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Free software gains ground in the Italian public administration

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Italy's Ministry of Defence is pioneering the use of open-source office productivity tools with the migration of 150,000 PCs to LibreOffice

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The Future of the Bloomberg Terminal is Open Source

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The technology has withstood the test of time by continuously evolving to meet the needs of financial traders – though until recently new features have been largely developed with in-house, proprietary code.

The way Bloomberg keeps up with users' expectations is changing, however, McCracken writes. The company is adopting open source technologies such as Linux, Hadoop, and Solr and contributing code back upstream.

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How a better understanding of open source can lower the risks

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The advantages of open source are well known: lower costs, the security and higher quality that arise from a large developer community and the absence of ties to one manufacturer are powerful arguments. In some areas open source products are already leaders in their field.

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Leftovers: OSS

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  • Why your manager loves technical debt (and what to do about it)

    Do you think that open source projects are less prone to accumulating technical debt? Or do they suffer from the same problems?

    That's a tricky question. Any project is capable of becoming burdened with technical debt. The difference is that it's rare for an open source project to accumulate much debt once set into the wild. It's only when you have a population of captive developers that are tasked with adding features to a code base with no choice in their participation that you can achieve the truly abysmal levels of code quality that is out there. When a project is open source, developers simply move on when it becomes too much to deal with and the project dies.

  • Pursuing an Internet of Things strategy for the right reasons
  • Alchemy for the 21st century: Open source according to Cloudsoft CEO

    LinuxCon 2015 brings together some of the brightest minds in technology today. What makes Linux attractive to such talent? Duncan Johnston-Watt, founder and CEO of Cloudsoft Corp., feels that Linux is playing a key role in the community’s ability to collaborate.

    Johnston-Watt stopped by theCUBE, from SiliconANGLE Media, to speak with host Jeff Frick about the role Cloudsoft is playing within the community.

  • less less and more less

    Nicholas Marriott (nicm@) has replaced the aging version of less(1) in the OpenBSD base system with a more modern fork from illumos founder Garrett D'Amore.

  • TPP will ban rules that require source-code disclosure

    As we pick through the secret, 2,000-page treaty, we're learning an awful lot of awfulness, but this one is particularly terrible.

    As software becomes more tightly integrated into cars and buildings and medical devices (and everything else), many governments have enacted procurement policies requiring contractors to disclose and/or publish the sourcecode of the products they supply to public bodies. For example, if Volkswagen were to supply a fleet of diesels to the National Parks Service, the government might tell them that they have to turn over their source-code so that it can be audited for "defeat devices," or Chrysler might have to disclose source on their jeeps before they're sold to the Army, which could result in them being made secure against over-the-Internet attacks on steering and brakes.


    The article in question could well have been written by a Microsoft lobbyist.

  • Department of Education seeks comments on open licensing requirements

    One of the more effective ways to advance an agenda is to attach requirements to grant funding. The U.S. Department of Education has an interest in broadening the impact of its grants, so it announced a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) on October 29. The proposed rule would require intellectual property created with Department of Education grant funding to be openly licensed to the public. This includes both software and instructional materials.

    Under current regulations, creators of grant-funded work retain unlimited copyright and rights to royalty income. The Department of Education is granted a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable right to publish, use, and reproduce the work. This means that the public can request copies from the Department, however practice has shown that this rarely happens.

  • Japanese TeX User Meeting – Support for Japanese in TeX (Live) – present state and future?

    Tomorrow the Japanese TeX User Meeting 2015 will be held in Tokyo. Since I have come to Japan I have attended more or less every year this meeting, and in 2013 we could get the (international) TeX User Group Meeting to Tokyo and had a joint conference TUG 2013, which was a great success.

Education is key to Basque free software policy

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Raising awareness and training users bolster the free software policy of the Basque Country (Spain). The government of the autonomous region continues to expand its use of free software, according to SALE, the Basque Country’s free software resource centre.

The SALE resource centre is advising Basque government organisations such as IVAP, the Institute of Public Administration and SPRI, the Business Development Agency. It is also helping to other organizations providing free software courses to citizens and companies, and is involved in training the users of publicly accessible Internet access points across the Basque Country - all running free software.

Over 2,300 PCs in the network of 270 public Internet access points, KZgunea, are running KZnux, based on the Ubuntu Linux distribution. KZgunea is providing training for free software to the about 100 KZgunea staff members. These centre’s are used by some 400,000 citizens per year.

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A look at how MongoDB plans to make open source profitable

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Open source products in the enterprise are becoming increasingly common. Five or six years ago they were seen as a nice idea in theory, but unrealistic in a world that requires strict SLAs and support to make things work. But times have changed and thanks to the likes of Facebook, Google and eBay publicly praising the benefits of adopting open source technologies at scale, everybody wants a piece of them.

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Leftovers: OSS

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  • The new collaboration model for open source | #LinuxCon2015

    Cross-community collaboration is developing and thriving inside the walls of this year’s LinuxCon 2015, and people like Diane Mueller, director of community development at Red Hat OpenShift, are leading the charge.

  • Open source software gains depth

    The ability to scale up and stronger security has seen a pervasive proliferation of open source software (OSS) although these don’t have as many competitive features as proprietary software, according to the Ninth Annual Future of Open Source Survey conducted by Black Duck Software, a company that facilitates the adoption of OSS.

  • Introduces ELK Apps — a Free App Store for Open Source Log Analytics
  • The 100:10:1 method: my approach to open source

    The first step was to find a notebook and a pen and just write down 100 ideas for interesting open source projects. These project ideas ranged across all manner of topics, depth, and quality. I thought of wild language ideas, new features in existing projects, system designs, protocols, missing documentation, interesting forks, golfing code, games, prototypes, implementations of paper ideas, second-systems, whatever.

  • Polishing cars wasn't in my job description

    My advice for anyone starting out in open source is simple: Be humble, but bold. The great thing about open source is that you can make a great impact, but you have to do it within the confines of a community, and learning how to bring your best while working in sometimes challenging interpersonal situations is a skill that you can only acquire through practice.

  • Proprietary tools for FOSS projects

    My position on free and open source software is somewhere in the spectrum between hard-core FSF/GNU position on Free Software, and the corporate open source pragmatism that looks at open source as being great for some things but really not a goal in and of itself. I don’t eschew all proprietary software, and I’m not going to knock people for using tools and devices that fit their needs rather than sticking only to FOSS.

    At the same time, I think it’s important that we trend towards everything being open, and I find myself troubled by the increasing acceptance of proprietary tools and services by FOSS developers/projects. It shouldn’t be the end of the world for a FOSS developer, advocate, project, or company to use proprietary tools if necessary. Sometimes the FOSS tools aren’t a good fit, and the need for something right now overrides the luxury of choosing a tool just based on licensing preference. And, of course, there’s a big difference between having that discussion for a project like Fedora, or an Apache podling/TLP, or a company that works with open source.

  • OOSMOS goes open source
  • 8 tips for creating cultural change in your organization

    To foster engagement and keep people posted, publish and share both individually and as a team. Setting a schedule is difficult, but you should try to publish at least one reflective post per month (I do one a week). Pre-populate tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite during meetings. Utilize tools like IFTTT, Zapier, Buffer, etc. There are easy ways to share ideas around the Web. Use them!

  • GNU Guix 0.9 Brings Various Improvements, 543 New Packages
  • GNU Spotlight with Brandon Invergo: 20 new GNU releases! as of October 27, 2015
  • Vanderbilt’s medical capsule robots’ hardware, software goes open-source

    Researchers around the globe who want to customize medical capsule robots won’t have to start from scratch – a team from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering did the preliminary work for them and is ready to share.

    Through a website and a paper revealed at a pair of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conferences, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Pietro Valdastri, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering Akos Ledeczi and their team made the capsule hardware and software open-source.

    The paper, titled “Systematic Design of Medical Capsule Robots,” ran in a special issue of IEEE Design & Test magazine dedicated to cyber-physical systems for medical applications. Within years, Vanderbilt’s capsule robots, made small enough to be swallowed, could be used for preventative screenings and to diagnose and treat a number of internal diseases.

  • Not Just Academics Fed Up With Elsevier: Entire Editorial Staff Resigns En Masse To Start Open Access Journal

    It's really somewhat astounding just how absolutely hated journal publishing giant Elsevier has become in certain academic circles. The company seems to have perfected its role of being about as evil as possible in trying to lock up knowledge and making it expensive and difficult to access. A few years ago, we noted that a bunch of academics were banding together to boycott journals published by the company, as more and more people were looking at open access journals, allowing them to more freely share their research, rather than locking it up. Elsevier's response has been to basically crack down on efforts to share knowledge. The company has been known to charge for open access research -- sometimes even buying up journals and ignoring the open licenses on the works. The company has also been demanding professors takedown copies of their own research. Because how dare anyone actually benefit from knowledge without paying Elsevier its toll. And that's not even mentioning Elsevier's history of publishing fake journals as a way to help giant pharmaceutical companies pretend their treatments were effective.

  • Open source textbooks not flunking out

    Finally, a bit of good news on the college costs front: A study out of Brigham Young University finds that free open source textbooks do the job pretty darn well.

    The study of nearly 17,000 students at 9 colleges found that open source textbooks (or open educational resources -- OERs in academic lingo) found that students learn the same amount or more from the free books across many subjects. (Here's a sampling of the sorts of texts available, via a University of Minnesota site.)

    What's more, 85% of students and instructors said open textbooks were actually better than the commercial ones. The research focused its results based on measurements such as course completion, final grade, final grade of C- or higher, enrollment intensity, and enrollment intensity in the following semester.

Data Systems

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TPP has provision banning requirements to transfer or or access to source code of software

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The TPP E-Commerce chapter has a provision banning requirements to transfer or provide access to software source code. This applies to "mass market software."

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Video: No more open source foundations, please!

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Not every new open source project needs a new foundation. In fact, the rise of all these new foundations could be hurting the open source cause

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Security Leftovers

  • Friday's security updates
  • Researchers poke hole in custom crypto built for Amazon Web Services
    Underscoring just how hard it is to design secure cryptographic software, academic researchers recently uncovered a potentially serious weakness in an early version of the code library protecting Amazon Web Services. Ironically, s2n, as Amazon's transport layer security implementation is called, was intended to be a simpler, more secure way to encrypt and authenticate Web sessions. Where the OpenSSL library requires more than 70,000 lines of code to execute the highly complex TLS standard, s2n—short for signal to noise—has just 6,000 lines. Amazon hailed the brevity as a key security feature when unveiling s2n in June. What's more, Amazon said the new code had already passed three external security evaluations and penetration tests.
  • Social engineering: hacker tricks that make recipients click
    Social engineering is one of the most powerful tools in the hacker's arsenal and it generally plays a part in most of the major security breaches we hear about today. However, there is a common misconception around the role social engineering plays in attacks.
  • Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to $8 Million Settlement Over Sony Hack
    Sony agreed to reimburse employees up to $10,000 apiece for identity-theft losses
  • Cyber Monday: it's the most wonderful time of year for cyber-attackers
    Malicious attacks on shoppers increased 40% on Cyber Monday in 2013 and 2014, according to, an anti-malware and spyware company, compared to the average number of attacks on days during the month prior. Other cybersecurity software providers have identified the December holiday shopping season as the most dangerous time of year to make online purchases. “The attackers know that there are more people online, so there will be more attacks,” said Christopher Budd, Trend Micro’s global threat communications manager. “Cyber Monday is not a one-day thing, it’s the beginning of a sustained focus on attacks that go after people in the holiday shopping season.”

Openwashing (Fake FOSS)

Android Leftovers

Slackware Live Edition – Beta 2

  • Slackware Live Edition – Beta 2
    Thanks for all the valuable feedback on the first public beta of my Slackware Live Edition. It allowed me to fix quite a few bugs in the Live scripts (thanks again!), add new functionality (requested by you or from my own TODO) and I took the opportunity to fix the packages in my Plasma 5 repository so that its Live Edition should actually work now.
  • Updated multilib packages for -current
  • (Hopefully) final recompilations for KDE 5_15.11
    There was still some work to do about my Plasma 5 package repository. The recent updates in slackware-current broke several packages that were still linking to older (and no longer present) libraries which were part of the icu4c and udev packages.