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today's leftovers

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  • How to Set and List Environment Variables in Linux
  • Hardware hacking basics, Slackel + OSCAR | Choose Linux 17

    Getting into hardware hacking with Arduino, and analysing sleep data from CPAP machines.

    Plus a glimpse into the past in Distrohoppers.

  • Debian 11 Testing with XFCE 4.14 Run Through

    In this video, we are looking at Debian Testing Bullseye with XFCE 4.14.

  • Introducing Glean — Telemetry for humans

    In the last few years, Firefox development has become increasingly data-driven. Mozilla’s larger data engineering team builds & maintains most of the technical infrastructure that makes this possible; from the Firefox telemetry code to the Firefox data platform and hosting analysis tools. While data about our products is crucial, Mozilla has a rare approach to data collection, following our privacy principles. This includes requiring data review for every new piece of data collection to ensure we are upholding our principles — even when it makes our jobs harder.

    One great success story for us is having the Firefox telemetry data described in machine-readable and clearly structured form. This encourages best practices like mandatory documentation, steering towards lean data practices and enables automatic data processing — from generating tables to powering tools like our measurement dashboard or the Firefox probe dictionary.

    However, we also learned lessons about what didn’t work so well. While the data types we used were flexible, they were hard to interpret. For example, we use plain numbers to store counts, generic histograms to store multiple timespan measures and allow for custom JSON submissions for uncovered use-cases. The flexibility of these data types means it takes work to understand how to use them for different use-cases & leaves room for accidental error on the instrumentation side. Furthermore, it requires manual effort in interpreting & analysing these data points. We noticed that we could benefit from introducing higher-level data types that are closer to what we want to measure — like data types for “counters” and “timing distributions”.

  • Debugging TypeScript in Firefox DevTools

    Firefox Debugger has evolved into a fast and reliable tool chain over the past several months and it’s now supporting many cool features. Though primarily used to debug JavaScript, did you know that you can also use Firefox to debug your TypeScript applications?

    Before we jump into real world examples, note that today’s browsers can’t run TypeScript code directly. It’s important to understand that TypeScript needs to be compiled into Javascript before it’s included in an HTML page.

    Also, debugging TypeScript is done through a source-map, and so we need to instruct the compiler to produce a source-map for us as well.

  • Sponsor Article: why open frameworks matter

    The use of computers to control buildings was an inevitable consequence of the falling cost of the technology and the huge increase in the complexity of the equipment required to achieve comfort in large modern buildings. As with computers, the nascent BMS market was initially supplied by manufacturers who offered highly-proprietary systems which only they could install and maintain. As the technology matured, so the software to program the required control logic was made easier. As a result, a wider range of people could provide the engineering. Meanwhile, pressure from end users, who didn’t want to be tied to only one manufacturer for the life of the building or campus, led to the development of open protocol standards that could enable one manufacturers’ system to talk to another.

    However, since the way buildings are contracted tends to require a functionally-biased packaging of sub-contracts, each piece of controls equipment in a building developed separately, and each sub-sector developed its own standards. The result today is a plethora of ‘standard’ protocols which are used by the various sub-systems in a building; BACnet for HVAC, DALI and KNX for lighting, Modbus for electrical metering and power management, M-Bus for heat metering etc. Some protocols such as LONworks did manage for a while to gain traction in multiple segments, but its adoption has declined in recent years. So, although people still dream of there being ‘one standard to rule them all’, the reality is much messier, and the challenge of how to get systems talking to one another has not gone away.

  • Free Software Supporter - Issue 137, September 2019

    Defective by Design is calling on you to stand up against digital restrictions management and join us in celebration of the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on October 12th, 2019. Keep an eye on defectivebydesign.org for further announcements.

  • Some Intel Firmware Binaries Will Reportedly Be More Liberally Licensed

    One interesting nugget of news from this week's Open-Source Firmware Conference is that some Intel firmware binaries pertaining to their Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) will be more liberally licensed under their simpler microcode/firmware license.

    Open-source firmware consulting firm 3mdeb shared that Intel will reportedly publish TXT-related binaries like BIOS and SINIT ACMs under a similar license to the Intel FSP and microcode.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • Workarea Commerce Goes Open-source

    The enterprise commerce platform – Workarea is releasing its software to the open-source community. In case you don’t already know, Workarea was built to unify commerce, content management, merchant insights, and search. It was developed upon open-source technologies since its inception like Elasticsearch, MongoDB, and Ruby on Rails. Workarea aims to provide unparalleled services in terms of scalability and flexibility in modern cloud environments. Its platform source code and demo instructions are available on GitHub here.

  • Wyoming CV Pilot develops open-source RSU monitoring system

    The team working on the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program in Wyoming have developed open-source applications for the operation and maintenance of Roadside Units (RSUs) that can be viewed by all stakeholders. The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) Connected Vehicle Pilot implementation includes the deployment of 75 RSUs along 400 miles (644km) of I-80. With long drive times and tough winters in the state, WYDOT needed an efficient way to monitor the performance of and manage and update these units to maintain peak performance. With no suitable product readily available, the WYDOT Connected Vehicle team developed an open-source application that allows authorized transportation management center (TMC) operators to monitor and manage each RSU at the roadside. The WYDOT team found that the application can also be used as a public-facing tool that shows a high-level status report of the pilot’s equipment. [...] For other state or local agencies and departments of transportation (DOTs) wishing to deploy a similar capability to monitor and manage RSUs, the application code has been made available on the USDOT’s Open Source Application Development Portal (OSADP). The code is downloadable and can be used and customized by other agencies free of charge. WYDOT developed this capability using USDOT funds under the CV Pilot program as open-source software and associated documentation. The application represents one of six that the program will be providing during its three phases.

  • You Too Can Make These Fun Games (No Experience Necessary)

    Making a videogame remained a bucket list item until I stumbled on an incredibly simple open source web app called Bitsy. I started playing around with it, just to see how it worked. Before I knew it, I had something playable. I made my game in a couple of hours.

  • From maverick to mainstream: why open source software is now indispensable for modern business

    Free and open source software has a long and intriguing history. Some of its roots go all the way back to the 1980s when Richard Stallman first launched the GNU project.

  • Analyst Watch: Is open source the great equalizer?

    If you had told me 25 years ago that open source would be the predominant force in software development, I would’ve laughed. Back then, at my industrial software gig, we were encouraged to patent as much IP as possible, even processes that seemed like common-sense business practices, or generally useful capabilities for any software developer. If you didn’t, your nearest competitor would surely come out with their own patent claims, or inevitable patent trolls would show up demanding fees for any uncovered bit of code. We did have this one developer who was constantly talking about fiddling with his Linux kernel at home, on his personal time. Interesting hobby.

  • Scientists Create World’s First Open Source Tool for 3D Analysis of Advanced Biomaterials

    Materials scientists and programmers from the Tomsk Polytechnic University in Russia and Germany's Karlsuhe Institute of Technology have created the world’s first open source software for the 2D and 3D visualization and analysis of biomaterials used for research into tissue regeneration. [...] Scientists have already tested the software on a variety of X-ray tomography data. “The results have shown that the software we’ve created can help other scientists conducting similar studies in the analysis of the fibrous structure of any polymer scaffolds, including hybrid ones,” Surmenev emphasised.

  • Making Collaborative Data Projects Easier: Our New Tool, Collaborate, Is Here

    On Wednesday, we’re launching a beta test of a new software tool. It’s called Collaborate, and it makes it possible for multiple newsrooms to work together on data projects. Collaborations are a major part of ProPublica’s approach to journalism, and in the past few years we’ve run several large-scale collaborative projects, including Electionland and Documenting Hate. Along the way, we’ve created software to manage and share the large pools of data used by our hundreds of newsrooms partners. As part of a Google News Initiative grant this year, we’ve beefed up that software and made it open source so that anybody can use it.

  • Should open-source software be the gold standard for nonprofits?

    Prior to its relaunch, nonprofit organization Cadasta had become so focused on the technology side of its work that it distracted from the needs of partners in the field. “When you’re building out a new platform, it really is all consuming,” said Cadasta CEO Amy Coughenour, reflecting on some of the decisions that were made prior to her joining the team in 2018.

  • Artificial intelligence: an open source future

    At the same time, we’re seeing an increasing number of technology companies invest in AI development. However, what’s really interesting is that these companies - including the likes of Microsoft, Salesforce and Uber - are open sourcing their AI research. This move is already enabling developers worldwide to create and improve AI & Machine Learning (ML) algorithms faster. As such, open source software has become a fundamental part of enabling fast, reliable, and also secure development in the AI space. So, why all the hype around open source AI? Why are businesses of all sizes, from industry behemoths to startups, embracing open source? And where does the future lie for AI and ML as a result?

  • How open source is accelerating innovation in AI

    By eradicating barriers like high licensing fees and talent scarcity, open source is accelerating the pace of AI innovation, writes Carmine Rimi No other technology has captured the world’s imagination quite like AI, and there is perhaps no other that has been so disruptive. AI has already transformed the lives of people and businesses and will continue to do so in endless ways as more startups uncover its potential. According to a recent study, venture capital funding for AI startups in the UK increased by more than 200 percent last year, while a Stanford University study observed a 14-times increase in the number of AI startups worldwide in the last two years.

  • Adam Jacob Advocates for Building Healthy OSS Communities in “The War for the Soul of Open Source”

    Chef co-founder and former CTO Adam Jacob gave a short presentation at O’Reilly Open Source Software Conference (OSCON) 2019 titled “The War for the Soul of Open Source.” In his search for meaning in open source software today, Jacob confronts the notion of open source business models. “We often talk about open source business models,” he said. “There isn’t an open source business model. That’s not a thing and the reason is open source is a channel. Open source is a way that you, in a business sense, get the software out to the people, the people use the software, and then they become a channel, which [companies] eventually try to turn into money.” [...] In December 2018, Jacob launched the Sustainable Free and Open Source Communities (SFOSC) project to advocate for these ideas. Instead of focusing on protecting revenue models of OSS companies, the project’s contributors work together to collaborate on writing core principles, social contracts, and business models as guidelines for healthy OSS communities.

  • New Open Source Startups Emerge After Acquisition, IPO Flurry

    After a flurry of mega-acquisitions and initial public offerings of open source companies, a new batch of entrepreneurs are trying their hands at startups based on free software projects.

  • TC9 selected by NIST to develop Open Source Software for Transactive Energy Markets

    TC9, Inc. was selected by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop open source software for Transactive Energy Bilateral Markets based on the NIST Common Transactive Services. Under the contract, TC9 will develop open source software (OSS) for agents for a transactive energy market. The software will be used to model the use of transactive energy to manage power distribution within a neighborhood. Transactive Energy is a means to balance volatile supply and consumption in real time. Experts anticipate the use of Transactive Energy to support wide deployment of distributed energy resources (DER) across the power grid.

  • Open Source Software Allows Auterion to Move Drone Workflows into the Cloud

    “Until today, customizing operations in the MAVLink protocol required a deep understanding of complex subjects such as embedded systems, drone dynamics, and the C++ programming language,” said Kevin Sartori, co-founder of Auterion. “With MAVSDK, any qualified mobile developer can write high-level code for complex operations, meaning more developers will be able to build custom applications and contribute to the community.”

  • ApacheCon 2019 Keynote: James Gosling's Journey to Open Source

    At the recent ApacheCon North America 2019 in Las Vegas, James Gosling delivered a keynote talk on his personal journey to open-source. Gosling's main takeaways were: open source allows programmers to learn by reading source code, developers must pay attention to intellectual property rights to prevent abuse, and projects can take on a life of their own.

  • 20 Years of the Apache Software Foundation: ApacheCon 2019 Opening Keynote

    At the recent ApacheCon North America 2019 in Las Vegas, the opening keynote session celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), with key themes being: the history of the ASF, a strong commitment to community and collaboration, and efforts to increase contributions from the public. The session also featured a talk by astrophysicist David Brin on the potential dangers of AI.

Open Hardware/Modding

  • Delta X open source delta robot kit hits Kickstarter from €179

    After previously being unveiled earlier this month the Delta X open source delta robot kit has now launched via Kickstarter offering open source hardware, firmware and software for the community. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the Arduino powered 3D printed open source robot kit which is now available from €179. The Delta X offers both a complete desktop robot and a modular kit and can be combined with a range of end effectors to complete a wide variety of different applications, offering increased speed and flexibility when compared to other robotic arm kits on the market.

  • AXIS open source 3D printer from $125

    An affordable 3D printer has launched via Kickstarter this week in the form of the AXIS 3D Printer which is priced from just £99, $125 or €115. Complete with dual 3D printing head the 3D printer is based on open source technology with “tried and tested industry standard components designed to work right, first time” say it’s creators.

  • Freemelt raises $1.6 million in investment round for open-source EBM 3D printer
  • 3D printing stethoscopes, tourniquets and crucial dialysis-machine parts in Gaza

    Tarek Loubani is a Palestinian-Canadian doctor who works with the Glia Project, a group that creates open-source designs for 3D-printable medical hardware. Their goal is to let local populations manufacture their own medical wares at prices considerably lower than in the marketplace, and in situations where -- because of distance or war -- it may not even be possible to ship in equipment at any price. Some of their early work has been in blockaded Gaza, for example. So far, Glia has designed a stethoscope that can be made for about $2.83, and a tourniquet that costs about $7 to make.

  • GameShell Kit – Open Source Portable Game Console

    This portable console has a GNU/LINUX embedded operating system that lets you play all kinds of retro games from Atari, GB, GBA, NES, MAME, MD, PS1, and more. You can even create your own games if you want. Get one for yourself or build it together with your kids. Check out more details by clicking the link above.

  • Play classic games on an open-source console with GameShell: $143 (Orig. $199)

Openwashing Leftovers

A Setback for FOSS in the Public (War) Sector, CONNECT Interoperability Project Shifting to the Private Sector

  • GAO: DoD Not Fully Implementing Open-Source Mandates

    The Department of Defense has not fully implemented mandates from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to increase its use of open-source software and release code, according to a September 10 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The report notes that the 2018 NDAA mandated DoD establish a pilot program on open source and a report on the program’s implementation. It also says that OMB’s M-16-21 memorandum requires all agencies to release at least 20 percent of custom-developed code as open-source, with a metric for calculating program performance. However, DoD has released less than 10 percent of its custom code, and had not developed a measure to calculate the performance of the pilot program. In comments to GAO, the DoD CIO’s office said there has been difficulty inventorying all of its custom source code across the department, and disagreement on how to assess the success for a performance measure. While the department worked to partially implement OMB’s policy, the department had not yet issued a policy.

  • Pentagon moves slowly on open-source software mandate amid security concerns

    The Defense Department has been slow to meet a government-wide mandate to release more open-source software code, as DOD officials have concerns about cybersecurity risks and are struggling to implement such a program across the department, according to a new audit.

  • DOD struggles to implement open source software pilots

    The Department of Defense’s congressionally mandated efforts to create an open source software program aren’t going so well. DOD must release at least 20 percent of its custom software as open source through a pilot required by a 2016 Office of Management and Budget directive and the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Open source software, OMB says, can encourage collaboration, “reduce costs, streamline development, apply uniform standards, and ensure consistency in creating and delivering information.”

  • DOD drags feet with open-source software program due to security, implementation concerns

    The Defense Department has been slow to meet a government-wide mandate to release more open-source software code, as DOD officials have concerns about cybersecurity risks and are struggling to implement such a program across the department, according to a new audit. Since 2016, DOD has been required by law to implement an open-source software pilot program in accordance with policy established by the Office of Management and Budget.

  • DOD pushes back on open source
  • DOD pushes back on open source
  • CONNECT Interoperability Project Shifting to the Private Sector

    The CONNECT project, an open source project that aims to increase interoperability among organizations, is transitioning from federal stewardship to the private sector and will soon be available to everyone. Developed ten years ago by a group of federal agencies in the Federal Health Architecture (FHA), CONNECT was a response to ONC’s original approach to a health information network. The agencies decided to build a joint health interoperability solution instead of having each agency develop its own custom solution, and they chose to make the project open source.