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OSS

Our favorite open source writing tools

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OSS

Writing is one of the primary ways we communicate, and it's endlessly fascinating to see the different ways writers work. I can hardly imagine writing before computers and their ability to instantly edit and rearrange the words I've typed onto a screen. Likewise, I wonder whether people who started out writing on a typewriter process their thoughts differently, even on a modern word processor, or whether their workflow has changed and adapted because of these new tools.

We asked some of our correspondents how they get their thoughts into comprehensible words and what open source tools they prefer while doing so. As you might expect, we got different answers from everyone who answered.

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Proprietary Software and Linux Foundation

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Linux
OSS
  • [PCLinuxOS] Opera Browser updated to 70.0.3728.106

    Opera is a Chromium-based browser using the Blink layout engine. It differentiates itself because of a distinct user interface and other features.

  • Vivaldi Explains Why They Make "Proprietary Garbage"

    It is unfair to say that Vivaldi is not open source at all as someone like Distrotube has done, the way the company behind Vivaldi has decided to handle this application is by using a dual licensing system where the open source portion of the application is licensed under an open source BSD license but that's not the point of today, the point is to explain why they have decided to license their software in such a way.

  • Scientists Forced To Change Names Of Human Genes Because Of Microsoft's Failure To Patch Excel

    Six years ago, Techdirt wrote about a curious issue with Microsoft's Excel. A default date conversion feature was altering the names of genes, because they looked like dates. For example, the tumor suppressor gene DEC1 (Deleted in Esophageal Cancer 1) was being converted to "1-DEC". Hardly a widespread problem, you might think. Not so: research in 2016 found that nearly 20% of 3500 papers taken from leading genomic journals contained gene lists that had been corrupted by Excel's re-interpretation of names as dates. Although there don't seem to be any instances where this led to serious errors, there is a natural concern that it could distort research results. The good news is this problem has now been fixed. The rather surprising news is that it wasn't Microsoft that fixed it, even though Excel was at fault. As an article in The Verge reports:

  • The Linux Foundation Wants Open-Source Tech to Address Future Pandemics

    The Linux Foundation, which supports open-source innovation in blockchain tech, launched the Linux Foundation Public Health Initiative (LFPHI) at the end of July. The LFPHI’s goal is to promote the use of open source by public health authorities, which can be scrutinized by anyone, to fight not just COVID-19 but future pandemics as well.

  • LF Edge’s Akraino Project Release 3 Now Available, Unifying Open Source Blueprints Across MEC, AI, Cloud and Telecom Edge

    LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced the availability of Akraino Release 3 (“Akraino R3”). Akraino’s third and most mature release to date delivers fully functional edge solutions– implemented across global organizations– to enable a diversity of edge deployments across the globe. New blueprints include a focus on MEC, AI/ML, and Cloud edge. In addition, the community authored the first iteration of a new white paper to bring common open edge API standards to align the industry.

  • Linux Foundation Launches Jenkins X Training Course

    Linux Foundation has launched a new training course, LFS268 – CI/CD with Jenkins X. Developed in conjunction with the Continuous Delivery Foundation, the course will introduce the fundamentals of Jenkins X.

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • Richard Stallman Discusses Privateness Dangers of Bitcoin, Suggests 'One thing A lot Higher'
  • The many meanings of 'Open': Open Data, Open Source, and Open Standards

    It is important to note that open source software is not always “free” software. The difference is in the licensing and the level of effort required to customize the code for your use case. According to GNU progenitor and software freedom advocate Richard Stallman, free does not mean non-proprietary but rather suggests that “users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software” for any purpose. (“This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of ‘free speech,’ not ‘free beer,’” Stallman says.). One also has the freedom to sell the software after modifying it. Implementing open source software inside a business enterprise frequently requires customization for your organization’s workflow. Whether this customization is done using internal resources or with the help of external consultants, it typically is not free, nor is the subsequent maintenance of the software.

    Successful open source software is designed and built using a collaborative community software development process that releases frequent updates to improve functionality and reliability. The key is in the “community” adoption and development.

  • How an open community rebrands

    As an open community evolves, so does the way it expresses its identity to others. And having open conversations about how you'd like your community to be recognized is an important component of community engagement.

    Simply put, your community's brand is what people (especially potential contributors) see first when they encounter you. So you want to make sure your brand reflects your community—its values, its principles, and its spirit.

    [...]

    Together, then, we were able to augment Jim's experience at Red Hat (though we always welcomed his perspectives along the way). Over the past half-decade, the Open Organization community has grown from a small group of passionate people debating nascent ideas about the "cultural side" of open source to a bustling bunch of thought leaders who have literally written the definition of what it means to be an open organization. To put it in open source terms: Our entire upstream project continues to evolve from that founding gesture.

  • LibreOffice 7.0 arrives, improves performance and compatibility

    AMD sponsored the developers' implementing the Skia graphics engine in LibreOffice. In Windows this open source 2D graphics library provides upgraded performance. Additionally the engine is accelerated by the Vulkan graphics and compute API.

  • TinyFloat, Troll Arithmetic, GIMP Palettes

    I've been working on a 64 bit extension to the 6502 processor architecture. This is for the purpose of implementing a secure computer which also has a hope of working after post industrial collapse.

    Along the way, I have found a use for a practical use for 8 bit floating point numbers. Floating point representations were historically used for scientific calculations. The two components of a floating point number - the exponent and mantissa - work in a manner similar to logarithms, slide rules and the scientific representation of numbers. For example, 1.32×104 = 13,200. Why not just write the latter? Scientific notation works over a *very* large scale and is therefore useful for cosmology, biology and nanofabrication. For computing, floating point may use binary in preference to decimal. Also, it is not typical to store both the exponent and mantissa within 8 bits.

  • Open Source Contributions on the Rise in FinTech, Healthcare and Government [Ed: "The Linux Foundation sponsored this post." So the Foundation is now busy distorting the media instead of actually supporting developers who develop Free software on shoestring budget.]

    Enterprise use of open source remains stable, and a new generation of companies are increasing their engagement with open source communities. Led by financial services, healthcare and government, more organizations across most industry verticals are regularly (frequently or sometimes) contributing to upstream projects, going from 42% to 46% over the last three years.

  • TODO Group Survey Shows Stable Enterprise Open Source Use

    The “Open Source Programs in the Enterprise” survey, from The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group and The New Stack says “enterprise use of open source remains stable.”

    An article by Lawrence Hecht reports that more organizations across industry verticals are regularly contributing to upstream projects, increasing from 42% to 46% over the past three years. “The multi-year effort provides a solid baseline for measuring change, growth and effectiveness of efforts to guide corporate open source policies and community participation,” Hecht said.

Darktable 3.2 Open-Source RAW Image Editor Released with Major New Features

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OSS

Darktable 3.2.1 is now available and it’s the first major update to the application since the introduction of the 3.0 series. If you’re asking, there wasn’t a 3.2.0 release, nor a 3.1 release. The development team jumped straight to the 3.2.1 version number from version 3.0.2, which you’re probably using right now on your GNU/Linux distribution, because of a last minute bug in the 3.2.0 release.

But don’t let the version number fool you, because Darktable 3.2.1 is a massive update with lots of goodies for amateur and professional photographers alike. Highlights include support for up to 8K screen resolutions thanks to the complete rewrite of the Lighttable View and the revamped Filmstrip.

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Beaker Browser – A P2P Browser for Web Hackers.

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OSS
Web

Beaker is a free and open-source web browser built to enable users to publish websites and web apps themselves directly from the browser without having to set up a separate web server or hosting their content with a 3rd party.

To quote one of the project devs, it has been built to “to give users more control over the Web”. We’ve covered several projects based on similar technology (e.g. PeerTube) but this one has a little more icing on the cake.

[...]

The Dat protocol is favoured over HTTP for Beaker for 5 main reasons. It can sync archives from multiple sources; the URLs remain the same even when the archives can change hosts. All updates have checksums; changes are written to an append-only version log, and any archive can be hosted on any device. Although it uses Dat by default, Beaker supports connecting to traditional servers with HTTP so you can equally visit typical websites.

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Photoflare: An Open Source Image Editor for Simple Editing Needs

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OSS

When it comes to image editing on Linux, GIMP is the first and obvious choice. But GIMP could be overwhelming if you don’t need advanced editing feature. This is where applications like Photoflare step in.

Photoflare is an editor that provides basic image editing features with a simple-to-use interface.

It is inspired by the popular Windows application PhotoFiltre. The application is not a clone though and it has been written in C++ from scratch and uses Qt framework for the interface.

The features include cropping, flipping/rotating, resizing image. You can also tools like paint brush, paint bucket, spray can, blur tool and eraser. The magic wand tool lets you select a specific area of the image.

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Pocket P.C. design files released as open source (handheld Linux computer)

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Linux
OSS

The Popcorn Computers Pocket P.C. is designed to be a handheld Linux computer with a 4.95 inch full HD display, a built-in keyboard, and a ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor.

First unveiled in November 2019, the Pocket P.C. hasn’t shipped yet. It’s still up for pre-order for $199 and up.

But the developers have already open sourced the hardware by releasing the latest design files. You can find the at the project’s GitHub page.

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Open source is more than code: Developing Red Hat Satellite documentation upstream

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Red Hat
OSS

The code base for Satellite begins upstream and moves downstream. Until recently, the Satellite documentation did not follow the same journey. In this post, I will outline what has been happening with Satellite documentation over the last year and how this benefits both the Foreman community and Red Hat Satellite users.

The Foreman and Katello projects are the upstreams of Red Hat Satellite. The discussions and contributions that take place in the vibrant upstream community help shape the Red Hat Satellite code base. Red Hat’s open source and community strategy has made Red Hat Satellite a robust and flexible product that can manage complex management workflows.

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Meeting for the first time after 26 years of open source collaboration

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OSS

Collaborating on an open source software project is inherently an online experience. For me, almost all of my interaction has been via email. I'll send someone a patch, and they'll review it and reply to me. Or a user will file a bug, and I'll respond to it via the bug tracker. More commonly, developers in the open source community will discuss ideas via the email list.

Over the years, I've only interacted on projects electronically, and have only met a few people in person, usually in settings unrelated to the project. Sometimes it's at conferences—we'll recognize each other's names, and realize we're working on the same open source project. I really enjoy those connections, but they're rare.

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You don't need a computer science degree to work with open source software

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OSS

I am mostly a self-taught programmer. When I was growing up in the late 1970s, our elementary school had a small resource room with an Apple II computer. My brother and I fell into a group of friends that liked computers, and we all helped each other learn the system.

We showed such promise that our parents bought us an Apple II+ clone called the Franklin ACE 1000. My brother and I taught ourselves how to program in AppleSoft BASIC. Our parents bought us books, and we devoured them. I learned every corner of BASIC by reading about something in the book, then writing a practice program. My favorite pastime was writing simulations and games.

I stayed with BASIC for a long time. Our next computer was an IBM PC clone with a version of BASIC on it. Much later, MS-DOS 5 introduced QBasic, which was a modern version of BASIC that finally eliminated line numbers.

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Android Leftovers

Qt Creator 4.13 RC released

We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.13 RC ! For an overview of the improvements in Qt Creator 4.13, please head over to the first Beta blog post. The opensource version is available on the Qt download page under "Pre-releases", and you find commercially licensed packages on the Qt Account Portal. Qt Creator 4.13 RC is also available under Preview > Qt Creator 4.13.0-rc1 in the online installer. Please post issues in our bug tracker. You can also find us on IRC on #qt-creator on chat.freenode.net, and on the Qt Creator mailing list. You can read the Qt Creator Manual in Qt Creator in the Help mode or access it online in the Qt documentation portal. Read more Also: Qt Creator 4.13 RC Released With Initial Meson Integration, Updated C++ Code Model

CAELinux 2020 Released: A Linux Distro For Computer-Aided Engineering

After almost half and year, Joël Cugnoni has announced the new 2020 version of CAELinux. The latest CAELinux 2020 is based on the long-term Xubuntu 18.04 release, and comes with several new tools and updated CAELinux core packages. Focusing on computer-aided design (CAD), CAELinux is a LiveDVD Linux distribution, which you can boot directly from DVD or USB flash drive without installation. Read more