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Sci/Tech

Update on Linux support: creation of a CERN Linux community forum

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Sci/Tech

For those, a CERN Linux community forum has been created. Users will be able to post issues that they encounter when using non-CERN-supported Linux distributions and to post solutions. Users are also encouraged to post articles with comments and ideas that could help make this forum more dynamic and useful to them.

Various methods for printing and using AFS, SSH, ROOT and other tools at CERN can be found on the internet. The CERN Linux community forum aims to collect these methods, as well as new ones that may be created directly in it.

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Fedora at the National Library of Technology

Filed under
Red Hat
Sci/Tech

Where do you turn when you have a fleet of public workstations to manage? If you’re the Czech National Library of Technology (NTK), you turn to Fedora. Located in Prague, the NTK is the Czech Republic’s largest science and technology library. As part of its public service mission, the NTK provides 150 workstations for public use.

In 2018, the NTK moved these workstations from Microsoft Windows to Fedora. In the press release announcing this change, Director Martin Svoboda said switching to Fedora will “reduce operating system support costs by about two-thirds.” The choice to use Fedora was easy, according to NTK Linux Engineer Miroslav Brabenec. “Our entire Linux infrastructure runs on RHEL or CentOS. So for desktop systems, Fedora was the obvious choice,” he told Fedora Magazine.

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CERN Moves to Free/Libre Software With Latest Change

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech
  • CERN ends trial of Facebook Workplace

    New changes to the status of CERN’s Workplace account prevent the Organization from continuing on the platform. CERN’s presence on Workplace will end on 31 January 2020. In October 2016, Facebook made Workplace available to any company or organisation.

  • CERN Replacing Facebook Workplace With A Set Of Open-Source Software Alternatives

    Facebook Workplace is Facebook's corporate-focused product for internal real-time communication and related communication needs within organizations. CERN had been making use of Facebook Workplace and in addition to data privacy concerns, they were recently confronted with either paying Facebook or losing administrative rights, no more single sign-on access, and Facebook having access to their internal data. But now they have assembled their own set of software packages to fill the void by abandoning Facebook Workplace.

The 15 Best Physics Tools for Linux System in 2020

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech

There are different types of applications of Linux physics software in the study and research of theoretical and applied physics. So, it’s very difficult to call a single piece of software the best. Here we have enlisted a collection of 15 best Physics tools for Linux.

Some of them are for analyzing data, some for numerical applications, some for simulation, and even some will help you in programming the solution of different physics-related problems. We are certain that no matter what your requirement is, you are going to love this curated collection of Linux physics software.

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The 15 Earth Science or Geoscience Software for Linux

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GNU
Linux
Software
Sci/Tech

Geoscience or earth science is not only about boring theories. There are many practical implementations of the knowledge of geoscience in real life. And, there are some computer programs which will help you to simulate the ideas of this important field of science. Normally, students and academicians of geoscience use these tools.

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Educational Data Sets

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

There are many online sources available that provide data sets for educational and study purposes. They cover many different areas (physics, statistics, medicine, etc.) and many tools and frameworks provide wrappers for them and allow you to easily play around with the data sets. In many cases, the technical tasks of fetching the data from the server, parsing it and installing it are completely transparent for users.

We recently added a similar functionality to LabPlot and we plan to release this new feature as part of the upcoming 2.8 version. The initial implementation for this was done by Ferencz Kovács during Google Summer of Code 2019.

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KStars v3.3.9 is Released

Filed under
KDE
Software
Sci/Tech

We kickoff 2020 with a brand new KStars v3.3.9 release for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

This release incorporates the continued improvements to KStars base while introducing new long-awaited features in a few areas.

Stretch Controls

Hy Murveit implemented adjustable and fast stretch controls for mono and color images within the FITS Viewer. These allow fine changes in Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights clipping even for high resolution astro-photos.

Adjusting the controls do not change the underlying data, only the previewed image. After any stretch adjustment is made, the user can always revert to the automatic stretching again by clicking on the small wizard icon at the bottom right corner of the controls panel.

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Happy 50th Birthday To All You Epoch Birthers

Filed under
OS
Sci/Tech

Good morning everyone, and what a lovely start to the new year it is, because it’s your birthday! Happy birthday, it’s your 50th! What’s that you say, you aren’t 50 today? (Looks…) That’s what all these internet databases say, because you’ve spent the last decade or so putting 1970-01-01 as your birth date into every online form that doesn’t really need to know it!

It’s been a staple for a subset of our community for years, to put the UNIX epoch, January 1st 1970, into web forms as a birth date. There are even rumours that some sites now won’t accept that date as a birthday, such is the volume of false entries they have with that date. It’s worth taking a minute though to consider UNIX time, some of its history and how its storage has changed over the years.

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CERN to switch to Kopano mail server for its 40,000 users

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech

In June the IT trade press reported widely on CERN's Microsoft Alternatives (MALT) project. “It started off as a very unfortunate situation with license costs increasing, but has turned into a great opportunity to review the way we do things in order to move towards open solutions,” Tenaglia told the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory.

The first tangible outcome of this is a switch to the Kopano mail server. CERN is currently evaluating Kopano, aiming in due course to support 40,000 users and some 60 terabytes of mail data. CERN is running an on-premises pilot of the same size as its production server, which uses Microsoft Exchange. The research organisation, based in Meyrin, Switzerland, has a support contract with Kopano, the Dutch/German software company that is developing the eponymous mail server. “Kopano offers support for their 100% open source software. That sets it apart from business that offer support for premium features built onto their basic open source product,” Tanaglia says.

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Hardware, Science and History

Filed under
OS
Hardware
Sci/Tech
  • An Open Source Toolbox For Studying The Earth

    Fully understanding the planet’s complex ecosystem takes data, and lots of it. Unfortunately, the ability to collect detailed environmental data on a large scale with any sort of accuracy has traditionally been something that only the government or well-funded institutions have been capable of. Building and deploying the sensors necessary to cover large areas or remote locations simply wasn’t something the individual could realistically do.

    But by leveraging modular hardware and open source software, the FieldKit from [Conservify] hopes to even the scales a bit. With an array of standardized sensors and easy to use software tools for collating and visualizing collected data, the project aims to empower independent environmental monitoring systems that can scale from a handful of nodes up to several hundred.

  • The Early History of Usenet, Part II: Hardware and Economics

    There was a planning meeting for what became Usenet at Duke CS. We knew three things, and three things only: we wanted something that could be used locally for administrative messages, we wanted a networked system, and we would use uucp for intersite communication. This last decision was more or less by default: there were no other possibilities available to us or to most other sites that ran standard Unix. Furthermore, all you needed to run uucp was a single dial-up modem port. (I do not remember who had the initial idea for a networked system, but I think it was Tom Truscott and the late Jim Ellis, both grad students at Duke.)

    There was a problem with this last option, though: who would do the dialing? The problems were both economic and technical-economic. The latter issue was rooted in the regulatory climate of the time: hardwired modems were quite unusual, and ones that could automatically dial were all but non-existent. (The famous Hayes Smartmodem was still a few years in the future.) The official solution was a leased Bell 801 autodialer and a DEC DN11 peripheral as the interface between the computer and the Bell 801. This was a non-starter for a skunkworks project; it was hard enough to manage one-time purchases like a modem or a DN11, but getting faculty to pay monthly lease costs for the autodialer just wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, Tom and Jim had already solved that problem.

  • UNIX Version 0, Running On A PDP-7, In 2019

    WIth the 50th birthday of the UNIX operating system being in the news of late, there has been a bit of a spotlight shone upon its earliest origins. At the Living Computers museum in Seattle though they’ve gone well beyond a bit of historical inquiry though, because they’ve had UNIX (or should we in this context say unix instead?) version 0 running on a DEC PDP-7 minicomputer. This primordial version on the original hardware is all the more remarkable because unlike its younger siblings very few PDP-7s have survived.

    The machine running UNIX version 0 belongs to [Fred Yearian], a former Boeing engineer who bought his machine from the company’s surplus channel at the end of the 1970s. He restored it to working order and it sat in his basement for decades, while the vintage computing world labored under the impression that including the museum’s existing machine only four had survived — of which only one worked. [Fred’s] unexpected appearance with a potentially working fifth machine, therefore, came as something of a surprise.

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More in Tux Machines

Access an independent, uncensored version of Planet Debian

Please update your bookmarks and RSS subscriptions to use the new links / feeds below. A number of differences of opinion have emerged in the Debian Community recently. People have expressed concern about blogs silently being removed from Planet Debian and other Planet sites in the free software universe. These actions hide the great work that some Debian Developers are doing and undermines our mutual commitment to transparency in the Debian Social Contract. Read more

Red Hat: The Vision of Fedora Project and Corporate IBM/Red Hat News

  • The Fedora Project's One Sentence Vision

    Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller recently talked about his vision for the Fedora Project over the next decade and it to become an "operating system factory", among other advancements he hopes to see out of the project in the 2020s. A one-sentence vision for Fedora is now drafted as their vision statement.

  • Let’s keep writing a new vision statement for Fedora

    If you compare it to the first draft, you’ll notice we shortened it to one sentence. We kept the parts we felt were most important: everyone benefiting from free & open source software and the attributes of the communities that make it. The word benefit is important here. It’s not enough that the software is there, waiting to be used. It has to be accessible and usable. This was much longer in our first draft, so shortening it here seems right. We also cut out the sentence about Fedora being a reference for everyone who shares this vision. We still want to be that, but that’s implied by the fact that we have this vision in the first place. Why bother expressing a vision that we wouldn’t want to be an influential part of? And frankly, it’s hard to get the wording right, especially in a way that works across languages and cultures.

  • Enable Git Commit Message Syntax Highlighting in Vim on Fedora

    When setting up new machines, I’m often frustrated by lack of syntax highlighting for git commit messages in vim. On my main workstation, vim uses comforting yellow letters for the first line of my commit message to let me know I’m good on line length, or red background to let me know my first line is too long, and after the first line it automatically inserts a new line break whenever I’ve typed past 72 characters. It’s pretty nice. I can never remember how I get it working in the end, and I spent too long today trying to figure it out yet again. Eventually I realized there was another difference besides the missing syntax highlighting: I couldn’t see the current line or column number, and I couldn’t see the mode indicator either. Now you might be able to guess my mistake: git was not using /usr/bin/vim at all! Because Fedora doesn’t have a default $EDITOR, git defaults to using /usr/bin/vi, which is basically sad trap vim. Solution:

  • Executive Q&A: Stephen Leonard, GM of IBM’s Cognitive Systems

    There is no single path that business executives travel. The best managers have significant talent that is then honed to a fine edge by training, experience and a willingness to take up new challenges. Employers contribute hugely to the process, of course, and it is difficult to think of a company that does a better job of recognizing, training and advancing new leaders than IBM. I recently had a chance to interview Stephen Leonard, General Manager of IBM’s Cognitive Systems where he is responsible for the development, sales and marketing of the company’s Power Systems solutions, as well as offerings for cloud computing platforms and data centers. Our discussion covered a wide range of issues and events that have colored Leonard’s 30+ years with IBM.

  • IBM Sterling enables intelligent orchestration of customer transactions across back-end record systems

    A deep understanding of customers’ wants and needs are key to driving supply-chain efficiencies and enhanced customer experiences. An intelligent call center solution equips customer care representatives (CSRs) with deep insights in a natural language-based conversation interface to solve complex customer queries. On a typical day, a CSR opens multiple tabs/applications to address a single query, spending an enormous amount of time on a customer call, thereby impacting the customer experience. This is especially detrimental during peak business hours, when it is important to resolve issues quickly since there is typically a backlog of waiting calls. Wouldn’t it impress the customer if the CSR proactively asked, “Are you calling about the accessories that you bought yesterday?”, along with a warning that the order may be delayed. Informing the customer and providing a discount voucher or a different added benefit results in a much happier customer. The heart of this improved customer experience is the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Assistant With Watson™, which infuses conversational AI capabilities into the IBM Sterling Call Center and enables intelligent orchestration of customer transactions across back-end record systems. It also surfaces recommendations and best next steps based to enable quick and easy decision-making for the CSRs. The Sterling Supply Chain Business Assistant With Watson appears as a pop-up over the IBM Sterling Call Center application and can be embedded into any other application. Sample insights are shown below.

  • Scaling Persistent Volume Claims with Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage v4.2

    For choosing a storage solution for dynamic provisioning of persistent volume claims (PVC) in OpenShift Container Platform, the time it takes to bind and prepare a PVC for the use with application pods is a crucial factor. For Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage v4.2 we performed a series of tests investigating how OCP v4.2 behaves from a scalability point of view. We wanted to know how fast application pods are starting when PVCs are from different storage classes provided, and to get get numbers which can be used when making decisions when choosing storage solution for OCP application pods. The test results presented in this document are recommended values for OpenShift Container Storage v4.2 and do not show the real limits for Openshift Container Storage v4.2, which are higher. We will conduct more scalability tests for future OpenShift Container Storage releases. For future OpenShift Container Storage releases we plan to target configurations for cases when more pods are running on the OpenShift Container Platform cluster and are actively requesting PVCs originating from Openshift Container Storage. In this document we describe test processes and results gathered during PVC scale test execution with Openshift Container Storage v4.2 showing why OpenShift Container Storage is the supreme storage solution for use cases where pod density and PVC allocation speed are key, as e.g. in CI/CD environments.

  • Red Hat Extends Partner Offerings to Drive Open Hybrid Cloud Innovation

    Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced enhancements to its partner offerings centered around open hybrid cloud innovation and in support of the growing demand for cloud-native solutions within the Red Hat ecosystem. Using the proven innovations of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and Red Hat OpenShift 4 as the foundation, Red Hat Partner Connect is expanding its certification programs and support services to better equip partners for an IT world built on hybrid and multicloud deployments. Red Hat Partner Connect provides many partnership opportunities, including certification offerings and enablement for software, hardware, services and cloud service providers that develop products and services for Red Hat hybrid cloud platforms. The program offers partners a set of tools and alignment opportunities to automate, accelerate and streamline modern application development for the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform, Red Hat OpenShift. Certified partner products deliver interoperable, supported solutions to customers. Marketing and sales related benefits are also available to partners completing certification programs.

  • Which container platforms are right for your cloud-native strategy?

Events: Linux Security Summit, SUSECON, Canonical and Ubuntu

  • Linux Security Summit North America 2020: CFP and Registration

    Note that the conference this year has moved from August to June (24-26). The location is Austin, TX, and we are co-located with the Open Source Summit as usual. We’ll be holding a 3-day event again, after the success of last year’s expansion, which provides time for tutorials and ad-hoc break out sessions. Please note that if you intend to submit a tutorial, you should be a core developer of the project or otherwise recognized leader in the field, per this guidance from the CFP...

  • Learn about Fulfilling Your Organization’s Business Needs at SUSECON 2020!

    SUSECON 2020 is a unique opportunity to educate yourself about all the most important developments in enterprise open source technology, in one location, during more than 160 sessions, over five days. Register now – you don’t want to miss this opportunity!

  • Prepare for the Future With Roadmap Presentations at SUSECON 2020

    SUSECON 2020 is one of the best opportunities of the year to immerse yourself in SUSE technologies and get answers your questions about open source and SUSE solutions. This is the one time each year that we bring all our technology superstars together to talk about the future. Click here to register – you don’t want to miss it! By attending SUSECON 2020, you will have the opportunity to learn about forthcoming SUSE solutions to help your organization accomplish its business goals.

  • Canonical at the 9th OSM Hackfest, Madrid

    To all telecommunications service providers, global system integrators, research institutions, OSM community members and innovators all over the world: heads-up! The 9th OSM Hackfest starts in two weeks and Canonical as always will be there. We will lead hackfest sessions, answer any questions you may have and help drive the evolution of the OSM project. The event will be hosted by Telefonica in Madrid, Spain from 9th to 13th of March. NOTE: seats are limited, so don’t wait for any longer and register today. OSM (open source MANO) is an open-source project that enables telcos with MANO (management and orchestration) capabilities for VNFs (virtual network functions). It is hosted by ETSI and supported by 14 global telecommunications service providers with 137 organisations involved in total. Starting from release SEVEN, OSM now supports the possibility of deploying CNF (container network function) workloads on Kubernetes.

  • BSides SF 2020 CTF: Infrastructure Engineering and Lessons Learned

    Last weekend, I had the pleasure of running the BSides San Francisco CTF along with friends and co-conspirators c0rg1, symmetric and iagox86. This is something like the 4th or 5th year in a row that I’ve been involved in this, and every year, we try to do a better job than the year before, but we also try to do new things and push the boundaries. I’m going to review some of the infrastructure we used, challenges we faced, and lessons we learned for next year.

Purges in Free Software

  • What is a safe space?

    When foreign people come along with a different, but no less valid, Code of Conduct, zealots start screaming out for the comfort of their safe space. That is how we get the hysteria that precipitated the Hanau shooting and the lynching of Polish workers in the UK in the name of Brexit. The Third Reich may have been the ultimate example of the search for a safe space: a safe space for the white Aryan race. Nazis really believed they were creating a safe space. Germans allowed the Nazis to rule, in the belief that they were supporting a safe space. The golden rule of a safe space is that it is only safe for some. As George Orwell puts it, All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Tolerance and safe spaces are mutually exclusive.

  • The right to be rude

    The historian Robert Conquest once wrote: “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.” Today I learned that the Open Source Initiative has reached that point of bureaucratization. I was kicked off their lists for being too rhetorically forceful in opposing certain recent attempts to subvert OSD clauses 5 and 6. This despite the fact that I had vocal support from multiple list members who thanked me for being willing to speak out. It shouldn’t be news to anyone that there is an effort afoot to change – I would say corrupt – the fundamental premises of the open souce culture. Instead of meritocracy and “show me the code”, we are now urged tpo behave so that no-one will ever feel uncomfortable. The effect – the intended effect, I should say, is to diminish the prestige and autonomy of people who do the work – write the code – in favor of self-appointed tone-policers. In the process, the freedom to speak necessary truths even when the manner in which they are expressed is unpleasant is being gradually strangled. And that is bad for us. Very bad. Both directly – it damages our self-correction process – and in its second-order effects. The habit of institutional tone policing, even when well-intentioned, too easily slides into the active censorship of disfavored views.