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OSS

The battle between real open source vs. faux open source heats up

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OSS

On February 19, Redis Labs, the home of Redis, the popular open-source in-memory data structure store, announced it has raised $60 million in new financing. Redis Labs CEO Ofer Bengal told Ars Technica that one reason for this was its new "open-source" Common Clause license. "The community now understands that the original concept of open source has to be fixed because it isn't suitable anymore to the modern era where cloud companies use their monopoly power to adopt any successful open-source project without contributing anything to it," Bengal said.

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Decentralized Slack Alternative Riot Releases its First Stable Version

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OSS

As you can see, here you can change the homeserver. The idea of riot as was shared before is to have de-centralized chat services, without foregoing the simplicity that centralized services offer. For those who want to run their own homeservers, you need the new matrix-syanpse 0.99.1.1 reference homeserver.

You can find an unofficial list of matrix homeservers listed here although it’s far from complete.

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Software Code’s “Wayback Machine” Gets a Boost

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OSS
Web

Call it the Wayback Machine of code: a searchable open archive of software source code across iterations; from buggy beta versions, to sophisticated contemporary release.

Software Heritage is a non-profit initiative developed and hosted by the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation.

Officially created in 2015, the project has been growing over the years. It now spans 5.6 billion source files from more than 88 million projects.

Software Heritage is itself built on open-source code. It gathers source files by trawling through repositories that developers uses to create and share code, such as Github, Gitlab, GoogleCode, Debian, GNU and the Python Package Index, with users able to trace detailed revision history of all the codebase versions that it stores.

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Events: Qt World Summit 2018, NetSurf Developer, LibreOffice Asia Conference

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Development
LibO
OSS
  • Networking in Berlin: Qt World Summit 2018

    At our little booth we showcased Plasma running on a variety of devices, ranging from a Nexus 5X running Plasma Mobile through two ARM laptops to the powerful KDE Slimbook. Plasma was praised for its performance and reliability and since the focus of the event was mostly on embedded systems, we could easily demonstrate with our selection of devices that Plasma and the KDE Frameworks are a viable option for an endeavor in this area, too.

    It was very interesting to see the diverse set of people presenting their products and roaming the stalls, to see where Qt is in use today without you even realizing. We were approached by several companies evaluating using KDE Frameworks in their products and also tried to lay a foundation for an eventual partnership. And then there was Daimler who just parked an A-Class in the hallway, whose MBUX infotainment system is also powered by Qt.

  • Vincent Sanders: A very productive weekend

    I just hosted a NetSurf Developer weekend which is an opportunity for us to meet up and make use of all the benefits of working together. We find the ability to plan work and discuss solutions without loosing the nuances of body language generally results in better outcomes for the project.

    [...]

    We rounded the Saturday off by going out for a very pleasant meal with some mutual friends. Sunday started by adding a bunch of additional topics to consider and we made good progress addressing these.

    We performed a bug triage and managed to close several issues and commit to fixing a few more. We even managed to create a statement of work of things we would like to get done before the next meetup.

    My main achievement on the Sunday was to add WEBP image support. This uses the Google libwebp library to do all the heavy lifting and adding a new image content handler to NetSurf is pretty straightforward.

  • First LibreOffice Asia Conference to Take Place May 25-26, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan

    The Document Foundation published today more information on when and where the first ever LibreOffice Asia Conference event will take place this year.

    LibreOffice Asia Conference 2019 will be the project's first conference event to take place in a country in the Asia region where the free and open source software movement is rapidly growing. The Document Foundation decided it's time to put together a conference in Asia after the massive success of the LibreOffice Conference Indonesia 2018 event.

    "It’s a real leap of faith," says Franklin Weng, an Asian member in the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation. "Asia is a rapidly growing area in adoptions of ODF and LibreOffice, but our ecosystem for LibreOffice and FOSS has not been good enough yet. In this conference, we’re not only trying to make the FOSS ecosystem in Asia more healthy but also to encourage Asian community members to show their potential.”

5 Good Open Source Speech Recognition/Speech-to-Text Systems

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OSS

A speech-to-text (STT) system is as its name implies; A way of transforming the spoken words via sound into textual files that can be used later for any purpose.

Speech-to-text technology is extremely useful. It can be used for a lot of applications such as a automation of transcription, writing books/texts using your own sound only, enabling complicated analyses on information using the generated textual files and a lot of other things.

In the past, the speech-to-text technology was dominated by proprietary software and libraries; Open source alternatives didn’t exist or existed with extreme limitations and no community around. This is changing, today there are a lot of open source speech-to-text tools and libraries that you can use right now.

Here we list 5 of them.

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Microsoft is Down and Pretending to be "Open"

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Microsoft
OSS
  • Down productivity tools: Microsoft Teams takes a Monday tumble

    Microsoft's collaborative Slack-alike, Teams, is having a difficult start to the week, with users unable to log in to share their hopes, dreams and Word documents with their co-workers.

    Problems started at around 13:00 UTC, as users found themselves presented with connection errors as they attempted to hook up to the service. Naturally, they took to Twitter to share their experience.

  • Microsoft is going all-in on 'Inner Source' [Ed: Microsoft's de facto PR person at CBS on how Microsoft will keep giving malicious software with NSA back doors while calling it "open". Dr. Glyn Moody, to his credit, warned about it over a decade ago in Linux Journal when he said Microsoft would bamboozle nontechnical people/officials by claiming it itself is its competition and is "open source" (even when it's proprietary, with back doors).]
  • After Open Source, Microsoft Wants “Inner Source” For A Better Future [Ed: Having bribed OSI and others, Microsoft is now trying to redefine and totally control FOSS (all products proprietary but with openwashing for marketing purposes). Remember "Shared Source"? Microsoft keeps rebranding. Microsoft: we’re sort of kind of like “open”. We bought some things. BP: we’re sort of green. We changed our logo and mentioned words like “climate”.]

Programmes and Events: Outreachy, FOSDEM and LibreOffice Asia Conference

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LibO
OSS
  • Outreachy Summer 2019 Applications Open With Expanded Eligibility

    But beginning this round, they are also opening the application process to "anyone who faces systemic bias or discrimination in the technology industry of their country is invited to apply." For evaluating the systemic bias or discrimination, an essay question was added to the application process about what discrimination they may have faced or otherwise think they could face in seeking employment.

    Also different beginning this round is only students (update: for non-student participants, this restriction does not apply) from the Northern Hemisphere can apply to this May to August round while the Southern Hemisphere round is being deemed the December to March round moving forward.

  • VkRunner at FOSDEM

    I attended FOSDEM again this year thanks to funding from Igalia. This time I gave a talk about VkRunner in the graphics dev room. It’s now available on Igalia’s YouTube channel below:

    I thought this might be a good opportunity to give a small status update of what has happened since my last blog post nearly a year ago.

  • First LibreOffice Asia Conference

    The First LibreOffice Asia Conference Will Be Held On May 25-26, 2019 In Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan

    This is the first ever LibreOffice conference covering Asia, a rapidly-growing area for free and open source software. The call for papers will be launched soon.

    Berlin, February 18, 2019 – After the huge success of the LibreOffice Conference Indonesia in 2018, members of the Asian communities have decided to raise the bar in 2019 with the first ever LibreOffice Asia Conference in Nihonbashi – the very center of Tokyo, Japan – on May 25-26.

    One of the main organizers, Naruhiko Ogasawara, a member of the Japanese LibreOffice community and The Document Foundation, can’t hide his excitement: “When we launched the LibreOffice Mini Conference Japan in 2013 as a local event, we knew little about communities in other parts of Asia. In recent years we have attended the LibreOffice Conference and other Asian events like OpenSUSE Asia, COSCUP etc. We have realized that many of our colleagues are active and that our community should learn a lot from them. We are proud to be able to hold the first Asia Conference with our colleagues to further strengthen that partnership.”

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • Interview with Noemie Scherer

    Hi! I’m a European Krita user.

    [...]

    That was more than ten years ago. I was something like ten, maybe twelve at most. A friend of mine had a photographer father, so I went to their house and could try his drawing tablet, and it was really cool; some time later my parents got me one (one of those small A6 ones), and my brother downloaded Gimp, probably for a birthday (he was -still is- really into open source).

  • Toyota Prepping 'PASTA' for its GitHub Debut

    Carmaker's open source car-hacking tool platform soon will be available to the research community.
    The lead developer behind Toyota's new cybersecurity testing tool said the carmaker plans to make its so-called PASTA (Portable Automotive Security Testbed with Adaptability) available via GitHub as early as next month or April.

    Tsuyoshi Toyama, senior researcher at Toyota InfoTechnology Center, told Dark Reading that he and his team are currently working on getting the PASTA specifications ready for availability online, and plan to offer as open-source the platform's specs, CAN (controller area network) ID maps, ECU (engine control unit) program codes, and ECU circuit diagrams for vehicle testing. He says Toyota also hopes to offer PASTA's driving simulator programs as open source, as well.

  • FAIR releases a new ELF OpenGo bot with a unique archive that can analyze 87k professional Go games

    It was last year in May when Facebook AI Research (FAIR) released an open source ‘ELF’ OpenGo bot, an AI bot that has defeated world champion professional Go players, based onits existing ELF platform for Reinforcement Learning Research. Yesterday, FAIR announced new features and research results related to ELF OpenGo, including an updated model, a Windows executable version of the bot, and a unique archive analyzing 87k professional Go games.

    ELF OpenGo, an open-source reimplementation of the AlphaZero algorithm, is the first open-source Go AI that has convincingly demonstrated superhuman performance, achieving a (20:0) record against global top professionals.

  • Novel software offers possible reduction in arrhythmic heart disease

    Potentially lethal heart conditions may become easier to spot and may lead to improvements in prevention and treatment thanks to innovative new software that measures electrical activity in the organ.

    The heart's pumping ability is controlled by electrical activity that triggers the heart muscle cells to contract and relax. In certain heart diseases such as arrhythmia, the organ's electrical activity is affected.

    Cardiac researchers can already record and analyse the heart's electrical behaviour using optical and electrode mapping, but widespread use of these technologies is limited by a lack of appropriate software.

    Computer and cardiovascular experts at the University of Birmingham have worked with counterparts in the UK, Netherlands and Australia to develop ElectroMap - a new open-source software for processing, analysis and mapping complex cardiac data.

    Led by researchers from the School of Computer Science and the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, at the University of Birmingham, the international team has published its findings in Scientific Reports.

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  • Firefox 66 Beta 8 Testday Results

    As you may already know, last Friday February 15th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 66 Beta 8.

    Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: gaby2300, Priyadharshini  A and Aishwarya Narasimhan.

  • Open-science model for drug discovery expands to neurodegenerative diseases

    Medicines 4 Neurodegenerative Diseases (M4ND Pharma) will pursue promising new genetic drug targets for these intractable nervous system disorders, thanks to $1.5 million from the Krembil Foundation. It will be the world's second drug discovery company committed to open science after Medicines 4 Kids (M4K Pharma), which launched in 2017 to develop a novel drug for an uncommon but fatal childhood brain cancer.

    Open science is a way for researchers to share their data and knowledge quickly and publicly, unencumbered by patents and the peer review publishing process, with the aim of speeding up scientific discovery. The movement gathered force in the life sciences in the 1990s with the Human Genome Project, and spread to protein structures and then early-stage drug discovery through the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC).

    The non-profit SGC has generated considerable private and public investment and several spin-out companies, but there remains a gap in late-stage drug development.

    "When we started M4K, many people thought an open approach to late-stage drug development might only be applicable to rare or neglected diseases, if at all," says Aled Edwards, a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto and CEO of the SGC. "But we're getting unexpected funding and scientific contributions from industry, academic and clinical sources, and slowly but surely we're advancing a medicine through the pipeline. It's time to move the goal posts again on what's possible with open science."

RISC-V: Military/Aerospace Designs, Road Ahead, Libre GPU

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Hardware
OSS
  • RISC-V Eases Innovation in Military/Aerospace Designs

    The RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), and open hardware standards in general, have the potential to be a real boon the military and aerospace designers. “RISC-V is being received with open arms by the military and aerospace sectors,” said Tim Morin, director of strategic marketing in Microchip Technnology’s FPGA business unit. “They are very excited about it.”

    From a design perspective, the ISA addresses the need to minimize power consumption, streamline bill of material (BOM) costs, and optimize board space. “With RISC-V, when you create an integrated circuit, you do exactly what you need,” said Michael Cave, senior director, strategic technology at SiFive, adding that the company is bidding on DARPA projects currently. “The government loves that reality. The government feels like if they don’t do something innovative, China is going to capture the lead.”

  • RISC-V: The Road Ahead

    Now that RISC-V has established a beachhead as a deeply embedded controller in SoCs, it’s time to start asking the next question: Can this open-source instruction-set architecture (ISA) make the next big leap into being an alternative to Arm and the x86 as a host processor?

    The short answer is yes, but it could take several years and there are plenty of pitfalls along the way. Essentially, the freewheeling open-source community behind RISC-V will need to develop and adhere to a wide range of system-level standards.

    So far, Nvidia and Western Digital plan to use RISC-V controllers in their SoCs, and Microsemi will use it in a new FPGA. Andes, Cortus, and startup SiFive sell IP cores, and a handful of startups plan to launch mainly machine-learning accelerators using it.

    RISC-V is in as many as 20 million fitness bands and smartwatches in China. In the U.S., SiFive has shipped more than 2,500 development boards using processors that it aims to sell as IP cores or as SoCs through its design services.

    “The lowest-hanging fruit is the embedded space where the APIs are not exposed to programmers,” said Rick O’Connor, executive director of the non-profit RISC-V Foundation. “That’s the easiest thing to do, but there’s healthy activity in all segments.

  • Libre RISC-V GPU Aiming For 2.5 Watt Power Draw Continues Being Plotted

    Besides having a dedicated Intel GPU to look forward to in 2020, the effort around creating an open-source RISC-V architecture based graphics processor continues being spearheaded by Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton and other libre hardware developers.

    This is the ambitious effort for effectively creating a RISC-V-based Vulkan accelerator that hopes to be able to achieve 25 FPS @ 720p, 5~6 GFLOPs. Part of how they plan to make a RISC-V based GPU viable is via their Simple-V extension for RISC-V. While the performance target is incredibly lax by today's standards, they do plan for an aggressive power consumption target of just about 2.5 Watts.

Slovak advocates want parliament to push for open source

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OSS

Slovak proponents of the use of free and open source software are rallying for their country’s parliament to approve plans to share the source code of software solutions developed by and for public services. They are concerned that proprietary software vendors will lobby for changes to the eGovernment act, a strategic IT Government proposal that is to be discussed in parliament in March or April.

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