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Why Pixar open sourced its 3D graphics technology

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Red Hat

Pixar Animation Studios has open sourced its Universal Scene Description (USD) technology. USD is an extremely powerful toolset that helps filmmakers in reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D scene data.

“USD is the core of Pixar's 3D graphics pipeline, used in every 3D authoring and rendering application, including Pixar's proprietary Presto animation system,” according to Pixar.

USD is aimed at performance and large-scale collaboration among many artists that makes it ideal for the complex modern pipeline, allowing dozens of creative people working on the same project.

One of the most notable features of USD is Hydra, a high-performance preview renderer capable of interactively displaying large data sets.

Pixar engineers gave a live demo of USD at SIGGRAPH 2016, International Conference and exhibition on Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques. The demo shows real time rendering capabilities of USD technologies.

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Advanced Search and Replace with the Kate Text Editor

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The powerhouse Kate text editor has advanced search-and-replace, including support for escape sequences and regular expressions, so you can make complex corrections without leaving your document.

The Kate text editor is my favorite and has been my main workhorse for years. Kate has a lot of great features and is friendly to both touch-typing and pointy-clicky. It doesn't quite have the eleventy-million features of Vim or Emacs, but then you don't need the dexterity of a concert pianist to use it, either. I think it is the most user-friendly of the powerhouse text editors. Some of its noteworthy features are:

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Leftovers: OSS

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  • Open source human services weaves a new way forward

    The answer is that we’re giving away our knowledge (to the extent it can be codified) as a benevolent act. But like Red Hat and any number of other open source software vendors, we freely distribute a codified product and then charge for our services in developing the codified knowledge for organisations that use and adapt it. As Paul Steele of the The Difference Incubator puts it, “My IP is free. My time is not.”

  • LLVM 3.9 released
  • Myth versus fact: Open source projects and federal agencies [Ed: The Microsoft-connected parasites from Black Duck badmouth FOSS adoption in government]

    Still many remain tentative about making a shift to open source. Mike Pittenger, vice president of security strategy at Black Duck, said, "It becomes a religious argument at some point. It's neither more or less secure."

  • How to avoid open-splaining and find open allies quickly

    Thanks to the tireless efforts of open organizations and contributors everywhere, "openness" is something that more and more people are starting to understand. And as the ideas behind working openly have spread, the types of people embracing this way of working and organizing has broadened. The tenets of open—things like decentralization, hackability, and transparency—no longer belong just to technology firms and programmers.

    As an advocate for open practices, you've probably found yourself explaining what openness looks like in your day-to-day work. You've had to, because the ideas just weren't mainstream. But now you're more likely to experience an increase of those awkward moments: when someone sighs loudly and says "I know!"

  • Giving proper credit to designers in 3D printing

    Have you ever wondered who designs the colorful 3D printed demonstration objects commonly found in social media posts, online videos, hackerspaces, advertisements, websites, and trade show booths? If yes, then you have unknowingly recognized a major problem in the 3D printing community. Many of those objects are shared under Creative Commons licenses that require attribution be given to the designer, but there are no established standards on how or where credit should be given.

  • Two Years as a High School Mentor

    Similarly, I wasn’t going to start him off with some toy text editor. Like with C, he was going to learn real production tools from the start. I gave the Emacs run-down and started him on the tutorial (C-h t). If he changed his mind later after getting more experience, wanting to use something different, that would be fine.

    Once he got the hang of everything so far, I taught him Git and Magit. Finally we could collaborate.

    The first three months were spent on small exercises. He’d learn a little bit from K&R, describe to me what he learned, and I’d come up with related exercises, not unlike those on DailyProgrammer, to cement the concepts. I’d also translate concepts into modern C (e.g. C99).

    With K&R complete, he was ready to go beyond simple exercises. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to involve him in my own work at the time. His primary interests included graphics, so we decided on a multi-threaded, networked multi-processor raytracer.

  • New tech event, Abstractions is forward-thinking

    The folks at Code & Supply put on a fantastic inaugural event in Pittsburgh this year. They sold 1500 tickets, their maximum, a few weeks before the event took place in downtown Pittsburgh at the Westin Conference Center. Pittsburgh is a walkable city with beautiful soaring art-deco buildings and approachable eateries. Residents of other riparian cities will feel right at home with it's sporadic grids and pleasant, but not overwhelming, humidity.

    Speakers came in from all over to join local coders and community builders at Abstractions. The agenda included new faces as well as industry veterans and conference circuit regulars, albeit from several different circuits. There was a particularly nice tweet from Joe Armstrong, (the inventor of Erlang and the Thursday morning keynote) who was delighted to finally meet Larry Wall (another invited speaker and the inventor of Perl) over dinner during the conference weekend.

  • g2k16 Hackathon Report: Marc Espie on package signing evolution

    Anyway, I came into this hackathon with a stupid idea. Turned out, I showed it to people and they liked it (oh noes), so I ended up spending half of the hackathon expanding signify(1) and the second half working on pkg_add proper.

  • Pokemon Rootkit Targets Linux Systems

How Google created a new kind of open source program office

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How does Google benefit by embracing a mission that goes beyond wielding industry influence? The benefits are not easy to calculate, but there are metrics that are objective, such as perceived influence compared to actual engineering contributions. Google may not contribute the most code and, before Kubernetes, its open source projects were either small efforts or tightly constrained and not very open (e.g., Chrome, Android), but it carries great (one might say outsized) influence in open source developer circles, which gave it a great platform to launch Kubernetes and increase its chances of success. But Google did things like create Google Code, which at one time was a massive repository of the world's open source code, and it created the Summer of Code. Although neither of these initiatives involved massive code contributions by Google, they enabled developers around the world to collaborate and write more code. To date, no other company—vendor, user, or otherwise—has embraced this mission to the same degree as Google. Although this is great for Google, one wonders when some other enterprising company will invest in a similar vision.

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Git 2.10 Version Control System Is a Massive Release with Over 150 Changes

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A new major release of the popular Git open-source and cross-platform distributed version control system has been announced, version 2.10, bringing hundreds of changes to make your development process easier and more productive.

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QEMU 2.7.0 Open-Source Hypervisor Adds Support for Xen Paravirtualized USB, More

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A new stable version of the popular QEMU open-source hosted hypervisor has been released recently, version 2.7.0, which contains over 2200 commits from 189 authors.

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Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

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  • 7 tips for learning how to give a technical talk

    Hack-A-Week is an event my team at Red Hat runs every year to encourage innovation. During that week engineers can work on any project they choose. After the week is over, each engineer gives a short presentation on what they worked on.

  • Cloud evolution, steps for getting started, and more OpenStack news
  • Alternative open source suite OpenOffice could shut down
  • Facebook loosens up on compression algorithms
  • Publishers must let online readers pay for news anonymously

    Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust.

    Readers are rebelling by installing ad blockers, which cut into the publisher’s surveillance-based income. And in response, some sites are cutting off access to readers unless they accept being surveilled. What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay.
    Some people use ad blockers because they find the sight of an advertisement offensive. That’s purely subjective, and publishers could argue that readers are overreacting. Yet ads on the internet do inconvenience readers too. Adverts increase the amount of data needed to view a page, making it slow to load and expensive on a mobile connection.

    At a deeper level, tailored ads also imply snooping, because the most lucrative, targeted advertising on the internet nowadays is based on tracking people’s interests and behaviour.

  • GCC Might Finally Drop The GNU Compiler For Java (GCJ)

    The GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) while made a lot of progress in its early years as a free software Java compiler, in recent years it's basically been in maintenance mode and might now be removed entirely from GCC.

    GCC developers have been talking about the pity state of GCJ Java support for some time while now action might finally be taken to strip it from the GNU Compiler Collection codebase.

  • LLVM/Clang imported into -current

    LLVM Core and Clang (C/C++/Objective-C compiler) of the LLVM Project have been imported into -current.

  • How to Uncover Corruption Using Open Source Research

    When most people think about open source research, they think about uncovering social media materials of soldiers on the front-lines of the wars in Ukraine and Syria, or geolocating video footage of significant events with Google Earth. While open source materials have led a mini-revolution in how conflicts are reported online, there is another area where there has been just as much impact: corruption investigations. This guide will provide instructions on how to start doing your own research into corruption using open source materials, and also include advice from experts who have uncovered corruption in eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, and elsewhere.

  • Openwords generates education resources for large and small languages

    What is Openwords? Openwords is several things. It is an open source foreign language learning app. It is a customizable lesson builder for teachers. It is a social enterprise.

  • The new CIS-194

    The Haskell minicourse at the University of Pennsylvania, also known as CIS-194, has always had a reach beyond the students of Penn. At least since Brent Yorgey gave the course in 2013, who wrote extensive lecture notes and eventually put the material on Github.

Students take part in MIT workshop on open source software

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MIT Group of Academic and Research Institutes celebrated their 25th global Linux day and conducted various exciting programmes.

One day hands-on workshop on Linux was organized under the guidance of Professor Suresh Bhawar.

Vatsal Thakur, an IT expert from Mumbai conducted a seminar on career opportunities in open source software. He said, "Linux is used by big corporate houses as it drives fastest supercomputers and android mobiles. Hence, market requirement for skilled Linux people is huge."

Third year students Sanket Kolnurkar, Nihal Renu, Manpreet Singh, Gauri Bhalerao, Prathamesh Videkar assisted the workshop participants. Santosh Bhosle, Ex principal at MIT briefed students about the evolution of open source software. The members of teaching staff including Nilesh Patil, Hanumant Dharmadhikari Deepak Nehte, Kavita Bhosle and Bhakti Ahirwadkar were also present.

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Also: AquaCrop-OS Provides Open-Source Tool for Ag Water Management

Three Open Source Business Models

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Any developer considering releasing open source software needs to have a plan to monetize it. Likewise, any organization thinking about deploying open source software needs to know how the vendor is monetizing it. The reason for the first is obvious, bills and expenses being what they are. As for the later, knowing exactly how developers of code you're thinking of using are funding their efforts will not only help you determine whether the project will remain supported for years to come, but will help keep you from walking into traps such as vendor lock-in.

There are three primary business models being used by open source vendors. However, before making a decision on what model is right for you, seek legal counsel. Not only is the law complex, IT easily crosses jurisdictions that the law does not.

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OSS Leftovers

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  • LLVM/Clang Imported To OpenBSD Base

    Following this week's release of OpenBSD 6.0, this BSD operating system has added LLVM and its Clang C/C++ compiler to its base archive.

  • [Older] Meet Ali Abdulghani, a Blind Programmer Working in the field of Open Source

    It’s rare actually to hear about people with such well and desire to continue their lives even though they suffer such tragic disabilities, for this, meet “Ali Abdulghani”, an Iraqi young man working in the field of free and open-source software although he is completely blind! Who said that you should be useless when you can’t see things?

  • Do Crypto-Token Sales Make Sense for Open-Source Projects?

    Spurred by Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger's recent blog post, there's been lots of discussion about crypto-tokens in recent week.

    This has led to excitement and skepticism about their ability to incentivize open-source developers to create and maintain protocols.

    However, as Runa Capital has funded a number of developers who have created and maintained thriving open-source protocols, I wanted to shine some light on this approach in the context of how open-source developers have been incentivized historically.

    This article focuses on both why a crypto-token issuance may make sense for some, and why it might not make sense for others who are served well by existing business models.

  • California Makes GovOps Portal Open Source

    California’s Government Operations Agency has moved its open data portal to an open source platform.

    California piloted the first statewide open data portal,, with data sets and results from the GreenGov Challenge, a code-a-thon built around sustainability data sets hosted on the pilot site. GovOps is now moving the open data portal to an open source platform (DKAN) to ensure the longevity of continuous efforts to make government

    To effectively manage the improved statewide portal it will be moved to the Department of Technology’s (CDT’s) Office of Digital Innovation, alongside the state’sInnovation Lab. The new location within the CDT will allow customers, civil coders and government entities to create innovative solutions to their government business challenges

    In the coming months, GovOps and the CDT will work with departments and agencies across the executive branch to continuously add more data sets to the portal.

  • This Week in Civic Tech: California Launches First True Open Data Portal, KC Takes Another Step Toward Innovation

    The Golden State’s first agencywide open data portal is now live. Officials from the California Government Operations Agency (CalGovOps) announced the launch after a successful pilot that began earlier this summer. The intent, technology leaders say, is to make the state’s vast collection of data easier to access and more intuitive to use.

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More in Tux Machines

Huawei, Fuchsia and More

  • Huawei will no longer allow bootloader unlocking (Update: Explanation from Huawei)

    "In order to deliver the best user experience and prevent users from experiencing possible issues that could arise from ROM flashing, including system failure, stuttering, worsened battery performance, and risk of data being compromised, Huawei will cease providing bootloader unlock codes for devices launched after May 25, 2018. [...]"

  • Fuchsia Friday: How ad targeting might be a hidden cost of Fuchsia’s structure

    Fuchsia, by its nature, comes with the potential for a handful of new opportunities for ad targeting. Let’s peer into the dark side of Fuchsia’s innovative features.

  • iPhone Quarter, ZTE Troubles, Facebook Troubles, Nokia Come-back

    So the past month or two? The Quarterly results cycle came in. The item often of great interest is the Apple iPhone performance. 52.2 million iPhones shipped and that gives roughly a flat market share compared to the year before, so about 14%-15%. I'll come and do the full math later of the quarterly data. That race is no longer in any way interesting.

    But two Top 10 smartphone brands ARE in the news. One who is facing imminent death and the other who is making a miraculous return-from-dead. So imminent death and current Top 10 brand first. ZTE. The Trump administration has put a massive squeeze on ZTE and the company is in serious trouble of imminent collapse. Then bizarrely, Trump reversed course and felt he needed to protect CHINESE employment (???) and after yet another typical Trump-mess, we now are at a Never-Neverland where Trump's own party Republicans are revolting against their President and well, ZTE may end up a casualty of this mess. We'll keep an eye on it.


What is an Arduino Board

Gone are the days when prototyping your electronic gadget required you to fiddle with the breadboard. Dirty design, unsteady wire connections and having to do too much to get simple stuff working. Arduino has solved all of that today. Read

How Linux Can Make Your Life Easier

Linux is an Operating System (more specifically a kernel) that provides an interface between the computer hardware and the user. Like Microsoft Windows and OS X, Linux provides a platform to the users, enabling them to carry out their daily chores on their beloved computer. And in case you dual-booted or installed Linux on your computer or are just curious to know how Linux can make your life easier, then, you are at the right place. Read

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