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OSS

5 useful Moodle plugins to engage students

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OSS

A good e-learning platform is important for education all over the world. Teachers need a way to hold classes, students need a friendly user interface to facilitate learning, and administrators need a way to monitor the educational system's effectiveness.

Moodle is an open source software package that allows you to create a private website with interactive online courses. It's helping people gather virtually, teach and learn from one another, and stay organized while doing it.

What makes Moodle unique is its high usability that can significantly increase with third-party solutions. If you visit the Moodle plugins directory, you'll find over 1,700 plugins developed by the open source community.

Picking the best plugins for your learners might be a challenge with so many choices. To help get you started, here my top five plugins to add to your e-learning platform.

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Open Sharing and Open Science

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OSS
  • Thank You for Participating in Open Sharing Is Caring!

    In our Open Sharing is Caring challenge, we asked you to openly share an image, song, artwork, research paper, poem, GIF…whatever it may be with the world by gifting it to the public domain. By using #OpenSharingIsCaring on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, we watched as you generously gave to the public domain.

  • More collaboration and clarity in Open Science, the study says

    The latest report on the state of Open Source Software in higher education and research was published at the end of January. The report is a part of the support that DINUM, the French interministerial agency, has given to the mission Bothorel that recently put forward several recommendations on Open Data and Open Source.

    The research conducted by the consultancy Inno³ focuses on Open Source in higher education and research and bases on a survey of over twenty institutions and other studies on the subject. It aims to draw a first overview of Open Source practices in higher education and research institutions and analyse related challenges and opportunities. The report also took a look at internal Open Source policies in analysed organisations in relation to other perspectives on digital development, such as digital sovereignty, open data, open access.

Measure your Internet of Things with Raspberry Pi and open source tools

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OSS

If you are interested in measuring and interacting with the world around you through the Internet of Things (IoT), there are a variety of inexpensive microcontrollers and microcomputers you can use. There are also many sensors available that connect to these devices to measure many aspects of the physical world.

These sensors interface with the microcontroller boards using the I2C message bus, which programs that run on the boards can access using open source libraries in MicroPython, Java, C#, and other popular programming languages. These devices and libraries make it very easy to create sophisticated data-collection systems.

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Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Google Maps

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OSS

Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.

What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.

In this series, we explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything. We’ll recommend open source solutions.

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Linux Foundation: RISC-V ISA and New Mobile Native Foundation

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OSS
  • Learn About the RISC-V ISA with Two Free Training Courses from The Linux Foundation and RISC-V International

    The Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, and RISC-V International, a non-profit corporation controlled by its members to drive the adoption and implementation of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), have announced the release of two new free online training courses to help individuals get started with the RISC-V ISA. The courses are available on edX.org, the online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT.

    “RISC-V International is committed to providing opportunities for people to gain a deeper understanding of the RISC-V ISA and expand their skills,” shared Calista Redmond, CEO, RISC-V International. “These courses will allow everyone to build deeper technical insight, learn more about the benefits of open collaboration, and engage with RISC-V for design freedom.”

    With the recent market momentum of RISC-V cores, systems-on-chips (SoCs), developer boards, and software and tools across computing from embedded to enterprise, there is a strong community need to empower individuals who understand how to implement and utilize RISC-V. In order to help meet that demand, The Linux Foundation and RISC-V International designed these free online courses to significantly reduce the barrier to entry for those interested in gaining RISC-V skills.

  • Linux Foundation and RISC-V International launch free RISC-V training classes | ZDNet

    RISC-V, the emerging open-source instruction set processor architecture, is growing up. Sure, most of the attention has come from hardware hackers playing on RISC-V processors on development boards from companies such as SiFive. SparkFun, and BeagleBoard. There's even a BBC Doctor Who-branded RISC-V mini-computer for kids. But, according to RISC-V CTO Mark Himelstein, RISC-V processors have already found a home in data centers and Alibaba cloud servers. So, it's high time for classes on how to use this new open-source hardware architecture.

  • New Mobile Native Foundation to Foster Development Collaboration
  • New Mobile Native Foundation to Foster Development Collaboration

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the Mobile Native Foundation (MNF). The MNF will bring developers together to improve processes and technologies that support large-scale Android and iOS applications. Organizations contributing to this effort include Airbnb, Capital One, Corellium, Elotl, Flare.build, GitHub, GogoApps, Haystack, Line, LinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Peloton, Robinhood, Sauce Labs, Screenplay.dev, Slack, Solid Software, Spotify, Square and Uber.

Events: GNOME, LF, and Linux App Summit (LAS)

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OSS
GNOME
  • Felipe Borges: Save the date: GNOME LATAM 2021, March 27th

    I’m happy to spread the word that a GNOME event in Spanish and Portuguese is taking place this month, on the 27th of March. It will be a free virtual event with talks and panels where everybody is welcome.

  • Cloud Foundry Summit 2021: Call For Papers Open

    The Summit will allow European attendees to participate, as well, with sessions tailored to the virtual format. The Cloud Foundry Foundation will join forces with the community-elected program committee to curate a program that fosters collaboration among attendees and offers interactive platform education.

  • The Linux App Summit (LAS) returns in May, applications open for talks until March 15 | GamingOnLinux

    Planned to happen online again during May 13-15, the Linux App Summit (LAS) is set to return giving you a chance to listen to talks about the future of application design, development and more for Linux. Last year had some pretty interesting talks, like Linux game porter and FNA developer Ethan Lee giving a presentation on how games get built and packages plus Collabora gave an overview of their work with Valve.

Compact Arm Linux gateway features ThingsBoard IoT software

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Linux
OSS

Neousys’ rugged “IGT-22-DEV” IoT gateway runs the open source Linux “ThingsBoard IoT” stack on a TI AM3352 with PoE PD, DIO, serial, USB, and mini-PCIe with uSIM.

After years of playing a dominant role on the pages of LinuxGizmos, the Cortex-A8-based TI Sitara AM335x has faded in recent years in favor of IoT-oriented Cortex-A7 processors such as the i.MX6 UL. Over the last week, however, the Sitara AM3352 has appeared twice: first in Aaeon’s SRG-3352C IoT gateway and now in Neousys’ IGT-22-DEV. Whereas the SRG-3352C showcases NB-IoT, the DIN-rail mountable IGT-22-DEV’s most notable feature is its pre-installed Linux IoT stack based on ThingsBoard IoT Gateway software.

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Apache Monthly Report and OSI Approves Proprietary Software as 'Open' (Openwashing)

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OSS
  • Apache Month in Review: February 2021
  • Approved: Four New Open Source Licenses

    As the steward of the Open Source Defintion, the Open Source Initiative has been designating licenses as "open source" for over 20 years. These licenses are the foundation of the open source software ecosystem, ensuring that everyone can use, improve, and share software. When a license is approved, it is because the OSI believes that the license fosters collaboration and sharing for the benefit of everyone who participates in the ecosystem.

    The world has changed over the past 20 years, with software now used in new and even unimaginable ways. The OSI has seen that the familiar open source licenses are not always well-suited for these new situations. But license stewards have stepped up, submitting several new licenses for more expansive uses. The OSI was challenged to evaluate whether these new concepts in licensing would continue to advance sharing and collaboration and merit being referred to as "open source" licenses, ultimately approving some new special purpose licenses.

  • Cryptographic Autonomy License Approved by OSI

    The controversy over the scope of copyleft these days remains brisk. Regarding CAL, it was so heated that OSI founder Bruce Perens resigned in protest, as the license approached approval. There is a also a larger controversy over whether copyleft licenses written by single companies, and not part of the community drafting process, should be approved, regardless of content.

  • Singapore reveals open-source blockchain COVID-test result tracker, eyes uses as vaccine passport app [Ed: Openwashing surveillance and Orwellian stuff, as has become common]

    Singapore has proposed a blockchain-based document verification system developed by its GovTech agency to provide proof of recent negative COVID-19 tests, and hopes it becomes used to offer proof of vaccination status around the world.

    Named "HealthCerts", the system is based on open-source framework known as OpenAttestation that uses blockchain to issue cryptographically trustworthy documents. The technology is already applied by some local universities to issue and authenticate diplomas.

    [...]

    From that date travelers planning to leave Singapore will book in for a COVID PCR test before they fly. Results will be uploaded to a government website and aspiring tourists will then go online to request the results be notarised by the Ministry of Health. If approved, the QR code linking to the notarised digital certificate will appear in SingPass Mobile, the nation's app for consuming digital government services.

4 open source tools for running a Linux server

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Linux
OSS

In 2021, there are more reasons why people love Linux than ever before. In this series, I'll share 21 different reasons to use Linux. Here are four open source tools for turning any device into a Linux server.

Sometimes I detect a certain mystique around the idea of a server. Many people, should they have an image in their mind at all, think servers must be big, heavy, rack-mounted machines, carefully maintained by an overly deliberate sysadmin and a group of magical tinker gnomes. Other people envision servers as vaporous clouds that somehow power the internet.

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Why India Needs To Fuss Over FOSS

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OSS

Did you know that over 85% of India’s Internet runs on FOSS, or Free an Open Source Software that strikes at the heart of software patents?

If your answer is ‘No’, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that India now ranks 3rd in the world in terms of FOSS usage, according to GitHub. In fact, some of India’s largest government projects, many technology startups, and some of India’s largest software services companies extensively us FOSS, according to a recently-released report titled ‘The State of FOSS in India’ by CivicData Lab.

FOSS communities in India, according to the report supported by Omidyar Network India, have also organized themselves to solve India’s challenges like digital inclusion by creating Indian language fonts, dictionaries and other essential tools that are widely used across the country.

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Audiocasts/Shows: Open Source Security Podcast, Linux Action News, and SMLR

Review: Artix Linux in 2021

Artix Linux is a fork (or continuation as an autonomous project) of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects. Artix Linux offers a lightweight, rolling-release operating system featuring alternative init software options, including OpenRC, runit, and s6. The distribution is available in many editions, including Base, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, KDE Plasma and Xfce. With all of the desktop options, combined with the available init choices, there are 21 editions, not including community spins from which to choose. All editions appear to be built for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. Picking randomly, I selected Artix's Plasma edition featuring the runit init software. The download for this edition is is 1.3GB. Browsing the other editions it looks like most flavours are about 1.1GB to 1.3GB in size, though the minimal Base edition is a compact 618MB. The project's live media boots to the KDE Plasma desktop. On the desktop we find multiple documentation and README icons. There is also an icon for launching the system installer. The default layout places a panel at bottom of the screen where we can find the application menu and system tray. The default wallpaper is a soft blue while the theme for windows and menus is dark with high contrast fonts. [...] Artix Linux is one of those distributions I really enjoy using and yet struggle to review in a meaningful way because it doesn't really go out of its way to introduce new or exciting features and everything works smoothly. The distribution is wonderfully easy to install, offers top-notch performance, and is unusually light on resources. Artix is somewhat minimal, but still ships enough software to be immediately useful right out of the gate. We can browse the web, install packages, view files, and play videos. Meanwhile the application menu isn't cluttered with a lot of extras. The developers clearly expect us to install the functionality we need, while doing a really good job of providing enough for the desktop environment to feel base-line useful right from the start. Artix does a nice job of balancing performance and functionality while also juggling ease of use against not getting in the way. There is a little documentation, but no initial welcome screen or configuration wizards that might distract the user. The one piece I felt was missing was a graphical package manager which would have made it easier to build the extra functionality I wanted on top of the base distribution. However, that one piece aside, I felt as though Artix was really well designed and put together, at lease for someone like me. It's not a distribution geared toward beginners, it's not a "first distro". It is a bit minimal and requires command line knowledge. However, for someone with a little experience with Linux, for someone who doesn't mind the occasional trip to the command line or installing new applications as needed, then Artix provides an excellent experience. It's fast, light, looks (in my opinion) great with the default theme, and elegantly walks the line between minimalism and having enough applications ready to go out of the box to be immediately useful. I'm unusually impressed with how smooth and trouble-free my experience was with this distribution and the fact it offers such a range of desktop and init diversity is all the more appealing. Read more

Alpine Linux Review: Ultimate Distro for Power Users

Alpine Linux is gathering a lot of attention because of its super-small size and focus on security. However, Alpine is different from some of the other lightweight distros we covered on FOSSLinux. It isn’t your typical desktop distribution as it is terminal-based like Arch and is marketed as a “general purpose distro.” It is currently widely adopted as a Docker container thanks to its ultra-small footprint. However, it can be used for all sorts of Linux deployments that benefit from small, resource-efficient Linux distros. Now, that statement might feel too generic. But don’t worry, as we have put together an in-depth and comprehensive review of Alpine Linux, giving you a detailed look at what it has under the hood and how to use it. As such, by the end, you should have a clear understanding of whether you should consider Alpine Linux as your next Linux distro. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Read more

Programming Leftovers

  • How to manipulate strings in bash

    Without explicit support for variable types, all bash variables are by default treated as character strings. Therefore more often than not, you need to manipulate string variables in various fashions while working on your bash script. Unless you are well-versed in this department, you may end up constantly coming back to Google and searching for tips and examples to handle your specific use case. In the spirit of saving your time and thus boosting your productivity in shell scripting, I compile in this tutorial a comprehensive list of useful string manipulation tips for bash scripting. Where possible I will try to use bash's built-in mechanisms (e.g., parameter expansion) to manipulate strings instead of invoking external tools such as awk, sed or grep. If you find any missing tips, feel free to suggest it in the comment. I will be happy to incorporate it in the article.

  • Python Generators

    Python generators are very powerful for handling operations which require large amount of memory.

  • We got lucky

    If you’re having enough production incidents to be able to evaluate your preparation, you’re probably either unlucky or unprepared ;) If you have infrequent incidents you may be well prepared but it’s hard to tell. Chaos engineering experiments are a great way to test your preparation, and practice incident response in a less stressful context. It may seem like a huge leap from your current level of preparation to running automated chaos monkeys in production, but you don’t need to go straight there. Why not start with practice drills? You could have a game host who comes up with a failure scenario. You can work up to chaos in production.

  • React Testing Library – Tutorial with JavaScript Code Examples

    This post will help you to learn what React Testing Library is, and how you can use it to test your React application. This tutorial will assume you already know some basic JavaScript and understand the basics of how React works. React Testing Library is a testing utility tool that's built to test the actual DOM tree rendered by React on the browser. The goal of the library is to help you write tests that resembles how a user would use your application, so that you'll have more confidence that your application work as intended when a real user do use it.

  • Why I Moved From Ops to DevOps (and why you might want to)