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OSS

Could more open source in schools help plug the skills gap?

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OSS

This week saw the final for an open source coding competition open to Key Stage Three school students, bringing in 10 schools and roughly 100 pupils across the UK to build an open source app for the charity of their choice – and the organisers believe it could provide a small blueprint for open source solving the computing skills gap.

Now in its second year, the competition originally evolved from a conversation between the heads of computing at two independent schools, Churcher’s and Lord Wandsworth’s College (LWC), where the two agreed that it was a “shame” that they didn’t collaborate more on programming projects. So they tried their hands at organising one.

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Free Software and "Open Source"

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GNU
OSS
  • Is open source open for business?

    The free software movement, which was founded in 1983 with the establishment of the GNU Project and later The Free Software Foundation (FSF) began the open source environment that we know today.

  • Open source at 20: The ubiquity of shared code

    The start of “open source” began around 1998, when OSI’s Phipps says the company Netscape came along with plans to release its browser code under a free software license. Instead of going for the GPL, the company created a new license, which became known as the Mozilla project license. “It became obvious that there was a big slice of this software freedom movement that was unrepresented. Tied up with that was a difficulty in talking about it because the words the movement used to talk about it up to that point were confusing. When you hear the world free, you assume it doesn’t cost anything,” he said.

    So, in 1998, a group of people got together and decided to reframe the software freedom movement in a way that would allow people to quickly understand what it was about, and would allow businesses to embrace it without needing to engage in a complicated debate about ethics, Phipps explained. Out of that, came the decision to use the term open source.

    “The introduction of the term ‘open-source software’ was a deliberate effort to make this field of endeavor more understandable to newcomers and to business, which was viewed as necessary to its spread to a broader community of users,” Christine Peterson, who is known for coining the term open source, wrote in a February blog post retelling the story. According to OSI’s Phipps, the term open source had already been commonly used in the industry at that point, but really took off when Peterson and Todd Anderson began using the term at a meeting at VA Research. Weeks later, the term was picked up by Tim O’Reilly, who renamed his Freeware Summit to Open Source Summit, and was also started to be used by Netscape.

    “For the name to succeed, it was necessary, or at least highly desirable, that Tim O’Reilly agree and actively use it in his many projects on behalf of the community. Also helpful would be use of the term in the upcoming official release of the Netscape Navigator code. By late February, both O’Reilly & Associates and Netscape had started to use the term,” Peterson wrote.

SiFive To Release Code As Open-Source For Fully Initializing The RISC-V Board

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Hardware
OSS

Last week we noted how some of the code to boot the RISC-V SiFive HiFive Unleashed development board was closed-source. That upset some in the Coreboot community with hoping for a more open development board built around the RISC-V open-source processor ISA. The good news is that SiFive will soon be releasing the necessary code for initialization as open-source.

The code for initializing the DDR controller was not open-source and SiFive believed they could not open-source it. The good news is that SiFive has discovered they will be able to open-source it.

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5 open source alternatives to Skype

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OSS

If you've been a working adult for more than a decade, you probably remember the high cost and complexity of doing audio- and video conferences. Conference calls were arranged through third-party vendors, and video conferences required dedicated rooms with expensive equipment at every endpoint.

That all started changing by the mid-2000s, as webcams became mainstream computer equipment and Skype and related services hit the market. The cost and complexity of video conferencing decreased rapidly, as nearly anyone with a webcam, a speedy internet connection, and inexpensive software could communicate with colleagues, friends, family members, even complete strangers, right from their home or office PC. Nowadays, your smartphone's video camera puts web conferencing in the palm of your hand anywhere you have a robust cellular or WiFi connection and the right software. But most of that software is proprietary.

Fortunately, there are a handful of powerful open source video-conferencing solutions that can replicate the features of Skype and similar applications. In this roundup, we've focused on applications that can accommodate multiple participants across various locations, although we do offer a couple of 1:1 communications solutions at the end that may meet your needs.

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US Senator Recommends Open-Source WireGuard To NIST For Government VPN

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OSS
Security

One of the additions we have been looking forward to seeing in the mainline Linux kernel in 2018 is WireGuard. WireGuard is the open-source, performance-minded, and secure VPN tunnel. WireGuard is designed to be run within the Linux kernel but has also been ported to other platforms.

WireGuard hasn't yet made it into the mainline Linux kernel, but it's looking like it still stands good chances of doing so in 2018. Curious about the state, I asked WireGuard's lead developer Jason Donenfeld this week. He informed me that he is in the process of preparing the patch(es) for review and that it won't hopefully be much longer before that happens. Of course, following the review process is when it could be integrated into the mainline Linux kernel at the next available merge window (he gave no explicit indication, but if it's to happen this year, that would mean Linux 4.19 or Linux 5.0).

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nChain’s Key Generating Software Is Not Open Source

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OSS

nChain, the Jimmy Nguyen and Craig Wright blockchain scaling company that focuses entirely on Bitcoin Cash, is not open source. This, despite creating key generating software that is crucial for security.

nChain’s SDK, dubbed “Nakasendo” has a Github repository that is completely devoid of source code. There is a file that says “source code” but inside curious users will only find the same license and readme file available separately on the Nakasendo repository.

While it is not unusual for developers to open a near empty repository in order to act as a holding page for when the real work begins, it is the license already included that disqualifies nChain from being open source.

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Also: GitHub Developers Are Giving Microsoft a Chance [Ed: Which ones? The one Conde Nast spoke to for this Microsoft puff piece? Many delete GitHub already.]

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • ASIFA-Hollywood Continues Commitment to Open-Source Animation Technology

    The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood announced its continued commitment to open-source animation technology earlier in June with a special development sponsorship to Synfig, a 2D vector graphics animation program. The amount awarded was $2,000. This grant will help keep their new developer employed full-time, working on bug-fixes and improving stability of the free and open source software.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: FLIR Systems

    FLIR Systems is enabling the acceleration of being able to test thermal sensors on autonomous vehicles with the release of its open-source thermal dataset, which features more than 10,000 annotated thermal images of day and nighttime scenarios.

    The company has over a decade of experience within the automotive industry. More than 500,000 FLIR thermal sensors are installed in driver warning systems from various automakers including General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, according to the company.

    This dataset will enable developers to evaluate thermal sensors on next-generation algorithms. By combining this data with visible light cameras, LiDAR, and RADAR, developers will be able to build a more comprehensive and redundant system for identifying objects on the road.

  • Keeping Ethereum's Promise: CryptoKitties Is Embracing Open-Source

    Announced this week, CryptoKitties debuted a number of new initiatives that will further decentralize its popular ethereum app, which while largely passing under the radar, show the startup is making strides to give users rights. It's been the subject of criticism for the beloved game, which raised $12 million in March with the expectation it would loosen controls on its code in line with the larger crypto ethos.

    Among a slew of updates, CryptoKitties is open-sourcing its API and smart contracts for gameplay in the KittyVerse – a virtual world of experiences including catfights, racing and accessories – through a developer toolkit. Plus, it's updated its user agreements to be more lenient and introduced a players' rights contract called the Nifty License.

  • CryptoKitties Goes Open Source

    One of the most popular ethereum-based dApp projects, CryptoKitties, has announced several changes and new initiatives to further decentralize the premium virtual feline offering, reports CoinDesk.

    [...]

    In addition, it has also raised questions about whether the project really operates in a truly decentralized manner. For instance, it is possible for Kitty Core, the owner of the CryptoKitties project, to edit the underlying algorithm and mutate a popular or high-worth digital kitten despite objections from the kitten's owner. Essentially, the project runs in a centralized manner, with the project owner(s) having the utmost power.

  • What does Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub mean for the future of open source? [Ed: White Source is a Trojan horse. Now it's perfuming Microsoft entryism]
  • Puppet's Cisco-Led $42M Round Going to Cloud and Containers

PostgreSQL 11 Beta 2 Released

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Server
OSS
  • PostgreSQL 11 Beta 2 Released!

    The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces that the second beta release of PostgreSQL 11 is now available for download. This release contains previews of all features that will be available in the final release of PostgreSQL 11 (though some details of the release could change before then) as well as bug fixes that were reported during the first beta.

    In the spirit of the open source PostgreSQL community, we strongly encourage you to test the new features of PostgreSQL 11 in your database systems to help us eliminate any bugs or other issues that may exist. While we do not advise for you to run PostgreSQL 11 Beta 2 in your production environments, we encourage you to find ways to run your typical application workloads against this beta release.

  • PostgreSQL 11 Beta 2 Released With VACUUM & XML Fixes

    One month has passed since PostgreSQL 11 Beta 1 while today the second beta has succeeded it.

    PostgreSQL 11 is prepping many new features including various performance improvements, better partitioning, parallelism enhancements, SQL stored procedure handling, initial JIT compilation for some code using LLVM, various performance optimizations, and much more.

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • GIPE: Open source tech is here to stay

    Open source technology is here to stay, according to Martin Yagi, IP manager of First Light Fusion, speaking at the Global IP Exchange in London.

    Speaking in a presentation on maintaining IP integrity whilst participating in open source, Yagi said that applications for technologies featuring open source increased by 60 percent alone from 2016 to 2017.

    He highlighted that in terms of industry, there had been a 16 percent in hardware products and 69 percent increase infrastructure applications featuring open source technology.

    Despite a bright future for open source technology, Yagi warned there are some dire consequences for those who don’t comply with regulations relating to open source.

  • What Is Open Source? Why Open Source Software Are Popular?

    Nobody has ever accused me of being a romantic, but I have been overturned by the generosity of these geeks around the world who have contributed their skills for free, free of charge and for nothing to a huge library of freely accessible software. A Google search for “open source accounting software” produces 31 million hits and although two thirds of them will be freeloaders trying to sell you some 10 million free accounting packages cannot be a bad thing, though two thirds of those hits will be technical “Freeware”, rather than real open source, we still have a very large number to play.

  • Facebook Watson & Open Cellular Rotundu Get Coreboot Support

    Two interesting mainboards are now supported by mainline Coreboot Git.

    First up is support for the Facebook Watson. I haven't been able to find much about the Watson, but appears to be one of their Open Compute Project boards. Watson is Broadwell-based and its firmware support package is derived from the Intel Camelback Mountain.

  • Quantum open source fund launched

    A ‘no-strings’ grant program targeting developers of quantum computing software has been launched with the aim of filling the gaps in the nascent field.

    The Unitary Fund – its name taken from the physics concept of unitarity – is offering US$2000 grants to projects developing open source quantum software for near term, hybrid quantum-classical programming.

    Any project that “will benefit humanity that leverages near-term quantum computing” qualifies to apply for the fund.

Openwashing, FUD, and Entryism

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OSS
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Linux Foundation and Linux Development

  • Linux Foundation launches LF Energy open source platform
    Launched with support from Europe’s biggest transmission power systems provider and other organizations, LF Energy aims to streamline everything from system operator smart assistants to smart grid control software. It will serve as an umbrella organization that supports collaboration among vendors in the energy sector to advance information and communication technologies (ICT) that impact the energy balance and brings about economic value.
  • FPGA Device Feature List Framework Coming For Linux 4.19
    There's already a new framework coming to Linux 4.19 in the form of Google's Gasket while queued this week is now another new framework: the FPGA Device Feature List.
  • AMDGPU Firmware Updated From 18.20, Vega M Blobs Added
    The latest AMDGPU firmware/microcode binary images for Radeon GPUs have landed in the Linux-Firmware Git tree. Hitting linux-firmware.git minutes ago was the latest batch of AMDGPU firmware files from Bonaire and Hawaii up through Vega 10, Polaris, and Raven hardware. The updated firmware images are the same as what AMD recently shipped with the Radeon Software 18.20 hybrid driver package. No change-logs of what is different about these updated firmware images are currently available, but most of the time it's mostly routine and mundane fixes/updates.
  • Nvidia 390.77 Linux Graphics Driver Improves Compatibility with Latest Kernels
    Nvidia released a new version of its long-lived proprietary display driver for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris systems to add compatibility with recent Linux kernels and fix various bugs. While not a major release, the Nvidia 390.77 proprietary graphics driver brings better compatibility with the latest Linux kernels. However, Nvidia didn't mention if it's now possible to compile its proprietary display drivers with the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel series or just with the recent Linux 4.17 point releases. In addition to improving compatibility with recent Linux kernels, the Nvidia 390.77 proprietary display driver for Linux-based operating systems addresses a random hang issue that could occur for some users when running Vulkan apps in full-screen mode and flipping was allowed.

today's howtos

Ballerina reinvents cloud-native programming

Ballerina has been inspired by Java, Go, C, C++, Rust, Haskell, Kotlin, Dart, TypeScript, JavaScript, Swift, and other languages. It is an open source project, distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, and you can find its source code in the project's GitHub repository. Read more

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