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GNU

The OSD and user freedom

Filed under
GNU
OSS

The relationship between open source and free software is fraught with people arguing about meanings and value. In spite of all the things we’ve built up around open source and free software, they reduce down to both being about software freedom.

Open source is about software freedom. It has been the case since “open source” was created.

In 1986 the Four Freedoms of Free Software (4Fs) were written. In 1998 Netscape set its source code free. Later that year a group of people got together and Christine Peterson suggested that, to avoid ambiguity, there was a “need for a better name” than free software. She suggested open source after open source intelligence. The name stuck and 20 years later we argue about whether software freedom matters to open source, because too many global users of the term have forgotten (or never knew) that some people just wanted another way to say software that ensures the 4Fs.

Once there was a term, the term needed a formal definition: how to we describe what open source is? That’s where the Open Source Definition (OSD) comes in.

The OSD is a set of ten points that describe what an open source license looks like. The OSD came from the Debian Free Software Guidelines. The DFSG themselves were created to “determine if a work is free” and ought to be considered a way of describing the 4Fs.

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Discord announce a 90/10 revenue split, Discord Store will support Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming
  • Discord announce a 90/10 revenue split, Discord Store will support Linux

    You will be forgiven for not paying much attention to the Discord Store, since it doesn't currently support Linux. It seems that is going to change and they've announce a pretty small cut compared to the competition.

    Firstly, today the Discord team announced in a new blog post that starting in 2019 they will only take a 10% cut from developers. Considering Valve still take 30% unless you earn a lot of money and even the Epic Store will take 12% that might help quite a bit. Not only that, Discord do have a pretty large pull considering they're already the go-to application for a lot of people to chat, even game developers and publishers have moved over in large numbers to have their community on Discord. I wouldn't underestimate them if they keep pushing it.

  • Discord Steps Up to Epic and Steam Game Stores with a 90/10 Developer Split

    Recently Fortnite publisher Epic made a splash in the world of PC gaming by introducing its own game store, with a competitive 88% share of profits going to developers. Now Discord is going one better with an even more generous split.

    Discord is best known as a game-focused chat and VOIP app, but the company has been selling indie games on its own digital storefront for a few months as well. The company announced today on its blog that, beginning next year, the store will give a full 90% of the price of games directly to developers. That beats Steam’s 70/30 split by a huge margin and steals the thunder from Epic, which has been wooing independent and mid-sized developers to its newer store at a steady pace.

Best Free Linux Application Launchers

Filed under
GNU
Linux

We’ve recently expressed our opinion on the Linux desktop scene with Best Linux Desktop Environments: Strong and Stable, and our follow-up article Linux Desktop Environments: Pantheon, Trinity, LXDE. These desktop environments provide good application launchers. But there’s still a place for a different approach, using a standalone application launcher.

Application launchers play an integral part in making the Linux desktop a more productive environment to work and play. They represent small utilities which offers the desktop user a convenient access point for application software and can make a real boost to users’ efficiency.

An application launcher helps to reduce start up times for applications by indexing shortcuts in the menu. Furthermore, this type of software allows users to search for documents and other files quicker by indexing different file formats. This makes them useful for launching almost anything on a computer including multimedia files, games, and the internet. Application launchers often support plug-ins, adding to their versatility.

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Watchdog: IRS botched Linux migration

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Poor IT governance prevented the IRS from making progress on a long-term effort to migrate 141 legacy applications from proprietary vendor software to open source Linux operating systems, according to an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Under a migration plan developed in 2014, two-thirds of targeted applications and databases were supposed to have been successfully migrated by December 2016.

However, only eight of the 141 applications targeted have successfully transitioned to Linux as of February 2018. More than one third have not even started.

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Manjaro 18.0 Released – What’s New in Manjaro Illyria?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Manjaro is an Arch Linux-based Operating System developed in Austria, Germany, and France with a focus on providing a beautiful user-friendly OS with the full power of Arch Linux to beginner computer users and experts at the same time.

If you are not already familiar with Manjaro Linux then the developers have recently given more reasons for you to by dropping its latest release, Manjaro 18.0, codenamed “Illyria“. This update brings both major and minor updates to the OS and makes its overall experience more pleasant.

It is fulfilling to see how well an OS that began as a hobby project has come this far with several UI scripts, support for NVIDIA’s Optimus technology, etc. right out of the box – features that come together to enhance its user experience.

For an overview of its features, check out the 10 Reasons to Use Manjaro Linux.

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Linux on the Desktop: Are We Nearly There Yet?

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GNU
Linux

The numbers are pretty stark: Linux might be the backbone of everything from embedded devices to mainframes and super computers. But it has just a 2% share of desktops and laptops.

It seems the only way to get most people to even touch it is to rip away everything you recognise as Linux to rebuild it as Android.

Until recently, I was in the 98%. I honestly wasn’t even conflicted. I used Linux most days both for work and for hobbies – but always in the cloud or on one of those handy little project boards that are everywhere now. For my daily driver, it was Windows all the way.

I guess what’s kept me with Windows so long is really that it’s just been good enough as a default option that I haven’t been prompted to even think about it. Which, to be fair, is a great quality in an operating system.

The last time I tried a dual boot Linux/Windows setup was about 15 years ago. I was using Unix at university, and was quite attracted to the idea of free and open source software, so I decided to give it a go.

This was back when, if you wanted to install Linux, you went to the newsagent and bought a magazine that had a CD-ROM on the front cover. I don’t exactly remember what distro it was – probably something like Slackware or Red Hat.

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FSF Licensing and Compliance Lab: 2018 and the future

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

I am the current licensing and compliance manager for the FSF, though I've had several roles in my time here. The Lab handles all the free software licensing work for the FSF. Copyleft is the best legal tool we have for protecting the rights of users, and the Lab makes sure that tool is at full power by providing fundamental licensing education. From publishing articles and resources on free software licensing, to doing license compliance work for the GNU Project, to handling our certification programs like Respects Your Freedom, if there is a license involved, the Lab is on the case.

When I started working at the FSF part-time in 2008, the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) was only a year old. Our Respects Your Freedom certification program didn't yet exist. The Free Software Directory wasn't yet a wiki that could be updated by the community at large. Things have changed a lot over the years, as has our ability to help users to understand and share freely licensed works. I'd like to take just a moment as 2018 draws to a close to look back on some of the great work we accomplished.

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Adobe and GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

Programming: GCC, LLVM, Rust, Ruby and Python

Filed under
Development
GNU
  • GCC 9 Guts Out The PowerPC SPE Support

    It should come as no surprise since it was deprecated in this year's GCC 8 release, but the PowerPC SPE code has been removed.

    This isn't to be confused with conventional POWER/PowerPC but rather PowerPC SPE that is for the "Signal Processing Engine" on older FreeScale/IBM cores like the e500. It's not all that important these days and doesn't affect newer versions of the 64-bit Power support.

  • LLVM's OpenMP Runtime Picks Up DragonFlyBSD & OpenBSD Support

    Good news for those using the LLVM Clang compiler on OpenBSD or DragonFlyBSD: the OpenMP run-time should now be supported with the latest development code.

  • Nick Cameron: Rust in 2022

    In case you missed it, we released our second edition of Rust this year! An edition is an opportunity to make backwards incompatible changes, but more than that it's an opportunity to bring attention to how programming in Rust has changed. With the 2018 edition out of the door, now is the time to think about the next edition: how do we want programming in Rust in 2022 to be different to programming in Rust today? Once we've worked that out, lets work backwards to what should be done in 2019.

    Without thinking about the details, lets think about the timescale and cadence it gives us. It was three years from Rust 1.0 to Rust 2018 and I expect it will be three years until the next edition. Although I think the edition process went quite well, I think that if we'd planned in advance then it could have gone better. In particular, it felt like there were a lot of late changes which could have happened earlier so that we could get more experience with them. In order to avoid that I propose that we aim to avoid breaking changes and large new features landing after the end of 2020. That gives 2021 for finishing, polishing, and marketing with a release late that year. Working backwards, 2020 should be an 'impl year' - focussing on designing and implementing the things we know we want in place for the 2021 edition. 2019 should be a year to invest while we don't have any release pressure.

    To me, investing means paying down technical debt, looking at our processes, infrastructure, tooling, governance, and overheads to see where we can be more efficient in the long run, and working on 'quality of life' improvements for users, the kind that don't make headlines but will make using Rust a better experience. It's also the time to investigate some high-risk, high-reward ideas that will need years of iteration to be user-ready; 2019 should be an exciting year!

  • A Java Developer Walks Into A Ruby Conference: Charles Nutter’s Open Source Journey

    As a Java developer, Nutter began looking for an existing way to run Ruby within a Java runtime environment, specifically a Java virtual machine (JVM). This would let Ruby programs run on any hardware or software platform supported by a JVM, and would facilitate writing polyglot applications that used some Java and some Ruby, with developers free to choose whichever language was best for a particular task.

  • Good ciphers in OpenJDK
  • Don’t delete the same file in its own directory
  • Create a home button on the pause scene

Best Lightweight Linux Distros for Older Computers

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Don’t throw away that old Pentium III tower and CRT monitor just yet! While that old laptop in the closet may not be able to run Windows 10 or macOS Mojave, it doesn’t mean it’s destined for the dump.

Many Linux distributions are made specifically for utilizing the ancient, underpowered hardware found in older machines. By installing these lightweight distros, you can breathe new life into an old PC thought to be long past its prime. Here are the best lightweight Linux distros that we’ve picked out from the pile.

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Linux 4.20--rc76

Well, that's more like it. This is a *tiny* rc7, just how I like it. Maybe it's because everybody is too busy prepping for the holidays, and maybe it's because we simply are doing well. Regardless, it's been a quiet week, and I hope the trend continues. The patch looks pretty small too, although it's skewed by a couple of bigger fixes (re-apply i915 workarounds after reset, and dm zoned bio completion fix). Other than that it's mainly all pretty small, and spread out (usual bulk of drivers, but some arch updates, filesystem fixes, core fixes, test updates..) Read more Also: Linux 4.20-rc7 Kernel Released - Linux 4.20 Should Be Released In Time For Christmas

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1080p Linux Gaming Performance - NVIDIA 415.22 vs. Mesa 19.0-devel RADV/RadeonSI

Stemming from the recent Radeon RX 590 Linux gaming benchmarks were some requests to see more 1080p gaming benchmarks, so here's that article with the low to medium tier graphics cards from the NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon line-up while using the latest graphics drivers on Ubuntu 18.10. This round of benchmarking was done with the GeForce GTX 980, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, and GTX 1070 Ti using the newest 415.22 proprietary graphics driver. On the AMD side was using the patched Linux 4.20 kernel build (for RX 590 support) paired with Mesa 19.0-devel via the Padoka PPA while testing the Radeon RX 580 and RX 590. Read more

Sparky SU 0.1.0

This tool provides Yad based front-end for su (spsu) allowing users to give a password and run graphical commands as root without needing to invoke su in a terminal emulator. It can be used as a Gksu replacement to run any application as root. Read more