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OSS

How Would Software Freedom Have Helped With VW?

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OSS

Would software-related scandals, such as Volkswagen's use of proprietary software to lie to emissions inspectors, cease if software freedom were universal? Likely so, as I wrote last week. In a world where regulations mandate distribution of source code for all the software in all devices, and where no one ever cheats on that rule, VW would need means other than software to hide their treachery.

Universal software freedom is my lifelong goal, but I realized years ago that I won't live to see it. I suspect that generations of software users will need to repeatedly rediscover and face the harms of proprietary software before a groundswell of support demands universal software freedom. In the meantime, our community has invented semi-permanent strategies, such as copyleft, to maximize software freedom for users in our current mixed proprietary and Free Software world.

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Doors opening for open source data visualization tools

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OSS

Open source data visualization technologies have matured to the point where users say the available tools can handle large amounts of their visualization workloads.

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Maintaining momentum in an open-source community

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OSS

Building an open-source community takes dedication, hard work and no small number of late nights. As a community gets started there is generally a sense of momentum, ownership and deep commitment. But what happens once your community becomes established and successful? Inevitably volunteers are going to cycle in and out. As a community leader, you need to consider methods to bring in new members, spread the workload and communicate where and when the project could use help. How can you maximize growth and maintain your momentum?

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Pivotal goes after Oracle and 'the traditional database' with open source HAWQ

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OSS

It's always fighting talk when a vendor makes an announcement foretelling the end of a technology approach. Is open source HAWQ really going to kill the traditional database?

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The Open Source Interface Conundrum: Will Linux Ever Be Touch-Ready?

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Linux
OSS

Are open source desktops ready for smartphones, tablets and other touch-enabled devices? That's the question a DistroWatch writer recently set out to answer. Here's a summary of what he found, and why it matters for the commercial open source world today.

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An inside look at open source at Twitter

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Interviews
OSS

Twitter has about a couple thousand engineers across the company working on a variety of technologies, from as deep as the Linux kernel to front-end Javascript libraries. It's hard to pick anything in particular, but recently we have graduated Apache Parquet from the Apache incubator and are working on adding stateful service primitives to the Apache Mesos project so we can run MySQL in a Mesos cluster.

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GNOME 3.18 Open-Source Linux Desktop Gets a Makeover

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OSS
GNOME

The GNOME 3.18 Linux desktop, released Sept. 23, offers a milestone feature update. Code-named Gothenburg, the new open-source desktop environment benefits from 25,112 changes from 772 contributors. The GNOME 3.18 desktop includes improvements to the Files utility that make it easier for users to find, access and manage folders as well as files. There is now also a cleaner integration with Google Drive that can enable a user to directly access files from the cloud inside GNOME 3.18. Linux desktop users will also be able to choose a desktop setting that will automatically adjust screen brightness based on ambient lighting conditions. Keeping the hardware firmware on a Linux system updated is easier and more streamlined in GNOME 3.18, thanks to new support for the Linux vendor firmware update service. GNOME 3.18 includes updates to multiple GNOME applications, such as the Documents app, which benefits from a new user interface. The Calendar app has enhanced management features so users can more easily control information. The new release of Builder provides an improved developer experience with source code auto-completion for Python. Here's a look at key features of the GNOME 3.18.

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Bromium Makes Open Source Security Research Tool Available

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OSS
Security

The open source community generally hasn’t produced many security analysis tools. For the most part, the tools required to do malware research are available only under a commercial license from security vendors that sell security software and hardware.

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FCC Rules Endanger Open Source Wireless Router Firmware

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OSS

Open source wireless router firmware may become tougher to install in the United States, if not illegal. That's if device manufacturers interpret new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules involving radio frequencies to mean that user-modified software should be banned.

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Exclusive Interview: Emby Founder Luke Pulverenti

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Interviews
OSS

Before Emby, I had limited open source experience. I submitted small bug fixes here and there to different projects that I took an interest in. The Media Browser project was always fully open source, and with the re-branding to Emby we felt that was the best way for the project to continue moving forward.

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today's howtos

Security Leftovers

Leftovers: Debian, Ubuntu and Derivatives

  • Debian Developers Make Progress With RISC-V Port
    Debian developers continue making progress with a -- currently unofficial -- port of their Linux operating system to RISC-V. There is a in-progress Debian GNU/Linux port to RISC-V along with a repository with packages built for RISC-V. RISC-V for the uninitiated is a promising, open-source ISA for CPUs. So far there isn't any widely-available RISC-V hardware, but there are embedded systems in the works while software emulators are available.
  • 2×08: Pique Oil
  • [Video] Ubuntu 17.04 KDE
  • deepin 15.4 Released, With Download Link & Mirrors
    deepin 15.4 GNU/Linux operating system has been released at April 19th 2017. I list here one official download link and two faster mirrors from Sourceforge. I listed here the Mega and Google mirrors as well but remember they don't provide direct download. The 15.4 provided only as 64 bit, the 32 bit version has already dropped (except by commercial support). I hope this short list helps you.

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Overlayfs snapshots
    At the 2017 Vault storage conference, Amir Goldstein gave a talk about using overlayfs in a novel way to create snapshots for the underlying filesystem. His company, CTERA Networks, has used the NEXT3 ext3-based filesystem with snapshots, but customers want to be able to use larger filesystems than those supported by ext3. Thus he turned to overlayfs as a way to add snapshots for XFS and other local filesystems. NEXT3 has a number of shortcomings that he wanted to address with overlayfs snapshots. Though it only had a few requirements, which were reasonably well supported, NEXT3 never got upstream. It was ported to ext4, but his employer stuck with the original ext3-based system, so the ext4 version was never really pushed for upstream inclusion.
  • Five days and counting
    It is five days left until foss-north 2017, so it is high time to get your ticket! Please notice that tickets can be bought all the way until the night of the 25th (Tuesday), but catering is only included is you get your ticket on the 24th (Monday), so help a poor organizer and get your tickets as soon as possible!
  • OpenStack Radium? Maybe…but it could be Formidable
    OK the first results are in from the OpenStack community naming process for the R release. The winner at this point is Radium.
  • Libreboot Wants Back Into GNU
    Early this morning, Libreboot’s lead developer Leah Rowe posted a notice to the project’s website and a much longer post to the project’s subreddit, indicating that she would like to submit (or resubmit, it’s not clear how that would work at this point) the project to “rejoin the GNU Project.” The project had been a part of GNU from May 14 through September 15 of last year, at which time Ms. Rowe very publicly removed the project from GNU while making allegations of misdeeds by both GNU and the Free Software Foundation. Earlier this month, Rowe admitted that she had been dealing with personal issues at the time and had overreacted. The project also indicated that it had reorganized and that Rowe was no longer in full control.
  • Understanding the complexity of copyleft defense

    The fundamental mechanism defending software freedom is copyleft, embodied in GPL. GPL, however, functions only through upholding it--via GPL enforcement. For some, enforcement has been a regular activity for 30 years, but most projects don't enforce: they live with regular violations. Today, even under the Community Principles of GPL Enforcement, GPL enforcement is regularly criticized and questioned. The complex landscape is now impenetrable for developers who wish their code to remain forever free. This talk provides basic history and background information on the topic.

  • After Bill Gates Backs Open Access, Steve Ballmer Discovers The Joys Of Open Data
    A few months ago, we noted that the Gates Foundation has emerged as one of the leaders in requiring the research that it funds to be released as open access and open data -- an interesting application of the money that Bill Gates made from closed-source software. Now it seems that his successor as Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, has had a similar epiphany about openness. Back in 2001, Ballmer famously called GNU/Linux "a cancer". Although he later softened his views on software somewhat, that was largely because he optimistically claimed that the threat to Microsoft from free software was "in the rearview mirror". Not really: today, the Linux-based Android has almost two orders of magnitude more market share than Windows Phone.
  • New Open Door Policy for GitHub Developer Program
    GitHub has opened the doors on its three year old GitHub Developer Program. As of Monday, developers no longer need to have paid accounts to participate. "We're opening the program up to all developers, even those who don't have paid GitHub accounts," the company announced in a blog post. "That means you can join the program no matter which stage of development you're in,"
  • MuleSoft Joins the OpenAPI Initiative: The End of the API Spec Wars
    Yesterday, MuleSoft, the creators of RAML, announced that they have joined the Open API Initiative. Created by SmartBear Software and based on the wildly popular Swagger Specification, the OpenAPI Initiative is a Linux Foundation project with over 20 members, including Adobe, IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce.