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3 open source alternatives to Office 365

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OSS

It can be hard to get away from working and collaborating on the web. Doing that is incredibly convenient: as long as you have an internet connection, you can easily work and share from just about anywhere, on just about any device.

The main problem with most web-based office suites—like Google Drive, Zoho Office, and Office365—is that they're closed source. Your data also exists at the whim of large corporations. I'm sure you've heard numerous stories of, say, Google locking or removing accounts without warning.

If that happens to you, you lose what's yours. So what's an open source advocate who wants to work with web applications to do? You turn to an open source alternative, of course. Let's take a look at three of them.

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Hackable voice-controlled speaker and IoT controller hits KS

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Linux
OSS

SeedStudio’s hackable, $49 and up “ReSpeaker” speaker system runs OpenWrt on a Mediatek MT7688 and offers voice control over home appliances.

The ReSpeaker went live on Kickstarter today and has already reached 95 percent of its $40,000 funding goal with 29 days remaining. The device is billed by SeedStudio as an “open source, modular voice interface that allows us to hack things around us, just using our voices.” While it can be used as an Internet media player or a voice-activated IoT hub — especially when integrated with Seeed’s Wio Link IoT board — it’s designed to be paired with individual devices. For example, the campaign’s video shows the ReSpeaker being tucked inside a teddy bear or toy robot, or attached to plant, enabling voice control and voice synthesis. Yes, the plant actually asks to be watered.

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Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

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OSS
  • Digital Asset to Open Source Smart Contract Language

    Digital Asset Holdings has announced it intends to open-source DAML, the smart contracting language it acquired from startup Elevence earlier this year.

    Though no date has been set for the transition, the Blythe Masters-led blockchain startup credited its bid to "advance industry adoption" of the tech as the impetus for the move.

  • Reasons behind Enterprises' Appeal towards Open Source Analytics Frameworks

    Big Data might be a relatively new term but not an entirely new concept. It has been around for millennia. Even in the Paleolithic age, the cavemen of Africa etched markings into bones or sticks to monitor their food supplies. Then came the abacus, the library of Alexandria, the Antikythera Mechanism (the world’s first computational device), and the list goes on. As time passed by, the art of data analysis or deduction evolved giving rise to new sciences and technologies– statistics, data storage, business intelligence, and data centers.

    When the internet storm took over the human world in the latter part of the 20th century, analog storage systems made way for digital storage and cloud services. In another ten years or so, the total storage information processed in the world grew from 1.5 billion gigabytes to 9.57 zettabytes (9.57 trillion gigabytes to be specific). In the meantime, Wired gave a name to this vast ocean of information– Big Data, (quite undervalued if you ask me, how about Cosmic Data!). At the same time, something else also passed under the radar. It was Hadoop, an open source framework for Big Data analysis, developed by the Apache Software Foundation, the open source advocates. Soon, Hadoop was extensively adopted by businesses for two reasons; firstly, it was cost-efficient, secondly, it was fast.

    Since then, open source has been the buzzword for Big Data analytics. But, what makes open source analytics platform attractive for enterprises even though there is no guarantee about security or the quality of the software?

  • Walmart's OneOps open source cloud management platform could become part of OpenStack

    The retailing giant is pondering a move where its OneOps open source platform could be lumped under OpenStack.

  • Apache CloudStack Still Going, Arrives in New Version

    In case you don't know its history, CloudStack had more momentum a few years ago as an open cloud platform than OpenStack has now. Citrix, which owned it, passed the open source CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, and CloudStack continues to advance and is widely used. It has even inspired a popular forked version.

    Now, the Apache CloudStack project has announced the availability of Apache CloudStack v4.9, the latest version of the cloud platform used for creating private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Apache remains a steady steward for CloudStack, even as OpenStack has overtaken it in popularity.

  • Time To Move To PostgreSQL

    Sigh… I understand that businesses need to make money but proper businesses don’t jerk their customers around in the process. That drives them away.

    Large businesses that use MySQL/MariaDB depend on the MaxScale component and changing the licence for that jerks them around. In the process, MariaDB is preventing a larger community from sharing in the development, a major plus of FLOSS. So, this is essentially kicking a large segment of the market for SQL databases to a non-Free solution. It really is time to go to PostgreSQL, a truly Free/Libre Open Source database from top to bottom.

  • Your wget is broken and should DIE, GitHubbers tell Microsoft

    Well, that didn't take long: within a week of applause for Microsoft's decision to open-source PowerShell, a comment-war has broken out over curl and wget.

    For those not familiar with these commands: they're open source command line tools for fetching internet content without a browser. Apart from obvious applications like downloading whole sites (for example as backup), they're also under the hood for a lot of other toolsets (an example the author is familiar with – GIS tools use curl and/or wget to fetch maps from Web services).

    For some reason, Microsoft's team decided to put aliases for curl and wget in Windows PowerShell – but, as this thread begins, those aliases don't deliver curl and wget functionality.

  • Kontena Announces Funding and Launches Developer-Friendly, Open Source Container and Microservices Platform
  • CNCF Offers Open Source Developers Free Access to Its 1000 Node Server Community Cluster
  • UK Government Digital Service looking for a "Chief Penguin"

    According to the job description on LinkedIn, the new role has been created as part of a change of course to "a more concerted approach to open source, building collaboration and reuse internally and making higher impact contributions to the wider open source community". The new Lead will "work with teams in GDS and across government to help build their open source community, both through driving specific, focused projects and by providing tools and an environment that allow the work to grow and thrive". At the same time, the job requires technical hands-on capabilities as well: "day to day responsibilities will alternate between programming, liaising with colleagues from other professions (eg. communications, legal and delivery management), community building and leading projects".

  • Dutch Accountability Hack set for week before Little Prince's Day

    On Friday 9 September, an Accountability Hack will be organised at the Dutch Court of Audit in The Hague. Developers and open data adepts are asked to participate and work on innovative (mobile) apps that allow people to check on government spending and returns. Increased transparency helps strengthen democracy, fight corruption and waste, and improve efficiency and accountability.

  • 7 resources for open education materials

    Shrinking school budgets and growing interest in open content has created an increased demand for open educational resources. According to the FCC, "The U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material." There is an alternative: openly licensed courseware. But where do you find this content and how can you share your own teaching and learning materials?

  • Open education is more than open content

    The famous playwright George Bernard Shaw once said: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

    I love that quote, and in May I shared it with a room full of educators, administrators, and open source advocates at New York University during the Open Summit, an open conversation about education. I believe it reveals something critical about the future of education and the positive role openness can play in the future, if we embrace it.

  • Iranian architects release open-source parametric brick wall script and stencil
  • Open-Source CNC Farming Machine Reimagines Food Production

    It’s open-source. It’s customizable. And it’s just as exciting to gardeners as is it is to garage tinkerers. Meet FarmBot, humanity’s first open-source Computer Numeric Control (CNC) farming machine.

Proprietary licences both frustrating and pushing move to PostgreSQL

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OSS

Proprietary licences that are very complex, impossible to comply with, and abused to squeeze customers are frustrating public agencies in their effort to make IT infrastructures more open and interoperable. On the other hand, these licensing problems are motivating the same agencies to move to open source software. The Swedish National Heritage Board, the Dutch City of Ede, and the Dutch DUO agency all mention complex licences from their traditional proprietary suppliers as an important reason to deploy PostgreSQL as an open alternative for their database systems. At the same time, suppliers are abusing their inscrutable licensing models to hinder public agencies in their migration and consolidation efforts.

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How IBM’s LinuxONE Has Evolved For the New Open Source Cloud

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Interviews
OSS

LinuxONE is IBM’s Linux Server. The LinuxONE server runs the major distributions of Linux; SUSE, Red Hat and Canonical’s Ubuntu. The server also runs open source databases like Mongo DB , PostgreSQL and MariaDB allowing for both horizontal growth and vertical scale, as demonstrated by running a 2TB Mongo database without sharding. Several of the features built into this system support the constant innovation inherent in the open source movement while maintaining the performance and reliability required by Enterprise clients; for example, Logical Partitions (LPARs) allow clients to host a development environment on the same system as production with zero risk.

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Openwashing

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OSS

Out of the Trash and into the Class: Building a STEM Program by Re-Building Computers.

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OSS

The FLOSS Desktop for Kids initiative refurbishes surplus and discarded school computers, allowing students to learn (hands-on) about computers and technology by diagnosing, breaking-down and repairing hardware components. Students acquire, install and configure open source software including Linux operating systems, LibreOffice, GIMP, Pidgin, etc.—not just run “apps” on a tablet. The program, is designed to teach engineering and technology by doing, failing, fixing, frustration, and finally achieving—that's how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math really happen, and that aligns perfectly with STEM's goals: “knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.”

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Open Source Software for Business: 12 Leading Apps

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OSS

These are some of the best ERP, CRM, small business server, project management and business intelligence applications available under an open source license.

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MariaDB Under Fire for Proprietary Curve

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OSS
Legal

Ministry of ICT and NITA Uganda Urge on Adoption of Open Source Software

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OSS

Increased awareness, integration and adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Uganda, both by government and the private sector is key to improved service delivery by government, reduced cost of public service deliver as well as improve competitiveness of Uganda’s ICT and ICT Enabled Services (ITES), Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda’s ICT and National Guidance Minister has said.

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More in Tux Machines

Mozilla: Rust, Security, Things Gateway, Firefox and More

  • Rust pattern: Precise closure capture clauses
    This is the second in a series of posts about Rust compiler errors. Each one will talk about a particular error that I got recently and try to explain (a) why I am getting it and (b) how I fixed it. The purpose of this series of posts is partly to explain Rust, but partly just to gain data for myself. I may also write posts about errors I’m not getting – basically places where I anticipated an error, and used a pattern to avoid it. I hope that after writing enough of these posts, I or others will be able to synthesize some of these facts to make intermediate Rust material, or perhaps to improve the language itself.
  • This Week in Rust
  • Mozilla publishes recommendations on government vulnerability disclosure in Europe
    As we’ve argued on many occasions, effective government vulnerability disclosure (GVD) review processes can greatly enhance cybersecurity for governments, citizens, and companies, and help mitigate risk in an ever-broadening cyber threat landscape. In Europe, the EU is currently discussing a new legislative proposal to enhance cybersecurity across the bloc, the so-called ‘EU Cybersecurity Act’. In that context, we’ve just published our policy recommendations for lawmakers, in which we call on the EU to seize the opportunity to set a global policy norm for government vulnerability disclosure.
  • Testing Strategies for React and Redux
  • K Lars Lohn: Things Gateway - a Virtual Weather Station
  • Firefox DevEdition 60 Beta 14 Testday Results
    As you may already know, last Friday – April 20th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox DevEdition 60 Beta 14. Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: gaby2300, micde, Jarrod Michell, Thomas Brooks.
  • Supporting Same-Site Cookies in Firefox 60
    Firefox 60 will introduce support for the same-site cookie attribute, which allows developers to gain more control over cookies. Since browsers will include cookies with every request to a website, most sites rely on this mechanism to determine whether users are logged in. Attackers can abuse the fact that cookies are automatically sent with every request to force a user to perform unwanted actions on the site where they are currently logged in. Such attacks, known as cross-site request forgeries (CSRF), allow attackers who control third-party code to perform fraudulent actions on the user’s behalf. Unfortunately current web architecture does not allow web applications to reliably distinguish between actions initiated by the user and those that are initiated by any of the third-party gadgets or scripts that they rely on.
  • Enterprise Policy Support in Firefox
    Last year, Mozilla ran a survey to find out top enterprise requirements for Firefox. Policy management (especially Windows Group Policy) was at the top of that list. For the past few months we’ve been working to build that support into Firefox in the form of a policy engine. The policy engine adds desktop configuration and customization features for enterprise users to Firefox. It works with any tool that wants to set policies including Windows Group Policy.
  • any.js
    Thanks to Ms2ger web-platform-tests is now even more awesome (not in the American sense). To avoid writing HTML boilerplate, web-platform-tests supports .window.js, .worker.js, and .any.js resources, for writing JavaScript that needs to run in a window, dedicated worker, or both at once. I very much recommend using these resource formats as they ease writing and reviewing tests and ensure APIs get tested across globals.
  • Alex Gibson: My fifth year working at Mozilla
    Today marks my fifth year working for Mozilla! This past year has been both fun and frantic, and overall was a really good year for both Mozilla and Firefox. Here’s a run down a few of the things I got to work on.

Fedora Workstation 28 Coming Soon

  • Warming up for Fedora Workstation 28
    Been some time now since my last update on what is happening in Fedora Workstation and with current plans to release Fedora Workstation 28 in early May I thought this could be a good time to write something. As usual this is just a small subset of what the team has been doing and I always end up feeling a bit bad for not talking about the avalanche of general fixes and improvements the team adds to each release.
  • Fedora Workstation 28 Is Shaping Up To Be Another Terrific Update
    Fedora Workstation 28 is shaping up to be another compelling update for those that are fans of this bleeding-edge Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution. I've been running Fedora Workstation 28 snapshots on a few laptops and test machines here and am quite happy with how it's shaped up as another Fedora release that delivers not only the latest features, but doing so in a seemingly sane and stable manner: I haven't encountered any problems unlike some of the past notorious Fedora releases from years ago. Overall, I am quite excited for next month's Fedora 28 release and will be upgrading my main production system to it.

Android Leftovers

Configuring local storage in Linux with Stratis

Configuring local storage is something desktop Linux users do very infrequently—maybe only once, during installation. Linux storage tech moves slowly, and many storage tools used 20 years ago are still used regularly today. But some things have improved since then. Why aren't people taking advantage of these new capabilities? This article is about Stratis, a new project that aims to bring storage advances to all Linux users, from the simple laptop single SSD to a hundred-disk array. Linux has the capabilities, but its lack of an easy-to-use solution has hindered widespread adoption. Stratis's goal is to make Linux's advanced storage features accessible. Read more