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FOSS in Government

  • Uganda eager to tap into open source
    Uganda's Ministry of ICT recently developed a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) policy to regulate the deployment of open source software and use of open standards to accelerate innovation and develop local content. At the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), organised in conjunction with Uganda's National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to encourage industry partnerships and uptake of OSS in East Africa, open software was recognised for its contribution to innovation. Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda, said, "Free and open software services will help my ministry to innovate better because it forms the platform (for) many of the innovative ideas. Free and open source software in Uganda is certainly something we have been talking about and I am sure we will do so even more in the next few days. Some of the things Uganda has put in place to harness the benefit from free and open source software include a Software Strategy and Policy in accordance with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) Trade, Services and Development expert meeting's determination that free and open source software is an inseparable component of the global technology ecosystem."
  • Ireland's govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt
    Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble. As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Falling tax income and the need to bail out banks saw the Irish government spending in other areas of public life. The government had introduced the Public Sector Recruitment Embargo in 2009, which stopped hiring of all civil servants across government and cut pay and pensions – in return for a promise of no compulsory redundancies.
  • Oh! The Horror! Ireland Stays Enslaved To MS
    For 15 years or so, I was in those same financial straits in schools where I taught and GNU/Linux and FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) was the obvious solution. Obviously, one is better off to have IT for all rather than paying monopolistic prices for IT for a few. In schools, that meant extending the life of IT, elimination of malware and re-re-reboots, freedom from paper, freight for paper, storage for paper, … For governments freedom from lock-in to M$ and “friends” saved huge sums which could have been better spent on hardware or employees. Sigh.

Open/Hacker Hardware

Security Leftovers

Liberating PCs and "Mac"-branded PCs

  • Reviving Old Macs Using Linux
    All Macintosh computers from about 2006 onwards were made using Intel CPUs and installing Linux on these computers is a breeze. You don’t need to download any Mac specific distro — just choose your favorite distro and install away. About 95 percent of the time you’ll be able to use the 64-bit version of the distro. On CoreDuo Macs, from 2006, you’ll need to use a 32-bit version. Here is a screencast video I made on a revived Macbook that came into my hands recently. I downloaded Linux Mint 18 Xfce 64-bit ISO, burned it to DVD, inserted it into the Macbook (after the Macbook was turned on) and then booted the Macbook from DVD by holding the the letter “C” (which tells the Mac to boot from the optical drive).
  • Linux breathes new life into old Mac computers
    Apple is known for its planned obsolescence strategy that encourages customers to upgrade their Macs every so often. This can result in older Macs that can't update to the latest version of macOS, but are still perfectly functional computers that can perform many everyday computing tasks such as web browsing, word processing, image editing, etc. So what can you do with an older Mac that no longer gets macOS updates? You can install Linux and breathe new life into that old Mac computer. Distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and others offer a way to continue using an older Mac that would otherwise be cast aside.
  • The EFF Calls Out Microsoft's Ongoing Bullshit On Windows 10 Privacy Concerns
    While Windows 10 is generally well-liked by reviewers and users, it's relatively clear that it's not the OS to choose if you actually want to control how much babbling your OS does over the network. While a lot of complaints about Windows 10 have been proven to be hyperbole or just plain wrong (like it delivers your BitTorrent behavior to Hollywood or it makes use of menacing keyloggers), Windows 10 is annoyingly chatty, sending numerous reports back to Microsoft even when the operating system is configured to be as quiet and private as possible. While Microsoft has been criticized for this behavior for some time now, the general response out of Redmond has been to tap dance over, under and around most of the key complaints. Enter the Electronic Freedom Foundation, which last week effectively called on Microsoft to stop bullshitting everybody in terms of what gets collected and why. The EFF does a good job reiterating how Microsoft used malware-esque tactics to get users to upgrade, then once installed, Windows 10 collects user location data, text input, voice input, touch input, web browsing history, and general computing telemetry data, including which programs you run and for how long -- which would be arguably less of an issue if you had full control over how much of this data was collected and funneled back to the Redmond mothership.