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20 Years with, and at OSCON

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OSCON, the annual open source conference organized by O'Reilly Media, is always a great event for the open source community to come together to acknowledge the advancements of the open source software movement and the communities that enable it. However 2018 was a special year as several open source projects and communities marked significant milestones and celebrated anniversaries, including the OSI (you may have heard, it's our 20th).

In recognition of the success of the open source software movement, and successes of so many organizations that have contributed to software freedom, the OSI organized a full-day of presentations, discussions, and activities. The track, "Open Source Anniversary: Our Shared Successes", not only celebrated the founding of the open source software movement and the OSI itself in 1998, but also the anniversaries of several other key initiatives that have enabled the free and open source software movement to thrive.

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Also: Feedback needed on Fedora event guidelines

Events: KDE’s Akademy 2018 and DevConf India 2018

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  • Chakra at KDE’s Akademy 2018

    We’ll be participating and presenting Chakra in the KDE Distro BoF, where there will be “short introductions for GNU/Linux distributions and open discussion on distribution-related topics”.

  • The State of Akademy Sponsorship

    Akademy 2018 is less than a week away. Apart from meeting up again with friends and colleagues, the KDE community has another reason to be joyful: this year we have broken the record for the number of sponsors for the event. Although there have been many sponsors of Akademy over the years, never have there been so many at one time.

    Eike Hein, Treasurer of the KDE e.V. board, believes that the extra influx of sponsors is thanks to "KDE software being loved again." Eike points out that Plasma is reaching more kinds of devices every day, attracting larger communities and more hardware manufacturers -- some of which will be at Akademy this year. KDE applications are also becoming more mainstream and reaching larger audiences. Krita and Kdenlive, for example, are making inroads within the community of graphical artists, raising awareness of KDE in a whole new sector of end users. Kirigami is becoming the go-to framework for projects that need convergence on desktop and mobile devices.

    "I would also attribute the increase in support to the fact that KDE actively engages with partners" says Eike. A case in point is the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board makes organization-to-organization interaction more rewarding and helps build a stronger network of like-minded Free Software associations and companies. Through the Advisory Board, KDE can better reach and support a larger communities, which in turn reinforces KDE's position within Free Software.

  • DevConf India 2018

    DevConf IN was organized at Christ University, Bangalore 05/06 August. It turned out to be totally fun-packed excited weekend for me. I really had a great time meeting people from various other open source communitites from India. I also delivered a talk on Flatpak mainly focusing on overall architecture, it’s benefits for the user and developers.

  • DevConf India-2018

Facebook open sources Fizz, a new TLS library for securing traffic across the Web

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Researchers open source tools to identify Twitter bots at scale

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Duo Security published technical research and methodology detailing how to identify automated Twitter accounts, known as bots, at a mass scale. Using machine learning algorithms to identify bot accounts across their dataset, Duo Labs researchers also unraveled a sophisticated cryptocurrency scam botnet consisting of at least 15,000 bots, and identified tactics used by malicious bots to appear legitimate and avoid detection, among other findings.

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Also: Duo Security researchers’ Twitter ‘bot or not’ study unearths crypto botnet

OSS Leftovers

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  • [Older] Bringing intelligence to the edge with Cloud IoT
  • 5 Best Game Engines For Developing Multi-Platform Video Games

    Game development is a strenuous task. There are a lot of things involved, included but not limited to design, coding, animation, and sound. Indie game developers especially need help to handle all these components and combine them into full-fledged games. That’s where a game engine comes in. These are tools available to aid game developers to code and plan out a game quickly and easily without building one from scratch. Some interesting game engines include:

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Faust

    The financial services company Robinhood has announced it is open-sourcing the distributed stream processing library Faust. According to the company, it’s scalable and reliable distributed systems led to the creation of Faust. Faust is designed to process large amounts of data in real-time and simplify the design and deployment of complex streaming architectures.

    Developers Ask Solem and Vineet Goel explained that the Python 3 library was inspired by Kafka Streams and leverages recent updates to the language along with the new AsyncIO module to provide high performance asynchronous I/O.

  • Initial Intel Coffeelake CPU Support Added To Coreboot

    Intel has landed initial support for Coreboot on their current-generation Coffeelake processors.

  • Can open source software ever compete with commercial alternatives? [opinion] [Ed: FOSS applications are "commercial", too. They are misusing words to make proprietary software sound inherently superior (which often isn't the case)]

    The concept of open source software promises a utopia of free software that rivals the best commercially made products. But has it ever fulfilled this aim, and what is its future?

    It's one of the truths of technology journalism that as soon as operating systems are mentioned in an article, someone will pipe up in the comments with a reference to Linux.

    Yes, Linux is a big deal and it's widely used, especially in a couple of extremely specific niches. Linux-based operating systems, however, and the wider world of open source software in general, can also be a source of potent frustration. What I'm about to discuss is inevitably heavily opinion-based. If any of these opinions seem outdated or misinformed, feel free to make corrections in the comments, but these are certainly widely held opinions, and so they affect the success of Linux and open source software, regardless of their accuracy. And, sadly, there's plenty of reason to believe there really are problems which affect all free and open-source software (FOSS), including Linux and its various desktop distributions.

    Let's be clear, the idea of free and open-source software, FOSS for short, is in principle an exceptionally good one. It comes from agreeably egalitarian ideas about cooperation and teamwork. The availability of the computer code used to create a program means that it can be checked for problems, which has recently become important as regards to security problems. New features can be added or the behaviour of existing features modified by anyone with appropriate software engineering capability. This could solve the perpetual yearning for the one feature that a particularly useful application lacks. And of course, it's hard to object to the price of FOSS, which is difficult to charge for, because the source code is always available. FOSS principles should create brilliant software.


Open Hardware/Modding: Bluetooth LE (BLE) and Mini Mars Rovers

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  • Beginning BLE Experiments And Making Everything Better

    Successfully connecting things without physical wires has a profound effect on the maker brain. Machines talking to each other without any cables is as amazing today as it was a decade ago. When Bluetooth came out, it was a breakthrough since it offered a wireless way to connect cellphones to a PC. But Bluetooth is a complicated, high-bandwidth power hog, and it didn’t make sense for battery-powered devices with less demanding throughput requirements to pay the energy price. Enter Bluetooth LE (BLE), with power requirements modest enough to enable a multitude of applications including low power sensor nodes and beacons.

  • Now you can build your own mini Mars rover

    The idea for the Open Source Rover (OSR) was inspired by the extremely positive reception to ROV-E, a smaller, working version of Curiosity that served as an educational tool for high school and college students. After students and teachers repeatedly inquired as to how they could build their own robotic rover, JPL engineers got to work.

  • NASA project lets you build a mini Curiosity rover using a Raspberry Pi

    The company revealed that its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is hosting the initiative, called the Open Source Rover Project, which will allow students, hobbyists, and enthusiasts being to learn the skills required to build their own rover.

    Using plans and instructions from JPL, the Open Source Rover is a scaled down version of Curiosity, a rover which successfully landed on Mars back in 2012. It even has the same 6-wheel steering and Rocker-Bogie suspension, NASA said.

    JPL has published this design under an open source license on GitHub where anybody can download baseline instructions and test plans for building their own open source rover using a Raspberry Pi.

    "We wanted to give back to the community and lower the barrier of entry by giving hands on experience to the next generation of scientists, engineers, and programmers," said project sponsor for the Open Source Rover, Tom Soderstrom.

  • NASA open sources its Mars rover, Rome adopts LibreOffice, and more news

Space Strategy Game ‘Star Ruler 2’ Goes Open Source

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It’s rare to hear of a well-regarded game making the jump from closed source to open source software, but space strategy game Star Ruler 2 has done just that.

The (now defunct) company behind this stunning 4X real-time strategy game has released the source code for both the main game and its expansion pack to the public, for free.

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How Google decides to open source its technology

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Google has a solid reputation as an engineering organisation with an open source culture, with Googlers contributing a huge amount of code back to the community and projects like TensorFlow and Kubernetes making a mainstream impact.

Speaking to the press during the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco last week, Sarah Novotny, head of open source strategy at Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Melody Meckfessel, VP of engineering for GCP, spoke candidly about how the company decides to open source its technology and building an open culture.

"Google has a long history of engaging in open source communities," Novotny started out by saying. "We've had an open source programs office for more than 12 years and have worked with several other large companies to come into this space in a way that protects both the company and the projects and the culture of the projects."

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Squashing inclusivity bugs in open source software

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When people talk about diversity and inclusion in open source, the discussion is usually about how to improve a project culture's inclusivity. But can the software itself be gender biased? Our research says it can. So, how do you know if your software is biased? And, if it is, how can you make it more inclusive?

The GenderMag method is a way to identify gender-inclusiveness problems in your software. It is available in a "kit" freely available for download at

The method was developed by Oregon State University distinguished professor Margaret Burnett, whose internationally recognized work with students and collaborators has shown gender differences in how people problem-solve with software—from people who are working with Excel formulas to professional programmers.

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More in Tux Machines

Software: Virtlyst 1.2.0, Blender 2.8 Plan, Dropbox Gets Worse and DaVinci Resolve 15 Targets GNU/Linux

  • Virtlyst 1.2.0 released
    Virtlyst – a Web Interface to manage virtual machines build with Cutelyst/Qt/C++ got a new release. This new release includes a bunch of bug fixes, most importantly probably being the ability to warn user before doing important actions to help avoid doing mistakes. Most commits came from new contributor René Linder who is also working on a Bootstrap 4 theme and Lukas Steiner created a dockerfile for it. This is especially cool because Virtlyst repository now has 4 authors while Cutelyst which is way older has only 6.
  • Blender 2.8 Planning Update
    At this point we will not have a feature complete Beta release ready in August as we had hoped. Instead, we invested most of our time improving the features that were already there and catching up with the bug tracker. This includes making the viewport and EEVEE work on more graphics cards and platforms. The Spring open movie team is also using Blender 2.8 in production, which is helping us ensure the new dependency graph and tools can handle complex production scenes.
  • Blender 2.80 Now Coming In Early 2019 With Many Improvements
    The Blender 3D modeling software is facing a slight set-back in their release schedule for the big Blender 2.80 release, but it's moving along and they intend to have it ready by early next year.
  • Dropbox will only Support the Ext4 File System In Linux in November
    Dropbox has announced that starting on November 7th 2018, only the ext4 file system will be supported in Linux for synchronizing folders in the Dropbox desktop app. Those Linux users who have synch on other file systems such as XFS, ext2, ext3, ZFS, and many others will no longer have working Dropbox synchronization after this date. This news came out after Linux dropbox users began seeing notifications stating "Dropbox Will Stop Syncing Ext4 File Systems in November." You can see an example of this alert in Swedish below.
  • Dropbox scares users by shrinking synching options
    Dropbox has quietly announced it will soon stop synching files that reside on drives tended by some filesystems. The sync ‘n’ share service’s desktop client has recently produced warnings that the software will stop syncing in November 2018. Those warnings were sufficiently ambiguous that Dropbox took to its support forums to explain exactly what’s going on, namely that as of November 7th, 2018, “we’re ending support for Dropbox syncing to drives with certain uncommon file systems.”
  • DaVinci Resolve 15 Video/Effects Editor Released With Linux Support
    DaVinci Resolve 15 has been released by Blackmagic Design as the company's professional-grade video editing, visual effects, motion graphics, and audio post-production software.

How to display data in a human-friendly way on Linux

Not everyone thinks in binary or wants to mentally insert commas into large numbers to come to grips with the sizes of their files. So, it's not surprising that Linux commands have evolved over several decades to incorporate more human-friendly ways of displaying information to its users. In today’s post, we look at some of the options provided by various commands that make digesting data just a little easier. Read more

today's howtos

KDE and GNOME GSoC: Falkon, WikiToLearn, Nautilus and Pitivi

  • The Joy of GSoC :)
    Wooo... this is the last day of coding phase of GSoC. I am writing this blog to share my experience and work done in the coding phase. I want to specially thank my mentor David Rosca for his help, suggestions and reviews. This was my first exposure to the KDE community and I am proud that it was great. I really enjoyed the whole program from proposal submission - intermediate evals - then now this final evaluation. Also, I had learned a lot working on my project. Frankly speaking, I didn't knew about i18n and l10n much but with the help of my mentor now I have a quite good understanding of how these works and are implemented. I can truly say this was one of my best summer vacations.
  • What’s next for WikiToLearn?
    Google Summer of Code is finishing and many things have been done on WikiToLearn since previous post. A little recap is needed. Talking with mentors has been crucial because they told me to focus on finishing CRUD interaction with API backend instead of working on “history mode” viewer.
  • GSoC 2018 Final Evaluation
    As GSoC is coming to an end, I am required to put my work altogether in order for it to be easily available and hopefully help fellow/potential contributors work on their own projects.  [...] At its prestige, through this project we will have tests both for most critical and used operations of Nautilus, and for the search engines we use. Further on, I’ll provide links for all of my merge requests and dwell a bit on their ins and outs while posting links to my commits:
  • GTK+ 4 and Nautilus </GSoC>
    Another summer here at GNOME HQ comes to an end. While certainly eventful, it unfortunately did not result in a production-ready Nautilus port to GTK+ 4 (unless you don’t intend to use the location entry or any other entry, but more on that later).
  • Pitivi Video Editor Gains UI Polish, Video Preview Resizing
    The latest Google Summer of Code 2018 is allowing some excellent work to be done on some excellent open source projects. Among them Pitivi, the non-linear video editor built using GTK and Gstreamer and offering up a basic video editing feature set. Over the past few months, Harish Fulara, a Computer Science student, has worked on improving the application’s greeter dialog and on adding support dynamic resizing of the video preview box.