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Sci/Tech

Google operates with a Debian developer to produce COVID-19 research simpler on Linux

Filed under
Google
Debian
Sci/Tech
Ubuntu

“The Bazel team jumped in to help Olek and the COVID-19 research community. Yun Peng, Software Engineer at Google with Olek Wojnar led the team of Bazel and Debian volunteers to move the project forward. The joint effort between Debian and Google has produced some great results, including packaging the Bazel bootstrap variant in 6 months’ time (Debian 11 — released in Late 2021; Ubuntu 21.04 — 22 April 2021),” clarifies Google.

The search giant further says, “Bazel is now available as an easy to install package distributed on Debian and Ubuntu. The extended Google team continues to work with Debian towards the next step of packaging and distributing Tensorflow on Debian and other Linux distributions.”

While Olek Wojnar deserves a lot of credit for this successful partnership, Google has clearly acquired significant praise as well. Not only has the search giant assisted amazingly in this case, yet it has for some time been a companion of both the open-source and Linux communities.

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More Statistics

Filed under
KDE
Software
Sci/Tech

Right now the feature set of LabPlot that can be used for the statistical analysis is very limited – we only show some values from the descriptive statistics for the selected data set in the spreadsheet. While we’re thinking about which features to add and which workflows to enable in our application to support this kind of analysis in near future, we decided to implement and to add some “quick wins” now.

[...]

The next natural step for this feature would be to enable this functionality in the worksheet and to extend it. E.g., it should be possible for the user to create such a Q-Q plot on the worksheet and to specify which probability distribution to use to compare the data set quantiles against. Similar for the KDE-plot where it should be possible to specify the kernel or for the box plot where the user can modify the type of the whiskers, etc.

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Third time's a harm? Microsoft tries to get twice-rejected compression patent past skeptical examiners

Filed under
Microsoft
Sci/Tech
Legal

In June, 2019, Microsoft applied for a US patent covering enhancements to a data encoding method known as rANS, one of several variants in the Asymmetric Numeral System (ANS) family that form the foundation of data compression schemes used by Apple, Facebook, Google, various other companies, and open source projects.

Its US patent application was published on the last day of 2020. Recently, the inventor of ANS, Jarosław Duda, assistant professor at Institute of Computer Science at Jagiellonian University in Poland, expressed concern that if Microsoft's patent application is granted, anyone using software that incorporates an ANS-based encoder could be at risk of a potential infringement claim.

[...]

"Google ended up abandoning that application," said Alex Moss, staff attorney for the EFF and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, in an email to The Register. "But it looks like Microsoft picked up right where it left off."

"Professor Duda’s concerns about the Microsoft application are similarly well-founded: these are broad claims that implicate practically any use of ANS without adding anything new and non-obvious," said Moss.

The USPTO has already said as much, Moss explained: It has rejected this application twice before, including a final rejection for obviousness.

The USPTO issued a non-final rejection of the application on May 21, 2020. Microsoft sought a review of the decision and the patent agency then issued a final rejection on October 27, 2020.

Yet on March 2, 2021, Microsoft tried one more time to get its patent application approved. In a USPTO explanatory filing, attorney Kyle Rinehart said, "The Applicant respectfully disagrees with the rejections."

"Microsoft’s recent filing takes advantage of what’s called the "After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0" program," Moss explained. "This program was started under former Director of the Patent Office, Andrei Iancu, and before leaving office, he extended the program through September 30, 2021."

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How to visualize complex data on Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Sci/Tech
HowTos

You’ve probably heard of Elasticsearch – the search engine that enables you to index and then quickly search through your data. You may have created a few visualizations in Kibana, the GUI for Elasticsearch, pointing and clicking your way through the sleek interface.

What you may not have used is a lesser-known visualization plugin called Timelion.

Timelion is a fantastic visualization creation tool that makes it possible to write out your queries in its simple and powerful expression language to display graphs. It’s used for displaying time-series data such as population growth or hits to your website.

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Google works with a Debian developer to make COVID-19 research easier on Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Debian
Sci/Tech

Medical research surrounding COVID-19 isn't over though, as scientists still have plenty of work to do. Olek Wojnar, a developer of the Linux-based Debian operating system, has been working to help these scientists by packaging some software for easy installation on Linux. One of those packages was Google's build software Bazel. Upon finding out about Wojnar's efforts, Google offered to help with the process.

"The Bazel team jumped in to help Olek and the COVID-19 research community. Yun Peng, Software Engineer at Google with Olek Wojnar led the team of Bazel and Debian volunteers to move the project forward. The joint effort between Debian and Google has produced some great results, including packaging the Bazel bootstrap variant in 6 months time (Debian 11 -- released in Late 2021; Ubuntu 21.04 -- 22 April 2021)," explains Google.

The search giant further says, "Bazel is now available as an easy to install package distributed on Debian and Ubuntu. The extended Google team continues to work with Debian towards the next step of packaging and distributing Tensorflow on Debian and other Linux distributions."

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Linux Has Landed On Mars

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Sci/Tech

NASA has landed a new rover called Perseverance on Mars. It has it's own miniature helicopter named Ingenuity that can take off, navigate, and land on Mars without human intervention. Ingenuity runs a custom Linux-based operating system, Linux has now reached Mars.

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Accurate Conclusions from Bogus Data: Methodological Issues in “Collaboration in the open-source arena: The WebKit case”

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Sci/Tech

Nearly five years ago, when I was in grad school, I stumbled across the paper Collaboration in the open-source arena: The WebKit case when trying to figure out what I would do for a course project in network theory (i.e. graph theory, not computer networking; I’ll use the words “graph” and “network” interchangeably). The paper evaluates collaboration networks, which are graphs where collaborators are represented by nodes and relationships between collaborators are represented by edges. Our professor had used collaboration networks as examples during lecture, so it seemed at least mildly relevant to our class, and I wound up writing a critique on this paper for the class project. In this paper, the authors construct collaboration networks for WebKit by examining the project’s changelog files to define relationships between developers. They perform “community detection” to visually group developers who work closely together into separate clusters in the graphs. Then, the authors use those graphs to arrive at various conclusions about WebKit (e.g. “[e]ven if Samsung and Apple are involved in expensive patent wars in the courts and stopped collaborating on hardware components, their contributions remained strong and central within the WebKit open source project,” regarding the period from 2008 to 2013).

At the time, I contacted the authors to let them know about some serious problems I found with their work. Then I left the paper sitting in a short-term to-do pile on my desk, where it has been sitting since Obama was president, waiting for me to finally write this blog post. Unfortunately, nearly five years later, the authors’ email addresses no longer work, which is not very surprising after so long — since I’m no longer a student, the email I originally used to contact them doesn’t work anymore either — so I was unable to contact them again to let them know that I was finally going to publish this blog post. Anyway, suffice to say that the conclusions of the paper were all correct; however, the networks used to arrive at those conclusions suffered from three different mistakes, each of which was, on its own, serious enough to invalidate the entire work.

So if the analysis of the networks was bogus, how did the authors arrive at correct conclusions anyway? The answer is confirmation bias. The study was performed by visually looking at networks and then coming to non-rigorous conclusions about the networks, and by researching the WebKit community to learn what is going on with the major companies involved in the project. The authors arrived at correct conclusions because they did a good job at the later, then saw what they wanted to see in the graphs.

I don’t want to be too harsh on the authors of this paper, though, because they decided to publish their raw data and methodology on the internet. They even published the python scripts they used to convert WebKit changelogs into collaboration graphs. Had they not done so, there is no way I would have noticed the third (and most important) mistake that I’ll discuss below, and I wouldn’t have been able to confirm my suspicions about the second mistake. You would not be reading this right now, and likely nobody would ever have realized the problems with the paper. The authors of most scientific papers are not nearly so transparent: many researchers today consider their source code and raw data to be either proprietary secrets to be guarded, or simply not important enough to merit publication. The authors of this paper deserve to be commended, not penalized, for their openness. Mistakes are normal in research papers, and open data is by far the best way for us to be able to detect mistakes when they happen.

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LabPlot 2.8.1 released

Filed under
KDE
Software
Sci/Tech

We’re happy to announce the availability of the first minor patch release of the big release we made two months ago. This release contains minor improvements and bug fixes only.

In the plot we now allow to change the background color for axis labels. This is useful if you place the axis labels above the axis line and don’t want to see an underlying line in the bounding box of the label. The default setting is that the background remain transparent.

For the cursor, the tool used to measure positions and distances in the plots, we now allow you to copy the values in the result window to the clipboard.

When pasting new values into LabPlot’s spreadsheet, the auto-detection of the datatime format has been improved. We now better recognize the different formats produced in external programs and being pasted into LabPlot.

Many smaller improvements were included in the dialog for the creation of the live-data sources related to the handling of errors coming from remote servers like MQTT brokers, etc. Besides the more stable behavior, the user now also gets clearer notifications about what went wrong. Furthermore, when reading live data it is possible to generate the timestamp column in LabPlot for the data being read also for TCP and UDP network sources. This was only possible for MQTT sources in the past.

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JASP: A Less Complicated Free Open-source SPSS Alternative for Advanced Statistics

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech

I had a run with many open-source statistics software and packages, but JASP was truly unique among them.

JASP is a free open-source complete statistical package supported by University of Amsterdam. It's a multi-platform program that runs on Windows, Linux and macOS.

It's designed for users who want to do some statistical work without having to deal with programming or dive deep in learning complex statistical programs. It's a recommended option for students and researchers.

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Senaite: An Open-source Enterprise-grade Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech

Senaite is a free open-source self-hosted laboratory information management system (LIMS) that built for enterprise. It offers several features which are cost and resources effective with a rich set of add-ons and a strong supportive community of developers behind it.

In this article we demonstrate Senaite's features and how it helps enterprise through an efficient management for labs, lab equipments and reduce the turnaround time.

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today's leftovers

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 678

    Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 678 for the week of April 4 – 10, 2021.

  • Ubuntu Blog: Design and Web team summary – 12 April 2021

    The web team at Canonical run two-week iterations building and maintaining all of Canonical websites and product web interfaces. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work from this iteration. This iteration has seen many of the team out of the office as schools are out in the UK. This has not limited the exciting new features and developments from the team.

  • Enabling Rapid Decision Making with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and NVIDIA Virtual GPU (vGPU)
  • SUSECON Digital 2021: a Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Space Oddity | SUSE Communities

    It’s been almost a year since we unveiled SUSECON Digital 2020 – our first virtual SUSECON event. No lies, that event was pulled off in a frenzied whirlwind of pandemic onslaughts, virtual session recordings, and bandwidth battles. Frankly, I was amazed that we met our production schedule in the wake of the Covid-cancellation of our live event in Dublin. And I was even more amazed at our SUSECON audience reaction to the virtual event. You loved it! As one of the first virtual conferences of the Covid era, your feedback told us that we had delivered exactly what was needed at the time. What an exceptional opportunity for us to include thousands of friends from all over the world who normally can’t join us at the big event!

  • JK Tyre & Industries improves operating efficiency and drives future innovation with SUSE
  • Top 3 Linux Server Operating Systems in 2021

    In this article we will look at several Linux distributions, which are an excellent choice if we want to use them as servers. We chose them precisely because they have an excellent level of security, regular patch maintenance and updates, and huge communities. In addition, there are thousands of tutorials on the Internet for every single thing on how to do it and last but not least they are easy to use. [...] Although we have not put them in the top three, not because they are not unique server operating systems, but because they require more patience, knowledge and time, we must mention FreeBSD, Red Hat, Cent OS and Fedora.

  • Element Keeps conversations in your control

    You are probably using chat applications like Slack, WhatsApp, Discord, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and another chat app. These are all great to have but in using them you are making a trade-off; you are trading security and privacy for a service that easy to use. Matrix is an open standard for communication messages. It is not a server so much as a standard way for clients and servers to talk with each other. The clients and server are open sources. With Matrix, you are not giving your data away to a company that is going to profile you and target advertising at you. This provides a degree of transparency you can look at the code, and you can be confident that it is behaving itself. Many developer love Matrix because it let them build on it like Lego bricks and write their clients and servers bots or anything else you can self-host your Matrix server and that means you can create a private community where it knows that your communications are not being intercepted by anybody else. Matrix also has the option for end-to-end encryption, so you know that your messages are private. Let’s take a look at a Matrix client known as Element (Riot and Vector) and it is pretty much the reference messaging client.

  • RSS Guard 3.9.2

    RSS Guard is a simple (yet powerful) feed reader. It is able to fetch the most known feed formats, including RSS/RDF and ATOM. It's free, it's open-source. RSS Guard currently supports Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian. RSS Guard will never depend on other services - this includes online news aggregators like Feedly, The Old Reader and others.

  • Free Software: Is It Just A Thing Of The Past?

    Free software is an idea that has existed since before the foundation of Linux but has the idea become stuck in the past and is FOSS something that we should move past, this author seems to think so, I disagree though.

  • New Linux Foundation project takes blockchain and the open source approach to the insurance industry
  •    
  • Linux Foundation Hosts Collaboration Among World’s Largest Insurance Companies

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, and the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS), today are announcing the launch of OpenIDL, the Open Insurance Data Link platform and project. The platform will reduce the cost of regulatory reporting for insurance carriers, provide a standardized data repository for analytics and a connection point for third parties to deliver new applications to members. openIDL brings together some of the world’s largest insurance companies, including The Hanover and Selective Insurance Group, along with technology and service providers Chainyard, KatRisk and MOBI to advance a common distributed ledger platform for sharing information and business processes across the insurance ecosystem. [...] “AAIS, and the insurance industry in general, are trailblazers in their contribution and collaboration to these technologies,” said Mike Dolan, senior vice president and general manager of Projects at the Linux Foundation. “Open governance networks like openIDL can now accelerate innovation and development of new product and service offerings for insurance providers and their customers. We’re excited to host this work.” As an open source project, all software source code developed will be licensed under an OSI-approved open source license, and all interface specifications developed will be published under an open specification license. And all technical discussions between participants will take place publicly, further enhancing the ability to expand the network to include other participants. As with an openly accessible network, organizations can develop their own proprietary applications and infrastructure integrations.

  • Windows, Ubuntu, Zoom, Safari, MS Exchange Hacked at Pwn2Own 2021

    The 2021 spring edition of Pwn2Own hacking contest concluded last week on April 8 with a three-way tie between Team Devcore, OV, and Computest researchers Daan Keuper and Thijs Alkemade. [...] The Zoom vulnerabilities exploited by Daan Keuper and Thijs Alkemade of Computest Security are particularly noteworthy because the flaws require no interaction of the victim other than being a participant on a Zoom call. What's more, it affects both Windows and Mac versions of the app, although it's not clear if Android and iOS versions are vulnerable as well. Technical details of the flaws are yet to be disclosed, but in a statement sharing the findings, the Dutch security firm said the researchers "were then able to almost completely take over the system and perform actions such as turning on the camera, turning on the microphone, reading emails, checking the screen and downloading the browser history."

  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel and libldb), Debian (mediawiki, qemu, ruby-kramdown, and xen), Fedora (grub2, libldb, libopenmpt, python-pikepdf, python39, samba, squid, and webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (bcc, ceph, gssproxy, hostapd, isync, kernel, openexr, openSUSE KMPs, and tpm2-tss-engine), SUSE (fwupdate and wpa_supplicant), and Ubuntu (spamassassin).

Programming Leftovers

  • Create Beautiful Websites Using Emacs Org Mode

    In my never-ending quest to find the perfect way to create beautiful (yet minimal) websites, I had to try out Org Export in Emacs. Since I tend to write everything in Org Mode these days, it would be amazing to simply be able to convert my Org docs into HTML, and maybe add a little CSS to spice things up.

  • Qt Creator 4.15: New CMake Features

    Qt Creator 4.15 comes with a bunch of features and bug fixes for the CMake Project Manager. Below, you have a list of what’s new and a few tips and tricks which would hopefully improve your CMake experience in Qt Creator.

  • 7 Popular Open Source CI/CD Tools

    DevOps is a software development strategy that incorporates agile practices for fast, efficient product creation and release. It focuses on integration of development and operations teams, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and automation of tasks and processes. Typically, DevOps teams use pipelines to streamline and standardize processes. DevOps pipelines are toolchains that teams can use to automate tasks and provide visibility into the software development life cycle. In this article, we’ll cover seven popular open source CI/CD tools.

  • Community Member Monday: Gökçe Kuler

    I’m from Aydın, Turkey. Currently I’m studying in my final years at the Computer Engineering department of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University. I’m interested in free software – and enjoy working with free software projects and learning new things aboutthemit. I met free software when I started university via my advisor Necdet Yücel. I like playing the guitar and the kalimba. Also, I recently started painting with acrylic paints. I’m vegetarian, and actively participate in animal protection and gender equality projects.

  • App Showcase: Drawing

    Drawing is a simple app in the PureOS store to doodle on a digital canvas.

today's howtos

  • How to Use tcpdump and 6 Examples

    Are you trying to capture data packets in order to analyze traffic on your network? Maybe you are a server administrator who has bumped into an issue and wants to monitor transmitted data on the network. Whatever the situation be, the tcpdump Linux utility is what you need. In this article, we will discuss the tcpdump command in detail, along with some guides on how to install and use tcpdump on your Linux system.

  • How to play The Forest on Linux

    The Forest works on Linux, but only with Proton’s help, which is a built-in feature of the Linux release of Steam. So, before we can go over how to configure the game, we must demonstrate how to install Steam on Linux.

  • How to Install CopyQ Clipboard Manager 4.0.0 in Ubuntu 20.04 | UbuntuHandbook

    The CopyQ clipboard manager released version 4.0.0 a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu 18.04 via PPA. CopyQ is a free and open-source clipboard manager with editing and scripting features. The new 4.0.0 release features new script engine with some new functions, better ECMAScript support, improved performance.

  • These 10 Sed Examples Will Make You a Linux Power User

    Editing text files and terminal output is an everyday job for those who administer Linux machines. Command-line utilities like sed allow a user to modify and change the content of a text file right from the terminal window. In this article, we will discuss the sed command in detail, along with some essential examples that demonstrate the power of the sed utility in Linux.

Today in Techrights