I've looked at specialty distributions that were created for engineers and biologists in previous articles, but these aren't the only scientific disciplines that have their own distributions. So in this article, I introduce a distribution created specifically for astronomers, called Distro Astro. This distribution bundles together astronomy software to help users with tasks like running observatories or planetariums, doing professional research or outreach.
From the very first moment of booting up Distro Astro, you will notice that this distribution is aimed at astronomers. The look and feel of items, from the boot splash screen to wallpapers and screensavers, have all been given an astronomical theme. Even the default wallpaper is a slideshow of Hubble images.
Roses are red, violets are blue; I use free software to encrypt my online communication and so should you.
Valentine's day is this Saturday and, if you're like us, you're either trying to pick the right gift or wishing you had someone to exchange gifts with. We wish you luck with that. But there's something important that you can do regardless of your relationship status:
Ask someone you like -- romantically or otherwise -- to be your cryptovalentine. If they say yes (yikes, nervous!) use the free program GnuPG to set up private and encrypted communication with them. If one or both of you is new to GnuPG, we recommend our beginner-friendly Email Self-Defense guide. Setting up encrypted communication is a quick activity you can do together whether you are across the room or across the world. And what better way to show love than help them defend their security, privacy and freedom?
After releasing the first GNU/Linux distribution with Linux 3.18 kernel a couple of days after its launch back in December 2014, Arne Exton did it again, as he just announced today on Twitter that the his Exton|OS with MATE has been updated to version 150211 and includes a custom 3.19.0-5-exton kernel package based on the upstream Linux kernel 3.19.
Dejan Petrovic, the developer of the recently introduced ChaletOS computer operating system informed us today, February 12, that he just pushed a February 2015 release on his servers, urging users to update to it as soon as possible. The new ISO images are available for download right now (see link at the end of the article) for 32 and 64-bit PCs, bringing assorted bugfixes and improvements.
This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.
In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Rainey Reitman, Activism Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, about their new EFF Alerts mobile app.
I met Matthew at LinuxCon 2013 and have been hounding him for an interview ever since then. He’s worth the wait, though. He really gets under the hood of his GNOME setup and he has some great things to say about the power of open source software. Also, I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: Fedora has been great for me lately. I know there have always been Fedora fans, but my experience with it was always that there were one or two annoyingly broken things in each release. But 21 is solid. Like Ubuntu solid. And that’s thanks to the work of people like Matthew.
Now the first point is there is nothing wrong with charging money for work and time invested in a project. Nothing at all. Elementary OS is fully within its right to want to pay people for the time and work they have put in. That’s fine. Where I see the problem is when requests or payment start becoming more of a play on guilt, rather than a request for support.
Most discussions of free software licenses bore listeners. In fact, licenses are usually of such little interest that 85%of the projects on Github fail to have one.
However, one aspect of licensing never fails to stir partisan responses: the debate over the relative advantages of copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), and permissive licenses such as the MIT or the Apache 2 licenses.
You only have to follow the links to Occupy GPL! that are making the rounds to see the emotions that this unending debate can still stir. Calling for an end to "GPL purism," and dismissing the GPL as "not a free license," the site calls on readers to use permissive licenses instead, describing them as "truly OSS [Open Source Software] licenses and urging readers to "Join the Fight!"
Occupy GPL! itself is unlikely to have a future. Anonymous calls to actions rarely succeed; people prefer to know who is giving the call to arms before they muster at the barricades. Nor is the site's outdated name and inconsistent diction, nor the high number of exclamation and question marks likely to inspire many readers. Still, the fact that the site exists at all, and the counter-responses in comments on Google+ show that the old debate is still very much alive.