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OSS

Bernie Sanders' campaign is right, Microsoft could hurt election -- open source is needed

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OSS

When it comes to government agencies at all levels, and things like the voting process, I am a hardcore believer in open source being necessary. To truly know that votes are being counted correctly by machines, only open source would allow independent auditing. It will also help to prevent unknown backdoors in secure government computer systems.

Closed source technologies from companies like Microsoft could, in theory, contain backdoors or vulnerabilities that hackers and evildoers could exploit. Even worse, Microsoft or its employees could purposely alter voting software to influence outcomes. Am I saying the company is doing this? Not at all. But with closed source software, there is no way to know for sure. Now, Bernie Sanders' campaign is questioning Microsoft's technologies being used in Iowa Caucuses. You know what? They have a point.

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A new open source cloud management tool… from Walmart

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OSS

If you want evidence of just how different Internet retail and brick-and-mortar retail are, you just have to look at what's going on with the world's largest retailer. In the same week that Walmart announced the closing of over 100 physical stores, the company's e-commerce unit announced that it is releasing a piece of its cloud-management infrastructure as open source—publishing the OneOps platform on Github. The company's internal e-commerce development unit, @Walmartlabs, has released OneOps under the Apache 2.0 license.

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Programming and Education

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Development
OSS
  • Beep Beep Yarr!

    For too long, computer programming has seemed like a secret world, sealed off from all but the geekiest of maths geniuses. Normal people never needed to know what went on inside their mysterious black boxes: it might have well as been voodoo. That’s changing now though. Because computers are essential to the way we live now, computer programmers are essential too. Kids growing up today need to have at least an idea of how computers work to make them useful (and well paid) members of the workforce of tomorrow.

  • Fortran: coding for scientists, by scientists

    FORTRAN (it dropped the caps in 1990) is the oldest high-level language still written today. It’s now over 55 years old and still in widespread use in the sciences, in high-performance computing, and in supercomputers. Its real strength is in numerical computation and complicated mathematical models (making it also popular in finance); and its position is hard to assail given the vast Fortran code library of numerical computation routines that’s available. There are even people still using fixed-format F77 (see below), although most modern users have shifted to the easier free-format. It’s probably not your language of choice for shiny Web 2.0 development, but it’s fascinating to have a look at something with such a venerable and successful history.

Leftovers: OSS

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OSS
  • 5 Top Open Source Contributions for React Native (and What's Needed)

    Since being open sourced by creator Facebook, React Native has garnered more than 26,000 "stars" on GitHub -- making it No. 23 in the all-time rankings -- and has been forked more than 4,600 times. Clearly, it's taking the mobile app dev arena by storm.

  • 4 myths about agile

    It stung—but she learned from it. Proponents of agile "have failed to deliver the message in a way the open source community understands," she tells her audience in this video. So Krieger took to the stage to dispel four common myths about agile and "get to the truth of what it’s intended to be."

  • 10 Open Source Vulnerability Assessment Tools

    Vulnerability assessment tools are an essential part of enterprise security strategies, as scanning applications for known vulnerabilities is a key best practice. Using open source vulnerability assessment technologies can help organizations save money and customize software to suit their needs.

    Many open source vulnerability assessment tools are conveniently bundled in security distributions such as Offensive Security's Kali Linux. Here is a selection of 10 useful open source vulnerability assessment tools, including general vulnerability assessment tools, Web server and application vulnerability scanners, analysis tools and fuzzers.

  • How open source could save us from ad-served hacking

    Yesterday I wrote of how Adblock Plus isn’t necessarily the best, and certainly isn’t the most ethical of all possible open-source adblocking solutions; but rather that it predominates because it grew a massive user-base in a time of diversity and transition. And so it is with its opposite number – the ad-serving industry whose domains form the basis of adblockers’ blacklists and whitelists.

    It’s a rotten, but established solution. It’s just ‘what people do’.

    To boot, the ad-serving industry as it stands has billions in turnover to spend defaming or undermining any alternative system, should one arise.

  • The dangerous “UI team”

    Customers do not want to click on UI controls. Nor do they want to browse a web site, or “log in,” or “manage” anything, or for that matter interact with your product in any way. Those aren’t goals people have when they wake up in the morning. They’re more like tedious tasks they discover later.

    [...]

    The “UI team” has “UI” right there in the name (sounds user-friendly doesn’t it?). But this is a bottom-up, implementation-driven way to define a team. You’ve defined the team by solution rather than by problem.

How to increase online privacy with open source tools and best practices

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OSS

Privacy on the Internet is… well, let's just say it's complicated. In this article, I'll analyze a few open source tools and concepts that you might use to increase privacy on the Internet for yourself. It will not be an exhaustive list of all possible avenues, nor does it pretend to ensure complete privacy even in the fact of a concentrated, personal attack. Some of the tips you will find useful, others you will discard, and still others you might use in conjunction with other policies to construct your own privacy model.

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Good leaders know what economics can’t explain about open source

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OSS

Whatever the reason, economic rationality won't illuminate it. But open leaders need to discover it. And they can turn once again to open source communities for insight. Yet again, they likely have something important to teach us about the reasons we organize today.

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South Tyrol open source school project to spur teachers

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OSS

Three teachers and a handful of volunteers working on the decade-old project that introduces schools in the Italian province of South Tyrol (Alto Adige) to free and open source software, are starting a campaign to get new teachers involved.

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Tor Browser 5.5 is released

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OSS
Security

Tor Browser 5.5, the first stable release in the 5.5 series, is now available from the Tor Browser Project page and also from our distribution directory.

This release features important security updates to Firefox.

On the privacy front we finally provide a defense against font enumeration attacks which we developed over the last weeks and months. While there is still room for improvement, it closes an important gap in our fingerprinting defenses. Additionally, we isolate Shared Workers to the first-party domain now and further improved our keyboard fingerprinting defense.

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Sylpheed 3.5 Open Source Email Client Released with Support for HiDPI Displays

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GNU
Linux
OSS

Sylpheed, an open-source, free and cross-platform email client that is currently used in numerous lightweight GNU/Linux operating systems, has been updated to version 3.5, a release that introduces cool new features.

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6 starting points for open source beginners

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OSS

To help navigate your first open source contribution, I've put together a list of what I think are the most beginner-friendly open source starting points, as well as, a few other helpful resources. To make sure the list contains well-maintained projects, I've only included projects with over 1,000 stars on GitHub (unless otherwise stated).

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    When you decide to embrace Linux on the desktop, it can be quite exciting. There is a good chance you started your computing journey with Microsoft Windows, but now you want something different. While choosing the open source route can be a smart move, it can, unfortunately, be confusing too. What operating system should you pick? Many people choose Ubuntu, which is a solid choice, but some people prefer others. Linus Torvalds, for instance, famously uses Fedora. While that operating system can be quite rewarding, setting it up can be a frustrating experience for those new to Linux. Enter Korora. This operating system takes the best of Fedora and mixes it with user-friendly software and pre-configured RPMFusion repositories. Version 23, code-named 'Coral', is now available for download.

4 Truths About Working on a Community Project Inside an Open Source Company

I’ve worked at SUSE for just a hair over two years now. Before that time I had never seen the inner workings of an “Open Source Company”. Not in any real, in-depth way. Like many Free Software and Linux enthusiasts, I had always been curious how things operated within companies like SUSE, Red Hat and Canonical. Companies that support, organize and drive such a significant amount of activity in the Free and Open Source world. To me, they seemed somewhat mysterious. What really motivated them? How did they operate? What was it like to be a Linux user who actually worked in a Linux-focused company? Read more

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Nvidia's Shield tablet K1: The best Android tablet you can get under $200

Nvidia is doing an impressive job with its Shield platform. The tablet received the Android 6.0 Marshmallow Over the Air (OTA) update just a week ago. In addition to stock Android, Nvidia has installed its core apps on the tablet, including the Shield Hub. Since it’s an Android tablet you can install all supported apps, games and services on the device. Read more