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OSS

Get started with HomeBank, an open source personal finance app

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OSS

There seems to be a mad rush at the beginning of every year to find ways to be more productive. New Year's resolutions, the itch to start the year off right, and of course, an "out with the old, in with the new" attitude all contribute to this. And the usual round of recommendations is heavily biased towards closed source and proprietary software. It doesn't have to be that way.

Here's the eighth of my picks for 19 new (or new-to-you) open source tools to help you be more productive in 2019.

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Boosting Open Science Hardware in an academic context: opportunities and challenges

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Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

Experimental science is typically dependent on hardware: equipment, sensors and machines. Open Science Hardware means sharing designs for this equipment that anyone can reuse, replicate, build upon or sell so long as they attribute the developers on whose shoulders they stand. Hardware can also be expanded to encompass other non-digital input to research such as chemicals, cell lines and materials and a growing number of open science initiatives are actively sharing these with few or no restrictions on use.

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Also: The Entire Hardlight VR project is now Open Source

Get free programs to edit photos, send email and more

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LibO
OSS

Even better, LibreOffice can open and edit the documents you made in Office and can save new files in Office formats. LibreOffice is also compatible with the other document formats, like OpenDocument Format (ODF) and PDF.

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OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • The Serverless Show: The Importance of Open Source & Community Involvement

    “I’m also involved with some open source projects. I started with Node community and helping out with some node libraries a long time ago. Now I’m mostly doing serverless-related things. I joined the Claudia.js team a long time ago, almost at the beginning, and helped Gojko Adzic and Alexander Simovich to build Claudia.js. Claudia was and still is a deployment library for AWS Lambda and API gateway. At the beginning, it was really hard to deploy serverless applications. If you tried to do that manually, you need to zip everything, to set the permissions, and things like that. The idea of Claudia was to extend AWS CLI tools and to help users deploy serverless applications easier. We continued doing Claudia and a few other things. We contributed a bit to AWS SAM and we built some other applications that are open source. We’re trying to build tools that we need and that the serverless community needs.”

  • Expect to Hear More About Open Source’s Role in Security [Ed: Security implemented with proprietary software is almost always fake. The Australian back doors ("encryption") bill is a reminder of it. If something is proprietary, one must assume back doors (even mandated from above, hidden in binaries)]

    Will 2019 be the year there is a big push for consolidation between open source and cybersecurity?

    Yes, said Sanjay Beri, CEO of Netskope, in an email comment. IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat could prove to be the game changer in how organizations approach security.

  • Want to Save Some Money? Check out These Free Software Alternatives

    The list covers drawing and design, animation and film, website building, and others. For example, Ghost Malone presents several free alternatives to drawing, design and post-processing, such as GIMP, Krita, Fire Alpaca, Autodesk Sketchbook, MediBang Paint, and Paint.NET. Another example, for editing vector graphics, is Inkscape, which is free and open source. The list goes on with several choices depending on what you're looking for.

  • A free and open source Bitcoin trading tool has been developed by two students

    University students Jonathan Shobrook and Aaron Lichtman have created a free and open source automated trading bot to use on the Bitstamp exchange.

  • Thank Stanford researchers for Puffer, a free and open source live TV streaming service that uses AI to improve video-streaming algorithms
  • Open Source To Open Newer Avenues For CIOs In 2019

    Open source plays a crucial role in all the top strategic technology trends that are reshaping the IT world. Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Head, SUSE, looks at the key trends for 2019 that organizations need to explore and in explains how open source technologies and practices open up a window of opportunities for the CIOs in the coming days.

  • The High Profile Team of Handshake Looks to Truly Open the Internet with a New Domain Name System

    Unlike other major blockchain based companies like Ethereum, they chose to avoid ICO funding altogether and went straight for private investors. They were able to obtain major private investment funding from companies such as Polychain Capital, A16Z Crypto, and Founders Fund (purchasing 7.5% coin supply of HNS between them at $10.2M) with the idea that they could be responsible for replacing entire layers of Domain Name System (DNS) layering. This removes the need for those who safeguard these layers, saving future companies large amounts of cash up front.

  • Handshake is attempting to make the Internet more open

    Handshake came out of stealth mode last August. The project, which intends to replace various levels of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy, was founded by Joseph Poon (co-creator of the Lightning Network & Plasma), Andrew Lee (co-founder & CEO of Purse), Andrew Lee (co-founder & CEO of Private Internet Access), Boyma Fahnbulleh (Bcoin developer), and Christopher Jeffery (Creator of Bcoin & CTO of Purse).

    Sidestepping the ICO route popularized by Ethereum, Handshake raised private funding from a slew of investors including A16Z Crypto, Polychain Capital, and Founders Fund. These investors purchased 7.5% of the initial coin supply of HNS, Handshake’s native token, for $10.2M, valuing the protocol at $136M.

  • Google remains the top open-source contributor to CNCF projects

    According to the latest data from Stackalytics, a project founded by Mirantis and hosted by the OpenStack Foundation that visualizes a company’s contribution to open-source projects, Google remains the dominant force in the CNCF open-source ecosystem. Indeed, according to this data, Google is responsible for almost 53 percent of all code commits to CNCF projects. Red Hat, the second biggest contributor, is far behind, with 7.4 percent.

    The CNCF is the home of Kubernetes, the extremely popular container orchestration service that Google open sourced, so the fact that Google is the top contributor may not seem like a major surprise. But according to this data, Google would still be the top code contributor to all CNCF projects without even taking Kubernetes into account. In part, that’s due to the fact that Google is also the major contributor to GRPC, a queuing project the company donated to the CNCF, and Vitess, the database clustering system it developed for YouTube.

  • Google Remains Top Open-Source Contributor

    According to a scan of code contributions to projects sponsored by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) remains by far the largest contributor of code across all projects. Using a tool called Stackalytics, the survey conducted by open-source infrastructure vendor Mirantis found that Google accounted for 52.9 percent of code commits to CNCF projects.

  • Johnson Controls to Introduce Open-Source Software for Targeting Retrofits

Server Side Public License (SSPL), Red Hat and Fedora

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Red Hat
OSS
Legal
  • Red Hat/Fedora decide MongoDB’s SSLP doesn’t fit

    MongoDB’s January blues deepened this week as the team behind the Red Hat-backed Fedora Linux distribution confirmed it had added the open source database’s Server Side Public License to its “bad”list.

    The move came as it emerged Red Hat – Fedora’s sponsor – had nixed MongoDB support in RHEL 8.0.

  • AWS Raised Its Hand Lest Of Open Source Platform

    Even though AWS stands by MongoDB as the best the customers find it difficult to build and vastly accessible applications on the open-source platform can range from multiple terabytes to hundreds of thousands of reads and writes per second. Thus, the company built its own document database with an Apache 2.0 open source MongoDB 3.6 API compatibility. The open-sources politics are quite difficult to grasp. AWS has been blamed for taking the top open-source projects and re-branding plus re-using it without providing the communities. The catch here is that MongoDB was the company behind putting a halt to the re-licensing of the open-source tools under a novel license that clearly stated the companies willing to do this will have to purchase a commercial license.

  • Red Hat gets heebie-jeebies over MongoDB's T&Cs squeeze: NoSQL database dropped from RHEL 8B over license

    MongoDB justified its decision last October to shift the free version of its NoSQL database software, MongoDB Community Server, from the open-source GNU Affero General Public License to the not-quite-so-open Server Side Public License (SSPL) by arguing that cloud providers sell open-source software as a service without giving back.

    The following month, and not widely noticed until this week, Red Hat said it would no longer include MongoDB in version 8 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The removal notice came in the release notes for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Beta 8.0.

    Under section 4.7, the release notes say, "Note that the NoSQL MongoDB database server is not included in RHEL 8.0 Beta because it uses the Server Side Public License (SSPL)."

  • Server Side Public License struggles to gain open-source support

    MongoDB first announced the release of the new software license in October as a way to protect itself and other open-source projects like it from being taken advantage of by larger companies for monetary gain.

    At the time, MongoDB co-founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz explained: “This should be a time of incredible opportunity for open source. The revenue generated by a service can be a great source of funding for open-source projects, far greater than what has historically been available. The reality, however, is that once an open-source project becomes interesting, it is too easy for large cloud vendors to capture most of the value while contributing little or nothing back to the community.”

    Other open-source businesses have developed their own licenses or adopted others in recent months, citing the same issues. However, the problem with these new licenses is that if they are not approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), an organization created to promote and protect the open-source ecosystem, the software behind the license is technically not considered open source, and it will have a hard time getting acceptance from members in the community.

  • Open source has a problem with monetization, not AWS
  • Why you should take notice of the open source in enterprise suckers conundrum

    In the MongoDB case, AWS is widely regarded as responding to a licensing change MongoDB made in October 2018 that has caused something of a stir among the open source cognoscenti.

  • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-03

    Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week.

    I’ve set up weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

Second Godot 3.1 Beta

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Development
OSS
Gaming
  • Godot 3.1 Beta 2

    We entered the release freeze last week with Godot 3.1 beta 1, and many high priority bug reports have been fixed since then. We're now publishing a new beta 2 snapshot for testers to work with. This new release fixes various crash scenarios, as well as a performance regression in the GLES backend.

    We're still aiming for a release by the end of the month, so we're under a tight schedule. From now on dev focus is on release-critical issues that would seriously hamper Godot 3.1's usability and features.

    Contrarily to our 3.0.x maintenance releases, which include only thoroughly reviewed and backwards-compatible bug fixes, the 3.1 version includes all the new features (and subsequent bugs!) merged in the master branch since January 2018, and especially all those showcased on our past devblogs. It's been almost a year since the 3.0 release and close to 6,000 commits, so expect a lot of nice things in the final 3.1 version!

  • Godot 3.1 Beta 2 Released With OpenGL ES Performance Fix

    The developers behind Godot, one of the leading open-source game engines, have announced their second beta release for the upcoming Godot 3.1 feature release.

    Godot 3.1 initially entered beta earlier this month as stepping towards the first major release of this cross-platform game engine since Godot 3.0 last year. Godot 3.1 is preparing OpenGL ES 2.0 rendering support, continued work around virtual reality (VR) support, 3D soft body physics capabilities, constructive solid geometry, BPTC texture compression, a new visual shader editor, WebSockets support, and various game developer/editor improvements.

Some Thoughts on Open Core

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OSS

Nothing is inherently anti-business about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In fact, a number of different business models are built on top of FOSS. The best models are those that continue to further FOSS by internal code contributions and that advance the principles of Free Software in general. For instance, there's the support model, where a company develops free software but sells expert support for it.

Here, I'd like to talk a bit about one of the more problematic models out there, the open core model, because it's much more prevalent, and it creates some perverse incentives that run counter to Free Software principles.

If you haven't heard about it, the open core business model is one where a company develops free software (often a network service intended to be run on a server) and builds a base set of users and contributors of that free code base. Once there is a critical mass of features, the company then starts developing an "enterprise" version of the product that contains additional features aimed at corporate use. These enterprise features might include things like extra scalability, login features like LDAP/Active Directory support or Single Sign-On (SSO) or third-party integrations, or it might just be an overall improved version of the product with more code optimizations and speed.

Because such a company wants to charge customers to use the enterprise version, it creates a closed fork of the free software code base, or it might provide the additional proprietary features as modules so it has fewer problems with violating its free software license.

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Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

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OSS
  • Red Hat drops MongoDB over SSPL; MDB -3%

    Amazon responded by launching DocumentDB, a managed database that's compatible with existing MongoDB applications and tools. DocumentDB works with MongoDB version 3.6, which predates the SSPL license.

  • Governance without rules: How the potential for forking helps projects

    The speed and agility of open source projects benefit from lightweight and flexible governance. Their ability to run with such efficient governance is supported by the potential for project forking. That potential provides a discipline that encourages participants to find ways forward in the face of unanticipated problems, changed agendas, or other sources of disagreement among participants. The potential for forking is a benefit that is available in open source projects because all open source licenses provide needed permissions.

    In contrast, standards development is typically constrained to remain in a particular forum. In other words, the ability to move the development of the standard elsewhere is not generally available as a disciplining governance force. Thus, forums for standards development typically require governance rules and procedures to maintain fairness among conflicting interests.

  • Oracle exec: Open-source vendors locking down licences proves 'they were never really open'
  • MoltenVK Sees Big Update To Jump-Start Vulkan On macOS In 2019
  • Facebook 'Likes' (And Open Sources) Better Mobile Image Software
  • Open source Spectrum library enables edge processing of images for faster performance

    Spectrum, an open source image processing library from Facebook, aims to give developers the ability to perform image transformation client-side, with predictable, repeatable results on different platforms. The library can be integrated into Android or iOS apps, and uses C/C++ code for higher performance with Java and Objective-C wrapper APIs for integration ease. Spectrum's API is declarative, allowing developers to define the target output characteristics, leaving the work of formulating settings to achieve that goal to the library itself.

The Best Open Source Software in 2018 (Users’ Choice)

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OSS

LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite written in C++, Java, and Python. It was first released in January 2011 by The Document Foundation and has since known to be the most reliable open source office suite.

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More in Tux Machines

Security: ThreadX, Kali Linux, Rocke and Data Loss

  • Vulnerabilities Found in Highly Popular Firmware for WiFi Chips
    WiFi chip firmware in a variety of devices used mainly for gaming, personal computing, and communication comes with multiple issues. At least some of them could be exploited to run arbitrary code remotely without requiring user interaction. The security flaws were discovered in ThreadX, a real-time operating system (RTOS) developed by Express Logic. The vendor claims on their website that ThreadX has over 6.2 billion deployments, being one of the most popular software powering Wi-Fi chips. The firmware is also powering the Avastar 88W8897 SoC (Wi-Fi + Bluetooth + NFC) from Marvell, present in Sony PlayStation 4 (and its Pro variant), Microsoft Surface (+Pro) tablet and laptop, Xbox One, Samsung Chromebook and smartphones (Galaxy J1), and Valve SteamLink.
  • Wolf Halton on what’s changed in tech and where we are headed
    The tech industry is changing at a massive rate especially after the storage options moved to the cloud. However, this has also given rise to questions on security, data management, change in the work structure within an organization, and much more. Wolf Halton, an expert in Kali Linux, tells us about the security element in the cloud. He also touches upon the skills and knowledge that should be inculcated in your software development cycle in order to adjust to the dynamic tech changes at present and in the future. Following this, he juxtaposes the current software development landscape with the ideal one.
  • Rocke coinminer disables cloud protection agents
    A group of hackers that specializes in infecting servers with cryptocurrency mining software has started disabling security software agents used in cloud environments to evade detection. Known as Rocke in the security industry, the group has been active since at least April 2018 and is known for exploiting critical vulnerabilities in web application frameworks and servers like Apache Struts, Oracle WebLogic and Adobe ColdFusion.
  • Malware used by “Rocke” group evolves to evade detection by cloud security products
  • Malware uninstalls cloud security products from Linux machines
    After removing the cloud security, the malware then proceeded to mine the monero cryptocurrency on its hosts.
  • I Nearly Lost All Of My Data!

    At this point I’m really worried. You see, I cancelled my off-site Amazon Glacier backups around 6 months ago. What are the chances of both a 4 disk RAID failing AND a USB drive at the same time? Not likely, I thought. Boy was I wrong

Solving the Year 2038 problem in the Linux kernel

Because of the way time is represented in Linux, a signed 32-bit number can't support times beyond January 19, 2038 after 3:14:07 UTC. This Year 2038 (Y2038 or Y2K38) problem is about the time data type representation. The solution is to use 64-bit timestamps. I started working on the problem while working as an Outreachy intern for kernel developer Arnd Bergmann. Outreachy is a benevolent program that helps new programmers get into kernel development. The mentors for the kernel projects are usually experienced kernel developers like Arnd. Read more

Booting Linux faster

Of all the computers I've ever owned or used, the one that booted the quickest was from the 1980s; by the time your hand moved from the power switch to the keyboard, the BASIC interpreter was ready for your commands. Modern computers take anywhere from 15 seconds for a laptop to minutes for a small home server to boot. Why is there such a difference in boot times? A microcomputer from the 1980s that booted straight to a BASIC prompt had a very simple CPU that started fetching and executing instructions from a memory address immediately upon getting power. Since these systems had BASIC in ROM, there was no loading time—you got to the BASIC prompt really quickly. More complex systems of that same era, such as the IBM PC or Macintosh, took a significant time to boot (~30 seconds), although this was mostly due to having to read the operating system (OS) off a floppy disk. Only a handful of seconds were spent in firmware before being able to load an OS. Read more

Akira: The Linux Design Tool we’ve always wanted?

Akira wants to create an awesome design tool for Linux that could compete with the likes of Figma, Sketch and Adobe XD. They need your help to achieve this goal. Read more