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OSS

Flatpak 0.6.12 Linux Application Sandboxing Makes Kernel Keyring Non-Containable

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OSS

Alex Larsson from the Flatpak project, an open source initiative sponsored by Red Hat in an attempt to make cross-platform app deployment easier, announced on October 6, 2016, the release of Flatpak 0.6.12.

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Open source IT pros are in high-demand in Europe

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OSS

Open source employees in Europe have it good, especially when we compare that market to the rest of the world. This is according to a new report by Dice and The Linux Foundation. The report says that out of 1,000 European respondents 60 percent believe it would be fairly easy to find a new job this year. Globally, the figure stands at about 50 percent.

"Demand for open source talent is growing and companies struggle to find experienced professionals to fill open roles", says Bob Melk, president of Dice. "Rising salaries for open source professionals indicate companies recognize the need to attract, recruit and retain qualified open source professionals on a global scale. Regardless of where they reside around the world, these professionals are motivated by the opportunity to work on interesting projects".

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First pfSense 2.3.2 Update Adds OpenSSL Security Fixes to the BSD-Based Firewall

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OSS
Security
BSD

Today, October 6, 2016, Jim Thompson from the pfSense project has had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability of the pfSense 2.3.2-p1 maintenance update to the open source BSD-based firewall distro.

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Netizen Report: Open Source Developers Endure Long Prison Sentences, And Worse

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It has been one year since Syrian-Palestinian open technology leader Bassel Khartabil disappeared from his prison cell in Syria.

Bassel served as the public affiliate for Creative Commons Syria and contributed to Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, and other open communities online. He also was the CTO of Al-Aous, a publishing and research institution dedicated to archaeological sciences and arts in Syria. In November 2012, Foreign Policy named Bassel one of the world's 100 top global thinkers.

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Leftovers: OSS

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OSS
  • Tips for Evaluating a Company's Open Source Culture

    There are four essential questions a company should ask before it decides to create an open source project, according to Duane O'Brien, open source programs evangelist at PayPal.

    Who cares?

    Are we still using it?

    Are we committing our own resources?

    Can we develop it all in the open?

    This framework, developed by O'Brien's boss Danese Cooper, is useful in vetting internal software for release as open source projects.

  • ETSI Releases Its Open Source MANO Software Stack

    ETSI’s Open Source MANO (OSM) group today announced Release ONE, the first code out of the NFV management and orchestration (MANO) project.

    ETSI touts that OSM can natively support VIMs from VMware and OpenStack and can also support various software-defined networking (SDN) controllers. It can also create a plug-in framework to improve platform maintenance and extensions.

  • The Evolution of Open Source Networking at AT&T

    For many years AT&T has been on the forefront of virtualizing a Tier 1 carrier network. They’ve done so in a very open fashion and are actively participating in, and driving, many open sources initiatives. Their open initiatives include Domain 2.0, ECOMP, and CORD, all of which are driving innovation in the global service provider market. Chris Rice, Sr. VP of Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design of AT&T, provided an overview of how AT&T got where they are today during his keynote address at the ODL Summit.

    Providing a bit of history of this journey, Rice noted that today’s implementations and visions started years ago. One of the first steps was the creation of what he called a router farm, which was initiated because of the end of life of a router and there wasn’t a new router that could just take its place. The goal was to remove the static relationship between the edge router and the customer. Once this was done, AT&T could provide better resiliency to their customers, detect failures, do planned maintenance, and schedule backups. They could also move configurations from one router to another vendor’s router. The result was faster and cheaper; however, “it just wasn’t as reusable as they wanted.” They learned the importance of separating services from the network and from the devices.

  • The legacy of Pieter Hintjens

    When I watched Chad Fowler’s GOTO Amsterdam 2014 Keynote it got me thinking about what our aims should be in life.

    He mentions Joel Spolsky’s post from 2001: Good Software Takes Ten Years. Get Used To It, and says software typically only lasts five years so rarely gets to be very good.

    He asks, what does it take create legacy software with a positive meaning, that is software so good that you are fondly remembered for it for many years to come.

    [...]

    Pieter was a man who knew all of this. His deep passion for optimal collaboration lead to the creation of C4: The Collective Code Construction Contract. Not only was he very talented technically, he also understood people and how to foster a strong community.

  • Transitioning from OpenStack Hobbyist to Professional

    To land your first OpenStack job, you’ll want to prove you have a functional understanding of OpenStack basics, can navigate the resources to solve problems, and have recognized competency in your focus area.
    Used with permission

    The hardest part of pivoting your career is proving that you are qualified in your new focus area. To land your first OpenStack job, you’ll want to prove you have a functional understanding of OpenStack basics, can navigate the resources to solve problems, and have recognized competency in your focus area.

    “A functional understanding of OpenStack” means you know how to work in OpenStack––not just naming the projects in alphabetical order or giving an overview of its history. While you’ll want to read up on its origins and future roadmap, you’ll also want to jump in by using tools like DevStack or TryStack to explore.

  • CMSpotlight: 5 CMS apps that deserve more attention

    Everybody knows about WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, although they are great and they are popular for a reason, there are quite a few other alternatives that you may have never heard of. Thousands of quality developers and designers work hard to create amazing masterpieces of applications. Most of them release their applications for free and they make them open source. The least we can do is spread the word so they can get the attention they well deserve. We’ve already listed a dozen CMS apps in our self-hosted alternatives post, but in this article, we’ll focus more on each CMS and its features. Here, 5 open source CMS apps will get the spotlight.

  • Charlie Reisinger: FOSS in Education Proponent…and Practitioner

    “Charlie serves as the Technology Director for Penn Manor School District in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. A member of the senior leadership team, he directs instructional technology programs and technical infrastructure and operations. A passionate advocate and speaker on open source values in education, Charlie and his team implemented the largest classroom desktop Linux program in Pennsylvania.

    “Under his leadership, Penn Manor School District received the 2011 School of Excellence in Technology Award from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA). In 2016, Penn Manor was recognized with the Districts of Distinction Award for the Open Source one-to-one Laptop Program.”

    The book’s title is The Open Schoolhouse: Building a Technology Program to Transform Learning and Empower Students. The Kindle version is only $4.99. I’ve read it. You should read it, too, if you’re a teacher, school administrator, student, parent, uncle or aunt or have friends or family with kids in school — or even if you’re a taxpayer someplace where they have public school or you’re connected in some way with a charter school or private school.

FOSS Organizations, Judged on their Merits?

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The free and open source software community depends heavily upon the work of community-funded nonprofit organizations. These organizations develop software, organize community events, manage key infrastructure, and educate people about FOSS. They serve as key organizing points for the people and companies that develop and sustain FOSS.

Historically, some of the most important FOSS nonprofits have been U.S. tax-exempt organizations—entities recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as exempt from federal income tax according to IRS regulations. But over the last few years, the community has witnessed changes in the IRS’s handling of applications for tax-exempt status from FOSS organizations. Most troubling, the IRS has denied applications from organizations whose missions and activities differ very little from existing (and exempt) FOSS nonprofits. The IRS’s actions raised concerns within the community about whether tax exempt status would be available to future FOSS organizations and what these changes might mean for the exempt organizations upon which the community already depends. The Open Source Initiative and the Software Freedom Conservancy formed a working group to explore these questions and gather more information about the issue.

This post will cover what the working group has learned about how this issue developed, where things stand now, and what recent developments at the IRS mean for the future. In future posts, we’ll provide additional guidance to FOSS projects about organizational options, including when U.S. tax-exempt status is a viable option.

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Also: A guide to building trust in teams and organizations

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • Open Source As a Business

    It’s a script we’ve seen played out many times in the open source community. A great software idea becomes popular, and continues to be developed by a core group of people. Those people build a business around servicing the software. The business grows, and so does the company. In an effort to sustain growth, the company chooses to monetize their software.

    The business logic for this timeline is very clear, and from a certain point of view, hard to refute. Businesses exist to make money. Despite servicing a customer base that believes in the principles of open source, many companies choose – after a time – to abandon those principles to a larger or lesser degree for a traditional software business model.

  • Google open-sources Cartographer 3D mapping library

    Google today said that it’s open-sourced Cartographer, a library for mapping movement in space in both 2D and 3D. the technology works with the open source Robot Operating System (ROS), which makes the software easier to deploy in software systems for robots, self-driving cars, and drones.

    Cartographer is an implementation of simultaneous localization and mapping, better known by its acronym SLAM. But it’s not the only open source SLAM library; there are plenty others, like hector_slam. Proprietary alternatives are also available; for example, Apple recently acquired one company with SLAM software, Flyby Media. But this is Google we’re talking about — Google, the company with self-driving cars that have already driven more than 2 million miles without human control.

    “Our focus is on advancing and democratizing SLAM as a technology,” Googlers Damon Kohler, Wolfgang Hess, and Holger Rapp wrote in a blog post. “Currently, Cartographer is heavily focused on LIDAR SLAM. Through continued development and community contributions, we hope to add both support for more sensors and platforms as well as new features, such as lifelong mapping and localizing in a pre-existing map.”

  • Databricks Findings Show That Spark is Driving Cutting-Edge Innovation

    This summer, Databricks conducted a comprehensive Apache Spark Survey to identify insights on how organizations are using Spark and highlight growth trends since the company's last Spark Survey in 2015. The 2016 survey results reflect answers from 900 distinct organizations and 1615 respondents, who were predominantly Apache Spark users, and the results are available now.

    The results show that the Spark community is still growing fast: the number of meetup members worldwide has tripled, and the number of contributors to the project has grown by 67% since last year. Moreover, Spark is driving cutting-edge innovation. Users arebuilding diverse apps, with significant growth in machine learning and streaming.

  • FontForge release

    There's a new release of FontForge available. "This release introduces a new icon set, new functionality for custom icon selection graphics, support for GlyphOrderAndAliasDB files, and support for Unicode 9.0."

  • Public review of German municipal eGovernment manual

    Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior is organising a three-month, online public review of a new manual for municipal eGovernment services. From 22 September until 30 November, a website will allow readers to comment on the document.

  • Udacity open sources an additional 183GB of driving data

    On stage at TechCrunch Disrupt last month, Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun announced that the online education company would be building its own autonomous car as part of its self-driving car nanodegree program. To get there, Udacity has created a series of challenges to leverage the power of community to build the safest car possible — meaning anyone and everyone is welcome to become a part of the open-sourced project. Challenge one was all about building a 3D model for a camera mount, but challenge two has brought deep learning into the mix.

    In the latest challenge, participants have been tasked with using driving data to predict steering angles. Initially, Udacity released 40GB of data to help at-home tinkerers build competitive models without access to the type of driving data that Tesla of Google would have. However, because deep learning models drink data by the pond rather than the gallon, the company pushed out an additional 183GB of driving data.

Russia's Nyet to Proprietary Software

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OSS
  • IBM, Microsoft, Oracle beware: Russia wants open source, sees you as security risk

    Russia is drafting a new law requiring Russian government agencies to give preference to open source and to block US software from computer systems, citing security concerns.

    Just weeks after Moscow committed to removing Microsoft Outlook and Exchange on 600,000 systems under orders from Russian president Vladimir Putin, the nation's lower house, the State Duma, is drafting a bill to make it harder for agencies even to buy Russian software products that are based on foreign-made proprietary middleware and programming frameworks.

    The bill marks Russia's latest attempt at substituting imported software with local products, but casts a wider net than existing restrictions on IT procurement by agencies and state-run enterprises.

  • Russia Weighs Replacing IBM, Microsoft With Open-Source Software

    Russia is taking another step to reduce dependence on Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. technologies in the country’s $3 billion software market amid political tensions with the U.S.

    The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, is drafting a bill to restrict government agencies from buying licensed software, giving preference to open-source software. This would complement legislation that curbed state purchases of foreign programs last year, restricting the choice to about 2,000 local software makers.

    "Many local software firms are offering products based on foreign frameworks such as IBM’s WebSphere or Microsoft’s ASP.net," said Andrey Chernogorov, executive secretary of the Duma’s commission on strategic information systems. "We are seeking to close this loophole for state purchases as it causes security risks."

    The end of IBM’s partnership with Russian vendor Lanit last year created a potential vulnerability for the government’s website zakupki.gov.ru, which is based on a proprietary IBM platform, according to an explanatory note to the draft law. Additionally, license fees that Russian software makers pay foreign partners inflate their products’ cost of use.

    Some Russian regional administrations already started switching from Oracle to free database software adapted for their needs by local programmers, according to Duma documents.

Linux/FOSS Events: FOSSCON, FOSS Wave, Fedora, systemd.conf

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Linux
OSS
  • FOSSCON

    This post is long past due, but I figured it is better late than never. At the start of the year, I set a goal to get more involved with attending and speaking at conferences. Through work, I was able to attend the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in Pasadena, CA in January. I also got to give a talk at O'Relly's Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Austin, TX in May. However, I really wanted to give a talk about my experience contributing in the Ubuntu community.

    José Antonio Rey encouraged me to submit the talk to FOSSCON. While I've been aware of FOSSCON for years thanks to my involvement with the freenode IRC network (which has had a reference to FOSSCON in the /motd for years), I had never actually attended it before. I also wasn't quite sure how I would handle traveling from San Francisco, CA to Philadelphia, PA. Regardless, I decided to go ahead and apply.

    Fast forward a few weeks, and imagine my surprise when I woke up to an email saying that my talk proposal was accepted. People were actually interested in me and what I had to say. I immediately began researching flights. While they weren't crazy expensive, they were still more money than I was comfortable spending. Luckily, José had a solution to this problem as well; he suggested applying for funding through the Ubuntu Community Donations fund. While I've been an Ubuntu Member for over 8 years, I've never used this resource before. However, I was happy when I received a very quick approval.

  • FOSS Wave: Bangalore at UVCE

    It was another lazy Saturday with a rare sight of empty Bangalore roads. This FOSS Wave event in Bangalore had been in planning for almost a month. Finally, here we were on September 10th, 2016 in front of the almost a century old structure of University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering.

    Five speakers reached the venue by 9:30am. We were to talk in two different sessions starting from 10:30am until 4:00pm on the following topics.

  • Fedora Join Meeting 26 September 2016 - Summary
  • systemd.conf 2016 is Over Now!

    A few days ago systemd.conf 2016 ended, our second conference of this kind. I personally enjoyed this conference a lot: the talks, the atmosphere, the audience, the organization, the location, they all were excellent!

    I'd like to take the opportunity to thanks everybody involved. In particular I'd like to thank Chris, Daniel, Sandra and Henrike for organizing the conference, your work was stellar!

    I'd also like to thank our sponsors, without which the conference couldn't take place like this, of course. In particular I'd like to thank our gold sponsor, Red Hat, our organizing sponsor Kinvolk, as well as our silver sponsors CoreOS and Facebook. I'd also like to thank our bronze sponsors Collabora, OpenSUSE, Pantheon, Pengutronix, our supporting sponsor Codethink and last but not least our media sponsor Linux Magazin. Thank you all!

4 open source alternatives for Google Calendar

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OSS

For many of us, our calendar is our lifeblood. Without it, we would be lost, perhaps both literally and figuratively.

While some people can get away with a wall calendar or a paper day planner to organize their schedule, a whole lot of us have turned over the process of managing time allotments to a digital calendar. In truth, most of us are juggling quite a few calendars from both our work and personal lives, and often a few other organizations that we're involved with, including anything from non-profits to tech meetups to social clubs.

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GNOME Desktop: Flatpak and Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension

  • Flatpak in detail, part 2
    The first post in this series looked at runtimes and extensions. Here, we’ll look at how flatpak keeps the applications and runtimes on your system organized, with installations, repositories, branches, commits and deployments.
  • Flatpak – a history
    I’ve been working on Flatpak for almost 4 years now, and 1.0 is getting closer. I think it might be interesting at this point to take a retrospective look at the history of Flatpak.
  • Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension Changes Your Desktop Background With Images From Various Online Sources
    Random Wallpaper is an extension for Gnome Shell that can automatically fetch wallpapers from a multitude of online sources and set it as your desktop background. The automatic wallpaper changer comes with built-in support for downloading wallpapers from unsplash.com, desktopper.co, wallhaven.cc, as well as support for basic JSON APIs or files. The JSON support is in fact my favorite feature in Random Wallpaper. That's because thanks to it and the examples available on the Random Wallpaper GitHub Wiki, one can easily add Chromecast Images, NASA Picture of the day, Bing Picture of the day, and Google Earth View (Google Earth photos from a selection of around 1500 curated locations) as image sources.

today's howtos

KDE: QtPad, Celebrating 10 Years with KDE, GSoC 2018

  • QtPad - Modern Customizable Sticky Note App for Linux
    In this article, we'll focus on how to install and use QtPad on Ubuntu 18.04. Qtpad is a unique and highly customizable sticky note application written in Qt5 and Python3 tailored for Unix systems.
  • Celebrating 10 Years with KDE
    Of course I am using KDE software much longer. My first Linux distribution, SuSE 6.2 (the precursor to openSUSE), came with KDE 1.1.1 and was already released 19 years ago. But this post is not celebrating the years I am using KDE software. Exactly ten years ago, dear Albert committed my first contribution to KDE. A simple patch for a problem that looked obvious to fix, but waiting for someone to actually do the work. Not really understanding the consequences, it marks the start of my journey within the amazing KDE community.
  • GSoC 2018 – Coding Period (May 28th to June 18th): First Evaluation and Progress with LVM VG
    I got some problems during the last weeks of Google Summer of Code which made me deal with some challenges. One of these challenges was caused by a HD physical problem. I haven’t made a backup of some work and had to rework again in some parts of my code. As I already knew how to proceed, it was faster than the first time. I had to understand how the device loading process is made in Calamares to load a preview of the new LVM VG during its creation in Partition Page. I need to list it as a new storage device in this page and deal with the revert process. I’ve implemented some basic fixes and tried to improve it.

Open Hardware: Good for Your Brand, Good for Your Bottom Line

Chip makers are starting to catch on to the advantages of open, however. SiFive has released an entirely open RISC-V development board. Its campaign on the Crowd Supply crowd-funding website very quickly raised more than $140,000 USD. The board itself is hailed as a game-changer in the world of hardware. Developments like these will ensure that it won't be long before the hardware equivalent of LEGO's bricks will soon be as open as the designs built using them. Read more