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OSS

Dan Allen and Sarah White: Documentation Dearth Dooms Open Source Projects

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Interviews
OSS

Dan Allen: I can understand the programmer's dilemma in having to write documentation. It can be a long and painful process. Documentation in open source is often a missing link. There are four major pillars of developing open source software. Each one has it own elements of problem-solving associated with it. These are design, code writing, testing and documentation.

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5 New Enterprise Open Source Projects to Watch

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OSS

The open source software community is nothing if not prolific, and exciting new projects arrive on the scene practically every day. Keeping up with it all can be a formidable challenge; on the other hand, failing to do so could mean you miss out on something great.

Nowhere is that more true than in enterprises, where upstart new contenders can change the way business is done almost overnight. Take Docker, for example. Though it only just launched last year, the container technology tool has taken the enterprise world by storm, becoming a fundamental part of the way many businesses work.

With that in mind, we recently took a stroll through Open Hub and reached out to several open source watchers in the hopes of highlighting a few of the latest up-and-comers in this space. What, we asked, are the most exciting open source projects to launch recently with a focus on enterprises?

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Open source frameworks for digital self-service: Savings, flexibility and innovation

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OSS

The UK public sector today faces its greatest challenges for a generation. A unique combination of severe budget constraint, growing demand, innovation in technology and the mainstream adoption of online channels is speeding up an urgent drive for channel shift.

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Why Python 4.0 won't be like Python 3.0

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Development
OSS

Newcomers to python-ideas occasionally make reference to the idea of "Python 4000" when proposing backwards incompatible changes that don't offer a clear migration path from currently legal Python 3 code. After all, we allowed that kind of change for Python 3.0, so why wouldn't we allow it for Python 4.0?

I've heard that question enough times now (including the more concerned phrasing "You made a big backwards compatibility break once, how do I know you won't do it again?"), that I figured I'd record my answer here, so I'd be able to refer people back to it in the future.

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Share your genetic story with openSNP

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Interviews
OSS

openSNP is a non-profit, open source web application project that allows users to take consumer genotype tests and upload the raw data so that it's accessible to everyone. The tool parses and annotates the data, and lets users share it with others. I spent some time chatting with one of the founders of the project, Bastian Greshake, about why he started openSNP, what technology the project uses, and how they actively try to scare their users away before getting them to sign up.

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Open Data, OpenCorporates, OpenOil

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OSS

Open data can play a crucial role in helping us navigate such mazes. In the world of business, the key store of open information is OpenCorporates, which I've written about several times. But OpenCorporates is just the start; what's really exciting is the way that people are starting to use its growing resources to investigate companies and their industries. A particularly good example of this is a project called OpenOil

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Open source middleware is everywhere in financial services

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OSS

The UK economy is growing at its fastest rate since 2007, according to the Office of National Statistics, and the financial services sector is playing a major role in supporting this recovery. Renewed confidence in the City is driving up demand for effective IT. However, mirroring austerity measures put in place to help get national economies back on track, most (if not all) banks these days have cost reduction programmes in place.

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Towns in Umbria region switch to LibreOffice

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LibO
OSS

The public administrations of the Italian cities Todi and Terni are switching to LibreOffice, announces LibreUmbria. The regional project is assisting the Umbria region's public administrations to use this free software suite of office productivity tools.

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Tor Challenge hits it out of the park

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OSS
Security

If you need to be anonymous online, or evade digital censorship and surveillance, the Tor network has your back. And it's more than a little bit stronger now than it was this spring, thanks to the Tor Challenge.

Tor is a publicly accessible, free software-based system for anonymizing Internet traffic. It relies on thousands of computers around the world called relays, which route traffic in tricky ways to dodge spying. The more relays, the stronger and faster the network.

We'd like to warmly thank our allies at the Electronic Frontier Foundation for organizing the Tor Challenge and inviting us to join them in promoting it. And most of all, thanks to the 1,635 of you who started a relay! (The FSF would have started one too, but we've already been running ours for a while.)

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50 Noteworthy New Open Source Projects

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OSS

The list also includes a potpourri of projects from other categories, including Web content management, software-defined networking, desktop publishing, games, IT management, electronic health records, operating systems and more. All of these apps were released for the first time within the last couple of years and most of them haven't been featured on our lists in the past.

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Kernel Space: Linux, Graphics

  • Linux kernel bug delivers corrupt TCP/IP data to Mesos, Kubernetes, Docker containers
    The Linux Kernel has a bug that causes containers that use veth devices for network routing (such as Docker on IPv6, Kubernetes, Google Container Engine, and Mesos) to not check TCP checksums. This results in applications incorrectly receiving corrupt data in a number of situations, such as with bad networking hardware. The bug dates back at least three years and is present in kernels as far back as we’ve tested. Our patch has been reviewed and accepted into the kernel, and is currently being backported to -stable releases back to 3.14 in different distributions (such as Suse, and Canonical). If you use containers in your setup, I recommend you apply this patch or deploy a kernel with this patch when it becomes available. Note: Docker’s default NAT networking is not affected and, in practice, Google Container Engine is likely protected from hardware errors by its virtualized network.
  • Performance problems
    Just over a year ago I implemented an optimization to the SPI core code in Linux that avoids some needless context switches to a worker thread in the main data path that most clients use. This was really nice, it was simple to do but saved a bunch of work for most drivers using SPI and made things noticeably faster. The code got merged in v4.0 and that was that, I kept on kicking a few more ideas for optimizations in this area around but that was that until the past month.
  • Compute Shader Code Begins Landing For Gallium3D
    Samuel Pitoiset began pushing his Gallium3D Mesa state tracker changes this morning for supporting compute shaders via the GL_ARB_compute_shader extension. Before getting too excited, the hardware drivers haven't yet implemented the support. It was back in December that core Mesa received its treatment for compute shader support and came with Intel's i965 driver implementing CS.
  • Libav Finally Lands VDPAU Support For Accelerated HEVC Decoding
    While FFmpeg has offered hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding using NVIDIA's VDPAU API since last summer, this support for the FFmpeg-forked libav landed just today. In June was when FFmpeg added support to its libavcodec for handling HEVC/H.265 video decoding via NVIDIA's Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix interface. Around that same time, developer Philip Langdale who had done the FFmpeg patch, also submitted the patch for Libav for decoding HEVC content through VDPAU where supported.

Unixstickers, Linux goes to Washington, Why Linux?

  • Unixstickers sent me a package!
    There's an old, popular saying, beware geeks bearing gifts. But in this case, I was pleased to see an email in my inbox, from unixstickers.com, asking me if I was interested in reviewing their products. I said ye, and a quick few days later, there was a surprise courier-delivered envelope waiting for me in the post. Coincidentally - or not - the whole thing happened close enough to the 2015 end-of-the-year holidays to classify as poetic justice. On a slightly more serious note, Unixstickers is a company shipping T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, posters, pins, and stickers to UNIX and Linux aficionados worldwide. Having been identified one and acquired on the company's PR radar, I am now doing a first-of-a-kind Dedoimedo non-technical technical review of merchandise related to our favorite software. So not sure how it's gonna work out, but let's see.
  • Linux goes to Washington: How the White House/Linux Foundation collaboration will work
    No doubt by now you've heard about the Obama Administration's newly announced Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP). You can read more about it on CIO.com here and here. But what you may not know is that the White House is actively working with the Linux and open source community for CNAP. In a blog post Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation said, “In the proposal, the White House announced collaboration with The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) to better secure Internet 'utilities' such as open-source software, protocols and standards.”
  • Why Linux?
    Linux may inspire you to think of coders hunched over their desks (that are littered with Mountain Dew cans) while looking at lines of codes, faintly lit by the yellow glow of old CRT monitors. Maybe Linux sounds like some kind of a wild cat and you have never heard the term before. Maybe you have use it every day. It is an operating system loved by a few and misrepresented to many.

RebeccaBlackOS 2016-02-08 Review. Why? Because it’s Friday.

These are the types of problems found in an independent distro build from scratch. I cannot understand how a system built on Debian could be this buggy and apparently have zero VM support which Debian comes with by default. I can take some solace in the fact that it was built by one person and that one person is a Rebecca Black fan but as far as a Linux Distribution is concerned there is not much here. Some could say “Well its not supposed to be taken as a serious Distribution.” True except it is listed and kept up with on DistroWatch therefor it should be held as a system ready distribution especially when it was not released as a beta or an RC. If this distribution is ever going to be considered a real platform it has a long way to go. I give it about as many thumbs down as the Rebecca Black Friday video. Read more

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