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Open Source Is Killing Us

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Garrison is half-right about the fatal nature of open source. Viewed in isolation, these problems are insurmountable.

But if you put them together, the problems solve each other. Service providers overwhelmed by open source can turn to vendors to solve the problem, and pay the vendors to do it.

Sure, it's a tough competitive environment for both service providers and vendors. But that's what disruption looks like.

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Leftovers: OSS

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  • Slack smackback: There's no IRC in team (software), say open-sourcers

    Open-source software is not possible without collaboration and collaboration is not possible without communication. Collaborative communication in open source projects typically means some form of distributed chat.

    In the past, and indeed the present for most projects, that has meant IRC. IRC has some disadvantages, though, and developers love a shiny new toy, which is part of the reason more than a few projects have moved to Slack, the startup attracting crazy amounts of venture investment and equally crazy valuations.


    There are ongoing efforts to improve IRC, notably the IRCv3 project, but if you're looking for a solution right now, IRC comes up short.

    And there's no question that Slack is a very well designed, easy to use chat system. But it's closed source, which makes it a questionable choice for open-source projects. Still, if good old IRC really isn't working any more - and I would suggest your project take some time to really evaluate that question before proceeding - there are open-source Slack imitators that can also solve some of the problems with IRC, but are self-hosted and FOSS licensed.

  • TP-Link blocks open-source router firmware to comply with new FCC rules

    If you're a fan of third-party software that adds functionality to a Wi-Fi router, your options just got smaller. The Federal Communications Commission has new rules designed to make sure routers operate only within their licensed frequencies and power levels. TP-Link is complying by blocking open-source firmware like the Linux-based OpenWRT and DD-WRT from its routers. That’s the easiest way for router manufacturers to comply.

  • 4 projects for building an open source arcade

    You may have heard the news recently that the MAME project has been licensed under the GPL version 2.

    MAME, which originally stood for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, is probably the largest and most complete game emulation systems ever created, with the ability to emulate many original gaming systems, largely from the 80s and 90s. While primarily developed for Windows, MAME also compiles easily for Linux, and can be ported to other operating systems as well.

  • 4 open source tools for writing your next screenplay

    While I was putting together slides for my lightning talk at Great Wide Open (happening March 16-17), Not that Weird: Open Source Tools for Creatives, I remembered that in the last half of 2015 we had a bit of a loss from our open source creative toolbox. I think I was little late to the game in realizing this—after all, the last official stable release of Celtx (the open source, desktop version) was in 2012—but for folks paying attention, it's been a long time coming.

  • User Security Relies on Encryption

    Security of users is paramount. Technology companies need to do everything in their power to ensure the security of their users and build products and services with strong security measures in place to do that.

    At Mozilla, it’s part of our mission to safeguard the Web and to take a stand on issues that threaten the health of the Internet. People need to understand and engage with encryption as a core technology that keeps our everyday transactions and conversations secure. That’s why, just days before the Apple story broke, we launched an awareness campaign to educate users on the importance of encryption.

  • Crate Built a Distributed SQL Database System To Run Within Containers

    Crate Technology has designed a database system for supporting Docker containers and microservices. The technology stresses ease of use, speed and scalability while retaining the ability to use SQL against very large data sets.

    Crate was built to run in ephemeral environments, said Christian Lutz, Crate CEO. It was the ninth official Docker image in the Docker Registry and has been downloaded more than 350,000 times in the past six months. It can be managed with Docker tools, or with Kubernetes or Mesos.

  • Tips for LibreOffice newbies

    Li Haoyi has written an excellent blog post entitled "Diving Into Other People's Code" about diving into an unfamilar codebase (HN discussion here).

    I think this is really very helpful for anyone who wants to look at the LibreOffice source for the first time. Many of the things he mentions are directly relatable to LibreOffice - in particular getting your dev environment setup is particularly relatable.

  • Shopify plugin for WordPress launched
  • WooCommerce Gets Competition From Shopify
  • Shopify Launches Ecommerce Plugin for WordPress
  • Shopify for WordPress Unveiled With Three, Free Themes
  • What's New in Open Source CMS In March '16
  • Share your Insights in the 2016 Future of Open Source Survey

    The interesting thing will be to see if the results continue to accelerate at the same rate or even faster. You can see results of last year's survey here. Follow the 2016 Future of Open Source Survey on Twitter at #FutureOSS and @FutureOfOSS, and stay tuned to for future updates and results.

  • Obama Administration’s Draft Source Code Policy Requires Free Software

    The Obama administration last week published a draft software source code policy that requires all government agencies to publish their custom-build software as free software for public use, according to the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

  • Open Source Learning

    The U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen program is an initiative to use openly licensed educational resources in the classroom. Chesterfield schools have a national reputation as a pioneer in the use of these programs, and is one of six school districts nationwide to be named a #GoOpen Ambassador District, to mentor other school systems in implementing the program.

  • The Deep Roots of Javascript Fatigue

    When I was more active in the frontend community, the changes seemed minor. We’d occasionally make switches in packaging (RequireJS → Browserify), or frameworks (Backbone → Components). And sometimes we’d take advantage of new Node/v8 features. But for the most part, the updates were all incremental.


    On the other hand, Brendan Eich, now the Mozilla CTO, argued for the changes. In an open letter to Chris Wilson, he objected to the fact that Microsoft was just now withdrawing support for a spec which had been in the works for years.

Linux and FOSS Events

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  • Open source is center stage at Open Networking Summit

    Open Networking Summit (ONS) kicked off in Santa Clara this week, the first event since becoming part of the Linux Foundation.

    Guru Parulkar, Nick McKeown and Dan Pitt started the Open Networking summit back in 2011. Yesterday, Parulkar said in his keynote that they started the summit as a small event to highlight the latest developments in software defined networking (SDN), and to accelerate SDN adoption by network operators and service providers.

    But as almost everything is become software defined and adoption is increasing, ONS became an important event for the industry and community. The immense adoption of open source led the team to increase focus on open source and open source platforms.

  • Debian SunCamp 2016 Is Taking Place May 26-29 in the Province of Girona, Spain

    The Debian community is preparing yet another awesome event for the of spring 2016, where you can meet new people, share knowledge, relax, plan cool features for the Debian GNU/Linux operating system, and have a good time while at it.

  • Great Wide Open Day One in Twitter Pics
  • AsiaBSDCon OpenBSD papers

    This year's AsiaBSDCon has come to an end, with a number of OpenBSD-related talks being presented. Two developers were also invited to the smaller "bhyvecon" event to discuss vmm(4) and future plans.

Leftovers: OSS

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  • DreamHost replaces VMware SDN with open source for big savings

    In a convincing example of the viability of open source networking, cloud provider DreamHost saved 70% in capital and 40% in operational costs by replacing VMware’s NSX SDN with open source alternatives.

    In a presentation at the Open Networking Summit here, suppliers Cumulus Networks and Akanda – a DreamHost spin-out NFV business -- said the cloud provider replaced NSX due to scaling and Layer 3 support issues. DreamHost did not speak and was not present during the presentation, but posted a blog entry on the project here last Friday.

  • Google’s Open-Source AGI is Disruptive

    The DeepMind Challenge victory demonstrates that Google’s open-source “artificial general intelligence” has just launched a new era of disruptive technology.

  • Mossberg: The False Debate Between Open and Closed in Tech

    Just as in politics, there are passionate, long-running disputes in tech. And, in one such never-ending argument, the weapons used are the words “open” and “closed.” Open is usually considered good, and closed is bad. But it turns out these words, which once really meant something, now have very loose definitions and surprising contradictions.

    In my mind, that often renders the debate phony.

    For instance, would you believe that Apple, which is most often accused of being “closed,” supports and uses open software in some of its most recognizable products? Or that Google, often viewed as a champion of openness, uses closed, proprietary software in some of its most familiar products?

  • Open Sourcers Race to Build Better Versions of Slack

    That’s why the open source community has been racing to build better versions of Slack, even though countless open source chat apps exist already. In fact, Slack alternative Mattermost and topped the Black Duck Rookies of the Year report, an annual list of new open source projects that attract the most developers and produce the most code. Along with other open source chat apps such as Friends and Let’s Chat, these projects are hoping to provide not just a more open alternative to Slack, but beat the company at its own game by providing features Slack doesn’t yet have.

  • What do open-source software development and entrepreneurship have in common?

    Around 23 percent of Kuwait's total workforce works in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), according to the World Bank. However, these companies only contribute about 3.1 percent to the national GDP.

    In an attempt to diversify its income sources, which rely mainly on oil, the Kuwaiti government launched the Kuwait National Fund for SME Development in 2013, which supports startups and SMEs.

    Nuwait had a chat with Kuwaiti entrepreneur Mohammad AlMarzouq, cofounder of web development company KBSoft about the three things that helped him venture into entrepreneurship.

  • Welcome New OSI Board Directors: 2016 Election Results

    We would also like to thank our outgoing Board Directors, Bruno Souza, Simon Phipps and Tony Wasserman. Through their dedication and insights the OSI has grown in size and purpose, and matured as an organization.

    We would be remiss if we did not also recognize the special role of Simon Phipps who, in addition to serving several terms as Board President, also shepherded the OSI's transition to a member-led organization, which made these elections possible.

  • TP-Link Promises Ban on Open Source Wireless Router Firmware

    In a sign that device manufacturers are taking seriously the FCC's new restrictions on open source firmware, TP-Link has announced that it will no longer sell wireless routers in the U.S. that support Linux-based firmwares like DD-WRT.

  • Registration Now Open for Free Cloud Technologies Course
  • V8 Release 5.0

    The first step in the V8 release process is a new branch from the git master immediately before Chromium branches for a Chrome Beta milestone (roughly every six weeks). Our newest release branch is V8 5.0, which will remain in beta until we release a stable build in conjunction with Chrome 50 Stable. Here’s a highlight of the new developer-facing features in this version of V8.

  • Google's V8 JavaScript Engine Hits Version 5.0

    The Chrome 50 web-browser will usher in the stable build of V8 5.0 as its JavaScript engine.

    Version 5.0 of the V8 JavaScript engine features improved ECMAScript 2015 support with regexp unicode flags and regexp customization hooks, performance improvements for ES2015 and ES5 features, and changes to the V8 API.

  • [LibreOffice] Live from CeBIT
  • Crate Raises $4M for New Container Database Technology

    The founder of Docker Inc. invests in new technology that provides a very different and very distributed way to build a container database.
    As Docker container use continues to grow, there is a need for a distributed database technology that is built for the container era, which is precisely what Crate Technology is now aiming to deliver.

    Crate Technology today announced a $4 million seed funding round to help build, develop and extend its open-source-based container database technology. Among Crate Technology's investors is Solomon Hykes, the founder of Docker Inc.

  • Interested in a powerful, free software friendly workstation?
  • White House requires agencies to share custom code with open-source community

    The White House has released for public comment a draft of its Source Code Policy, which establishes rules for sharing customized software between federal agencies, in the hopes of improving government access to applications and reducing development costs.

  • Yes, You Can Reconcile The Wide Sharing Of Personal Medical Research Data With Greater Participant Control

    Although the benefits of sharing big datasets are well-known, so are the privacy issues that can arise as a result. The tension between a desire to share information widely and the need to respect the wishes of those to whom it refers is probably most acute in the medical world. Although the hope is that aggregating health data on a large scale can provide new insights into diseases and their treatments, doing so makes issues of consent even trickier to deal with. A new study of Parkinson's disease from Sage Bionetworks, which describes itself as a "non-profit biomedical research organization," takes a particularly interesting approach.

  • Enourmous Git Repositories

    One thing you probably wouldn’t do is import the whole thing into a single Git repo, it’s pretty well known that Git isn’t designed for that. But, you know, Git does have some tools that let you pretend it’s a centralised version control system, and, huge monolithic repos are cool, and it works in Mercurial… evidence is worth more than hearsay, so I decided to create a Git repo with 10GB of text files to see what happened. I did get told in #git on Freenode that Git will not cope with a repo that’s larger than available RAM, but I was a little suspicious given the number of multi-gigabyte Git repos in existance.

  • WebAssembly Support Begins Materializing In Multiple Browsers

    WebAssembly, the year-old effort for creating a low-level programming language for in-browser client-side scripting with cross-browser support is making more progress.

OpenStack and Servers

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FOSS Databases

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5 Mistakes Open Source Software Companies Make, and How to Avoid Them

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What does it take for open source software companies -- and their partners -- to thrive? Fifteen years ago, that would have been a tough question to answer. But now, with so many companies already having gone open source, it's easy to look back and identify what makes open source work, and which mistakes open source companies should avoid.

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The one thing Microsoft must do - but won't - to gain open-source trust

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So, why are people still paying up rather than fighting? Because patent litigation is incredibly expensive. It's cheaper to pay a $5 to $15 per device licensing fee than to pay a small fortune and take even a remote chance of failure in court.

And Microsoft? Come on, back in 2014, Microsoft was already making about $3.4 billion from its Android patents. Samsung alone paid Microsoft a billion bucks to license its Android patents. This is serious money even by Fortune 500 standards.

In its last quarter, between volume licensing and patents, Microsoft accounted for approximately 9 percent of Microsoft's total revenue.

And, that, of course, is why Microsoft is never going to stop charging for its Android patents. So long as the boys from Redmond can milk these patents for billions every year, they're going to keep them.

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DAASI, Collabora team to bring identity management to CloudSuite, LibreOffice Online

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Collabora Productivity, the company that offers commercial solutions based on LibreOffice, has partnered with DAASI International, a provider of open source authentication, single sign-on (SSO) and federated identity management products to provide identity management integration solutions for CloudSuite. DAASI will also offer support and implementation services for companies who want to integrate CloudSuite into their IT landscape.

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SwagArch 18.02 - U Got Swag?

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Programming: Developer Survey, Code That Unmasks, Retaining Newcomers

  • Developers love trendy new languages but earn more with functional programming
    Developer Q&A site Stack Overflow performs an annual survey to find out more about the programmer community, and the latest set of results has just been published.
  • FYI: AI tools can unmask anonymous coders from their binary executables [Ed: Just a kind reminder that if you are e using Microsoft's tools compile source code, there will be surveillance and telemetry in your compiled code]
    Programmers can be potentially identified from the low-level machine-code instructions in their software executables by AI-powered tools. That's according to boffins from Princeton University, Shiftleft, Drexel University, Sophos, and Braunschweig University of Technology, who have described how stylometry can be applied to binary files. That's kinda bad news for people who wish to develop software, such as privacy-protecting apps, anonymously, as this technology can be used to potentially unmask them. It's also kinda good news for crimefighters trying to identify malware authors.
  • How to avoid humiliating newcomers: A guide for advanced developers
    Every year in New York City, a few thousand young men come to town, dress up like Santa Claus, and do a pub crawl. One year during this SantaCon event, I was walking on the sidewalk and minding my own business, when I saw an extraordinary scene. There was a man dressed up in a red hat and red jacket, and he was talking to a homeless man who was sitting in a wheelchair. The homeless man asked Santa Claus, "Can you spare some change?" Santa dug into his pocket and brought out a $5 bill. He hesitated, then gave it to the homeless man. The homeless man put the bill in his pocket. In an instant, something went wrong. Santa yelled at the homeless man, "I gave you $5. I wanted to give you one dollar, but five is the smallest I had, so you oughtta be grateful. This is your lucky day, man. You should at least say thank you!" [...] I still get angry at people on the internet. It happened to me recently, when someone posted a comment on a video I published about Python co-routines. It had taken me months of research and preparation to create this video, and then a newcomer commented, "I want to master python what should I do."

Software: 5 Online Backup Solutions, Lector, Roundcube

  • 5 Online Backup Solutions for Ubuntu Linux
    As the digital age progresses, the amount of data we produce each year is snowballing. There was a time when we could fit all of our personal digital data on a few floppy disks, but many of us now have hundreds of gigabytes, or even terabytes, of photos, videos, music, and documents that we need to backup and protect. Backing up our data locally is essential, but any good backup plan should also include off-site backups. “The Cloud” has promised us unlimited, cheap storage where we can save our ever-growing data. Online cloud backups should be a part of your overall backup plan, but it’s crucial that your data is secure, encrypted, and backed up automatically. Here are a few online backup tools that aim to make cloud backups easy for desktop Linux users.
  • This Qt eBook App for Linux is a Real Page Turner
    Lector a new open-source Qt-based ebook app for Linux desktops. It supports most common DRM-free ebook files, including EPUB, MOBI, and AZW, as well as comic book files in the CBZ or CBR format. In both visuals and in features Lector is something of a page-turner; a desktop ebook reader you can absolutely judge by its cover. So join me as I take a closer look at its features.
  • Roundcube fr_FEM locale 1.3.5
    Roundcube 1.3.5 was released today and with it, I've released version 1.3.5 of my fr_FEM (French gender-neutral) locale. This latest version is actually the first one that can be used with a production version of Roundcube: the first versions I released were based on the latest commit in the master branch at the time instead of an actual release. Not sure why I did that.