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Distributing encryption software may break the law

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Developers, distributors, and users of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) often face a host of legal issues which they need to keep in mind. Although areas of law such as copyright, trademark, and patents are frequently discussed, these are not the only legal concerns for FOSS. One area that often escapes notice is export controls. It may come as a surprise that sharing software that performs or uses cryptographic functions on a public website could be a violation of U.S. export control law.

Export controls is a term for the various legal rules which together have the effect of placing restrictions, conditions, or even wholesale prohibitions on certain types of export as a means to promote national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Export control has a long history in the United States that goes back to the Revolutionary War with an embargo of trade with Great Britain by the First Continental Congress. The modern United States export control regime includes the Department of State's regulations covering export of munitions, the Treasury Department's enforcement of United States' foreign embargoes and sanctions regimes, and the Department of Commerce's regulations applying to exports of "dual-use" items, i.e. items which have civil applications as well as terrorism, military, or weapons of mass destruction-related applications.

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GParted Live 0.27.0-1 Disk Partitioning Live CD Out Now, Based on GParted 0.27.0

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Just one day after announcing the release of the GParted 0.27.0 open-source partition editor software, Curtis Gedak is informing us about the availability of the GParted Live 0.27.0-1 stable release.

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Linux and FOSS Events

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  • An introduction to color spaces

    The Kernel Recipes conference is, unsurprisingly, focused on kernel-related topics, but one of the potentially most useful talks given there was only marginally about the kernel. Applications that deal with the acquisition or display of video data must be aware of color spaces, but few developers really understand what color spaces are or how they work. Media subsystem maintainer Hans Verkuil sought to improve this situation with an overview of the color-space abstraction.

  • A tale of two conferences

    The "small" criterion can be a bit of a problem since it, naturally, limits the number of people who can participate in this kind of event. The Linux Plumbers Conference (now just a few weeks away) is always trying to find the right balance between size and quality of the event, and there, too, tickets tend to sell out quickly. The nice thing about an event like Kernel Recipes, though, is that it ought to be reproducible in other parts of the world. We have a ready supply of good speakers and interesting things to talk about in our community, and it doesn't take that many speakers to make an event like this work.

    In the end, it was a privilege to be able to attend both events. Your editor's only regret was being unable to stay in Berlin for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe the following week. Conferences are an opportunity to get a sense for what is happening in our community and to renew one's enthusiasm and energy; both LinuxCon and Kernel Recipes succeeded on all of those fronts. A diverse community needs a diverse range of events; happily, that is just what was in store in Europe during these weeks.

  • All Things Open Next Week – MCing, Talks, and More

    I was really impressed with All Things Open last year and have subsequently become friends with the principle organizer, Todd Lewis. I loved how the team put together a show with the right balance of community and corporation, great content, exhibition and more.

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

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  • An Open Source, Self-Hosted Heroku

    Running our own Heroku… It shouldn't be that hard, right?

    We have a small set of servers we use to run our internal applications. Nothing too complex, just monitoring, our ELK stack, Jenkins, and a few internal services.

    Given our rather modest requirements it may seem obvious that our first attempt at deployment automation, Chef, was a bit overkill for our needs. Not only that, we also wanted our engineers to be able to easily deploy applications to our servers without having to set up a Chef recipe — like the role Heroku plays in many of our client projects. We could have decided to run our internal applications on Heroku as well, but their pricing model wasn’t compatible with our relatively small-scale requirements.

  • The role of Free Software in a world that doesn't care

    The Free Software movement is about personal and social liberties. Giving the owner and user of a computer control over it. But most people don't see the problem with a small number of multinational mega-corporations having control over everyone's computers. They think: “Apple and Microsoft know what they're doing, and they do a good job, so why would I need Free Software?”

    Accepting that most people reject the Free Software message, what can the Free Software movement contribute to the world?

  • 5 Best Open Source Mobile Test Automation Tools

    There is a wide range of devices and platforms one needs to account for when developing a mobile app. An automation app for Mobile Testing can save development and testing time. Here are 5 top open source automated mobile testing frameworks to use, including the likes of Appium, Robotium, and Selendroid.

  • Could open-source coding ‘save the world’?

    Open Source Day is one of the most popular events at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. This year, a day-long open-source hackathon was devoted to participants developing open-source projects for humanitarian causes.

    Neetu Jain, product manager at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, and Daniela Dorneanu, solution developer and product trainer at Appway, joined Rebecca Knight (@knightrm), co-host of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during the Grace Hopper event to discuss the mission of Open Source Day and the goal of the hackathon for humanity.

  • Yahoo open sources NSFW neural network porn detector

    Embattled former darling of the search wars Yahoo has open sourced its neural network porn detector software.

    The firm has explained that it is in fact tremendously difficult to automatically identifying that an image is not suitable/safe for work (NSFW).

  • Firefox Launches More Experimental Features Including PageShot, Min Vid and Tracking Protection

    As part of Mozilla’s Test Pilot program, three new experimental features have been launched. Mozilla’s test pilot program gives users early access to some amazing features which is still in development phase and would be launched in future as part of official installers.

  • Seafile and Collabora make LibreOffice Online available for Seafile Pro

    Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the Cloud, and Seafile, a leading open source file sharing vendor, announce the availability of Collabora Online in the newly released Seafile pro edition 6.0.

  • Office Binary Document RC4 CryptoAPI Encryption

    In LibreOffice we've long supported Microsoft Office's "Office Binary Document RC4 Encryption" for decrypting xls, doc and ppt. But somewhere along the line the Microsoft Office encryption scheme was replaced by a new one, "Office Binary Document RC4 CryptoAPI Encryption", which we didn't support. This is what the error dialog of...

  • Wedge 100: Facebook’s Latest Open Source Hardware Can Deliver 100G
  • Lumina Desktop Environment: Version 1.1.0 Released
  • October 2016: Docteur Honoris Causa Stallman

    Last week, on October 11th, RMS received an honorary doctorate from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris, France. In anticipation of the merger between the UPMC and the Université Paris-Sorbonne, which will be finalized in January 2018, the two institutions organized, in the great amphitheater of the Sorbonne, a joint ceremony that recognized both achievers in the sciences and in medicine, as well as ones in the arts and the humanities.

  • Friday 'Ghosts' Directory IRC meetup: October 21st starting at a new time! 1pm EDT/17:00 UTC
  • Smartisan Technology Introduces Smartisan OS 3.1 Including Revolutionary Open Source Features

    Smartisan Technology, a prominent Chinese mobile hardware producer, has introduced a new operating system, Smartisan OS 3.1, with over 200 new features and improvements, delivering a more enjoyable and efficient user experience. Smartisan Technology plans to open source two of OS 3.1's innovative features – "Big Bang" and "One Step" – which it hopes will become the new standard for the next generation of Android phones and secure its future as a solid contributor to the Android community.

  • My Custom Open Source Home Automation Project – Part 1, Motivation and Research
  • My Custom Open Source Home Automation Project – Part 2, Design and Prototype
  • My Custom Open Source Home Automation Project – Part 3, Roll Out

Blockchain and FOSS

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  • R3 Finally Open Sources Blockchain Project, Admits Budget Difficulty

    One major criticism on private Blockchain development initiatives led by banks and financial institutions has been the ambiguity in the coding language and structure of permissioned ledgers. The R3 Consortium is attempting to neutralize it by open sourcing its technology.

    R3 Corda, a private Blockchain platform specifically developed for financial establishments with massive transactional volumes by R3CEV, is officially rendered open source by the consortium after over 70 of its member financial institutions came to a consensus in setting a standard for the Blockchain technology.

  • Blockchain-Fueled Open-Source P2P Energy Trading System Wins Energy Hackathon

    Following a weekend of solution seeking, collaboration and competition, the highlight of the Hackenergy 2016 event was a blockchain-fueled peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading system called EcoCoin, which grabbed top honors.

The basics of open source quality assurance

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Open source depends on a sustainable community to develop code rapidly, debug code effectively, and build out new features. Because community involvement is voluntary, people's skills, levels of involvement, and time commitments can vary. Given the variable nature of these factors, along with the fact that open source often relies on a philosophy of "release early, release often," quality assurance can be become challenging.

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Open Source CMS Pros and Cons - a Developer's Perspective

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The phrase "Open Source CMS" lingers in the minds and hearts of many developers. CMSes are today's talk of the Internet, and you won't miss the discussion in local schools and private offices either. I don't remember for how long I have used Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) to manage local and international websites. However, I have implemented CMS-based solutions long enough, and I can tell you from experience these tools did become the big digital craze for many professional reasons.

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Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

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  • The Open Source Way

    "Open source", in the world of IT, is program code that is meant for collaboration and open contribution. Intended to be modified and shared, because by design and spirit, it is meant for the public at large.

    It’s been said that “"open source" intimates a broader set of values—what we call "the open source way." Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development.” So it is a natural conclusion that in this age of open and transparent government, that the government IT manager or technician would be one of the first to want to embrace this new role of collaborative team member within a larger community.

  • Another rift in the open source BPM market: @FlowableBPM forks from @Alfresco Activiti

    In early 2013, Camunda – at the time, a value-added Activiti consulting partner as well as a significant contributor to the open source project – created a fork from Activiti to form what is now the Camunda open source BPM platform as well as their commercial version based on the open source core.

  • Pydio, an Open Source File Sharing and Sync Solution, Out in New Version

    If you've followed us here at OStatic, you've probably seen our coverage of open source file sharing, cloud and synchronization tools. For example, we've covered ownCloud and Nextcloud extensively.

    Not so many people know about Pydio, though, which is out in a new version Pydio7. It's an open source file sharing & sync solution that now has a host of new features and performance upgrades. It's worth downloading and trying.

    Through a new partnership with Collabora Productivity (the LibreOffice Cloud provider), Pydio7 now combines file sharing, document editing and online collaboration. Users can now not only access documents online, but also co-author new content and work collaboratively.

  • Chrome 55 Beta: Input handling improvements and async/await functions

    Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome Beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, Mac, and Windows.

  • Chrome 55 Beta Brings Async/Await To JavaScript

    Google is ending this week by rolling out the Chrome/Chromium 55 web-browser beta.

    Chrome 55 Beta brings support for the async and await keywords to JavaScript for Promise-based JavaScript coding. Great to see them finally improving the asynchronous JS support.

  • Open-Source Innovations Driving Demand for Hadoop

    AtScale, provider of BI (Business Intelligence) on Hadoop, has released its study titled "The Business Intelligence Benchmark for SQL-on-Hadoop engines," which is a performance test of BI workloads on Hadoop. The report also studies the strengths and weaknesses of Hive, Presto, Impala and Spark SQL, which are the most popular analytical engines for Hadoop.

  • Microsoft CEO Offers SQL Server for Linux Update [Ed: bad idea to use it [1, 2]]
  • New SafariSeat wheelchairs made from bicycle parts help East Africans roam rough terrain
  • SafariSeat, an Open Source Wheelchair for Rural Offroading

    If you’re disabled in a poorly developed part of the world, even a great modern wheelchair may be next to useless. What’s needed is a more off-road design that’s made to be easy to manufacture and repair than something built for a city with sidewalks.

    SafariSeat is a newly designed open-source wheelchair that hopes to make a big impact for disabled people the world over. It uses push bars for power and has large front wheels and small rear ones to easily roll over large objects.

    In a novel move, the designers included a moving seat that shifts bit every time you push the bars to help prevent pressure sores on the butt.

  • Five 3D printing projects for Halloween

    With Halloween fast approaching I figured it was time to add some 3D printed decorations to the office. Below are some of my pictures for fun Halloween-themed prints. I tried to pick some models that demonstrate varied printing techniques.

Renesas spins 3rd Gen automotive starter kits, adds new M3 SoC

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Renesas has launched two Linux-ready R-Car starter kits optimized for AGL and GENIVI: an R-Car H3 based “Premier” and a “Pro” with a lower-end M3 SoC.

Later this month, Renesas will begin selling two third-generation starter kits for its 64-bit ARM-based R-Car automotive SoCs. The kits are designed for ADAS, infotainment, reconfigurable digital clusters, and integrated digital cockpits.

The two kits are optimized for open source Linux standards like Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) and GENIVI, but they also support QNX. Earlier R-Car automotive starter kits include last year’s R-Car H2 ADAS Starter Kit, based on its earlier H2 automotive SoC.

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A History Of Everyday Linux User's 350 Blog Posts

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Kodi 17 "Krypton" Beta 4 Released with ARMv8A 64-bit Builds for Android, Fixes

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Suse: Question. What do you call second-place in ARM enterprise server linux? Answer: Red Hat

ARM TechCon Suse is claiming victory over Red Hat by announcing – and these caveats are all crucial – "the first commercial enterprise Linux distribution optimized for ARM AArch64 architecture servers." In plainer English, Suse has developed an enterprise-grade Linux distribution that runs on 64-bit ARM servers (should you happen to ever find one). Suse claims this software is a world first because it is a finished commercial product, thus beating Red Hat to the punch: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM is still only available as a beta-like development preview. Read more