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OSS Leftovers

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  • Why isn't open source hot among computer science students?

    The technical savvy and inventive energy of young programmers is alive and well.

    This was clear from the diligent work that I witnessed while participating in this year’s PennApps, the nation’s largest college hackathon. Over the course of 48 hours, my high school- and college-age peers created projects ranging from a blink-based communication device for shut-in patients to a burrito maker with IoT connectivity. The spirit of open source was tangible throughout the event, as diverse groups bonded over a mutual desire to build, the free flow of ideas and tech know-how, fearless experimentation and rapid prototyping, and an overwhelming eagerness to participate.

    Why then, I wondered, wasn’t open source a hot topic among my tech geek peers?

    To learn more about what college students think when they hear "open source," I surveyed several college students who are members of the same professional computer science organization I belong to. All members of this community must apply during high school or college and are selected based on their computer science-specific achievements and leadership—whether that means leading a school robotics team, founding a nonprofit to bring coding into insufficiently funded classrooms, or some other worthy endeavor. Given these individuals’ accomplishments in computer science, I thought that their perspectives would help in understanding what young programmers find appealing (or unappealing) about open source projects.

  • Blue Brain Nexus: An open-source knowledge graph for data-driven science

    EPFL's Blue Brain Project today announces the release of its open source software project 'Blue Brain Nexus', designed to enable the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data management principles for the Neuroscience and broader scientific community. It is part of EPFL's open-science initiative, which seeks to maximize the reach and impact of research conducted at the school.

    The aim of the Blue Brain Project is to build accurate, biologically detailed, digital reconstructions and simulations of the rodent brain and, ultimately the human brain. Blue Brain Nexus is instrumental in supporting all stages of Blue Brain's data-driven modelling cycle including, but not limited to experimental data, single cell models, circuits, simulations and validations. The brain is a complex multi-level system and is one of the biggest 'Big Data' problems we have today. Therefore, Blue Brain Nexus has been built to organize, store and process exceptionally large volumes of data and support usage by a broad number of users.

  • Devery.io – a Blockchain Powered, Open-Source, Product Verification Protocol

    Devery.io are developing the Devery Protocol, aiming to provide a decentralized verification platform enabling the marking and tracking of items over the Ethereum blockchain.

  • What the Haven app shows us about the value of Open Source

    Christmas may have come a few days early this past December for security advocates with the introduction of the Haven app, bringing with it a fair amount of excitement, criticism, and an excellent opportunity to explore some of the less often discussed aspects of working with open source.

    For those who have been off of Twitter since the coverage started since Friday, the Haven app has been proposed as a solution for protecting your physical space from surveillance (or worse). Built for Android by the good folks over at the Guardian Project, the makers of great anonymity apps that help protect their users from surveillance, the app makes use of the phone’s sensors to detect intruders that might attempt to creep on your personal space.

  • Jet Villegas: Turning a Corner in the New Year

    2017 was quite a year beyond the socio-economic, geo-political, and bizarre. I, and many of my colleagues did what we could: find solace in work. I’ve often found that in uncertain times, making forward progress on difficult technical projects provides just enough incentive to continue for a bit longer. With the successful release of Firefox 57, I’m again optimistic about the future for the technical work. The Firefox Layout Engine team has a lot to be proud of in the 57 version. The winning combination was shipping big-ticket investments, and grinding down on many very difficult bugs. Plan “A” all the way!

  • Facebook has open-sourced encrypted group chat

    Facebook has responded to governments' criticism of cryptography by giving the world an open source encrypted group chat tool.

    It's hardly likely to endear the ad-farm to people like FBI Director Christopher Wray, who yesterday told an international infosec conference it was “ridiculous” that the Feds have seized nearly 8,000 phones they can't access. UK prime minister Theresa May has also called for backdoors in messaging services and for social networks to stop offering "safe spaces" for extremists.

  • Open source code recycling: Know your software supply chain

    GNU/Linux was able to fill this gap, truly reshaping software design and development. Rather than writing and updating proprietary, foundational code, various developers working at varying companies or on their own could use and enhance the basic software building blocks, thereby focusing the majority of their resources on higher stack-level innovations.

    And, it worked.

More in Tux Machines

Games: RetroArch, PulseAudio, Anarch

  • You can now try the RetroArch Playtest on Steam for Linux | GamingOnLinux

    With the awesome RetroArch application for running emulators and all sorts coming to Steam, they now have a Playtest available you can opt into to try it out. Using the new dedicated Steam Playtest feature announced by Valve in early November, developers can have a banner on their Steam store page letting users request access. So the Libretro team have put this up, and as of today it also has Linux builds available for testing.

  • PulseAudio 14.0 Released With Better USB Gaming Headset Support - Phoronix

    While in 2021 we might begin to see PipeWire replacing PulseAudio by default at least on bleeding-edge distributions like Fedora, for now PulseAudio still is the dominant sound server used by desktop Linux distributions. Rolling out today is PulseAudio 14.0. PulseAudio 14.0 comes with many changes compared to PulseAudio 13.0 that shipped all the way back in September of 2019.

  • "Anarch", a new, public-domain Doom-like game coded from scratch in <256K

    I've argued that the video-game "Doom" is a sort of cultural version of Turing Completeness. Given that we're jamming computers and screens into just about any device these days, inevitably (and delightfully) someone gets it to run Doom: Watches, digital cameras, ATMs, pregnancy sticks. But you know what's even cooler? Creating your own new, original game in the exactly style of Doom, and making it so wildly resource-efficient that it fits in under 256K and will run on just about any computational device around. That's what the programmer Miloslav Číž has done, with his new game "Anarch". You can play it in your browser here or download it here; I just blasted away in it for a while, and it's a hoot — he neatly channels the mechanics and twitchy low-rez aesthetics of the original. Gameplay trailer is here; he put it in the public domain, and the code is all here on Gitlab.

Announcing Istio 1.6.14

This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.6.13 and Istio 1.6.14 Read more More:

  • ISTIO-SECURITY-2020-011
  • Support for Istio 1.6 has ended

    As previously announced, support for Istio 1.6 has now officially ended. At this point we will no longer back-port fixes for security issues and critical bugs to 1.6, so we heartily encourage you to upgrade to the latest version of Istio (1.8) if you haven’t already.

Moving into the future with the FSF tech team

The FSF is well-known for spearheading the advocacy and support of free software, not just by recommending it in the face of pervasive proprietary options, but also by condemning nonfree software altogether. Following this recommendation is hard, even for us, because of the ever-increasing dependency on software and computer networks that we are all subject to. To follow through with our commitment, our tech team maintains a large list of services that many other offices our size would have long ago been wrongly pressured into transferring to one of the handful of gigantic corporations that monopolize those services. Your work email account is most likely implemented through Gmail or Outlook; your office's software is likely to be served by Amazon Web Services, along with all the data backups; your company's customer service is likely to be managed through Salesforce or SAP, and so on. Make no mistake, this is true for your local government and school networks, too! In contrast, at the FSF, we never jumped on the outsourcing wagon, and we don't use any Service as a Software Substitute (SaaSS) in our operations. We run our own email servers, telephony and fax service, print shop, full server stack, backups, networking, systems monitoring, accounting, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and a long list of other tasks and software development projects, with a team of just four extremely dedicated technicians. And we implement this on hardware that has been carefully evaluated to meet very high ethical standards, criteria that we push for vendors to achieve through our "Respects Your Freedom" certification program. Read more

Android Leftovers