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Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Did Amazon Just Kill Open Source?
    Back in the days, we used to focus on creating modular architectures. We had standard wire protocols like NFS, RPC, etc. and standard API layers like BSD, POSIX, etc. Those were fun days. You could buy products from different vendors, they actually worked well together and were interchangeable. There were always open source implementations of the standard, but people could also build commercial variations to extend functionality or durability. The most successful open source project is Linux. We tend to forget it has very strict APIs and layers. New kernel implementations must often be backed by official standards (USB, SCSI…). Open source and commercial implementations live happily side by side in Linux. If we contrast Linux with the state of open source today, we see so many implementations which overlap. Take the big data eco-systems as an example: in most cases there are no standard APIs, or layers, not to mention standard wire protocols. Projects are not interchangeable, causing a much worse lock-in than when using commercial products which conform to a common standard.
  • Firebird 3 by default in LibreOffice 5.4 (Base)
    Lots of missing features & big bugs were fixed recently . All of the blockers that were initially mentioned on tracking bug are now fixed.
  • Linux & Open Source News Of The Week — Comma.ai, Patches For Firefox and Tor, And OSS-Fuzz
  • Open Source Malaria helps students with proof of concept toxoplasmosis pill
    A team of Australian student researchers at Sydney Grammar School has managed to recreate the formula for Daraprim, the drug made (in)famous by the actions of Turing Pharmaceuticals last year when it increased the price substantially per pill. According to Futurism, the undertaking was helped along by an, “online research-sharing platform called Open Source Malaria [OSM], which aims to use publicly available drugs and medical techniques to treat malaria.” The students’ pill passed a battery of tests for purity, and ultimately cost $2 using different, more readily available components. It shows the potential of the platform, which has said elsewhere there is, “enormous potential to crowdsource new potential medicines efficiently.” Although Daraprim is already around, that it could be synthesized relatively easily without the same materials as usual is a good sign for OSM.
  • Growing the Duke University eNable chapter
    We started the Duke University eNable chapter with the simple mission of providing amputees in the Durham area of North Carolina with alternative prostheses, free of cost. Our chapter is a completely student-run organization that aims to connect amputees with 3D printed prosthetic devices. We are partnered with the Enable Community Foundation (ECF), a non-profit prosthetics organization that works with prosthetists to design and fit 3D printed prosthetic devices on amputees who are in underserved communities. As an official ECF University Chapter, we represent the organization in recipient outreach, and utilize their open sourced designs for prosthetic devices.

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Today in Techrights

Security News

  • What's the most secure operating system?
    Deciding what operating system (OS) to keep your computer running smoothly—and with the highest level of security—is a controversial yet frequent question many business owners, government officials, and ordinary Joes and Janes ask. There are many different operating systems—the software at the base of every computer, controlling the machine's array of functions—like Mac OS10, which comes pre-loaded on Apple laptops and desktops, and Microsoft Windows that's on the majority of personal computers. Google's Android and Apple's iOS for mobile devices are designed specifically for devices with smaller touchscreens. Whatever OS you use—and many users are very loyal to their operating system of choice and will argue that their's is the best—it's not entirely secure or private. Hackers are still infiltrating systems every day, and they can easily target victims with malware to spy on users and disable their operating system altogether. Because of this, choosing a secure system is essential to staying secure online. Below are the top three secure operating systems that will help users take the next step to ensure proper cyber and hardware security.
  • New IoT Botnet, Attackers Target Tor, and More…
    Firefox’s emergency security patch: If you use Firefox at all, and I’m assuming that most of you do, you might want to run an update to get the latest security patch from Mozilla. The patch was rushed to market on November 30 to fix a zero day vulnerability that was being exploited in the wild to attack the Firefox based Tor browser. In a blog post on Wednesday, Mozilla’s security head Daniel Veditz wrote, “The exploit in this case works in essentially the same way as the ‘network investigative technique’ used by FBI to deanonymize Tor users…. This similarity has led to speculation that this exploit was created by FBI or another law enforcement agency. As of now, we do not know whether this is the case. If this exploit was in fact developed and deployed by a government agency, the fact that it has been published and can now be used by anyone to attack Firefox users is a clear demonstration of how supposedly limited government hacking can become a threat to the broader Web.”