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OSS

Spanish Startup Deploys Ubuntu Snappy Core Open Source OS for Drones

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OSS
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux, Canonical's open source OS, already runs on PCs, servers, phones and tablets. Now, a small company named Erle Robotics wants to bring Ubuntu to drones, too.

Erle Robotics is a start-up in Spain whose goal is to develop Linux-based "brains" for robots and drones. The company already offers products that run Snappy Core Ubuntu, the transactionally updated version of Ubuntu designed for embedded devices.

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CoreOS Launches Clair, An Open-Source Tool For Monitoring Container Security

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Linux
OSS

CoreOS, the company behind the popular lightweight Linux distribution for data center deployments with the same name, has recently made a big bet on containers. Today, the company is launching Clair, an open-source tool for monitoring the security of containers — and it’s also integrating Clair into its paid Quay container registry service as a beta feature (with support for Quay Enterprise coming at a later date).

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Bern council demands transition to open source

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OSS

The council of the Swiss capital of Bern on 12 November ordered the IT department to end its dependence on proprietary software. The council halved the city’s request for a six-year licence contract, and insisted on an exit plan. A majority of councillors wants the city to replace proprietary software by open source solutions, such as Linux and LibreOffice.

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LITIGATION VS FREE SOFTWARE

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OSS
Legal

Alice Corporation, a non-practice patent-holding entity, held patents on a method, system, and process for a particular type of financial risk hedging: namely, that one party to a set of financial transactions won’t pay at one or more stages in the set. This risk is known as “settlement risk”. Alice’s patents describe using a computer to keep track of the transactions between the parties. If the computer determines that a party does not have sufficient funds to pay their obligations to the other side, then the transaction is blocked. Litigation against CLS Bank International for alleged infringement of these patented ideas started in 2007, eventually winding its way up to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Writing for a unanimous court, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas begins with a brief description of what the patents claimed. There are effectively three different types of claims made: “(1) the foregoing method for exchanging obligations (the method claims), (2) a computer system configured to carry out the method for exchanging obligations (the system claims), and (3) a computer-readable medium containing program code for performing the method of exchanging obligations (the media claims)” (page 3 of the ruling).

Thomas then goes on to cite the court’s recent ruling in Mayo vs Prometheus, which established a test to determine which inventions incorporating abstract ideas are patent-eligible: “First, we determine whether the claims at issue are directed to one of those patent-ineligible concepts” (page 7). If it is so directed, then the court looks at “the elements of each claim both individually and ‘as an ordered combination’ to determine whether the additional elements ‘transform the nature of the claim’ into a patent-eligible application” (page 7). This is what Thomas refers to as “a search for an ‘inventive concept’” (page 7).

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Leftovers: OSS

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OSS

Open Source Software and Corporations

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OSS

An interesting post caught my eye this week entitled “Corporations and OSS Do Not Mix” by Ian Cordasco. It was kind of depressing – here was a person who had spent a lot of free time contributing to open source code, but the actions of some users of that code had taken the fun out of it.

My only issue with it was the targeting of “corporations” in the title. At OpenNMS we have a large number of corporate customers and we get along with them just fine. I want to talk about that in a bit, but first I want to address some of the other experiences Ian had that were similar to mine.

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Cookie Lickers, Headless Chickens & Other Open Source Troublemakers

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Red Hat
OSS

Open source projects can attract toxic personality types -- and well-meaning bad influences -- along with other problems that can send them off in the wrong directions. Red Hat's Dave Neary laid out some of the problems, and how to fix them, in a breezy talk here at the OPNFV Summit.

"Some people with the best of intentions engage in behaviors that harm the community," said Neary, a member of the open source and standards team at Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) He added that he's engaged in some of this non-productive behavior himself at times.

Comms companies are increasingly participating in open source projects as they seek the agility and innovation required in the New IP economy. But they can encounter pitfalls along the way.

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Yelp cooks up an open-source PaaSTA dish for developers

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OSS

Business listings and review site Yelp has made a surprise contribution to the open-source software world by releasing an internal Docker and Apache Mesos-based platform-as-a-service to the Apache Software Foundation.

Yelp engineer Kyle Anderson provides a detailed look at the machinations of its custom-made PaaS, which it calls PaaSTA, in this blog post, describing in-depth how the different parts of the stack fit together.

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Databases

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OSS
  • NoSQL: Injection vaccination for a new generation

    We are becoming more and more accustomed to reading about losses of online data through malicious hack attacks, accidents, and downright carelessness – it’s almost as if we don’t know how to secure data against the most common form of attack.

    Of course, that isn’t really true as best practice, legislation, and education on the matter are easy to come by, from a variety of sources.

  • Open to the core: MongoDB's enterprise push in 'joins' U-turn

    MongoDB grabbed headlines last week with the release of version 3.2 of its popular NoSQL database. Consistent with the company’s prescribed messaging, the tech media dutifully inserted “enterprise” into every headline, touting MongoDB’s new storage engines for better data security, among other things.

  • Parallel Query Support Coming To PostgreSQL 9.6

    For PostgreSQL users, the next 9.6 release should be particularly exciting as the parallel sequential scan / parallel query support has been committed.

    This parallel sequential scan support has the ability to significantly improve the performance of selects on PostgreSQL databases. In one of the examples, a database select query dropped from taking 743 ms to now taking just 213 ms.

An open source fan boy shares his story

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OSS

Over time, I became much more sympathetic to the philosophical reasons for adopting FOSS. I was never hostile to it, I just hadn't given it much thought. But looking back, it became clear that a large part of my success and enjoyment of my career was due to the opportunity to learn independently, taking things apart and putting them together.

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Security Leftovers

  • Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls
    The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks. On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.
  • Microsoft: no plans to patch known bugs before March [Ed: Microsoft is keeping open 'back doors' that are publicly known about, not just secret ones]
    Microsoft has no plans to issue updates for two vulnerabilities, one a zero-day and the other being one publicised by Google, before the scheduled date for its next round of updates rolls around in March. The company did not issue any updates in February, even though it had been scheduled to switch to a new system from this month onwards. It gave no reason for this, apart from saying: "This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today. "After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan." The Google-disclosed bug was made public last week, and is said to be a flaw in the Windows graphic device interface library that can be exploited both locally and remotely to read the contents of a user's memory.
  • Microsoft issues critical security patches, but leaves zero-day flaws at risk
    Microsoft has patched "critical" security vulnerabilities in its browsers, but has left at least two zero-day flaws with public exploit code. The software giant released numerous patches late on Tuesday to fix flaws in Adobe Flash for customers using Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 and later, as well as Edge for Windows 10.

Red Hat News

  • Why upstream contributions matter when developing open source NFV solutions.
    When software is developed using open source methods, an upstream repository of the code is accessible to all members of the project. Members contribute to the code, test it, write documentation and can create a solution from that code to use or distribute under license. If an organization follows the main stream or branch of the upstream code their solution will receive all the changes and updates created in the upstream repository. Those changes simply “flow down” to the member’s solution. However, if a member organization forks the code — if they create a solution that strays from the main stream — their solution no longer receives updates, fixes and changes from the upstream repository. This organization is now solely responsible for maintaining their solution without the benefit of the upstream community, much like the baby salmon that took a tributary and then have to fend for themselves rather than remain in the main stream and receive the benefit and guidance of the other salmon making their way to the ocean.
  • HPE and Red Hat Join Forces to Give Customers Greater Choice for NFV Deployments
    Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( NYSE : HPE ) and Red Hat, Inc. ( NYSE : RHT ) announced today they are working together to accelerate the deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions based on fully open, production-ready, standards-based infrastructures. HPE plans to offer ready-to-use, pre-integrated HPE NFV System solutions and HPE Validated Configurations incorporating Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage for communications service providers (CSPs).
  • Red Hat Joins the OpenPower Foundation
    As part of our commitment to delivering open technologies across many computing architectures, Red Hat has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture, at the Platinum level. While we already do build and support open technologies for the POWER architecture, the OpenPOWER Foundation is committed to an open, community-driven technology-creation process – something that we feel is critical to the continued growth of open collaboration around POWER.
  • Buy, Sell or Hold? Analysts Approach: HCA Holdings, Inc. (HCA), Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)?

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