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today's leftovers

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  • On the Importance of On-Screen Keyboards

    The role of keyboards cannot be overstated. They originated long before computers, and survive in the smartphone era. Millions of people text their friend by tapping away on their shiny pocket computers using the venerable QWERTY layout dating back to 1873.

    It is hard to imagine a phone without a way to enter text. Some of us are dreaming about Minority Report-style gesturing, but the Librem 5 continues the keyboard tradition.

    [...]

    The task took me on an interesting and educating journey. The Wayland train took me via input methods to Asia, through protocols, to FLOSS communities. I will try to describe my story for you.

  • How Does Project Aiur, An Open Source AI-Engine Substantiate Scientific Knowledge

    As research in science progresses by leaps and bounds, there are a lot of readily available information in the online space, making knowledge sharing in areas like science easier.

    However, there is so much research information available that it is sometimes confusing as to what is right and what is wrong. Given the vast amount of resources, it is essential to carry out in-depth analysis of the resources. This has been made possible with AI and ML innovations.

  • OpenBSD at BSDCan 2018
  • Summer of Code: Evaluation and Key Lengths

    I spent some time testing my OpenPGP library PGPainless and during testing I noticed, that messages encrypted and signed using keys from the family of elliptic curve cryptography were substantially smaller than messages encrypted with common RSA keys. I knew already, that one benefit of elliptic curve cryptography is, that the keys can be much smaller while providing the same security as RSA keys. But what was new to me is, that this also applies to the length of the resulting message. I did some testing and came to interesting results:

  • Major speedup for big DWG's

    Thanks to David Bender and James Michael DuPont for convincing me that we need a hash table for really big DWGs. I got a DWG example with 42MB, which needed 2m to process and then 3m to free the dwg struct. I also had to fix a couple of internal problems.

    We couldn't use David Bender's hashmap which he took from Android (Apache 2 licensed), and I didn't like it too much neither. So today I sat down and wrote a good int hashmap from scratch, with several performance adjustments, because we never get a key 0 and we won't need to delete keys.
    So it's extremely small and simple, using cache-friendly open addressing, and I got it right at the second attempt.

    Performance with this hash table now got down to 7 seconds.
    Then I also removed the unneeded dwg_free calls from some cmdline apps, because the kernel does it much better then libc malloc/free. 3 minutes for free() is longer than the slowest garbage collector I've ever seen.
    So now processing this 42MB dwg needs 7s.

  • California Can Lead the Way in Open Access
  • Better API testing with the OpenAPI Specification

    If you search the internet for "unexpected API behavior," you'll soon discover that no one likes when an API doesn't work as anticipated. When you consider the increasing number of APIs, continuous development, and delivery of the services built on top of them, it's no surprise that APIs can diverge from their expected behavior. This is why API test coverage is critical for success. For years, we have created unit and functional tests for our APIs, but where do we go from there?

More in Tux Machines

It Turns Out RISC-V Hardware So Far Isn't Entirely Open-Source

While they are trying to make it an open board, as it stands now Minnich just compares this RISC-V board as being no more open than an average ARM SoC and not as open as IBM POWER. Ron further commented that he is hoping for other RISC-V implementations from different vendors be more open. Read more

Perl 5.28.0 released

Version 5.28.0 of the Perl language has been released. "Perl 5.28.0 represents approximately 13 months of development since Perl 5.26.0 and contains approximately 730,000 lines of changes across 2,200 files from 77 authors". The full list of changes can be found over here; some highlights include Unicode 10.0 support, string- and number-specific bitwise operators, a change to more secure hash functions, and safer in-place editing. Read more

Today in Techrights

Will Microsoft’s Embrace Smother GitHub?

Microsoft has had an adversarial relationship with the open-source community. The company viewed the free Open Office software and the Linux operating system—which compete with Microsoft Office and Windows, respectively—as grave threats. In 2001 Windows chief Jim Allchin said: “Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer.” That same year CEO Steve Ballmer said “Linux is a cancer.” Microsoft attempted to use copyright law to crush open source in the courts. When these tactics failed, Microsoft decided if you can’t beat them, join them. It incorporated Linux and other open-source code into its servers in 2014. By 2016 Microsoft had more programmers contributing code to GitHub than any other company. The GitHub merger might reflect Microsoft’s “embrace, extend and extinguish” strategy for dominating its competitors. After all, GitHub hosts not only open-source software and Microsoft software but also the open-source projects of other companies, including Oracle, IBM, and Amazon Web Services. With GitHub, Microsoft could restrict a crucial platform for its rivals, mine data about competitors’ activities, target ads toward users, or restrict free services. Its control could lead to a sort of surveillance of innovative activity, giving it a unique, macro-scaled insight into software development. Read more