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OSS

The Changing Cost of Open Source

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OSS
Drupal

At one time higher ed wanted community-built software because of the $0 price tag; now many universities are paying somebody else to keep open source projects moving forward.

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EP IT department: ‘We should give openness example’

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OSS

The European Parliament should give the example for the openness of its software solutions, says Giancarlo Vilella, Director General for DG ITEC, the EP’s IT department, speaking at the Document Freedom Day workshop organised on 25 March by the EP’s Greens and the European Free Alliance. “ICT is a strong tool for democracy”, the Director General says. “We aim to be the avant garde of political institutions.”

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A Cautionary Open Source Tale, Apple Buys And Shutters FoundationDB

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OSS

So far so good. Except that almost immediately FoundationDB seemingly excised its very existence from GitHub, the repository where the code for open source projects like this is stored. The FoundationDB repository was devoid of any content after the move. This is in contrast to the day before when the repository was a typical bustling ecosystem of contributors and code.

[...]

There was no warning for this move and while commercial Apple watchers would expect that from a company not well known for its altruism, it’s a very unusual move in the open source world. As Jack Clark from Bloomberg pointed out, this move looks set to incense many...

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Former Tesla Intern Releases $60 Full Open Source Car Hacking Kit For The Masses

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OSS

Eric Evenchick knows what it’s like to be at the mercy of modes of transport. That might be why the former Tesla intern is so keen to hack his way to gaining greater control over the vehicles he travels in. When we speak over encrypted call app RedPhone, he’s stuck in Hong Kong airport waiting for a delayed flight to Singapore, where he’ll announce the open sourcing of the CANard tool during the BlackHat Asia conference.

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Intro to Grace: an open source educational programming language

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OSS

When it comes to picking a programming language to use when teaching people how to program, there are many, many options. Scratch is a good choice when teaching the basics because of its drag and drop building block method of programming. Python or Ruby are also good choices—both languages have a straight-forward syntax, are used in major real-world projects, and have excellent communities and supplemental projects built around them. Or there is Java, Objective-C, and C#, which are solid programming languages and marketable job skills. Honestly, they are all good choices, but when it comes to teaching programming in an academic setting, are they really the best way to go about doing it?

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Govt formulates policy on adoption of open source software

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OSS

The Government on Wednesday formulated a 'Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India' that would encourage the formal adoption and use of Open Source Software (OSS) in Government organisations.

Currently most eGovernance solutions are developed using Closed Source Software (CSS), which is licensed under the exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. In that the users' right to make modifications, sharing, studying, redistribution or reverse engineering is limited.

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Also: How open source can improve your software's security

What the New York Times CIO asks when evaluating open source software

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OSS

In this interview, New York Times CIO Marc Frons explains how his teams evaluate whether to use open source or proprietary software and the simple question that helps guide the conversation.

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Open source and DevOps aren’t mandatory, but neither is survival

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OSS

I can’t recall the exact time I learned about open source software, but I can certainly narrow down the place. I quickly realized how transformative it could be. In 1996, I was sitting in the tech support department of a large ISP that provided hosting and connectivity to the Fortune 1000. Most of our servers ran Solaris, floppy disks arrived via snail mail, and we applied security updates manually adhering to a regime of updates and invoices prescribed by Sun Microsystems. It was a huge change from my university career of dumb terminals and mainframes.

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Azul tackles Oracle with open-source Java for Internet of Stuff

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OSS

Azul Systems has added a new, ultra-compact entry to its portfolio of alternative Java environments, taking a run at Oracle for the lucrative mobile, embedded, and Internet of Things (IoT) markets.

Zulu Embedded is a stripped-down sibling of Zulu and Zulu Embedded, Azul's certified, cross-platform build of OpenJDK, Oracle's open source reference implementation of the Java Developer Kit.

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Docker's No Flash in the Pan

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Server
OSS

There are similarities between Docker and recent open source communities. Not only in the surge of supporting developers, IT operations pros, vendors, investors and end users, but also in the way the technology is making its way to the market through developers and lines of business before central IT departments. Expect to see a support-and-services-driven market for Docker and containers.

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Security News

  • Tuesday's security updates
  • New Open Source Linux Ransomware Divides Infosec Community
    Following our investigation into this matter, and seeing the vitriol-filled reaction from some people in the infosec community, Zaitsev has told Softpedia that he decided to remove the project from GitHub, shortly after this article's publication. The original, unedited article is below.
  • Fax machines' custom Linux allows dial-up hack
    Party like it's 1999, phreakers: a bug in Epson multifunction printer firmware creates a vector to networks that don't have their own Internet connection. The exploit requirements are that an attacker can trick the victim into installing malicious firmware, and that the victim is using the device's fax line. The firmware is custom Linux, giving the printers a familiar networking environment for bad actors looking to exploit the fax line as an attack vector. Once they're in that ancient environment, it's possible to then move onto the network to which the the printer's connected. Yves-Noel Weweler, Ralf Spenneberg and Hendrik Schwartke of Open Source Training in Germany discovered the bug, which occurs because Epson WorkForce multifunction printers don't demand signed firmware images.
  • Google just saved the journalist who was hit by a 'record' cyberattack
    Google just stepped in with its massive server infrastructure to run interference for journalist Brian Krebs. Last week, Krebs' site, Krebs On Security, was hit by a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that took it offline, the likes of which was a "record" that was nearly double the traffic his host Akamai had previously seen in cyberattacks. Now just days later, Krebs is back online behind the protection of Google, which offers a little-known program called Project Shield to help protect independent journalists and activists' websites from censorship. And in the case of Krebs, the DDoS attack was certainly that: The attempt to take his site down was in response to his recent reporting on a website called vDOS, a service allegedly created by two Israeli men that would carry out cyberattacks on behalf of paying customers.
  • Krebs DDoS aftermath: industry in shock at size, depth and complexity of attack
    “This attack didn’t stop, it came in wave after wave, hundreds of millions of packets per second,” says Josh Shaul, Akamai’s vice president of product management, when Techworld spoke to him. “This was different from anything we’ve ever seen before in our history of DDoS attacks. They hit our systems pretty hard.” Clearly still a bit stunned, Shaul describes the Krebs DDoS as unprecedented. Unlike previous large DDoS attacks such as the infamous one carried out on cyber-campaign group Spamhaus in 2013, this one did not use fancy amplification or reflection to muster its traffic. It was straight packet assault from the old school.
  • iOS 10 makes it easier to crack iPhone back-ups, says security firm
    INSECURITY FIRM Elcomsoft has measured the security of iOS 10 and found that the software is easier to hack than ever before. Elcomsoft is not doing Apple any favours here. The fruity firm has just launched the iPhone 7, which has as many problems as it has good things. Of course, there are no circumstances when vulnerable software is a good thing, but when you have just launched that version of the software, it is really bad timing. Don't hate the player, though, as this is what Elcomsoft, and what Apple, are supposed to be doing right. "We discovered a major security flaw in the iOS 10 back-up protection mechanism. This security flaw allowed us to develop a new attack that is able to bypass certain security checks when enumerating passwords protecting local (iTunes) back-ups made by iOS 10 devices," said Elcomsoft's Oleg Afonin in a blog post.
  • After Tesla: why cybersecurity is central to the car industry's future
    The news that a Tesla car was hacked from 12 miles away tells us that the explosive growth in automotive connectivity may be rapidly outpacing automotive security. This story is illustrative of two persistent problems afflicting many connected industries: the continuing proliferation of vulnerabilities in new software, and the misguided view that cybersecurity is separate from concept, design, engineering and production. This leads to a ‘fire brigade approach’ to cybersecurity where security is not baked in at the design stage for either hardware or software but added in after vulnerabilities are discovered by cybersecurity specialists once the product is already on the market.

Ofcom blesses Linux-powered, open source DIY radio ‘revolution’

Small scale DAB radio was (quite literally) conceived in an Ofcom engineer’s garden shed in Brighton, on a Raspberry Pi, running a full open source stack, in his spare time. Four years later, Ofcom has given the thumbs up to small scale DAB after concluding that trials in 10 UK cities were judged to be a hit. We gave you an exclusive glimpse into the trials last year, where you could compare the specialised proprietary encoders with the Raspberry Pi-powered encoders. “We believe that there is a significant level of demand from smaller radio stations for small scale DAB, and that a wider roll-out of additional small scale services into more geographic areas would be both technically possible and commercially sustainable,” notes Ofcom. Read more

nginx

Case in point: I've been using the Apache HTTP server for many years now. Indeed, you could say that I've been using Apache since before it was even called "Apache"—what started as the original NCSA HTTP server, and then the patched server that some enterprising open-source developers distributed, and finally the Apache Foundation-backed open-source colossus that everyone recognizes, and even relies on, today—doing much more than just producing HTTP servers. Apache's genius was its modularity. You could, with minimal effort, configure Apache to use a custom configuration of modules. If you wanted to have a full-featured server with tons of debugging and diagnostics, you could do that. If you wanted to have high-level languages, such as Perl and Tcl, embedded inside your server for high-speed Web applications, you could do that. If you needed the ability to match, analyze and rewrite every part of an HTTP transaction, you could do that, with mod_rewrite. And of course, there were third-party modules as well. Read more

Linux and Open Source Hardware for IoT

Most of the new 21 open source software projects for IoT that we examined last week listed Linux hacker boards as their prime development platforms. This week, we’ll look at open source and developer-friendly Linux hardware for building Internet of Things devices, from simple microcontroller-based technology to Linux-based boards. In recent years, it’s become hard to find an embedded board that isn’t marketing with the IoT label. Yet, the overused term is best suited for boards with low prices, small footprints, low power consumption, and support for wireless communications and industrial interfaces. Camera support is useful for some IoT applications, but high-end multimedia is usually counterproductive to attributes like low cost and power consumption. Read more