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OSS

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • NHSX will not develop new standards, says senior tech advisor

    If you were wondering how NHSX will be developing new standards to speed up innovation, its senior technology advisor, Terence Eden, has a very blunt answer for you. They won’t.

    “Developing standards takes a huge amount of time, effort and money and those are three things which we don’t have,” he told delegates at the Healthcare Excellence Through Technology (HETT) event in London today.

    Instead, NHSX will look for the best international open standards which are already in use.

    “We want to be able to buy software from around the world and we want our software to integrate with other health systems. We can’t take a parochial attitude to data and integration anymore,” Eden said.  

    And as for developers who approach NHSX with closed standard solutions, Eden has an even blunter response: “They will get a firm but polite refusal and it might not be that polite.” 

    The NHS does not want to be beholden to repeatedly buying from the same suppliers, he explained.

  • NGINX Announces New Versions of Open Source, Commercial, and Partner Solutions, Helping Businesses Evolve Apps for the Digital Era

    This year’s updates are different, though – not only because of specific new features and functions, but because we’re now supported by the breadth and depth of F5. Collectively, these updates represent a bold extension to our vision.

    But first, let’s explain why these updates are needed in today’s fast‑paced, digital era.

    Three Waves of Digital Transformation Organizations are at a digital tipping point. The pressure to grow revenues, compete on a global scale, and keep costs in check requires a digital‑first approach. But the evolution to a digital business doesn’t happen overnight. Digital transformation is a journey.

  • Multi-Cloud on the rise and Open Source disrupting the modern application stack
  • Cruise Open Sources DSL Framework for Kubernetes

    The bulk of the contributions being made to the open source Kubernetes ecosystem come from IT vendors. However, as IT organizations become more familiar with the platform, many of them are starting to make significant contributions.

    Case in point is Cruise, a startup building autonomous vehicles, which has launched Isopod, an open source domain-specific language (DSL) framework designed to make it easier to configure multiple Kubernetes clusters.

    Charles Xu, a software engineer at Cruise, says Cruise has employed Isopod to migrate add-ons and add new ones to multiple Kubernetes clusters. The result has been 80% faster rollouts and a 60% reduction in code size, thanks to reuse.

    Instead of relying on YAML files, Isopod renders Kubernetes objects as Protocol Buffers (Protobufs) that can be consumed by the Kubernetes application programming interface (API). Kubernetes objects and cluster targets are scripted in Starlark, a Python dialect created by Google. Isopod extends Starlark with runtime built-ins to access services and utilities such as Vault secrets management, Kubernetes apiserver, HTTP requester, Base64 encoder and UUID generator to replace CLI dependencies. Isopod also uses a separate runtime for unit tests to mock all built-ins.

  • Confluent adds free tier to Kafka real-time streaming data cloud service

    When Confluent launched a cloud service in 2017, it was trying to reduce some of the complexity related to running a Kafka streaming data application. Today, it introduced a free tier to that cloud service. The company hopes to expand its market beyond large technology company customers, and the free tier should make it easier for smaller companies to get started.

    The new tier provides up to $50 of service a month for up to three months. Company CEO Jay Kreps says that while $50 might not sound like much, it’s actually hundreds of gigabytes of throughput and makes it easy to get started with the tool.

  • Cloudera’s Shaun Bierweiler: Open Source Software Facilitates Customization, Integration in Support of Gov’t Mission

    In addition, the nature of the software enables it to support backward-compatible application programming interfaces as well as newer programs and apps.

  • All You Need to Know About an Open Source Software

    Open source is simply a term that refers to something people transform and simply share because its design is publicly accessible. The term open source is derived from the context of software development so that it can map a certain approach to creating computer programs.

    Open source software has been a dominant powerhouse acting behind the development of the internet. Whilst there are quite a number of free software programs out there, most of them are branded. This simply means that the development company owns the codes. The good thing about open source software is that it enables you to edit, and at the same time, adapt the source code as you see fit.

    [...]

    If you have this open source alternative, there is no need for you to pay for Office. Libre Office is a full suite of office software that encompass some exceptional apps for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, as well as database.

    With this all your documents will just look as sharp and professional and they will be no different from paid for software. The good thing is that there are quite a number of templates available at your disposal to download.

  • Advantages of open source software compared to paid equivalents

    Thanks to the internet revolution, the software industry has been one of the fastest-growing and highest-performing sectors over the last two decades. Innovation continues to push technology forward, creating new opportunities for startups to enter the market and break new ground.

    In the old days, software companies would develop products designed to run on desktop computers. That changed with the shift to cloud computing, where companies rely on hosting providers to manage their infrastructure and data centre needs.

    One major decision that enterprises face is whether to invest in open source technologies or go through a commercial route instead. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the key benefits of open source software and look at how they can support company growth.

  • Startup Uses Open Source to Help Cities Crunch Mobility Data

    As shared scooters, bikes and cars have proliferated through city streets across the U.S., local governments have been eager to get their hands on data about how people are using all those new options.

    That’s easier said than done. There are quite a few companies operating in the space, with varying levels of eagerness to share data, and privacy concerns to boot.

    With the emergence of data standards like the Mobility Data Specification that came out of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and others, it’s become more feasible. And that’s where Lacuna, a relatively young startup based in Palo Alto, Calif., is angling to make a name for itself.

  • Takeaway from MLOps NYC: Open Source Frameworks Need TLC
  • Welcome to the Fediverse

    If you're looking for social media options where the user has more control, you'll find a range of options to explore in the Fediverse, including the popular Mastodon.

    Despite what it may seem, despite its promise of unbridled communication possibilities and its supposed gift of giving voice to the traditionally voiceless, current social media is a walled garden at best, although a slimy cesspit with bars over the top would be a more apt description.

    The problem with the current social media status quo is that the platform does not have your interests at heart. The companies that run proprietary social media platforms gradually introduce more and more restrictive terms of service, package your personal data and sell it off to other companies and governments, make their algorithms more manipulative, and so on.

    [...]

    One discovery Cruz made early on was that artificial intelligence computer vision systems needed to read a standard set of icons asking for assistance instead of reading handwritten messages on the ground in various languages through optical character recognition. He settled on eight different icons—such as SOS, OK, food, water, medicine—drawn from a recognized set of icons used by the United Nations. They can be printed on mats that are distributed prior to a storm or spray-painted or drawn by hand.

Databases: MongoDB, ArangoDB and KarelDB

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OSS

Funding and Buyouts

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FOSS in Science

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  • Open-source radiotelemetry technology has potential to revolutionize wildlife research

    Biologists and ecologists monitor wildlife to learn more about their behaviors, but tracking small creatures can be challenging, time-consuming and costly. Through a National Science Foundation grant, a multidisciplinary team at Northern Arizona University—led by Michael Shafer, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Carol Chambers, professor of wildlife ecology; and Paul Flikkema, professor of electrical engineering—has developed technology that could revolutionize the way this research is conducted through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Better yet, the scientists are sharing what they have learned in a paper appearing in Methods of Ecology and Evolution, a peer-reviewed journal published by the British Ecological Society.

    “We want to help people who study wildlife better track small animals that have been tagged with tiny tracking devices, and we want other labs to take what we’ve learned and improve on it so that biologists have cost-effective tools that best suit their needs,” Shafer said.

    [...]

    As part of the NSF grant requirements, Shafer and his team are sharing how they created the device and what they have learned. In the published paper, Shafer, Flikkema and graduate students Gabriel Vega and Kellan Rothfus provide instructions and a list of the exact materials they used, such as the model of motors, the software they developed and all the other hardware specifications. The team also shared the information on a new website.

    By sharing exactly how they constructed their device, Shafer and his team hope that other labs and life scientists will adapt the technology to meet a suite of research needs.

    “If scientists are looking for a really small animal on the ground, the antenna can be configured straight down, but if they are looking for a songbird in a tree, obviously, the antenna should scan outward,” Shafer said. “There’s a learning curve, and the users will need to use what they know about animal behavior as they configure the device to work best for them. They will need to experiment with it.”

  • Deep learning powers a motion-tracking revolution

    A surge in the development of artificial-intelligence technology is driving a new wave of open-source tools for analysing animal behaviour and posture.

    [...]

    Di Santo was investigating the motions involved when fish such as skates swim. She filmed individual fish in a tank and manually annotated their body parts frame by frame, an effort that required about a month of full-time work for 72 seconds of footage. Using an open-source application called DLTdv, developed in the computer language MATLAB, she then extracted the coordinates of body parts — the key information needed for her research. That analysis showed, among other things, that when little skates (Leucoraja erinacea) need to swim faster, they create an arch on their fin margin to stiffen its edge.

    [...]

    DeepPoseKit offers “very good innovations”, Pereira says. Mathis disputes the validity of the performance comparisons, but Graving says that “our results offer the most objective and fair comparison we could provide”. Mathis’ team reported an accelerated version of DeepLabCut that can run on a mobile phone in an article posted in September on the arXiv preprint repository.

    Biologists who want to test multiple software solutions can try Animal Part Tracker, developed by Kristin Branson, a computer scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, and her colleagues. Users can select any of several posture-tracking algorithms, including modified versions of those used in DeepLabCut and LEAP, as well as another algorithm from Branson’s lab. DeepPoseKit also offers the option to use alternative algorithms, as will SLEAP.

  • After Hurricane Dorian, The 'Wikipedia Of Maps' Came To The Rescue

Trademark Law Against Amazon's (Mis)Use of Elasticsearch

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Legal
  • AWS faces Elasticsearch lawsuit for trademark infringement

    Elasticsearch has sued AWS for trademark infringement and false advertising in connection with the cloud giant's recently released version of the widely used Elasticsearch distributed analytics and search engine.

    Elasticsearch Inc., or Elastic, is based on the open-source Lucene project and Elastic serves as originator and primary maintainer. Tensions flared in March when AWS, along with Expedia and Netflix, launched Open Distro for Elasticsearch. The release is fully open source compared with Elastic's version and was actually prompted by Elastic's weaving too much proprietary code into the main line over time, according to AWS.

  • Open Source Search Firm Accuses Amazon of Trademark Infringement

    O'Melveny & Myers is representing search engine Elasticsearch in a complaint that alleges Amazon is willfully infringing its mark by promoting competing search and analytics products.

Open Hardware: OSKAR, Robotics, microscoPI and RISC-V

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Hardware
OSS
  • Mobile braille keyboard available as open source

    Bachelor student Johannes Střelka-Petz has designed a portable Braille keyboard for the blind and visually impaired. OSKAR, the prototype’s name, is an open source project. The blueprints and program code are freely available online.

    When blind and visually impaired people use a computer, they use a braille keyboard which is based on their own tactile writing system. This new braille keyboard has the advantage of haptic symbols. This option is not yet available for smartphones.

  • Amazing Open Source Quadruped Capable Of Dynamic Motion

    The more we read about [Josh Pieper]’s quadruped, the mjbots quad A0, the more blown away we are by his year of progress on the design. Each part of the robot deserves its own article: from the heavily modified brushless motors (with custom planetary gears) to the custom motor driver designed just for this project.

    [Josh], realized early on that the off-the-shelf components like an ODrive just weren’t going to cut it for his application. So he designed his own board, took it through four revisions, and even did thermal and cycle testing on it. He ended up with the compact moteus board. It can pump out 400 Watts of peak power while its 3Mbit control protocol leaves plenty of bandwidth for real time dynamic control.

  • A low-cost, open-source, computer-assisted microscope

    Low-cost open labware is a good thing in the world, and I was particularly pleased when micropalaeontologist Martin Tetard got in touch about the Raspberry Pi-based microscope he is developing. The project is called microscoPI (what else?), and it can capture, process, and store images and image analysis results. Martin is engaged in climate research: he uses microscopy to study tiny fossil remains, from which he gleans information about the environmental conditions that prevailed in the far-distant past.

  • A new blueprint for microprocessors challenges the industry’s giants

    risc-v offers computer architects a way to standardise their sockets and plumbing without having to gain permission from (and pay royalties to) either of the monopolists—for any company or individual may download it from the internet. It was originally written by computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, who wanted an instruction set that they could use for publishable research. Commercial producers of isas were reluctant to make theirs available, so the academics decided to buckle down and write their own.

    The result, risc-v, made its debut in 2014, at the Hot Chips microprocessor conference in California. It is now governed by a non-profit foundation. Though there are no formal royalties, the foundation does solicit donations as pro bono publico gestures from firms that employ risc-v architecture—for what was once a tool for academics is now proliferating commercially.

    There are three reasons for this proliferation. The most obvious is that the lack of royalties means using risc-v is less costly than employing a commercial isa. If the final product is a high-price object like a smartphone, that may not be a huge consideration. But for cheaper devices it is. Moreover, as chips are built into a growing range of products, such as home appliances, city infrastructure and factory equipment, it makes business sense to keep them as cheap as possible.

    A second, more subtle advantage is that, unlike chips based on proprietary designs, those involving risc-v can be used without lengthy and expensive contractual negotiations. It can take between six months and two years to negotiate a licence to use a chip design involving a commercial isa. In the world of computing, especially for a cash-strapped startup, that is an eternity.

  • 5 Startups Driving The Future Of Open Source Industry

    SiFive was founded in 2015 by the designer of RISC-V, which is an open-source hardware instruction set architecture based on established reduced instruction set computer principles. SiFive is one of the new players in the chip/semiconductor industry and has managed to raise total funding of $89.59 million to date, according to a source.

    The company creates open-source chip platform and also brings software automation to the semiconductor industry. Furthermore, with its open-source platform, SiFive has taken chip designing to a whole new level. The company is also coming up with an open-source chip design tool silicon chips. All you would need to do is choose a template that suits your application, create variations using a rich library of IP, run your application code on virtualized chips, order the chips and you will receive sample chips within weeks.

Drupal and WordPress News

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Server
OSS
Drupal
  • Acquia Acquired for $1B, WordPress 5.3 on the Horizon, More Open Source News

    Acquia has announced an agreement to receive a majority investment from Vista Equity Partners, which essentially translates into the investment company purchasing Acquia for a colossal $1 billion. The investment will enable the open-source digital experience company to continue growing its presence in the digital experience platform space. “Vista shares our belief that the DXP market is ripe for disruption and we are excited to partner with them to accelerate our plans,” said Michael Sullivan, Acquia CEO.

    Acquia’s press release noted that Acquia will “continue to operate independently”.

    This announcement came shortly after being named to the 2019 Forbes Cloud 100 for the fourth consecutive year and acquiring the first enterprise-grade, low-code Drupal website builder.

  • Daily Buzz: Drupal's Big Buyout
  • WordCamp Philly returns this weekend in all its open-source, community-powered glory

    In an age where the internet’s attention is hyper focused on the most recent tweet, only to be distracted the next minute, WordPress’ decade-long staying power can be attributed to its diverse and dedicated open-source community.

    WordPress values and strives to grow its community, and one of the ways it does that is through WordCamps. Philadelphia is home to one of the oldest WordCamps in the United States, and the annual daylong event is returning this weekend, Oct. 5 and 6, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

  • People of WordPress: Alice Orru

    Alice Orru was born in Sardinia, an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. As a child, she dreamt of becoming a flight attendant, traveling the world, and speaking many foreign languages.

    Unable to meet the height requirements of her chosen profession, Orru ended up choosing a different path in life, following the Italian mantra: “You have to study something that will guarantee a stable and secure job for life.”

    The unemployment rate in Sardinia is very high, a challenge shared throughout the surrounding islands. In addition to that, Alice wasn’t that keen on having the same job all her life, as her parents had.

    When Orru was 22 she moved to Siena, Tuscany, to finish her studies. That is when she created her first personal blog. The website was built on an Italian platform named Tiscali, which she later migrated to WordPress.com.

    After 2 years in Tuscany Orru moved to Strasbourg, France. She studied French and worked several jobs while living there. Her first serious job was in Milan – working 40 hours/week in the marketing department of a large, international company. She found herself surrounded by ambitious colleagues and a boss who constantly requested extra —unpaid— working hours per day.

Percona Database News

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Server
OSS
  • Percona Tunes Monitoring Platform For ‘Living Breathing’ Databases

    Modern enterprises run on information in the form of data, so they buy databases. Databases are nice solid chunky pieces of software that, once installed, neatly store away all the company’s operational and transactional information in easy-to-find predesignated areas… so after initial deployment, they pretty much look after themselves.

    Unfortunately, that’s not quite true. Databases are living breathing things that need to change and adapt to a variety of factors all the time. Here’s a selection of eight popular reasons that your firm’s information backbone might need to change...

  • Percona customers talk about database challenges

    At Percona Live in Amsterdam, the Open Source database company has released details from its latest customer survey. The results are interesting and suggest that the database market is less rigid, stable and predictable than you might think. They also show a propensity for larger customers to have more database instances than staff.

  • Percona details ‘state’ of open source data management

    Open source database management and monitoring services company Percona has laid down its state of open source data management software survey for 2019.

    Surveys are surveys and are generally custom-constructed to be self-serving in one sense or another and so convey a message set in their ‘findings’ that the commissioning body (or in this case company) has wanted to table to media, customers, partners and other related bodies.

    This central truth being so, should we give any credence to Percona’s latest market assessment?

  • Percona packages PostgreSQL alongside existing MySQL and MongoDB products

    PostgreSQL is among the most popular database management systems, but market share is a slippery thing to measure, depending on whether you mean revenue, developer activity, or actual deployed databases.

    The developer-focused StackOverflow puts PostgreSQL second after MySQL, with Microsoft SQL Server third and Oracle way down at 8th. DB-Engines on the other hand, which measures general discussion, puts Oracle top, followed by MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and PostgreSQL 4th.

    Open-source company Percona's distribution, announced at its Percona Live event in Amsterdam, is based on PostgreSQL 11.5, supplemented by several extensions. The pg_repack extension reorganises tables with minimal locks. The PostgreSQL Audit Extension (pgaudit) provides tools for audit logs to meet compliance requirements. And backup and restore is provided by the pgBackRest extension.

  • Database Diversity: The Dirt, the Data

    Companies are using an increasingly eclectic mix of databases, a survey of 836 enterprise database users from around the world conducted by Percona reveals — with the vast majority of respondents using more than one type of open-source database.

    The survey comes as the overall database market – worth some $46 billion at the end of 2018 – continues to fragment: there are now over 40 companies with revenues of $100 million-plus in the commercial open-source ecosystem.

  • The state of open source databases in 2019: Multiple Databases, Clouds, and Licenses

    The Open Source Data Management Software Survey was undertaken by Percona, a company offering services for open source databases, to capture usage patterns and opinions of the people who use open source databases. The survey, unveiled today at Percona's Open Source database conference in Amsterdam, included 836 of them from 85 countries, which means it's a good way to get insights.

  • Percona Announces Enhanced Version of Award-Winning Open Source Database Monitoring and Management Platform, For Faster Performance Issue Resolution

James Bottomley: Why Ethical Open Source Really Isn’t

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Ethics itself is the actual process by which philosophical questions of human morality are resolved. The job of Ethics is to give moral weight to consequences in terms of good and evil (or ethical and unethical). However, ethics also recognizes that actions have indivisible compound consequences of which often some would be classified as unethical and some as ethical. There are actually very few actions where all compound consequences are wholly Ethical (or Unethical). Thus the absolute position that all compound consequences must be ethical rarely exists in practice and what people actually mean when they say an action is “ethical” is that in their judgment the unethical consequences are outweighed by the ethical ones. Where and how you draw this line of ethical being outweighed by unethical is inherently political and can vary from person to person.

To give a concrete example tied to the UN Declaration of Human Rights (since that seems to be being held up as the pinnacle of unbiased ethics): The right to bear arms is enshrined in the US constitution as Amendment 2 and thus is protected under the UNDHR Article 8. However, the UNHDR also recognizes under Article 3 the right to life, liberty and security of person and it’s arguable that flooding the country with guns precipitating mass shootings violates this article. Thus restricting guns in the US would violate 8 and support 3 and not restricting them do the opposite. Which is more important is essentially a political decision and where you fall depend largely on whether you see yourself as Republican or Democrat. The point being this is a classical ethical conundrum where there is no absolute ethical position because it depends on the relative weights you give to the ethical and unethical consequences. The way out of this is negotiation between both sides to achieve a position not necessarily that each side supports wholeheartedly but which each side can live with.

The above example shows the problem of ethical open source because there are so few wholly ethical actions as to make conditioning a licence on this alone pointlessly ineffective and to condition it on actions with mixed ethical consequences effectively injects politics because the line has to be drawn somewhere, which means that open source under this licence becomes a politicized process.

[...]

I hope I’ve demonstrated that ethical open source is really nothing more than co-opting open source as a platform for protest and as such will lead to the politicization of open source and its allied communities causing huge societal harm by removing more of our much needed unpolarized venues for discussion. It is my ethical judgement that this harm outweighs the benefits of using open source as a platform for protest and is thus ethically wrong. With regard to the attempts to rewrite the OSD to be more reflective of modern society, I content that instead of increasing our ability to discriminate by removing the fields of endeavour restriction, we should instead be tightening the anti-discrimination clauses by naming more things that shouldn’t be discriminated against which would make Open Source and the communities which are created by it more welcoming to all manner of contributions and keep them as neutral havens where people of different beliefs can nevertheless observe first hand the utility of mutual collaboration, possibly even learning to bridge the political, cultural and economic divides as a consequence.

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