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Open source software powers NASA's Mars VR project

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Parker Abercrombie is a software engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he builds software to support Mars science missions. He has a special interest in geographic information systems (GIS) and has worked with teams at NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy on systems for geographic visualization and data management.

Parker holds an M.A. in geography from Boston University and a B.S. in creative studies with emphasis in computer science (which he swears is more technical than it sounds) from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In his spare time, Parker enjoys baking bread and playing the Irish wooden flute.

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Leftovers: OSS

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  • A Higher Calling For Open-Source Software

    Open-source software–or at least the concept that drives it, a world where coding expertise and technology are furthered for the good of the public instead of corporate profit–is gaining traction in a big way. Some top names in tech have even announced their support for open-source, and whole crowdfunding campaigns have been dedicated to creating products and launching startups whose titles are available to everyone.

  • All You Need to Make a Good Open Source License Decision

    The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizer of the GNU Project, and you can find the FSF's guidelines on choosing an open source license in this post. The guidelines cover how to choose an overall license for a project, and also cover making decisions on licensing modified versions of an existing project.

  • Belgium overhauls it data portal, Belgium’s federal open data portal, was relaunched last week. The new site merges two separate data portals managed by Fedict, Belgium's federal IT service agency, and the country’s Agency for Administrative Simplification. The portal itself does not maintain data sets, but aggregates and updates links to several thousand datasets maintained by Belgium’s public agencies.

  • Open source, solar-powered RepRap 3D printer brings 3D printing to developing communities

    The open source 3D printing revolution is ongoing with full power, and has already made affordable making possible in the far corners of the world. Well, not quite the far corners, as even the most modest home-made 3D printer requires a stable power grid to work. But even that could be changing, as a team of researchers from the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Lab has just successfully tested and shared a very intriguing innovative machine: an open source, solar-powered RepRap 3D printer.

Leftovers: OSS

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  • 5 Key Aspects For a Successful Open-Source Project

    I love open-source: for me it is great way to develop any product, to acquire new skills, to have fun and to make something useful for the community. I am not an open-source rock-star (at least not yet Big Grin) but I have created and contributed to tens of projects (take a look at my GitHub profile). Some of them got a bit of attention like WorldEngine, JavaParser or EffectiveJava. I am also an avid open-source user: almost daily I have to choose some open-source program or library to use or to contribute to. So I evaluate open-source projects regularly. I am also lucky enough to be in touch with many open-source developers, some of which I have interviewed for this blog.

  • Take care when reaping rewards of open source [Ed: this firm's founder is attacking FOSS; never ever heard of them before. Who’s hiring (i.e. paying) them? "Quocirca, a research and analysis firm, released a comprehensive report sponsored by Microsoft," said this page]
  • ETSI works to align NFV information models across SDOs and open source groups

    The workshop, which was hosted by CableLabs in Colorado, brought together the leading standards development organisations (SDOs) and Open Source communities in what it describes as an ‘NFV Village’. This was the first time the key SDOs and open source bodies have met together to accelerate alignment of their activities in relation to NFV. Participants read like a Who’s Who of NFV, and included 3GPP, ATIS, Broadband Forum, DMTF, ETSI NFV, IETF, ITU, MEF, OASIS/TOSCA, Open Cloud Connect, ONF, OpenDaylight, OPNFV and TM Forum. Furthermore, ETSI says the door is still open to organisations that did not participate in last week’s workshop.

  • MongoDB/NoSQL Injection - Security

    A quick search on Shodan (the IoT search engine), will result in a ton of insecure Redis and MongoDB installations on the web. With IoT a lot of default device ports and settings are out there and a lot of connections to check. Be sure to pentest your server and devices before you put them on the public internet.

  • A Primer on Open-Source NoSQL Databases

    The idea of this article is to understand NoSQL databases, its properties, various types, data model, and how they differ from standard RDBMS.

  • 10 Facts About Wikipedia That You Didn’t Know

    Wikipedia stats include more than 38 million articles in 289 different languages. Out of which, around 8 million articles are in English. English, German, and French have the most number of the articles.

  • The Portable C Compiler (PCC) Continues To Be Developed In 2016

    When it comes to open-source C/C++ compilers, most of the coverage these days is about new features and functionality for GCC and LLVM Clang. However, the Portable C Compiler with its history originally dating back to the 1970s continues to be in-development.

    It's been a while since last having anything to report on with the Portable C Compiler so I decided to do some Sunday night digging. Then again, PCC releases are far from frequent with PCC 1.0 coming in 2011 and PCC 1.1 having come at the end of 2014, after development on this compiler was restarted -- and largely rewritten -- beginning in 2007. PCC has been popular with the BSD distributions due to its BSD license and faster compile times than GCC, but in recent years much of the BSD developer interest appears to have shifted to Clang.

  • Perl SIG: Updating perl-Spreadsheet-ParseExcel on EPEL 5
  • Application developer guide changes, new board members, and more OpenStack news

4 questions to ask before open sourcing a project

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Who, outside the company, is excited to get their hands on this software? Nothing succeeds in open source without community involvement. If there is no interest from the outside, the odds are slim that you will be able to grow a meaningful community around what you have written. Once the employees who are currently being paid to maintain the project have moved on, someone will need to own the project or it will become just one more piece of abandonware.

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AsteroidOS: Open source smartwatch operating system that can replace Android Wear (on some watches)

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But AsteroidOS is different… because it’s a community-driven free and open source operating system that you can install yourself, potentially giving you more control over the software that runs on your wearable devices.

AsteroidOS is a community-driven project that’s still in the early stages of development. But you can already install it on the original LG G Watch.

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Contributing to Open Source Projects and Code

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Traditionally, IT ran off the shelf commercial software, while datacenters ran proprietary Unix hardware and x86 based Windows servers. But recently, the end user computing environment has been disrupted by the advent of smartphones and tablets, with Linux becoming increasingly a dominant force in the data center. Not to mention that there have been predictions from IDC analysts in August 2015 noting that there is already a shift to open source systems like Couchbase and Couchbase Mobile in the server and mobile market.

Contributing to Open Source code is not as daunting as it seems. First off, the Open Source community is large and diverse with people working together on common problems. Stack Overflow is an example of how collective minds are able to solve related issues faster and share in everyday findings. The benefits are that you are able to get direct feedback from a vast community of experts with different skill levels while building out a support system of champions.

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Leftovers: OSS

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  • AI research lab releases code to help with speech recognition

    Yesterday, Baidu Research’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) released open-source code called Warp-CTC to GitHub. The goal is for this code to be used in the machine learning community.

    Warp-CTC is a tool that can plug into existing machine learning frameworks to speed up the development of artificial intelligence, and according to SVAIL, it will speed up development by 400x compared to previous versions.

  • Firefox to convert old YouTube Flash code to HTML5 Video

    Mozilla has added a feature to Firefox 46 that will convert old YouTube Flash code to HTML5 Video automatically under certain circumstances.

    When YouTube started out, Flash was the dominating technology used to stream video on the Internet, and the first player that YouTube made available to webmasters to embed videos on third-party sites used Flash exclusively.

    YouTube changed the code later on to reflect changes in streaming technologies. From a technical perspective, YouTube started to offer embed codes as iframes instead of objects.

  • An introduction to OpenStack clouds for beginners

    This year, SCaLE 14x attendees will have the opportunity to hear Anthony Chow speak on how to get started contributing to OpenStack.

    Anthony is network engineer with a passion for sharing and promoting technologies that enable community growth. He's currently working on Docker and OpenStack Magnum.

    In this interview, Anthony explains what OpenStack is, how it works with containers, and how an enterprise might want to use it.

  • OpenStack Foundation 2016 Directors Announced

    The OpenStack Foundation election of Individual Directors to the Board of Directors has now completed and the winning candidates have been announced.

  • Lessons learned (the hard way) doing DevOps at scale

    I had the chance to talk to Ticketmaster's Victor Gajendran who will be attending (and speaking) for the first time at SCaLE 14x this year, which is taking place on January 21 and 22 in Pasadena, California. He'll speak to attendees about how his company uses open source and how to empower your small teams to be part of a large, effective whole.

  • Kiev tests open budget process

    Through this new initiative SocialBoost partnered with Open North, a Canadian company, which has developed a ready-to-use portal called Citizen Budget. This portal was adapted for the Kiev project.

  • Civil society plays a key role in policy shaping in Europe

    The main theme of this debate, organised by the NGO Support Centre, under the European U-Impact project (From Citizen Involvement to Policy Impact) was “Civil Society and the EU”. The U-Impact project basically gathers citizens’ views on EU policies and explores the relationship and engagement between civil society and EU.

Open Hardware

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Leftovers: OSS

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  • git outta here, GitHub

    What a relief! I just deleted my GitHub account. Life is already looking brighter. ’cause you know, GitHub is Facebook. And you don’t want a Facebook account.

  • Nobody is using your software project. Now what?

    Working with open source software is an amazing experience. The collaborative process around creation, refinement, and even maintenance, drives more developers to work on open source software more often. However, every developer finds themselves writing code that very few people actually use.

  • How I Stumbled Upon The Internet’s Biggest Blind Spot

    Open source infrastructure refers to all the tools that help developers build software. On a deep level, it includes physical things like servers, but closer to the surface, it also includes things like programming languages, frameworks, and libraries.

    If you’ve ever built an app before, maybe you used Rails, Django or Node.js. Maybe your app was written in Ruby or Python. Maybe it made use of something like jQuery or React. All of these projects are open source.

    There is no question that these developer tools are vital to startups and technology: we couldn’t build anything without them. There is also no business model in many cases. You couldn’t charge people to use Python, for example, any more than you could charge someone to speak English.

  • First Meetup at University of Bamberg summons local Docker community

    This is the summary of the first Docker meetup that we organized in cooperation with University of Bamberg. As a supplement to this event yesterday, we share the pictures and the slides of the presentation.

  • Thunderbird 38.5.1 Brings Fixes Only

    As you may know, Thunderbird is an open-source e-mail client and chat client developed by Mozilla. Among others, it has support for email addresses, newsgroup, news feed and chat (XMPP, IRC, Twitter) Client, managing multiple accounts. Also, it has support for different themes and its power can be extended by plugins.

  • Startup takes on Dropbox, Box, using cloud and local storage

    Right now, access to Infinit Drive and Infinit Cloud, the small-business and enterprise versions of the product, are restricted to invitations only, but it's possible to sign up for early access. The open source pieces haven't all been released yet, but the first of them have started to show up on Infinit's GitHub site.

  • Free/Libre/Vrije Software: The Goal and the Path
  • New agreement of the KDE Free Qt Foundation

    Today we were able to announce a revised agreement between the KDE Free Qt Foundation
    and The Qt Company.

    It contains major improvements for KDE (more platforms; more Free Qt modules; inclusion of Qt Project; many small details). It also comes with a change to the licensing rules of Qt, as described in the news article linked above and as discussed earlier on this blog.

MyPaint 1.2.0 Open Source Digital Painting Tool Is Out After Three Years of Development

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MyPaint developer Andrew Chadwick reports on January 15, 2016, that his MyPaint free, open-source and cross-platform digital painting software reached version 1.2.0 for all supported operating systems, including Linux, Mac and Windows.

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Linux, Graphics, and Linux Foundation

Leftovers: Debian and Ubuntu

  • CD/DVD Image Changes For The Upcoming Debian 9.0 Release
    With Debian 9.0 not being far away from releasing, the Debian CD Images Team has issued an update over their fundamental changes happening for this "Stretch" cycle.
  • The System76 'Galago Pro' laptop looks fantastic, $50 off for a few more days
    The Galago Pro looks like an incredibly stylish device ready for the masses with a slick aluminium casing, instead of the always cheap feeling plastic cases most tend to come with. It's slim, but best of all incredibly light for such a device at 1.3kg (2.87 lbs). It comes with Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS or Ubuntu 17.04, a speedy 7th Gen Intel in either an i5 7200U or i7 7500U and Intel® HD Graphics 620.
  • Download Ubuntu 17.10 daily builds
    The release schedule for Ubuntu 17.10 has been announced, and you can now download the daily build ISO images as well. Daily builds can be useful to watch the progress of Ubuntu 17.10, but are not recommended for normal usage due to possible bugs and changes.

Leftovers: Software

  • GJS: What’s next?
    In my last post, I went into detail about all the new stuff that GJS brought to GNOME 3.24. Now, it’s time to talk about the near future: what GJS will bring to GNOME 3.26.
  • Sending SMS from Linux Just Got Easier with Latest Indicator KDE Connect Update
    Indicator KDE Connect now has Google Contacts integration, making it even easier to send text messages from the Linux desktop.
  • Cumulus Qt is a Lightweight Weather App for Linux
    Cumulus Qt is a Qt weather app for the Linux desktop. It's lightweight, has a bold, striking design inspired by Stormcloud, and is very customisable.
  • Vivaldi 1.10 Browser Now in Development, Will Introduce Docked Developer Tools
    Vivaldi's Ruarí Ødegaard just informed us a few moments ago that Vivaldi 1.10 will be the next major version of the free and cross-platform web browser based on the latest Chromium technologies, not Vivaldi 2.0 as many of you have hoped. Vivaldi 1.9 just hit the streets the other day as world's first web browser to ship with the Ecosia search engine enabled by default to help reforest the plane, and it now looks like Vivaldi's devs never sleep, and development of Vivaldi 1.10 starts today with the first snapshot, Vivaldi 1.10.829.3, which introduces a long-anticipated feature: Docked Developer Tools!