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OSS

Openwashing

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OSS

Open Source History: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of VA Linux

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GNU
Linux
OSS

What's the most successful company in open source history? Red Hat (RHT) and Canonical would probably top most people's lists. By one measure, however, VA Linux is far and away the most explosively popular Linux company to ever exist. That's if you measure success based on the highest value of its stock, which peaked and then fell dramatically 16 years ago.

If you haven't heard of VA Linux, you probably grew up in the post dot-com bubble age. Once upon a time, the company was a huge presence in the open source world.

Founded in 1993 as VA Research, the company known in its heyday as VA Linux initially sold computers with Linux preinstalled, aiming to compete with the likes of Dell. The company expanded rapidly, boasting $100 million in annual sales by 1998. In the same year, it received capital investments totaling $5.4 million from Intel and Sequoia Capital. The next year, an additional $25 million in funding arrived from an assortment of other backers.

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Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

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OSS
  • Learn from the Experts at The Linux Foundation’s Europe Events

    The Linux Foundation has released session details for three major conferences coming up this fall: MesosCon Europe, Embedded Linux Conference / OpenIoT Summit Europe, and LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe.

    MesosCon Europe, which will take place August 31-September 1 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is an annual conference organized by the Apache Mesos community, bringing together users and developers for two days of sessions about Mesos and related technologies. This year, the MesosCon program will include workshops to get started with Mesos, keynote speakers from industry leaders, and sessions led by adopters and contributors.

  • The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database

    Firebird distills its identity into the phrase "True universal open-source database" and boasts not only of being "free like free beer" but also, fittingly, of being "free like a bird". The latter permits anyone to build a custom version of the Firebird, as long as the modifications are made available for others to use and build upon.

  • Report: Austria can benefit from Big Data solutions

    Big Data solutions can contribute significantly to Austrian public administrations, a working group concludes in a report published in June. Benefits include improved quality of life, finding optimal business locations, and offering better guidance to citizens. The report by the Big Data working group aims to help public administration when considering Big Data solutions, providing legal, economic and technical context.

  • Report: over half of Spain’s regions now use SaaS

    In 2014, 59% of Spain’s regional governments used Software as a Service, according to the 2015 eGovernment report published on 30 June by PAe, Spain’s eGovernment portal. Next most-used cloud computing service is Infrastructure as a Service (40%), and third is Platform as a Service (20%).

    The usage of cloud computing is just one of the attributes of and indicators for eGovernment services that are aggregated in the report. The document shows the use of document management systems and support of electronic signatures. The text looks at interoperability, open data portals and eParticipation, lists region’s maturity levels of eGovernment services, from the availability to download forms online to the fully electronic management of applications.

  • Software Freedom in Kosovo, Waiting for Xfce Mint & More…

    It’s not FOSS, but I reckon the biggest story in tech this week, ignoring claims of Russia hacking for Trump, is the sale of Yahoo to Verizon for $4.8 billion. Considering that traffic watcher Alexa says the site is the fifth most visited address on the web, that seems like something of a bargain to me. Add to that Yahoo’s prime Silicon Valley real estate and the price seems to be in the “it fell of the truck” category. The sale puts Verizon in control of both America Online and Yahoo, so I suspect we’ll be seeing Verizon trying to compete with Google and Bing for a share of the search advertising market.

    [...]

    We’ve also heard from Software Freedom Kosova, which tells us it’s issued this year’s call for speakers, which will be open through September 15. This will be the seventh year for the Kosovo event, which aims to “promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge” — all laudable goals in my estimation. Potential speakers should know “the topic must be related to free software and hardware, open knowledge and culture.” Mike DuPont, the SFK member who made us aware of the event, told FOSS Force, “There might be travel expenses for qualified speakers.” The event will take place October 21-23.

  • Cloud, open source and DevOps: Technology at the GLA

    David Munn, head of IT at the Greater London Authority, explains what technology his organisation has adopted in order to help individuals keep innovating

  • Our attitude towards wealth played a crucial role in Brexit. We need a rethink

    Money was a key factor in the outcome of the EU referendum. We will now have to learn to collaborate and to share

    [...]

    Does money matter? Does wealth make us rich any more? These might seem like odd questions for a physicist to try to answer, but Britain’s referendum decision is a reminder that everything is connected and that if we wish to understand the fundamental nature of the universe, we’d be very foolish to ignore the role that wealth does and doesn’t play in our society.

  • France’s Insee and Drees publish microsimulation model to increase transparency

    Insee (Institut national de la statistique), the French public agency for statistics, and Drees (Direction des études du Ministère des Affaires sociales et de la santé), which is in charge of surveys at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, has published the source code of the microsimulation algorithmic model called Ines.

  • Plant Sciences pushing open-source berry model

    Several of those opportunities appear to lie in the development of so-called ‘open market’ breeding.

    Historically, Plant Sciences’ berry varieties have made it into the commercial arena under limited licensing arrangements, with individuals or groups of grower-shippers paying a premium to use them.

    While Nelson is eager to point out that this model continues to perform well, his company have decided to structure its business in Europe in such a way that it offers varieties to the “largest audience possible” at the most competitive price.

    “Given the price pressures that producers, marketers and retailers are under, we sense that such an approach is needed to remain most viable going forward and bring new varieties forward to the broadest market,” he explained.

  • Drug discovery test leads to malaria drug prospects at UW
  • Worldwide Open-Source Project Discovers Promising Disease-Fighting Compounds
  • Open-source drug discovery a success
  • The Global Open Data Index to be updated

    Open Knowledge International, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes openness and transparency, has decided to update the survey for its Global Open Data Index. This index measures Open Data publication in 122 countries.

  • This Startup Created the Ultimate Open-Source Prototyping Product

    The world has become a technologically focused place. Unless you’ve set up shop in a cabin in the woods, your life is likely filled with gadgets, wearables, devices, and doodads that control everything from your TV to your laptop. And with all this technology, it’s no wonder tech jobs have become so prevalent in the market. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to learn skills and prototyping projects that will impress even the most critical interviewer. And one startup has built the perfect product to do just that.

    Created by a group of students from the India Institute of Technology, evive is an open-source prototyping module that can make creating projects easier than ever. It has a power module, plug and play hardware interface, user interface, data acquisition module, shield stack space and more. It’s even IoT ready so it can connect to more devices than you can count. Plus, it works across multiple platforms like LabVIEW, MATLAB, Scratch, Eclipse, ROS, Python, Arduino IDE and many more.

  • Friday's security updates
  • Pwnie Express Open Sources Tools to Lock Down IoT/Android Security

    Pwnie Express isn't a name that everyone is familiar with, but in the security arena the company has a good reputation for its wired and wireless threat detection technologies. Now, the Boston-based firm has announced plans to open source key tools that it has used to secure the Internet of Things (IoT) and Android software.

    Blue Hydra is a Bluetooth utility that can detect Bluetooth devices, and also work as a sniffer to query devices it detects for threats. Meanwhile, the Android Open Pwn Project (AOPP), is an Android ROM built for security testers. It's based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and community-developed ROMS -- one of which is CyanogenMod. It lets developers on the Android front sniff out threats on mobile platforms.

FOSS Events: LCA and systemd.conf

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Linux
OSS
  • 5 great linux.conf.au talks (that aren't about Linux)

    linux.conf.au, otherwise known as LCA, is one of the world's longest-running open source events. LCA has been held in a different city around Australia and New Zealand almost every year since 1999. Despite the name, linux.conf.au is a generalist open source conference. LCA hasn't been just about Linux for a long time. Rather, the conference focuses on everything to do with open source: the software, hardware, and network protocols that underly it. LCA also has a strong track on free and open culture, exploring how open source interacts with science, government, and the law.

  • FINAL REMINDER! systemd.conf 2016 CfP Ends on Monday!

    Please note that the systemd.conf 2016 Call for Participation ends on Monday, on Aug. 1st! Please send in your talk proposal by then! We’ve already got a good number of excellent submissions, but we are very interested in yours, too!

OSS Leftovers

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OSS

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

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OSS
  • Apache Graduates Another Big Data Project to Top Level

    For the past year, we've taken note of the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support.

    Only days ago, the foundation announced that Apache Kudu has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. And now, Apache Twill has graduated as well. Twill is an abstraction over Apache Hadoop YARN that reduces the complexity of developing distributed Hadoop applications, allowing developers to focus more on their application logic.

  • Spark 2.0 takes an all-in-one approach to big data

    Apache Spark, the in-memory processing system that's fast become a centerpiece of modern big data frameworks, has officially released its long-awaited version 2.0.

    Aside from some major usability and performance improvements, Spark 2.0's mission is to become a total solution for streaming and real-time data. This comes as a number of other projects -- including others from the Apache Foundation -- provide their own ways to boost real-time and in-memory processing.

  • Why Uber Engineering Switched from Postgres to MySQL

    The early architecture of Uber consisted of a monolithic backend application written in Python that used Postgres for data persistence. Since that time, the architecture of Uber has changed significantly, to a model of microservices and new data platforms. Specifically, in many of the cases where we previously used Postgres, we now use Schemaless, a novel database sharding layer built on top of MySQL. In this article, we’ll explore some of the drawbacks we found with Postgres and explain the decision to build Schemaless and other backend services on top of MySQL.

  • GNU Hyperbole 6.0.1 for Emacs 24.4 to 25 is released

    GNU Hyperbole (pronounced Ga-new Hi-per-bo-lee), or just Hyperbole, is an amazing programmable hypertextual information management system implemented as a GNU Emacs package. This is the first public release in 2016. Hyperbole has been greatly expanded and modernized for use with the latest Emacs 25 releases; it supports GNU Emacs 24.4 or above. It contains an extensive set of improvements that can greatly boost your day-to-day productivity with Emacs and your ability to manage information stored across many different machines on the internet. People who get used to Hyperbole find it helps them so much that they prefer never to use Emacs without it.

  • Belgium mulls reuse of banking mobile eID app

    The Belgium government wants to reuse ‘Belgian Mobile ID’ a smartphone app for electronic identification, developed by banks and telecom providers in the country. The eID app could be used for eGovernment services, and the federal IT service agency, Fedict, is working on the app’s integration.

  • Water resilience that flows: Open source technologies keep an eye on the water flow

    Communities around the world are familiar with the devastation brought on by floods and droughts. Scientists are concerned that, in light of global climate change, these events will only become more frequent and intense. Water variability, at its worst, can threaten the lives and well-beings of countless people. Sadly, humans cannot control the weather to protect themselves. But according to Silja Hund, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, communities can build resilience to water resource stress.

    Hund studies the occurrence and behavior of water. In particular, she studies rivers and streams. These have features (like water volume) that can change quickly. According to Hund, it is essential for communities to understand local water systems. Knowledge of water resources is helpful in developing effective water strategies. And one of the best ways to understand dynamic water bodies like rivers is to collect lots of data.

Why open source programming languages are crushing proprietary peers

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OSS

It's no secret that open source now dominates big data infrastructure. From Kubernetes to Hadoop to MongoDB, "No dominant platform-level software infrastructure has emerged in the last ten years in closed-source, proprietary form," as Cloudera chief strategy officer Mike Olson reminded us.

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Fork YOU! Sure, take the code. Then what?

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OSS

There's an old adage in the open source world – if you don't like it, fork it. This advice, often given in a flippant manner, makes it seem like forking a piece of software is not a big deal.

Indeed, forking a small project you find on GitHub is not a big deal. There's even a handy button to make it easy to fork it. Unlike many things in programming though, that interaction model, that simplicity of forking, does not scale. There is no button next to Debian that says Fork it!

Thinking that all you need to do to make a project yours is to fork it is a fundamental misunderstanding of what large free/open source projects are – at their hearts, they are communities. One does not simply walk into Debian and fork it.

One can, on the other hand, walk out of a project, bring all the other core developers along, and essentially leave the original an empty husk.

This is what happened when LibreOffice forked away from the once-mighty OpenOffice; it's what happened when MariaDB split from MySQL; and it's what happened more recently when the core developers behind ownCloud left the company and forked the code to start their own project, Nextcloud. They also, thankfully, dropped the silly lowercase first letter thing.

Nextcloud consists of the core developers who built ownCloud, but who were not, and, judging by the very public way this happened, had not been, in control of the direction of the product for some time.

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LaunchKit Now FOSS

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Android
Google
OSS
  • Google acquires LaunchKit to make life easier for Android developers
  • LaunchKit team heads to Google and open-sources its tools for helping devs launch their apps

    The team behind LaunchKit, a set of tools that helps developers launch their apps, is heading to Google and joining the Developer Product Group.

    It doesn’t look like LaunchKit’s products are moving over to Google, so the team decided to open-source its products and make them available on GitHub. LaunchKit’s hosted services will be available for the next 12 months. After that, they will be discontinued.

    LaunchKit currently offers four tools and developers will now be able to take them and run them themselves: Screenshot Builder for easily creating annotated screenshots for Apple’s and Google’s store, App Website Builder for creating responsive landing pages for new apps, Review Monitor for — well… — tracking reviews in Apple’s App Store, and Sales Reporter for keeping track of sales. The team has also written a couple of how-to guides for developers, too.

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More in Tux Machines

Distro Development: Rescatux and Bodhi

  • Rescatux 0.40 beta 9 released
    Many code in the grub side and in the windows registry side has been rewritten so that these new features could be rewritten. As a consequence it will be easier to maintain Rescapp. Finally the chntpw based options which modify the Windows registry now perform a backup of the Windows registry files in the unlikely case you want to undo some of the changes that Rescapp performs. I guess that in the future there will be a feature to be able to restore such backups from Rescapp itself, but, let’s focus on releasing an stable release. It’s been a while since the last one. UEFI feedback is still welcome. Specially if the Debian installation disks work for you but not the Rescatux ones.
  • Bodhi 4.0.0 Updates and July Donation Totals
    Late last month I posted a first alpha look at Bodhi 4.0.0. Work since then has been coming along slowly due to a few unpredictable issues and my own work schedule outside of Bodhi being hectic over the summer. Bodhi 4.0.0 will be happening, but likely not with a stable release until September. I am traveling again this weekend, but am hoping to get out a full alpha release with 32bit and non-PAE discs next week.

Devices and Android

Leftovers: BSD/LLVM

Emma A LightWeight Database Management Tool For Linux

Today who does not interact with databases and if you're a programmer then the database management is your daily task. For database management, there is a very popular tool called, MySQL Workbench. It's a tool that ships with tonnes of functionalities. But not all of us as beginner programmers use all Workbench features. So here we also have a very lightweight database manager in Linux, Emma. Read
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