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Linux and FOSS Events

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Google's Upspin Debuts

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Google
OSS
  • Another option for file sharing

    Existing mechanisms for file sharing are so fragmented that people waste time on multi-step copying and repackaging. With the new project Upspin, we aim to improve the situation by providing a global name space to name all your files. Given an Upspin name, a file can be shared securely, copied efficiently without "download" and "upload", and accessed by anyone with permission from anywhere with a network connection.

  • Google Developing "Upspin" Framework For Naming/Sharing Files

    Google today announced an experimental project called Upspin that's aiming for next-generation file-sharing in a secure manner.

  • Google releases open source file sharing project 'Upspin' on GitHub

    Believe it or not, in 2017, file-sharing between individuals is not a particularly easy affair. Quite frankly, I had a better experience more than a decade ago sending things to friends and family using AOL Instant Messenger. Nowadays, everything is so fragmented, that it can be hard to share.

    Today, Google unveils yet another way to share files. Called "Upspin," the open source project aims to make sharing easier for home users. With that said, the project does not seem particularly easy to set up or maintain. For example, it uses Unix-like directories and email addresses for permissions. While it may make sense to Google engineers, I am dubious that it will ever be widely used.

  • Google devs try to create new global namespace

    Wouldn't it be nice if there was a universal and consistent way to give names to files stored on the Internet, so they were easy to find? A universal resource locator, if you like?

    The problem is that URLs have been clunkified, so Upspin, an experimental project from some Google engineers, offers an easier model: identifying files to users and paths, and letting the creator set access privileges.

Open source docks with mainstream vendors

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Server
OSS

Open source and mainstream are joining forces this week as the Docker software containerisation platform comes under the spotlight at technology-focused network and information sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

"The diversity of our partners at the event − Docker, Microsoft Azure, Atlassian, SUSE and HPE – is a clear indication of the excitement around the Docker platform," says Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems.

Read more

An AI Hedge Fund Created a New Currency to Make Wall Street Work Like Open Source

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Singapore IT bosses turn to open source

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OSS

In order to successfully compete in the age of the customer and continue to deliver world-class operational capabilities, senior IT decision makers from Singapore plan to focus on three IT and business priorities in the next 12 months.

These include reducing cost and improving operational efficiency (78%); improving their organization’s ability to innovate (46%); and improving customer experience (46%).

These three priorities have been reflected in respondents’ strategic IT initiatives in the next 12 months to transform both internal and customer facing technologies.

Three-fourths (76%) identified integration of back-end systems-of-record with customer-facing mobile and web systems-of-engagement as a high or critical priority.

More than half (56%) identified modernization of key legacy applications as a high or critical priority.

Read more

Radisys Contributes Its LTE RAN Software to M-CORD

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SF’s Elections Commission asks mayor to put $4M toward open source voting system

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While the Elections Commission may be among the least followed city bodies, the seven members are playing a critical role in determining whether San Francisco will begin to use an open-source voting system.

For years, open-source voting advocates have called on San Francisco officials to part ways with traditional voting machine companies.

Open-source voting is widely considered the best defense to voter fraud with the added benefits of cost savings and flexibility.

Much to chagrin of these advocates, The City has continued to sign contracts with nonopen-source voting companies. While no open-source voting system has been deployed elsewhere, other jurisdictions are currently working on it, such as Travis County, Texas.

After The City allocated $300,000 in the current fiscal year to move San Francisco toward an open-source voting system, the effort has gotten off to a slower-than-expected start. Advocates worry if funding isn’t committed to building out such a system, the effort will face further delays.

Read more [Ed: Microsoft a threat]

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

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OSS
  • Rewriting the history of free software and computer graphics

    Do you remember those days in the early nineties when most screensavers were showing flying 3D metallic logotypes? Did you have one?

    In this article, I want to go back in time and briefly revise the period in the history of computer graphics (CG) development when it transitioned from research labs to everyone's home computer. The early and mid-1990s was the time when Aldus (before Adobe bought the company) was developing PageMaker for desktop publishing, when Pixar created ToyStory, and soon after 3D modeling and animation software Maya by Alias|Wavefront (acquired by Autodesk). It was also a moment when we got two very different models of CG development, one practiced by the Hollywood entertainment industry and one practiced by corporations like Adobe and Autodesk.

    By recalling this history, I hope to be able to shed new light on the value of free software for CG, such as Blender or Synfig. Maybe we can even re-discover the significance of one implicit freedom in free software: a way for digital artists to establish relations with developers.

    [...]

    The significance of free software for CG

    On the backdrop of this history, free software like Blender, Synfig, Krita, and other projects for CG gain significance for several reasons that stretch beyond the four freedoms that free software gives.

    First, free software allows the mimicking of the Hollywood industry's models of work while making it accessible for more individuals. It encourages practice-based CG development that can fit individual workflows and handle unexpected circumstances that emerge in the course of work, rather than aiming at a mass product for all situations and users. Catering to an individual's needs and adaptations of the software brings users work closer to craft and makes technology more human. Tools and individual skill can be continuously polished, shaped, and improved based on individual needs, rather than shaped by decisions "from above."

  • ONF unveils Open Innovation Pipeline to counter open source proprietary solutions

    ONF and ON.Lab claim the OIP initiative to bolster open source SDN, NFV and cloud efforts being hampered by open source-based proprietary work.

    Tapping into an ongoing merger arrangement with Open Networking Lab, the Open Networking Foundation recently unveiled its Open Innovation Pipeline targeted at counteracting the move by vendors using open source platforms to build proprietary solutions.

  • [FreeDOS] The readability of DOS applications

    Web pages are mostly black-on-white or dark-gray-on-white, but anyone who has used DOS will remember that most DOS applications were white-on-blue. Sure, the DOS command line was white-on-black, but almost every popular DOS application used white-on-blue. (It wasn't really "white" but we'll get there.) Do an image search for any DOS application from the 1980s and early 1990s, and you're almost guaranteed to yield a forest of white-on-blue images like these:

  • More about DOS colors

    In a followup to my discussion about the readability of DOS applications, I wrote an explanation on the FreeDOS blog about why DOS has sixteen colors. That discussion seemed too detailed to include on my Open Source Software & Usability blog, but it was a good fit for the FreeDOS blog.

  • Building a $4 billion company around open source software: The Cloudera story

    Dr Amr Awadallah is the Chief Technology Officer of Cloudera, a data management and analytics platform based on Apache Hadoop. Before co-founding Cloudera in 2008, Awadallah served as Vice President of Product Intelligence Engineering at Yahoo!, running one of the very first organizations to use Hadoop for data analysis and business intelligence. Awadallah joined Yahoo! after the company acquired his first startup, VivaSmart, in July 2000.

    With the fourth industrial revolution upon us—where the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres are blurred by the world of big data and the fusion of technologies—Cloudera finds itself among the band of companies that are leading this change. In this interview with Enterprise Innovation, the Cloudera co-founder shares his insights on the opportunities and challenges in the digital revolution and its implications for businesses today; how organizations can derive maximum value from their data while ensuring their protection against risks; potential pitfalls and mistakes companies make when using big data for business advantage; and what lies beyond big data analytics.

  • What we (think we) know about meritocracies

    "Meritocracy," writes Christopher Hayes in his 2012 book Twilight of the Elites, "represents a rare point of consensus in our increasingly polarized politics. It undergirds our debates, but is never itself the subject of them, because belief in it is so widely shared." Meritocratic thinking, in other words, is prevalent today; thinking rigorously about meritocracy, however, is much more rare.

  • A new perspective on meritocracy

    Meritocracy is a common element of open organizations: They prosper by fostering a less-hierarchical culture where "the best ideas win." But what does meritocracy really mean for open organizations, and why does it matter? And how do open organizations make meritocracy work in practice? Some research and thinking I've done over the last six months have convinced me such questions are less simple—and perhaps more important—than may first meet the eye.

  • OpenStack Summit Boston: Vote for Presentations

    The next OpenStack Summit takes place in Boston, MA (USA) in May (8.-11.05.2017). The "Vote for Presentations" period started already. All proposals are now again up for community votes. The period will end February 21th at 11:59pm PST (February 22th at 8:59am CEST).

  • [FOSDEM] Libreboot

    Libreboot is free/opensource boot firmware for laptops, desktops and servers, on multiple platforms and architectures. It replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware commonly found in computers.

  • Three new FOSS umbrella organisations in Europe

    So far, the options available to a project are either to establish its own organisation or to join an existing organisation, neither of which may fit well for the project. The existing organisations are either specialised in a specific technology or one of the few technology-neutral umbrella organisations in the US, such as Software in the Public Interest, the Apache Software Foundation, or the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). If there is already a technology-specific organisation (e.g. GNOME Foundation, KDE e.V., Plone Foundation) that fits a project’s needs, that may well make a good match.

  • ESA affirms Open Access policy for images, videos and data / Digital Agenda

    ESA today announced it has adopted an Open Access policy for its content such as still images, videos and selected sets of data.

    For more than two decades, ESA has been sharing vast amounts of information, imagery and data with scientists, industry, media and the public at large via digital platforms such as the web and social media. ESA’s evolving information management policy increases these opportunities.

    In particular, a new Open Access policy for ESA’s information and data will now facilitate broadest use and reuse of the material for the general public, media, the educational sector, partners and anybody else seeking to utilise and build upon it.

  • Key Traits of the Coming Delphi For Linux Compiler

    Embarcadero is about to release a new Delphi compiler for the Linux platform. Here are some of the key technical elements of this compiler, and the few differences compared to Delphi compilers for other platforms.

Openwashing

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Linux and FOSS Events

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  • Debian SunCamp 2017 Is Taking Place May 18-21 in the Province of Girona, Spain

    It looks like last year's Debian SunCamp event for Debian developers was a total success and Martín Ferrari is back with a new proposal that should take place later this spring during four days full of hacking, socializing, and fun.

    That's right, we're talking about Debian SunCamp 2017, an event any Debian developer, contributor, or user can attend to meet his or hers Debian buddies, hack together on new projects or improve existing ones by sharing their knowledge, plan upcoming features and discuss ideas for the Debian GNU/Linux operating system.

  • Pieter Hintjens In Memoriam

    Pieter Hintjens was a writer, programmer and thinker who has spent decades building large software systems and on-line communities, which he describes as "Living Systems". He was an expert in distributed computing, having written over 30 protocols and distributed software systems. He designed AMQP in 2004, and founded the ZeroMQ free software project in 2007. He was the author of the O'Reilly ZeroMQ book, "Culture and Empire", "The Psychopath Code", "Social Architecture", and "Confessions of a Necromancer". He was the president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), and fought the software patent directive and the standardisation of the Microsoft OOXML Office format. He also organized the Internet of Things (IOT) Devroom here at FOSDEM for the last 3 years. In April 2016 he was diagnosed with terminal metastasis of a previous cancer.

  • foss-gbg on Wednesday

    The topics are Yocto Linux on FPGA-based hardware, risk and license management in open source projects and a product release by the local start-up Zifra (an encryptable SD-card).

    More information and free tickets are available at the foss-gbg site.

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Security Leftovers

  • Major Cloudflare bug leaked sensitive data from customers’ websites
    Cloudflare revealed a serious bug in its software today that caused sensitive data like passwords, cookies, authentication tokens to spill in plaintext from its customers’ websites. The announcement is a major blow for the content delivery network, which offers enhanced security and performance for more than 5 million websites. This could have allowed anyone who noticed the error to collect a variety of very personal information that is typically encrypted or obscured.
  • SHA1 collisions make Git vulnerable to attakcs by third-parties, not just repo maintainers
    After sitting through an endless flood of headless-chicken messages on multiple media about SHA-1 being fatally broken, I thought I'd do a quick writeup about what this actually means.
  • Torvalds patches git to mitigate against SHA-1 attacks
    Linux creator Linus Torvalds says two sets of patches have been posted for the distributed version control system git to mitigate against SHA-1 attacks which are based on the method that Dutch and Google engineers detailed last week. The post by Torvalds detailing this came after reports emerged of the version control system used by the WebKit browser engine repository becoming corrupted after the two proof-of-concept PDF files that were released by the Dutch and Google researchers were uploaded to the repository.
  • Linus Torvalds on "SHA1 collisions found"
  • More from Torvalds on SHA1 collisions
    I thought I'd write an update on git and SHA1, since the SHA1 collision attack was so prominently in the news. Quick overview first, with more in-depth explanation below: (1) First off - the sky isn't falling. There's a big difference between using a cryptographic hash for things like security signing, and using one for generating a "content identifier" for a content-addressable system like git. (2) Secondly, the nature of this particular SHA1 attack means that it's actually pretty easy to mitigate against, and there's already been two sets of patches posted for that mitigation. (3) And finally, there's actually a reasonably straightforward transition to some other hash that won't break the world - or even old git repositories.
  • [Older] Wire’s independent security review
    Ever since Wire launched end-to-end encryption and open sourced its apps one question has consistently popped up: “Is there an independent security review available?” Well, there is now!
  • Malware Lets a Drone Steal Data by Watching a Computer’s Blinking LED
  • FCC to halt rule that protects your private data from security breaches
    The Federal Communications Commission plans to halt implementation of a privacy rule that requires ISPs to protect the security of its customers' personal information. The data security rule is part of a broader privacy rulemaking implemented under former Chairman Tom Wheeler but opposed by the FCC's new Republican majority. The privacy order's data security obligations are scheduled to take effect on March 2, but Chairman Ajit Pai wants to prevent that from happening. The data security rule requires ISPs and phone companies to take "reasonable" steps to protect customers' information—such as Social Security numbers, financial and health information, and Web browsing data—from theft and data breaches. "Chairman Pai is seeking to act on a request to stay this rule before it takes effect on March 2," an FCC spokesperson said in a statement to Ars.
  • Google releases details of another Windows bug
  • How to secure the IoT in your organisation: advice and best practice for securing the Internet of Things
    All of the major technology vendors are making a play in the Internet of Things space and there are few organisations that won’t benefit from collecting and analysing the vast array of new data that will be made available. But the recent Mirai botnet is just one example of the tremendous vulnerabilities that exist with unsecured access points. What are the main security considerations and best practices, then, for businesses seeking to leverage the potential of IoT?

GNOME News

  • FEDORA and GNOME at UNSAAC
    Today I did a talk to introduce students of UNSAAC to the Fedora and GNOME world as it was announced by the GDG Cusco group. We started at 8:30 am and it was a free event:
  • GNOME Theme For Firefox Gets Updated, Looking Great
    There are a lot of complete themes for Firefox. We spoke about 3 of them in one of our previous articles. The good news today is that “GNOME 3” theme (which was also called Adwaita) for Firefox was updated. Now it’s working with all versions higher than Firefox 45. Previously, the theme didn’t work with the recent versions of Firefox. So people had to switch to other available themes. Fortunately, this finally changed today when another developer took the code, fixed the compatibility problems and re-released the theme.
  • GStreamer Now Supports Multi-Threaded Scaling/Conversion For Big Performance Win
    With the addition of over two thousand lines of code, GStreamer's video-convert code within gst-plugins-base is now properly multi-threaded. Video scaling and conversion can now be multi-threaded when using GStreamer. With this multi-threading work by Sebastian Dröge, he commented with the commit, "During tests, this gave up to 1.8x speedup with 2 threads and up to 3.2x speedup with 4 threads when converting e.g. 1080p to 4k in v210."

Linux and Graphics

  • OpenRISC For Linux 4.11 Gets Some Optimizations, Prepares For SMP
    OpenRISC continues advancing with its sights on being a free and open processor for embedded systems using the RISC instruction set architecture. Last year the Linux kernel got a new OpenRISC maintainer and for Linux 4.11 there is a fair amount of interesting changes for the OpenRISC code within the mainline tree.
  • drm for v4.11 - main pull request
    The tinydrm code seems like absolute pure shit that has never seen a compiler. I'm upset, because I expect better quality control. In fact, I expect *some* qualitty control, and this piece-of-shit driver has clearly seen none at all. And those patches were apparently committed yesterday. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
  • [Old] A Guide Through The Linux Sound API Jungle
    At the Audio MC at the Linux Plumbers Conference one thing became very clear: it is very difficult for programmers to figure out which audio API to use for which purpose and which API not to use when doing audio programming on Linux.
  • Mesa, Vulkan & Other Driver Talks From 2017 Embedded Linux Conference
  • Fuzzing Mesa Drivers Begin To Uncover Bugs
    Last December we wrote about work being done on fuzzing OpenGL shaders leading to wild differences with the work being done at the Imperial College London. While they were testing other drivers on different operating systems, they have now fired up tests of Mesa.
  • Wayland's Weston 2.0 Compositor Released
    Wayland 1.13 was released earlier this week but the adjoining Weston compositor update didn't happen at the same time due to some last minute changes needing more time to test, but this Friday, Weston 2.0 is now shipping. But before getting too excited, Weston 2.0 doesn't represent some break-through changes but rather was bumped away from the Wayland versioning rhythm due to its new output configuration API breaking Weston's ABI. Thus the major version bump.
  • weston 2.0.0
    Welcome to the official release of Weston 2.0. There are no changes since RC2.

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