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Women & Free Software projects

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OSS

To many women, a large social group of men they are supposed to join may be intimidating – the same could probably be said of any men joining a large social group primarily populated of women. But when what looks intimidating reveals itself as being actually oppressing , that is the moment we have a true problem. Male developers shunning, criticizing, belittling and offending female developers because they are females, even when not necessarily expressed in an explicit way, is purely not acceptable. It is neither on the most basic moral grounds nor in the letter and spirit of the Free Software movement. The Internet, unfortunately, reveals protracted bullies, the kind of people who would probably not have the guts to ask the targeted woman out, or even not dare look at a female developer in the eyes and tell her what he would be able to write from the comfort of his own keyboard, miles away from her.

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Leftovers: OSS

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OSS
  • GPL Time-bomb an interesting approach to #FOSS licensing

    In short I have put a time limit of 3 years to make money out of the product and if I am unable it is turned over to the world to use as they see fit. Even better, assuming searchcode server becomes a successful product I will be forced to continually improve it and upgrade if I want to keep a for sale version without there being an equivalent FOSS version around (which in theory could be maintained by the community). In short everyone wins from this arrangement, and I am not forced to rely on a support model to pay the bills which frankly only works when you have a large sales team.

    Here’s hoping this sort of licencing catches on as there are so many products out there that could benefit from it. If they take off the creators have an incentive to maintain and not milk their creation and those that become abandoned even up available for public use which I feel is a really fair way of licencing software.

  • The kernel community confronts GPL enforcement

    Some of the most important discussions associated with the annual Kernel Summit do not happen at the event itself; instead, they unfold prior to the summit on the planning mailing list. There is value in learning what developers feel needs to be talked about and, often, important issues can be resolved before the summit itself takes place. That list has just hosted (indeed, is still hosting as of this writing) a voluminous discussion on license enforcement that was described by some participants as being "pointless" or worse. But that discussion has served a valuable purpose: it has brought to the light a debate that has long festered under the surface, and it has clarified where some of the real disagreements lie.

    It all started when Karen Sandler, the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), proposed a session on "GPL defense issues." Interest in these issues is growing, she said, and it would be a good time to get the kernel community together for the purposes of information sharing and determining what community consensus exists, if any, on enforcement issues. It quickly became clear that some real differences of opinion exist though, in truth, the differences of opinion within the community may not be as large as they seem. Rather than attempt to cover the entire thread, this article will try to extract some of the most significant points from it.

  • Moving to Pelican and GitHub pages

    I have decided to move to using GitHub pages and Pelican to create my person ‘hub’ on the Internet. I am still in the debate about moving some content over to the new hub, but have not made a decision yet.

  • Token-based authorship information from Git

    At LinuxCon North America 2016, Daniel German presented some research that he and others have done to extract more fine-grained authorship information from Git. Instead of the traditional line-based attribution for changes, they took things to the next level by looking at individual tokens in the source code and attributing changes to individuals. This kind of analysis may be helpful in establishing code provenance for copyright and other purposes.

    German, who is from the University of Victoria, worked on the project with Kate Stewart of the Linux Foundation and Bram Adams of Polytechnique Montréal. It was a "combination of research plus hacking", he said, and the results were fascinating.

Julia Reda, MEP: "Proprietary Software threatens Democracy"

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OSS

Julia Reda ended the QtCon, a conference for the Free Software community, with a closing keynote on, among other things, Free Software in the European Public Sector.

Ms Reda, a member of the EU Parliament for the Pirate Party, explained how proprietary software, software that forbids users from studying and modifying it, has often left regulators in the dark, becoming a liability for and often a threat to the well-being and health of citizens.

An example of this, she said, is the recent Dieselgate scandal, in which auto-mobile manufacturers installed software that cheated instruments that measured fumes in test environments, only to spew illegal amounts of toxic exhaust into the atmosphere the moment they went on the road.

Ms Reda also explained how medical devices running proprietary software posed a health hazard for patients. She gave the example of a woman with a pacemaker who collapsed while climbing some stairs due to a bug in her device. Doctors and technicians had no way of diagnosing and correcting the problem as they did not have access to the code.

Also worrying is the threat software with restrictive licenses pose to democracy itself. The trend of substituting traditional voting ballots with voting machines is especially worrying, because, as these machines are not considered a threat to national security, their software also goes unaudited and is, in fact, unauditable in most cases.

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Open365 mail – You’ve got … something?

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OSS
Reviews

Ladies, gentlemen, everyone else. Not that long ago, I reviewed Open365, a free, open-source, cloud-based productivity suite based on LibreOffice, with some nice spicy additions. I liked it. It’s a pretty decent product, with a lot of potential. But there’s still a lot more work to be done.

The one aspect of the five-app combo you get in Open365 that I missed in the earlier article is the mail functionality. You have the three power programs – LibreOffice Writer, Calc and Impress – plus GIMP, with the mail client as the fifth element. Get the joke? Oh my. Well, it is time to right all past wrongs and give the final piece of the cloud suite its due review. Rhyme. Word.

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New FOSS Projects

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OSS
  • Yahoo! Open Sources Pulsar, a Pub/Sub Messaging Platform

    According to Yahoo!, Pulsar is a low latency Pub/Sub messaging system that can be scaled horizontally across multiple hosts and datacenters. Yahoo! has been using Pulsar in production for Mail, Finance, Gemini Ads, Sherpa, and Sports since Q2/2015. By making it open source, they hope it will be widely used by being integrated with other open source products. Yahoo! has deployed Pulsar in over ten datacenters, reaching over 100B msgs/day spread over 1.4 million topics with an average publish latency of less than 5ms. Pulsar comes with guaranteed delivery of messages and two persisted copies, automatic cursor management for message readers and cross-datacenter replication.

  • Penn researchers develop open-source software to infer evolutionary track of tumor metastasis

    Individual cells within a tumor are not all the same. This may sound like a modern medical truism, but it wasn't very long ago that oncologists assumed that taking a single biopsy from a patient's tumor would be an accurate reflection of the physiological and genetic make-up of the entire mass.

    Researchers have come to realize that cancer is a disease driven by the same "survival of the fitter" forces that Darwin proposed drove the evolution of life on Earth. In the case of tumors, however, individual cells are constantly evolving as a tumor's stage advances. Mobile cancer cells causing metastasis are a deadly outcome of this process.

  • New package gettz on CRAN
  • RProtoBuf 0.4.6: bugfix update

    Relatively quickly after version 0.4.5 of RProtoBuf was released, we have a new version 0.4.6 to announce which appeared on CRAN today.

    RProtoBuf provides R bindings for the Google Protocol Buffers ("Protobuf") data encoding and serialization library used and released by Google, and deployed as a language and operating-system agnostic protocol by numerous projects.

The Sun gets it wrong, we're here to help.

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OSS

Recently the Sun published an article by Ryan Sabey (@ryansabey), “UNION HACK Jeremy Corbyn’s digital democracy manifesto ‘would let foreign spooks rob UK'”. The post included several criticisms from government officials and pundits challenging the quality and security of open source software, cautioning readers, “sensitive data could be at risk under Labour leader's plans.”

Mr. Corbyn's, “Digital Democracy Manifesto” calls for public bodies in the U.K. to, “encourage publicly funded software and hardware to be released under an Open Source license,” and “financially reward staff technicians who significantly contribute to Open Source projects”.

Neil Doyle, who the Sun simply identified as an expert, warned, “cyber-criminals and foreign intelligence agencies would have a field day” under such an approach while, “private firms or individuals would be reluctant to get involved in public sector projects.”

Adding further criticism was British MP Nigel Adams who said Mr. Corbyn’s initiative, “ignores the issue of Internet abuse” adding, “his shambolic policies could leave us open to malicious attack and put our national security at risk.”

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Also: Open source at the European Broadcasting Union/Eurovision

OSS Leftovers

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OSS

  • Penn software helps to identify course of cancer metastasis, tumor 'evolution'

    Canopy is an open-source software so oncologists will be able to use it to identify potential biomarkers for different cancer cell populations within tumor specimens that are associated with drug resistance and invasive malignancy, among other characteristics.

  • The New Research and Development (R&D) Model - Open Source Projects

    I have written in the past how the International Multimedia Telecommunication Consortium (IMTC) has generated some great use case specifications on Real-Time Media and Software Defined Networking (RTM SDN) and how the Open Network Foundation (ONF) has realized these use cases with a new open source project for RTM SDN called Project Atrium Enterprise. However, what most don’t realize is how open source has changed the world in how we do Research and Development (R&D) as an industry.

    I for one, having been in a closed source world for many years, didn’t realize how innovation is being incubated in a totally different model than the past. I always thought open source projects were what developers did in their spare time and that features were just punted over the wall with no rhyme or reason. Now, I knew that open source Linux was widely used as the operating system of choice for embedded systems; however, what I didn’t understand is how open source projects really worked and how they have been funded.

  • Descent: Underground builds open-source gaming depot

    Descendent Studios, makers of Descent: Underground, announced the open-source release of several Unreal Engine 4 plugins they developed for the game. The studio rolled out their GitHub repository on the heels of last week’s announcement that Descent: Underground won an Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) Fund grant from Razer. Descent: Underground was the first high-end action title to natively support all of the major desktop VR headsets: OSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.

  • FRAUDAR: How A New Open Source Algorithm Aims To Kill Social Media Frauds
  • Krita 3.01 Beta Released

    The popular Krita painting program keeps getting even better. This new beta release of 3.01 includes features added from Google Summer of Code programmers. This screencast does a very good job explaining the new features, including new animation tools.

  • Ascensio System SIA's ONLYOFFICE

    Ascensio System SIA boasts that its ONLYOFFICE office and productivity suite combines the best from the MS Office and Google Docs worlds. ONLYOFFICE is a free and open-source solution and is distributed under the AGPL v.3 license.

  • A Semantic Markup Proposal for AsciiDoc

    AsciiDoc is a light-weight markup language that is being adopted at a fast-pace by projects. The Fedora Documentation Project, for example, has decided to migrate its books to AsciiDoc. AsciiDoc excels at being very easy to write with as it doesn’t have a lot of tagging or other extraneous keystrokes. It, like many light-weight markup languages, is known for having sensible defaults.

  • LibreOffice 5.2.1 Open Source Office Suite Released With 105 Bug Fixes
  • V8 JavaScript Engine 5.4 Brings More Performance Improvements

    Version 5.4 of the V8 JavaScript Engine has been released. This is another hefty update to V8 and it brings the favorite kind of work we like talking about: more performance improvements.

    V8 Release 5.4 brings reductions in peak memory usage of on-heap memory up to 40% by tuning the garbage collector for low-memory systems. The off-heap peak memory usage has improved by up to 20% as well thanks to simplifying the V8 JavaScript parser.

Linux/FOSS Events (UbuCon Europe, Node.js Hackathons)

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OSS
Ubuntu
  • You Can Now Register for the First European Ubuntu Conference, c

    Softpedia was informed by Marius Quabeck from UbuntuFun.de that the registration for the upcoming UbuCon Europe conference for Ubuntu Linux users and developers is now open.

    We informed our readers about UbuCon Europe, which is the very first European Ubuntu conference put together by a group of Ubuntu members, earlier this year, and told them that it would take place between November 18-20, at the Unperfekthaus in Essen, Germany.

  • Bloomberg to Hold Weekend Node.js Hackathons in New York and London

    In 2014 Bloomberg hosted its first "Open Source Day" event, which was an experiment to see if we could combine the company's long history of volunteerism with open source collaboration. We brought one of the Git project's core developers to New York City, got about 30 employees signed up, and they spent the day learning how to build, test, and improve Git. The event was such a success that we've held a half-dozen more, and they've grown into weekend events with attendees from our Engineering team, local universities and colleges, and of course the open source community.

May the Fork Be with You: A Short History of Open Source Forks

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OSS

Debian is one of the oldest Linux-based distributions that became the base of many distros. One of the most popular Debian forks is Ubuntu. Ubuntu takes Debian packages and builds its own packages. It has its own software repository, it’s own kernel. Though many would argue whether Ubuntu is a fork or not, even Mark Shuttleworth is not fully sure.

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darktable 2.0.6 Open-Source RAW Image Editor Supports Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

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OSS

A new stable version of the open-source and cross-platform darktable RAW image editor has been released, namely version 2.0.6, which brings support for new digital cameras, as well as a bunch of improvements over the previous maintenance update.

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today's howtos

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • Ubuntu Phone, Sep 2016 - Vorsprung durch Touch
    The Ubuntu Phone is getting better, and with every new iteration of the OTA, my little BQ Aquaris E4.5 is gaining more speed and functionality. Like in the air force, with an avionics upgrade, which transforms ancient wings into a powerful and modern bird of prey. Only the pace of advancement is lagging behind the market. See what Android and iOS can do, even Windows Phone, and you realize how late and insufficiently meaningful the Ubuntu Phone really is. This has to change, massively. This latest round does bring some fine goods to the table - more speed and stability, better icons, more overall visual polish, incremental improvements in the applications and the scopes. But that's not enough to win the heart of the average user. A more radical, app-centric effort is required. More focus on delivering the mobile experience, be it as it may. Ubuntu cannot revolutionalize that which is already considered the past. It can only join the club and enjoy the benefits of a well-established reality. And that is a kickass app stack that makes the touch device worth using in the first place. Still, it's not all gloomy. E4.5 is a better product now than it was a year ago, fact. Ubuntu Phone is a better operating system than it was even this spring, fact. So maybe one day we will see Ubuntu become an important if not dominant player in the phone and tablet space. It sure is heading in the right direction, my only fear is the availability of resources to pull off this massive rehaul that is needed to make it stand up to the old and proven giants. And that's it really. If you're keen on Linux (not Android) making it in the mobile world, do not forget to check my Ubuntu tablet review! Especially the convergence piece. On that merry note, you do remember that I'm running a wicked contest this year, too? He/she who reads my books might get a chance to win an M10 tablet. Indeed. Off you go, dear readers. Whereas I will now run the same set of tests we did here on the Aquaris tablet, and see how it likes the OTA-12 upgrade. The end.
  • Ubuntu 16.10 Unity 8 - new window snapping feature
  • Ubuntu Online Summit for Ubuntu 17.04 is Taking Place In Mid-November
  • Ubuntu Online Summit: 15-16 November 2016

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • 10 Top Open Source Artificial Intelligence Tools for Linux
    In this post, we shall cover a few of the top, open-source artificial intelligence (AI) tools for the Linux ecosystem. Currently, AI is one of the ever advancing fields in science and technology, with a major focus geared towards building software and hardware to solve every day life challenges in areas such as health care, education, security, manufacturing, banking and so much more.
  • List of FLOSS International Conferences September 2016 Materials
  • This Week In Servo 78
    Our overall roadmap is available online and now includes the initial Q3 plans. From now on, we plan to include the quarterly plan with a high-level breakdown in the roadmap page.
  • Firefox 49 Release: Find out what is new
    Firefox 49.0 is the next major stable release of the web browser. Firefox 48.0.2 and earlier versions of Firefox can be updated to the new release.
  • Open-Source Climate Change Data From NASA, NOAA, & Others Available For 1st Time
    Climate change has many components — rising sea levels, alterations in rainfall patterns, and an increase in severe storm activity, among others. Communities around the world are faced with the need to plan for climate change but don’t have the information available to do so effectively.
  • Another Setback for 3D Printed Gun Advocate Cody Wilson as Court of Appeals Rules That National Security Concerns Outweigh Free Speech
    It’s been a long, drawn-out battle, beginning in 2013 when Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, published the open source files for his 3D printed handgun, the Liberator, online. The State Department ordered that he take the files down, and Wilson complied, but not before thousands had downloaded them and spread them elsewhere on the Internet. In 2015, with the help of gun rights organization The Second Amendment Foundation, Wilson filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the State Department had violated not only his Second Amendment but his First Amendment rights. By suppressing his right to share information online, Wilson argued, the State Department was violating his right to free speech.
  • In 3D-Printed Gun Case, Federal Court Permits Speech Censorship in the Name of Alleged National Security
  • Oracle tries playing nice with Java EE rebels
    With Oracle now trying to get back on track with advancing enterprise Java, the company is seeking rapprochement with factions that had sought to advance the platform on their own. The two groups involved are mostly amenable to patching up the relationship. Oracle's Anil Gaur, group vice president of engineering, said this week he had already been in touch with some of the concerned parties. The two factions include Java EE Guardians, led by former Oracle Java EE evangelist Reza Rahman, and Microprofile.io, which has included participation from Red Hat and IBM.

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