I already knew that academia is behind the curve when it comes to IT, from my non-tech part time job at a local university library. For starters, there’s the overreliance on Windows. Then there’s the use of poorly designed proprietary products when perfectly acceptable GPL solutions exist — not to mention the look of scorn and fright coming from the IT people whenever the term “free and open source” is uttered within their hearing.
Although I already knew there was a problem, I didn’t know how deep the problem is until I spoke with GitHub’s Arfon Smith. It seems that academia’s inability to catch up with the twenty-first century even puts careers in jeopardy — especially in the sciences.
Markdown is a Perl script that converts plain text into Web-ready HTML; it's also a shorthand syntax for writing HTML tags without needing to write the actual HTML. Markdown has been around for a decade now, but it hasn't seen an update in all that time—nearly unheard of for a piece of software. In that light, the fact that Markdown continues to work at all is somewhat amazing.
Regrettably, "works" and "works well" are not the same thing. Markdown, despite its longevity, has bugs. But here, the software has an advantage. As free and open source (FOSS) software, licensed under a BSD-style license, anyone can fork Markdown and fix those bugs.
Recently, a group of developers set out to fix some of those bugs, creating what they call a "standard" version of Markdown. From a pure code standpoint, the results are great. Yet there was no surplus of gratitude. Instead, the "standard" group found itself at the center of a much larger and very contentious debate, one that's ultimately about who we want in control of the tools we use.
A comment like that will draw some fire from IBM. Big Blue has megabucks invested in Linux and is tooting the Eclipse horn to prove its openness in developing software such as Rational Developer for i. Zend Technologies has had success with PHP, as has other application development vendors such as Profound Logic and BCD. And newcomer to the IBM i community, PowerRuby, has joined the app dev party as well.
Myanmar is to build an open source e-government platform with help from Vietnam.
The first phase of the platform will be launched at the end of the year with functions allowing officials to manage citizen data and exchange information with other ministries and local governments, according to Vietnamese media reports.
The platform will be upgraded in 2015 with cloud technology, and capabilities to handle more complex datasets and mobile users, it added.
One of my goals for this year is to become proficient in a cross platform GUI tool kit. The toolkit I've chosen to get my hands dirty with is Qt because in addition to being cross platform it also has a fantastic amount of documentation.
I always find I learn programming easier when I am building some practical instead of going through various tutorials that you just throw away when you are done. So with that, my "learn Qt" project is something I'm calling qAndora.
It hasn't been a good year for open source. Not for its generally golden reputation for software quality and security, anyway. But in a rush to lay blame for the Bash Shellshock vulnerability (and previously for Heartbleed) some, like Roger Grimes, want to dismantle some of the cardinal tenets of open source, like the suggestion that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."
ARM hasn’t been paying attention. While the rest of the world has turned to open source for essential infrastructure software, ARM’s Mbed operating system for the Internet of things (IoT) is proprietary, with just enough open source sprinkled in to attract developers.
ARM insists this is necessary to prevent Mbed from becoming fragmented, which is a reasonable concern. What may not be reasonsable, however, is relying on a proprietary operating system to dominate IoT.
The most obvious of these is the Linux operating system, used by almost all HPC systems. MPICH, OpenMPI, and their variants are examples of other open source tools that “facilitate scalable, distributed computing and have supported decades of research, including spinning off multiple derivatives that have made their way into commercial offerings by big name vendors such as Cray, IBM, and Intel,” says Schroeder.
Zentyal is one solution. Zentyal Community Edition is a free, open-source all-in-one server that includes all of the features listed above. Plus, you get Samba4 integration, so it's a perfect replacement for that aging Active Directory server. One of the best parts about Zentyal is that you can take advantage of less powerful hardware. Even though there's a graphical interface, the server is fully administered via a web browser (which means you can manage it from anywhere on your network).
Ericsson is resurrecting its WebRTC-based browser, Bowser, to help spark the development of more websites and apps that embrace voice, video and messaging features.