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Why is cryptocurrency open source? This paper from 1999 explains

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Cryptocurrency's roots go back further than bitcoin. In fact, bitcoin was just the first cryptocurrency to use the blockchain rather than the first cryptocurrency ever.

Other early cryptocurrencies include now venerable names like World of Warcraft (WoW) gold, a digital currency designed for use as a store of value and a transfer medium in the gaming universe of World of Warcraft. It used a proof-of-work mining algorithm in which users would engage with the WoW ecosystem via their computer's graphical interface and complete various digital tasks to be rewarded with gold.

As the fiat currency value of WoW gold increased, it attracted more miners without any corresponding difficulty adjustment, eventually leading to substantial inflation and a collapsing economy.

Today's cryptocurrencies seem to have learned from the problems of the past. For example, bitcoin and many others will adjust mining difficulty to prevent massive inflation when mining power increases.

It's no surprise that almost everything cryptocurrency, from the coins to the exchanges to the wallets, are built on open-source software. This paper from 1999 might be more relevant than ever, especially with a few wallets and coins still being partly or entirely closed source.

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Openwashing Surveillance

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  • Facebook Open Sources Detectron Object Detection

    The way big companies are open sourcing significant AI is both gratifying and slightly worrying. AI is the biggest revolution since we discovered fire and started making tools. FaceBook AI Research has added to the list of what is available by open sourcing its Detectron project.

  • Facebook open-sources object detection research

    Facebook's artificial intelligence research (FAIR) team today announced it would open-source its object detection platform Detectron, as well as the research the team has done on it.

  • Facebook open-sources object detection work: Watch out, Google CAPTCHA

    acebook has brought us one step closer to a Skynet future made a commitment to computer vision boffinry by open-sourcing its codebase for object detection, Detectron.

    Written in Python and powered by the Caffe2 deep learning framework, the codebase – which implements object-sniffing algos such as Mask R-CNN and RetinaNet – is available under the Apache 2.0 licence.

From lab to libre software: how can academic software research become open source?

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Academics generate enormous amounts of software, some of which inspires commercial innovations in networking and other areas. But little academic software gets released to the public and even less enters common use. Is some vast "dark matter" being overlooked in the academic community? Would the world benefit from academics turning more of their software into free and open projects?

I asked myself these questions a few months ago when Red Hat, at its opening of a new innovation center in Boston's high-tech Fort Point neighborhood, announced a unique partnership with the goal of tapping academia. Red Hat is joining with Boston-area computer science departments—starting with Boston University—to identify promising software developed in academic projects and to turn it into viable free-software projects. Because all software released by Red Hat is under free licenses, the partnership suggests a new channel by which academic software could find wider use.

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FOSS in Science: Harvard, Xiaopeng, Georgia Tech

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  • Making transparency work for Harvard's Dataverse Project

    A culture of transparency permeates the Dataverse project, contributing to its adoption in dozens of research institutions around the world. Headquartered at Harvard University, the Dataverse development team has more than a decade of experience operating as an open source project within an organization that values transparency: the Institute of Quantitative Social Science (IQSS). Working transparently helps the Dataverse team communicate changes to current development efforts, provides opportunities for the community to support each other, and facilitates contribution to the project.

  • Chinese Startup Goes All Out Cloning Tesla Via Open-Source Patents

    Thanks to Tesla’s decision to open-source its patents, Chinese startup Xiaopeng Motors has already manufactured several Model X clones.

  • Open Source Machine Learning Helps the Fight Against Cancer

    Here's an open invitation to steal. It goes out to cancer fighters and tempts them with a new program that predicts cancer drug effectiveness via machine learning and raw genetic data.

    The researchers who built the program at the Georgia Institute of Technology would like cancer fighters to take it for free, or even just swipe parts of their programming code, so they've made it open source. They hope to attract a crowd of researchers who will also share their own cancer and computer expertise and data to improve upon the program and save more lives together.

  • Georgia Tech researchers release open-source AI algorithm to predict effectiveness of cancer drugs

    A team of researchers from Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology introduced an open-source algorithm Oct. 26 that predicts a cancer drug's effectiveness based on a patient's genetic data.

    The researchers developed the machine learning algorithm using gene expression and drug response data from the National Cancer Institute's panel of 60 human cancer cell lines. Their goal was to create an algorithm that predicts optimal drug therapies based on individual patient tumors.

    In a study of 273 cancer patients, researchers found the algorithm to be about 85 percent accurate in assessing the effectiveness of nine drugs. By releasing the algorithm on an open-source platform, they hope other researchers will participate in refining their work.

KStars 2.8.7 Released!

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Another minor KStars release is now available for Linux, MacOS, & Windows. KStars 2.8.7 brings several bug fixes and new improvements!

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KStars 2.8.5 is released!

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Software
Sci/Tech

So here comes another minor release for KStars v2.8.5 just less than two weeks after 2.8.4 was released. KStars v2.8.5 is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

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Release GCompris Qt 0.80

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We are pleased to announce the release of GCompris version 0.80.

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Fake News From Fossbytes and Techworm

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Artificial intelligence/Machine learning

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  • Is your AI being handed to you by Google? Try Apache open source – Amazon's AWS did

    Surprisingly, the MXNet Machine Learning project was this month accepted by the Apache Software Foundation as an open-source project.

    What's surprising about the announcement isn't so much that the ASF is accepting this face in the crowd to its ranks – it's hard to turn around in the software world these days without tripping over ML tools – but rather that MXNet developers, most of whom are from Amazon, believe ASF is relevant.

  • Current Trends in Tools for Large-Scale Machine Learning

    During the past decade, enterprises have begun using machine learning (ML) to collect and analyze large amounts of data to obtain a competitive advantage. Now some are looking to go even deeper – using a subset of machine learning techniques called deep learning (DL), they are seeking to delve into the more esoteric properties hidden in the data. The goal is to create predictive applications for such areas as fraud detection, demand forecasting, click prediction, and other data-intensive analyses.

  • Your IDE won't change, but YOU will: HELLO! Machine learning

    Machine learning has become a buzzword. A branch of Artificial Intelligence, it adds marketing sparkle to everything from intrusion detection tools to business analytics. What is it, exactly, and how can you code it?

  • Artificial intelligence: Understanding how machines learn

    Learning the inner workings of artificial intelligence is an antidote to these worries. And this knowledge can facilitate both responsible and carefree engagement.

  • Your future boss? An employee-interrogating bot – it's an open-source gift from Dropbox

    Dropbox has released the code for the chatbot it uses to question employees about interactions with corporate systems, in the hope that it can help other organizations automate security processes and improve employee awareness of security concerns.

    "One of the hardest, most time-consuming parts of security monitoring is manually reaching out to employees to confirm their actions," said Alex Bertsch, formerly a Dropbox intern and now a teaching assistant at Brown University, in a blog post. "Despite already spending a significant amount of time on reach-outs, there were still alerts that we didn't have time to follow up on."

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • How to get Apple-like gestures on the Linux desktop
    I understand a big part of the problem is that Apple owns patents on trackpad gestures, something which hinders the open source community's ability to create a quality experience. But that hurdle shouldn't equate to a bad experience, which many people have. Not only does Linux install without any sort of multi-touch gestures, it is sometimes over sensitive or under sensitive. I've installed Linux on laptop hardware and found the trackpad configuration was a losing battle—until I discovered Fusuma.
  • How to fix missing Python for Ansible in Fedora Vagrant
  • Did your open source career begin with video games?
    Certainly you don't need to be a gamer as a child to grow up and become a developer, nor does being a gamer automatically set you up for a career in technology. But there's definitely a good bit of overlap between the two. After listening to the first episode of Command Line Heroes, and reading Ross Turk's story of how MUDs led him to a career in coding, I've thought a bit about how gaming has influenced my own journey into technology, and how it lead to a career in open source. For me, that first important game was WarCraft II. Sure, I played games before it, and after it. But shortly after my family replaced our faithful Apple IIc with a blazing fast (by comparison) 486 PC with amazing features like color, and a sound card, and even a 2400 baud modem (that would take about three months to download the equivalent of an hour of Netflix today).
  • openSUSE to Have Summit in Nashville
    The openSUSE community is headed to Nashville, Tennessee, next year and will have the openSUSE SUmmit Nashville April 5 through April 6, 2019, during the end of SUSE’s premier annual global technical conference SUSECON. Registration for the event is open and the Call for Papers is open until Jan. 15. Partners of openSUSE, open-source community projects and community members are encourage to register for the summit and submit a talk. The schedule for the openSUSE SUmmit Nashville will be released at the beginning of February.
  • How selfless is your open organization?
    "Community" is a defining characteristic of open organizations. A community could be many things—a "team," a "group," a "department," or a "task force," for example. What makes any of these groups a true community is two distinct factors: a well-defined purpose and clear investment in or value of that purpose. How does a person balance a community's values with his or her own, personal values? How does that person negotiate this relationship when setting goals? Answers to these questions will expose and speak to that person's character.
  • Andres Rodriguez: MAAS 2.5.0 beta 1 released
    I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.5.0 beta 1 has been released.
  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 545
    Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 545 for the week of September 9 – 15, 2018.
  • Arm delivers production-ready open source Bluetooth Low Energy software stack to unleash IoT innovation
    Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is quickly becoming the Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity protocol of choice for a variety of use cases, including smart lighting, smart cities and asset tracking, where low-cost, power consumption and small footprint are fundamental requirements. According to the 2018 Bluetooth Market Update, there will be more than 5 billion Bluetooth device shipments by 2022, with 97% of them containing Bluetooth Low Energy technology. The advances in Bluetooth 5 technology, along with the introduction of Bluetooth Mesh are driving new market opportunities across building automation, sensor networks, and other IoT solutions.
  • Digital Minimalism and Deep Work
    Through Newport's blog I learned that the title of his next book is Digital Minimalism. This intrigued me, because since I started thinking about minimalism myself, I've wondered about the difference of approach needed between minimalism in the "real world" and the digital domains. It turns out the topic of Newport's next book is about something different: from what I can tell, focussing on controlling how one spends one's time online for maximum productivity.

Red Hat and Fedora Leftovers

OSS and Sharing Leftover

  • Announcing Heritage: An Open Source, Public Blockchain Project
    Heritage is a project of A​3​ by Airbus, the advanced projects outpost of Airbus in Silicon Valley. Airbus Foundation is the first strategic partner within Airbus to utilize blockchain technology developed by Heritage. Heritage is a decentralized application for the Airbus Foundation to hold charity fundraising campaigns internal to Airbus. Through open sourcing Heritage, Airbus Foundation will help charities onboard cryptocurrency and smart contracts, opening them to a new class of donor. Heritage hopes to set a standard non-profits can replicate to continue to grow the ecosystem while aiding an underserved market.
  • Versity announces next generation open source archiving filesystem
    Versity Software has announced that it has released ScoutFS under GPLv2. "ScoutFS is the first GPL archiving file system ever released, creating an inherently safer and more user friendly option for storing archival data where accessibility over very large time scales, and the removal of vendor specific risk is a key consideration."
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  • Chrome Beta 70 Brings 2-Factor Authentication Via Fingerprint Sensor To Android & Mac
    With the beta version of Chrome 70 on the roll, Google has added yet another useful feature to make signing into the websites easier. As announced in an official blog post, Chrome now supports 2-factor authentication in Android and Macbook with the device’s fingerprint sensor.
  • Thunderbird 60 with title bar hidden
    Many users like hidden system titlebar as Firefox feature although it’s not finished yet. But we’re very close and I hope to have Firefox 64 in shape that the title bar can be disabled by default at least on Gnome and matches Firefox outfit at Windows and Mac. Thunderbird 60 was finally released for Fedora and comes with a basic version of the feature as it was introduced at Firefox 60 ESR. There’s a simple checkbox at “Customize” page at Firefox but Thunderbird is missing an easy switch.
  • Washington State Electronic Notary Public endorsements

    [...] This all seemed to me to be something that GnuPG is designed to do and does quite well. So I sent an email on Friday night to the sender of the letter requesting specific issues that my provider did not comply with. This morning I received a call from the DoL, and was able to successfully argue for GnuPG's qualification as an electronic records notary public technology provider for the State of Washington.

    In short, GnuPG can now be used to perform notarial acts <http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=42.45.140> in the State of Washington!

  • Surprise: Bill Introduced To Finally Make PACER Free To All
         This would be... amazing. We've spent years highlighting the massive problems with PACER, the federal court system that charges insane amounts for basically everything you do, just to access public records, and which functions very much like it was designed around 1995. There are a few court cases arguing that PACER fees are illegal and a recent ruling in one of those cases agreed. As we noted at the time, that was hardly the final word on the matter. A bill like the ones Collins introduced would be an amazing leap forward in giving public access to court documents.
  • Collins introduces bill to increase transparency and access to federal court documents
    Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) today introduced a bill to reform both parts of the federal courts’ electronic records system. “Americans deserve a justice system that is transparent and accessible. I introduced the Electronic Court Records Reform Act to modernize the judicial records systems and remove fee-for-access barriers that technology has rendered unnecessary,” said Collins. “As an attorney and the son of a law enforcement officer, I understand how crucial it is that this legislation ensures access to a freer, fairer and more accountable judiciary.”

Security: UIDAI, Wireshark, Hackers For Good

  • Software Patch Claimed To Allow Aadhaar's Security To Be Bypassed, Calling Into Question Biometric Database's Integrity
    As the Huffington Post article explains, creating a patch that is able to circumvent the main security features in this way was possible thanks to design choices made early on in the project. The unprecedented scale of the Aadhaar enrollment process -- so far around 1.2 billion people have been given an Aadhaar number and added to the database -- meant that a large number of private agencies and village-level computer kiosks were used for registration. Since connectivity was often poor, the main software was installed on local computers, rather than being run in the cloud. The patch can be used by anyone with local access to the computer system, and simply involves replacing a folder of Java libraries with versions lacking the security checks. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the government body responsible for the Aadhaar project, has responded to the Huffington Post article, but in a rather odd way: as a Donald Trump-like stream of tweets. The Huffington Post points out: "[the UIDAI] has simply stated that its systems are completely secure without any supporting evidence."
  • New CAS BACnet Wireshark Report Tool Helps User to Quickly Locate Intermittent Issues
  • Hackers For Good, Working To Gather Stakeholders To Find Answers To Cyberspace Challenges
    For a number of people, the word hacker means bad news. However, if some hackers have malevolent intentions, there are also hackers for good, and their skills were put to the challenge last week as they tried to save a fictitious city fallen into the hands of a group of cyber terrorists. The challenge was part of a two-day event organised by a young Geneva-based non-governmental organisation seeking to raise awareness about digital trust and bring accountability to cyberspace.