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Sci/Tech

Pi2D2 interview

Filed under
Linux
Interviews
Sci/Tech

It was a pretty long project. I didn’t work on it full time, obviously, but I probably worked on it over a period of six months, and most of the time was writing the software. A lot of the software was written in Python – like the controls for the webcam, the soundboard and everything – so most of the time was getting the software running and getting the kinks worked out. Like where if it loses a Wi-Fi connection it tries to rejoin and things like that. So, yeah, I definitely want to revisit it, and obviously the second time round you can do it a lot better than you did the first, so I’d like to go back.

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How OpenStack powers the research at CERN

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OSS
Sci/Tech

OpenStack has been in a production environment at CERN for more than a year. One of the people that has been key to implementing the OpenStack infrastructure is Tim Bell. He is responsible for the CERN IT Operating Systems and Infrastructure group which provides a set of services to CERN users from email, web, operating systems, and the Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud based on OpenStack.

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Robot OS to support Linux and Android on Snapdragon

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Android
Linux
Sci/Tech

The OSRF plans to add ARM support to the Robot Operating System (ROS), starting with the Snapdragon 600 running Linux in Q4, followed by Android in 2015.

The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), which maintains the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) and oversees the ROS.org website, has announced the first formal support for an ARM target. The organization will add support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, a smartphone-oriented, quad-core, Cortex-A15-like system-on-chip running up to 1.7GHz, also referred to as the APQ8064 and S4 Pro.

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European Space Agency are using SUSE Linux

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SUSE
Sci/Tech

Actually SUSE Linux began deployment at ESA in 2012 and has been continuing until now, the distro is used by 450 teams in the European Space Operations Centre at ESA, this includes being used by Mission Control Systems who are responsible for simulation and control of aircraft and satellites outside the atmosphere and further still.

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A Linux distribution for science geeks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Red Hat
Sci/Tech

The reason you are reading an article on Fedora Scientific during Open Source Week is obvious. Outlined here are the benefits of using Fedora Scientific for scientific work. I encourage you to use Fedora Scientific and help make it better.

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Google investing $50 million to get girls to code

Filed under
Google
Sci/Tech
Misc

Google conducted research to determine why girls are opting out of learning how to code? As a result Google found that most girls decide before they even enter college whether they want to learn to code—so the Tech-world must win them over them at a young age. They also found that there were four major factors that determined whether girls opted into computer science: social encouragement, self-perception, academic exposure and career perception. According to recent studies less than 1 percent of high school girls express interest in majoring in computer science.

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Linux mini-drones jump, flip, climb, and fly

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Linux
Sci/Tech

Parrot is prepping two Linux-based mini-drones: a $160 “Jumping Sumo” wheeled robot and a $100 “Rolling Spider” quadrocopter that can fly, roll, or climb.

Parrot, which last month announced a Bebop successor to its popular AR.Drone 2.0 quadrocopter, has released new information on two smaller, cheaper mini-drones that were originally unveiled back at CES in January. The Jumping Sumo and Rolling Spider will launch in August for $160 and $100, respectively.

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The Next Open Source Battle Is Being Waged In The 3D Printing Industry

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech

More than twenty years ago, Linux began wending its way out of the primordial soup that was the early Internet and ensconcing itself in servers and workstations around the world.

After its creation in 1991 it took another eight years or so to be widely recognized, but during that period, arguments arose as to what Linux really was. Could Red Hat, a company founded in 1993, sell services around it? Who made money when you sold a CD containing the latest version of Mandrake Linux? Who owned code written on top of Linux for specific purposes? To the open source community, the answers to all those questions was “No one. The community owned Linux.”

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ROS - the open source Robotic Operating System

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OSS
Sci/Tech

Brian Gerkey wanted a common robotic control language. Taking inspiration from the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL Python) open source tools in the 1990s Brian worked to develop ROS, the Robot Operating System. ROS is an open source kit of tools, libraries and programming conventions for programming robots.

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3D Printing's Next Revolution: Linux

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Sci/Tech

3D printers may be trendy, but they are hardly new. One of the earliest of all is the RepRap project, which began back in 2005. As its name implies - it's short for "replicating rapid" prototyper - RepRap is designed to be able to produce copies of itself, or at least most of its parts. Not only that, it is completely open source, both in terms of its hardware (which uses Arduino kit) and software.

Because of its open nature it has gone on to form the basis of many other 3D-printing systems, including those from MakerBot.

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More in Tux Machines

Red Hat's "DevOps" Hype Again and Analysis of last Night's Financial Results

OSS Leftovers

  • Deutsche Telekom and Aricent Create Open Source Edge Software Framework
    Deutsche Telekom and Aricent today announced the creation of an Open Source, Low Latency Edge Compute Platform available to operators, to enable them to develop and launch 5G mobile applications and services faster. The cost-effective Edge platform is built for software-defined data centers (SDDC) and is decentralized, to accelerate the deployment of ultra-low latency applications. The joint solution will include a software framework with key capabilities for developers, delivered as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and will incorporate cloud-native Multi-access edge computing (MEC) technologies.
  • A Deeper Look at Sigma Prime's Lighthouse: An Open-Source Ethereum 2.0 Client
  • Notable moments in Firefox for Android UA string history
  • Dweb: Creating Decentralized Organizations with Aragon
    With Aragon, developers can create new apps, such as voting mechanisms, that use smart contracts to leverage decentralized governance and allow peers to control resources like funds, membership, and code repos. Aragon is built on Ethereum, which is a blockchain for smart contracts. Smart contracts are software that is executed in a trust-less and transparent way, without having to rely on a third-party server or any single point of failure. Aragon is at the intersection of social, app platform, and blockchain.
  • LLVM 7.0.0 released
  • Parabola GNU/Linux-libre: Boot problems with Linux-libre 4.18 on older CPUs
    Due to a known bug in upstream Linux 4.18, users with older multi-core x86 CPUs (Core 2 Duo and earlier?) may not correctly boot up with linux-libre 4.18 when using the default clocksource.
  • Visual Schematic Diffs in KiCAD Help Find Changes
    In the high(er)-end world of EDA tools like OrCAD and Altium there is a tight integration between the version control system and the design tools, with the VCS is sold as a product to improve the design workflow. But KiCAD doesn’t try to force a version control system on the user so it doesn’t really make sense to bake VCS related tools in directly. You can manage changes in KiCAD projects with git but as [jean-noël] notes reading Git’s textual description of changed X/Y coordinates and paths to library files is much more useful for a computer than for a human. It basically sucks to use. What you really need is a diff tool that can show the user what changed between two versions instead of describe it. And that’s what plotgitsch provides.

LWN's Latest (Today Outside Paywall) Articles About the Kernel, Linux

  • Toward better handling of hardware vulnerabilities
    From the kernel development community's point of view, hardware vulnerabilities are not much different from the software variety: either way, there is a bug that must be fixed in software. But hardware vendors tend to take a different view of things. This divergence has been reflected in the response to vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre which was seen by many as being severely mismanaged. A recent discussion on the Kernel Summit discussion list has shed some more light on how things went wrong, and what the development community would like to see happen when the next hardware vulnerability comes around. The definitive story of the response to Meltdown and Spectre has not yet been written, but a fair amount of information has shown up in bits and pieces. Intel was first notified of the problem in July 2017, but didn't get around to telling anybody in the the Linux community about it until the end of October. When that disclosure happened, Intel did not allow the community to work together to fix it; instead each distributor (or other vendor) was mostly left on its own and not allowed to talk to the others. Only at the end of December, right before the disclosure (and the year-end holidays), were members of the community allowed to talk to each other. The results of this approach were many, and few were good. The developers charged with responding to these problems were isolated and under heavy stress for two months; they still have not been adequately thanked for the effort they put in. Many important stakeholders, including distributions like Debian and the "tier-two" cloud providers, were not informed at all prior to the general disclosure and found themselves scrambling. Different distributors shipped different fixes, many of which had to be massively revised before entry into the mainline kernel. When the dust settled, there was a lot of anger left simmering in its wake.
  • Writing network flow dissectors in BPF
    Network packet headers contain a great deal of information, but the kernel often only needs a subset of that information to be able to perform filtering or associate any given packet with a flow. The piece of code that follows the different layers of packet encapsulation to find the important data is called a flow dissector. In current Linux kernels, the flow dissector is written in C. A patch set has been proposed recently to implement it in BPF with the clear goal of improving security, flexibility, and maybe even performance.
  • Coscheduling: simultaneous scheduling in control groups
    The kernel's CPU scheduler must, as its primary task, determine which process should be executing in each of a system's processors at any given time. Making an optimal decision involves juggling a number of factors, including the priority (and scheduling classes) of the runnable processes, NUMA locality, cache locality, latency minimization, control-group policies, power management, overall fairness, and more. One might think that throwing another variable into the mix — and a complex one at that — would not be something anybody would want to attempt. The recent coscheduling patch set from Jan Schönherr does exactly that, though, by introducing the concept of processes that should be run simultaneously. The core idea behind coscheduling is the marking of one or more control groups as containing processes that should be run together. If one process in a coscheduled group is running on a specific set of CPUs (more on that below), only processes from that group will be allowed to run on those CPUs. This rule holds even to the point of forcing some of the CPUs to go idle if the given control group lacks runnable processes, regardless of whether processes outside the group are runnable. Why might one want to do such a thing? Schönherr lists four motivations for this work, the first of which is virtualization. That may indeed be the primary motivation, given that Schönherr is posting from an Amazon address, and Amazon is rumored to be running a virtualized workload or two. A virtual machine usually contains multiple processes that interact with each other; these machines will run more efficiently (and with lower latencies) if those processes can run simultaneously. Coscheduling would ensure that all of a virtual machine's processes are run together, maximizing locality and minimizing the latencies of the interactions between them.
  • Machine learning and stable kernels
    There are ways to get fixes into the stable kernel trees, but they require humans to identify which patches should go there. Sasha Levin and Julia Lawall have taken a different approach: use machine learning to distinguish patches that fix bugs from others. That way, all bug-fix patches could potentially make their way into the stable kernels. Levin and Lawall gave a talk describing their work at the 2018 Open Source Summit North America in Vancouver, Canada. Levin began with a quick introduction to the stable tree and how patches get into it. When a developer fixes a bug in a patch they can add a "stable tag" to the commit or send a mail to the stable mailing list; Greg Kroah-Hartman will then pick up the fix, evaluate it, and add it to the stable tree. But that means that the stable tree is only getting the fixes that are pointed out to the stable maintainers. No one has time to check all of the commits to the kernel for bug fixes but, in an ideal world, all of the bug fixes would go into the stable kernels. Missing out on some fixes means that the stable trees will have more security vulnerabilities because the fixes often close those holes—even if the fixer doesn't realize it.
  • Trying to get STACKLEAK into the kernel
    The STACKLEAK kernel security feature has been in the works for quite some time now, but has not, as yet, made its way into the mainline. That is not for lack of trying, as Alexander Popov has posted 15 separate versions of the patch set since May 2017. He described STACKLEAK and its tortuous path toward the mainline in a talk [YouTube video] at the 2018 Linux Security Summit. STACKLEAK is "an awesome security feature" that was originally developed by The PaX Team as part of the PaX/grsecurity patches. The last public version of the patch set was released in April 2017 for the 4.9 kernel. Popov set himself on the goal of getting STACKLEAK into the kernel shortly after that; he thanked both his employer (Positive Technologies) and his family for giving him working and free time to push STACKLEAK. The first step was to extract STACKLEAK from the more than 200K lines of code in the grsecurity/PaX patch set. He then "carefully learned" about the patch and what it does "bit by bit". He followed the usual path: post the patch, get feedback, update the patch based on the feedback, and then post it again. He has posted 15 versions and "it is still in progress", he said.

PostgreSQL 11: something for everyone

PostgreSQL 11 had its third beta release on August 9; a fourth beta (or possibly a release candidate) is scheduled for mid-September. While the final release of the relational database-management system (currently slated for late September) will have something new for many users, its development cycle was notable for being a period when the community hit its stride in two strategic areas: partitioning and parallelism. Partitioning and parallelism are touchstones for major relational database systems. Proprietary database vendors manage to extract a premium from a minority of users by upselling features in these areas. While PostgreSQL has had some of these "high-tier" items for many years (e.g., CREATE INDEX CONCURRENTLY, advanced replication functionality), the upcoming release expands the number considerably. I may be biased as a PostgreSQL major contributor and committer, but it seems to me that the belief that community-run database system projects are not competitive with their proprietary cousins when it comes to scaling enterprise workloads has become just about untenable. Read more