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today's leftovers

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  • By embracing blockchain, a California bill takes the wrong step forward.

    The California legislature is currently considering a bill directing a public board to pilot the use of blockchain-type tools to communicate Covid-19 test results and other medical records. We believe the bill unduly dictates one particular technical approach, and does so without considering the privacy, security, and equity risks it poses. We urge the California Senate to reconsider.

    The bill in question is A.B. 2004, which would direct the Medical Board of California to create a pilot program using verifiable digital credentials as electronic patient records to communicate COVID-19 test results and other medical information. The bill seems like a well-intentioned attempt to use modern technology to address an important societal problem, the ongoing pandemic. However, by assuming the suitability of cryptography-based verifiable credential models for this purpose, rather than setting out technology-neutral principles and guidelines for the proposed pilot program, the bill would set a dangerous precedent by effectively legislating particular technology outcomes. Furthermore, the chosen direction risks exacerbating the potential for discrimination and exclusion, a lesson Mozilla has learned in our work on digital identity models being proposed around the world. While we appreciate the safeguards that have been introduced into the legislation in its current form, such as its limitations on law enforcement use, they are insufficient. A new approach, one that maximizes public good while minimizing harms of privacy and exclusion, is needed.

  • Karl Dubost: Browser developer tools timeline

    I was reading In a Land Before Dev Tools by Amber, and I thought, Oh here missing in the history the beautifully chiseled Opera Dragonfly and F12 for Internet Explorer. So let's see what are all the things I myself didn't know.

  • Daniel Stenberg: Using fixed port numbers for curl tests is now history!

    The curl test suite fires up a whole bunch of test servers for the various supported protocols, and then command lines using curl or libcurl-using dedicated test apps are run against those servers to make sure curl is acting exactly as it is supposed to.

  • Mycroft: an open-source voice assistant

    Mycroft is a free and open-source software project aimed at providing voice-assistant technology, licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. It is an interesting alternative to closed-source commercial offerings such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple Siri. Use of voice assistants has become common among consumers, but the privacy concerns surrounding them are far-reaching. There have been multiple instances of law enforcement's interest in the data these devices produce for use against their owners. Mycroft claims to offer a privacy-respecting, open-source alternative, giving users a choice on how much of their personal data is shared and with whom.

    The Mycroft project is backed by the Mycroft AI company. The company was originally funded by a successful one-million-dollar crowdfunding campaign involving over 1,500 supporters. In recent years, it has developed two consumer-focused "smart speaker" devices: the Mark 1 and Mark 2. Both devices were funded through successful Kickstarter campaigns, with the most recent Mark 2 raising $394,572 against a $50,000 goal.

    In the press, the company has indicated its intention is to focus on the enterprise market for its commercial offerings, while keeping the project free to individual users and developers. On the subject of developers, contributors are expected to sign a contributor license agreement (CLA) to participate in the project. The actual CLA was unavailable at the time of publication, but the project claims it grants the project a license to the contributed code, while retaining ownership of the contribution to the developer.

  • GSoC 2020 Second Evaluation Report: Curses Library Automated Testing

    My GSoC project under NetBSD involves the development of test framework of curses library. This blog report is second in series of blog reports; you can have a look at the first report. This report would cover the progress made in second coding phase along with providing some insights into the libcurses.

  • Accelerating the value of multicloud environments: A collaborative DevSecOps approach is critical

    Cloud Native development is not so much about where you run your application, but more about how you develop it. It is an interesting moment in time for enterprise developers, as more emphasis shifts to application modernization and cloud native development. The responsibility is shifting to the application for critical success factors for hybrid cloud environments, including security, reliability, and manageability. I have found that these “interesting” challenges are best addressed by collaborative, cross-disciplinary DevSecOps teams that understand the entire software development lifecycle.

    In this new environment, your role as developers is more demanding, and we all need better tools. You have increased responsibility for understanding and working directly with security engineers on governance and related management policies. You are being tasked with prioritizing service reliability, and the best practice is to address potential problems early in the application lifecycle. You also need to proactively detect and resolve potential issues with production environments before they have a negative business impact.

  • Play Minecraft with Fedora Friends at Nest 2020 [Ed: Fedora is boosting Microsoft and "Fedora Minecraft/Spigot server follows the same Code of Conduct as Fedora Nest and the wider Fedora Community. Be kind, be respectful, and have fun!" (unlike Microsoft)]
  • Linux Foundation New Course To Help Developers Create Enterprise Blockchain Applications

    The Linux Foundation has announced a new training course, LFD272 – Hyperledger Fabric for Developers. The course, developed in conjunction with Hyperledger, is designed for developers who want to master Hyperledger Fabric chaincode – Fabric’s smart contracts – and application development.

  • The Linux Foundation release innovative training course

    The Linux Foundation is a  nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source.

  • Google Details Its Open Source Contributions

    Most of Google’s open source work is done within two hosting platforms: GitHub and Google’s own Git service, git-on-borg, which hosts Android and Chromium. According to the report, Google hosts over 8,000 public repositories on GitHub and more than 1,000 public repositories on git-on-borg.

  • Open source by the numbers at Google

    At Google, open source is at the core of our infrastructure, processes, and culture. As such, participation in these communities is vital to our productivity. Within OSPO (Open Source Programs Office), our mission is to bring the value of open source to Google and the resources of Google to open source. To ensure our actions match our commitment, in this post we will explore a variety of metrics intended to increase context, transparency, and accountability across all of the communities we engage with.

  • libredwg-0.11 released
  • Best free tools for small businesses
  • 7-Zip 20.01 Alpha

    The unRAR code is under a mixed license: GNU LGPL + unRAR restrictions. Check license information here: 7-Zip license.

  • Kiwi TCMS Enterprise v8.5.2-mt

    We're happy to announce Kiwi TCMS Enterprise version 8.5.2-mt and extended support hours for subscribers in America.

  • Jonathan Dowland: Vimwiki

    At the start of the year I begun keeping a daily diary for work as a simple text file. I've used various other approaches for this over the years, including many paper diaries and more complex digital systems. One great advantage of the one-page text file was it made assembling my weekly status report email very quick, nearly just a series of copies and pastes. But of course there are drawbacks and room for improvement.

    vimwiki is a personal wiki plugin for the vim and neovim editors. I've tried to look at it before, years ago, but I found it too invasive, changing key bindings and display settings for any use of vim, and I use vim a lot.

    I decided to give it another look. The trigger was actually something completely unrelated: Steve Losh's blog post "Coming Home to vim". I've been using vim for around 17 years but I still learned some new things from that blog post. In particular, I've never bothered to Use The Leader for user-specific shortcuts.

  • Gmail Desktop

    There is a new application available for Sparkers: Gmail Desktop

  • Wine 5.0.2 Released With Fixes For Various Games, Windows Applications

    For those using Wine in a production environment for running Windows software on Linux, Wine 5.0.2 is out as the latest stable update.

    While Wine continues chugging along with a lot of great feature work with the Wine 5.x bi-weekly snapshots leading up to the Wine 6.0 release early next year, Wine 5.0.2 is the latest stable point release with a variety of bug-fixes back-ported to this code-base that was minted at the start of this year. There are no new features but exclusively bug fixes.

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today's leftovers

Programming Leftovers

  • Joachim Breitner: Learn Haskell on CodeWorld writing Sokoban

    Two years ago, I held the CIS194 minicourse on Haskell at the University of Pennsylvania. In that installment of the course, I changed the first four weeks to teach the basics of Haskell using the online Haskell environment CodeWorld, and lead the students towards implementing the game Sokoban. As it is customary for CIS194, I put my lecture notes and exercises online, and this has been used as a learning resources by people from all over the world. But since I have left the University of Pennsylvania, I lost the ability to update the text, and as the CodeWorld API has evolved, some of the examples and exercises no longer work.

  • SiFive Begins Adding RISC-V "Bullet" Microarchitecture Code To LLVM

    On Friday night patches began to appear for "RISC-V Bullet" in the LLVM compiler code-base. The initial work is on the scheduler being added for the RISC-V Bullet. The initial scheduler is in place for the RISC-V Bullet microarchitecture and bullet-rv32 / bullet-rv64 naming.

  • Pho 1.0, Belated Release

    I was doing some disk housekeeping and noticed that my venerable image viewer, Pho, was at version 1.0pre1, and had been since 2017. It's had only very minimal changes since that time. I guess maybe it's been long enough that it's time to remove that -pre1 moniker, huh?

  • GammaRay 2.11.2

    We have released version 2.11.2 of our Qt application introspection tool GammaRay, bringing support for Qt 5.15 and improved Qt Quick item picking. GammaRay is a software introspection tool for Qt applications developed by KDAB. Leveraging the QObject introspection mechanism it allows you to observe and manipulate your application at runtime. This works both locally on your workstation and remotely on an embedded target.

  • A meta issue for modules: bug tracking

    I was reading a module on meta::cpan when I spied a small issue. I went up to the Issues link, clicked, and was sent to rt.cpan. I know that many module authors now have their modules on sites like GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket. Before I posted the issue on rt.cpan, I checked the author's profile for a linked account to one of the other sites. I found the module on GitHub and read the CONTRIBUTING.md to find the author does want issues reported there and not rt.cpan. I did not report my original issue, I reported the link issue instead as it seemed more important. Today is not the first time I noticed this issue with a module's bug tracking. Before continuing, I have not released a module to CPAN and am still learning all that goes into releasing one. Please be gentle if I am wrong or stating an obvious well known fact.

  • Gisle Aas's CPAN distributions are available for adoption

    Gisle Aas (GAAS on CPAN) is a well-known CPAN author, who made his first releases back in 1995. Over the years he has developed and maintained a number of keystone modules that most of us have relied on, whether we realised it or not. Gisle has informed the PAUSE admins that he will no longer be maintaining his CPAN distributions, and is open to responsible adoption. In this blog post we'll summarise what distributions are available, and our interpretation of responsible adoption. If you're interested, please read this post, and if you still would like to adopt a distribution, contact the PAUSE admins (modules at perl dot org) and not Gisle.

  • Firefox Nightly Flips On New JIT "Warp" Code For Greater JavaScript Performance

    Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine team have been working on a big update to their just-in-time compiler code. This big update called "Warp" is now enabled in the latest Firefox Nightly builds for offering big speed-ups. Warp aims to improve the Firefox JavaScript performance by reducing the amount of internal type information that is tracked along with other optimizations. Warp can lead to greater responsiveness and faster page load speed. Numbers cited by Warm developers are normally in the 5~15% range.

Hardware: Linux on Snapdragon and Raspberry Pi 4