Ballmer said “Linux is a cancer.” Microsoft attempted to use copyright law to crush open source in the courts.

When these tactics failed, Microsoft decided if you can’t beat them, join them. It incorporated Linux and other open-source code into its servers in 2014. By 2016 Microsoft had more programmers contributing code to GitHub than any other company.

The GitHub merger might reflect Microsoft’s “embrace, extend and extinguish” strategy for dominating its competitors. After all, GitHub hosts not only open-source software and Microsoft software but also the open-source projects of other companies, including Oracle, IBM, and Amazon Web Services.

With GitHub, Microsoft could restrict a crucial platform for its rivals, mine data about competitors’ activities, target ads toward users, or restrict free services. Its control could lead to a sort of surveillance of innovative activity, giving it a unique, macro-scaled insight into software development.

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Why Open Source Matters to Alibaba

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Interviews
OSS

At present, Alibaba has more than 150 open source projects. We work on the open source projects with the aim to contribute to the industry and solve real-life problems. We share our experiences with the rest of the open source enthusiasts.

As a long-time contributor to various other open source projects, Alibaba and Alibaba Cloud have fostered a culture that encourages our teams to voluntarily contribute to various open source projects, either by sharing experiences or helping others to solve problems. Sharing and contributing to the community altogether is in the DNA of Alibaba’s culture.

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OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • Take your computer on the go with Portable Apps

    Portable Apps lets you access all your go-to apps anywhere, anytime—regardless of whether you are using your own computer or not.

    With more than 400 apps, 980 million downloads, and available in 55 languages, Portable Apps allows you to access your favorites via a USB flash drive, a cloud folder, or just about any portable storage device. Portable Apps is like having your computer without having your computer.

    Portable Apps is released under the GPL and MIT licenses, and it is compatible with Windows XP through 10, or Linux and MacOS via Wine or CrossOver. Developed by John T. Haller, a computer science major at Binghamton University and the developer of Portable Firefox, Portable Apps launched in November 2006 and has been in development since 2004. The current version, 15.0.2, was released on May 17, 2018. Plus, Portable Apps is supported by 200 volunteers and 220,000 community members.

  • 7 tips for promoting your project and community on Twitter
  • Software Heritage Archive Goes Live

    The importance of preserving software, and in particular open source software, is something I've been writing about for nearly a decade.

  • How Tech Enterprises Handle Big Data On Open Source And Ensure User Privacy
  • Cheaper textbooks and better access for higher ed students

    Recently at the Texas Linux Fest, Ross Reedstrom introduced me to OpenStax. I've heard of a lot of open educational resources (OER) but not this particular one. It's certainly a project I'm going to follow now.

    OpenStax was founded by Rice University engineering professor Richard Baraniuk in 1999 under the name Connexions. It started like most open source projects: To scratch an itch and address a problem. In this case, Rice University wanted to do something on the web related to education. A grad student suggested that they take the model used to develop Linux and apply it to create textbooks, and Connexions was born. They decided on a license that allowed for reuse with attribution—in essence, this was the first use of the Creative Commons license even before the license existed.

  • MIT to conduct an environmental scan of open source publishing

    The MIT Press has announced the award of a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a landscape analysis and code audit of all known open source (OS) authoring and publishing platforms. By conducting this environmental scan, the MIT Press will be providing a comprehensive and critical analysis of OS book production and hosting systems to the scholarly publishing community.

    As noted by Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press, “Open source book production and publishing platforms are a key strategic issue for not-for-profit scholarly publishers, and the wide-spread utilization of these systems would foster greater institutional and organizational self-determination. The MIT Press has long been a leader in digital publishing. We are very grateful for the generous support from The Mellon Foundation for this project.”

Microsoft, FOSS FUD, and Openwashing

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Microsoft
OSS

PulseAudio 12 Open-Source Sound System Released with AirPlay, A2DP Improvements

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OSS

Highlights of PulseAudio 12.0 include better latency reporting with the A2DP Bluetooth profile, which also improves A/V sync, more accurate latency reporting on AirPlay devices, the ability to prioritize HDMI output over S/PDIF output, HSP support for more Bluetooth headsets, and the ability to disable input and output on macOS.

PulseAudio 12.0 also adds support for Steelseries Arctis 7 USB headset stereo output and Dell's Thunderbolt Dock TB16 speaker jack, a new "dereverb" option that can be used for the Speex echo canceller, a new module-always-source module, better detection of Native Instruments Traktor Audio 6, and improved digital input support for various USB sound cards.

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EU Law Threatens Free/Open Source Software

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OSS
Legal
  • EU votes on copyright law that could kill memes and open source software

    The European Union has passed an initial vote in favour of the Copyright Directive, a legislation experts say "threatens the internet".

    As reported by Wired, the mandate is designed to update internet copyright law but contains two controversial clauses. Ultimately, it could force prominent online platforms to censor their users' content before it's posted—which could impact everyone from meme creators to open source software designers and livestreamers.

    Despite passing a vote yesterday—held by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)—the directive needs parliamentary approval before becoming law.

  • The EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Vote on Directive on Copyright, David Clark Cause and IBM's Call for Code, Equus' New WHITEBOX OPEN Server Platform and More

    Yesterday the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of "the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market", Creative Commons reports. The provisions include the Article 11 "link tax", which requires "anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online." The committee also voted in favor of Article 13, which "requires online platforms to monitor their users' uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering." There are still several steps to get through before the Directive is completely adopted. See EDRi for more information.

  • GitHub: Changes to EU copyright law could derail open source distribution
  • The E.U. votes to make memes essentially illegal

    On Wednesday, European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted to essentially make memes illegal. The decision came as part of the approval process for the innocuously named “Article 13,” which would require larger sites to scan all user uploads using content recognition technology in an attempt to flag any and all remotely copyrighted material in photos, text, music, videos, and more. Meaning memes using stills from copyrighted films could be auto-blocked, along with remixes of viral videos, and basically anything that’s popular on live-streaming sites like Twitch.

  • Europe takes step towards 'censorship machines' for internet uploads

    A key committee at the European Parliament has voted for a new provision in a legislative act that forces tech giants and other online platforms to share revenues with publishers. It is known as Article 13, and is part of an updating of the Copyright Directive.

    Article 13 proposes that large websites use “content recognition technologies” to scan for copyrighted materials, though it doesn’t explain how this works in practice. This means texts, sounds and even code which get uploaded have to go through an automated filtering system, potentially threatening the creation of memes and open-source software developers.

The EC’s Expected Decision Against Android Is an Unfortunate Attack on Open Source Software

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Android
OSS
Legal

The European Commission (“EC”) is preparing to release its decision against Android, and its framing of the issues makes clear that successful open source software will have a hard time in Europe. In its Statement of Objections, the Commission signaled that Apple’s iOS, Android’s fiercest rival, would be excluded from the market definition because it is closed source and not available to other hardware makers. The decision is expected to declare unlawful strategies to monetize a free product, provide a consistent user experience to customers expecting the Google brand, and to maintain code consistency to minimize problems for developers using the platform. The decision is not expected to contain any indication on how open source platform developers can solve these problems that are fundamental to their success.

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6 Open Source AI Tools to Know

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OSS

In open source, no matter how original your own idea seems, it is always wise to see if someone else has already executed the concept. For organizations and individuals interested in leveraging the growing power of artificial intelligence (AI), many of the best tools are not only free and open source, but, in many cases, have already been hardened and tested.

At leading companies and non-profit organizations, AI is a huge priority, and many of these companies and organizations are open sourcing valuable tools. Here is a sampling of free, open source AI tools available to anyone.

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Zapcc Liberated, HMM and GPL

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Development
OSS
Legal
  • Zapcc high-speed C++ compiler now open source

    Zapcc, a caching C++ compiler built for speed, has gone open source.

    Ceemple Software, Zapcc’s builder, claims the compiler offers dramatic improvements in both incremental and full builds compared to building with Clang 4.0 and Clang 5.0. Based on heavily modified code from the Clang compiler project, Zapcc uses an in-memory compilation cache in a client-server architecture. All compilation information is remembered between runs.

  • Heterogeneous memory management meets EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()

    One of the many longstanding — though unwritten — rules of kernel development is that infrastructure is not merged until at least one user for that infrastructure exists. That helps developers evaluate potential interfaces and be sure that the proposed addition is truly needed. A big exception to this rule was made when the heterogeneous memory management (HMM) code was merged, though. One of the reasons for the lack of users in this case turns out to be that many of the use cases are proprietary; that has led to some disagreements over the GPL-only status of an exported kernel symbol.

    The HMM subsystem exists to support peripherals that have direct access to system memory through their own memory-management units. It allows the ownership of ranges of memory to be passed back and forth and notifies peripherals of changes in memory mappings to keep everything working well together. HMM is not a small or simple subsystem, and bringing it into the kernel has forced a number of low-level memory-management changes. After a multi-year development process, the core HMM code was merged for the 4.14 kernel, despite the lack of any users.

OSS: C.H. Robinson, Instaclustr, Machine Learning and Koderize

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OSS
  • At C.H. Robinson, open source adoption brings iterative, fast development — almost too fast

    In 2014, C.H. Robinson, a third-party services and logistics firm, faced a roadblock: How do you remove bottlenecks in the technology development pipeline?

    Engineering teams with eight to 10 people aligned with a module or product worked to build out a functionality, such as an order management capability, according to Vanessa Adams, director, architecture and application development at C.H. Robinson. But individual teams were often held up by other product groups whose work they relied on. 

    At one point, 12-15 teams were required to meet most development deliverables and milestones, Adams told CIO Dive. In an effort to minimize the number of development dependencies, C.H. Robinson began exploring the idea of allowing people to work in other product areas rather than making them wait in line in the prioritization loop and hope project timelines synced up. 

    [...]

    With open source, legal departments have to approve contributions to open source projects, procurement departments have to understand there may not be a place to send an invoice and managers have to learn giving back to the open source framework on work time is part of the process. It's a long term shift that can take months, if not years, to execute, McCullough said.

  • Kafkaesque: Instaclustr creates Kafka-as-a-Service

    Instaclustr has announced Kafka-as-a-Service in bid to provide an easier route to the real-time data streaming platform

    An open source player from the start, the e-dropping Instaclustr specifies that this release follows an ‘early access programe’ that saw a handful of Instaclustr users deploy the Kafka-as-a-Service solution to manage high volume data streams in real-time.

  • Why are so many machine learning tools open source?

     

    Open source and machine learning go together like peanut butter and jelly. But why? In this article, Kayla Matthews explores why many of the best machine learning tools are open source.  

  • New adventures – old challenges

    I’ve also spent a lot of time on promoting free and open source software. I’ve spoken at conferences, gone to hackathlons, spoken at the university, and arranged meetups. All this culminated in foss-north which I’ve been organizing for the past three years.

    The conclusion from all of this is that there is an opportunity to focus on this full time. How can free and open source software be leveraged in various industries? How does one actually work with this? How does licensing work? and so on. To do so, I founded my own company – koderize – a while back and from now on I’m focusing fully on it.

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More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

KDE: Qt, Plasma, QML, Usability & Productivity

  • Qt 5.11.1 and Plasma 5.13.1 in ktown ‘testing’ repository
    A couple of days ago I recompiled ‘poppler’ and the packages in ‘ktown’ that depend on it, and uploaded them into the repository as promised in my previous post. I did that because Slackware-current updated its own poppler package and mine needs to be kept in sync to prevent breakage in other parts of your Slackware computer. I hear you wonder, what is the difference between the Slackware poppler package and this ‘ktown’ package? Simple: my ‘poppler’ package contains support for Qt5 (in addition to the QT4 support in the original package) and that is required by other packages in the ‘ktown’ repository.
  • Sixth week of coding phase, GSoC'18
    The Menus API enables the QML Plugin to add an action, separator or menu to the WebView context menu. This API is not similar to the WebExtensions Menus API but is rather Falkonish!
  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 24
    See all the names of people who worked hard to make the computing world a better place? That could be you next week! Getting involved isn’t all that tough, and there’s lots of support available.

Programming: Python Maths Tools and Java SE

  • Essential Free Python Maths Tools
    Python is a very popular general purpose programming language — with good reason. It’s object oriented, semantically structured, extremely versatile, and well supported. Scientists favour Python because it’s easy to use and learn, offers a good set of built-in features, and is highly extensible. Python’s readability makes it an excellent first programming language. The Python Standard Library (PSL) is the the standard library that’s distributed with Python. The library comes with, among other things, modules that carry out many mathematical operations. The math module is one of the core modules in PSL which performs mathematical operations. The module gives access to the underlying C library functions for floating point math.
  • Oracle's new Java SE subs: Code and support for $25/processor/month
    Oracle’s put a price on Java SE and support: $25 per processor per month, and $2.50 per user per month on the desktop, or less if you buy lots for a long time. Big Red’s called this a Java SE Subscription and pitched it as “a commonly used model, popular with Linux distributions”. The company also reckons the new deal is better than a perpetual licence, because they involve “an up-front cost plus additional annual support and maintenance fees.”

Linux 4.18 RC2 Released From China

  • Linux 4.18-rc2
    Another week, another -rc. I'm still traveling - now in China - but at least I'm doing this rc Sunday _evening_ local time rather than _morning_. And next rc I'll be back home and over rmy jetlag (knock wood) so everything should be back to the traditional schedule. Anyway, it's early in the rc series yet, but things look fairly normal. About a third of the patch is drivers (drm and s390 stand out, but here's networking and block updates too, and misc noise all over). We also had some of the core dma files move from drivers/base/dma-* (and lib/dma-*) to kernel/dma/*. We sometimes do code movement (and other "renaming" things) after the merge window simply because it tends to be less disruptive that way. Another 20% is under "tools" - mainly due to some selftest updates for rseq, but there's some turbostat and perf tooling work too. We also had some noticeable filesystem updates, particularly to cifs. I'm going to point those out, because some of them probably shouldn't have been in rc2. They were "fixes" not in the "regressions" sense, but in the "missing features" sense. So please, people, the "fixes" during the rc series really should be things that are _regressions_. If it used to work, and it no longer does, then fixing that is a good and proper fix. Or if something oopses or has a security implication, then the fix for that is a real fix. But if it's something that has never worked, even if it "fixes" some behavior, then it's new development, and that should come in during the merge window. Just because you think it's a "fix" doesn't mean that it really is one, at least in the "during the rc series" sense. Anyway, with that small rant out of the way, the rest is mostly arch updates (x86, powerpc, arm64, mips), and core networking. Go forth and test. Things look fairly sane, it's not really all that scary. Shortlog appended for people who want to scan through what changed. Linus
  • Linux 4.18-rc2 Released With A Normal Week's Worth Of Changes
    Due to traveling in China, Linus Torvalds has released the Linux 4.18-rc2 kernel a half-day ahead of schedule, but overall things are looking good for Linux 4.18.