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Sci/Tech

CERN Moves to Free/Libre Software With Latest Change

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech
  • CERN ends trial of Facebook Workplace

    New changes to the status of CERN’s Workplace account prevent the Organization from continuing on the platform. CERN’s presence on Workplace will end on 31 January 2020. In October 2016, Facebook made Workplace available to any company or organisation.

  • CERN Replacing Facebook Workplace With A Set Of Open-Source Software Alternatives

    Facebook Workplace is Facebook's corporate-focused product for internal real-time communication and related communication needs within organizations. CERN had been making use of Facebook Workplace and in addition to data privacy concerns, they were recently confronted with either paying Facebook or losing administrative rights, no more single sign-on access, and Facebook having access to their internal data. But now they have assembled their own set of software packages to fill the void by abandoning Facebook Workplace.

The 15 Best Physics Tools for Linux System in 2020

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech

There are different types of applications of Linux physics software in the study and research of theoretical and applied physics. So, it’s very difficult to call a single piece of software the best. Here we have enlisted a collection of 15 best Physics tools for Linux.

Some of them are for analyzing data, some for numerical applications, some for simulation, and even some will help you in programming the solution of different physics-related problems. We are certain that no matter what your requirement is, you are going to love this curated collection of Linux physics software.

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The 15 Earth Science or Geoscience Software for Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software
Sci/Tech

Geoscience or earth science is not only about boring theories. There are many practical implementations of the knowledge of geoscience in real life. And, there are some computer programs which will help you to simulate the ideas of this important field of science. Normally, students and academicians of geoscience use these tools.

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Educational Data Sets

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

There are many online sources available that provide data sets for educational and study purposes. They cover many different areas (physics, statistics, medicine, etc.) and many tools and frameworks provide wrappers for them and allow you to easily play around with the data sets. In many cases, the technical tasks of fetching the data from the server, parsing it and installing it are completely transparent for users.

We recently added a similar functionality to LabPlot and we plan to release this new feature as part of the upcoming 2.8 version. The initial implementation for this was done by Ferencz Kovács during Google Summer of Code 2019.

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KStars v3.3.9 is Released

Filed under
KDE
Software
Sci/Tech

We kickoff 2020 with a brand new KStars v3.3.9 release for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

This release incorporates the continued improvements to KStars base while introducing new long-awaited features in a few areas.

Stretch Controls

Hy Murveit implemented adjustable and fast stretch controls for mono and color images within the FITS Viewer. These allow fine changes in Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights clipping even for high resolution astro-photos.

Adjusting the controls do not change the underlying data, only the previewed image. After any stretch adjustment is made, the user can always revert to the automatic stretching again by clicking on the small wizard icon at the bottom right corner of the controls panel.

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Happy 50th Birthday To All You Epoch Birthers

Filed under
OS
Sci/Tech

Good morning everyone, and what a lovely start to the new year it is, because it’s your birthday! Happy birthday, it’s your 50th! What’s that you say, you aren’t 50 today? (Looks…) That’s what all these internet databases say, because you’ve spent the last decade or so putting 1970-01-01 as your birth date into every online form that doesn’t really need to know it!

It’s been a staple for a subset of our community for years, to put the UNIX epoch, January 1st 1970, into web forms as a birth date. There are even rumours that some sites now won’t accept that date as a birthday, such is the volume of false entries they have with that date. It’s worth taking a minute though to consider UNIX time, some of its history and how its storage has changed over the years.

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CERN to switch to Kopano mail server for its 40,000 users

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech

In June the IT trade press reported widely on CERN's Microsoft Alternatives (MALT) project. “It started off as a very unfortunate situation with license costs increasing, but has turned into a great opportunity to review the way we do things in order to move towards open solutions,” Tenaglia told the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory.

The first tangible outcome of this is a switch to the Kopano mail server. CERN is currently evaluating Kopano, aiming in due course to support 40,000 users and some 60 terabytes of mail data. CERN is running an on-premises pilot of the same size as its production server, which uses Microsoft Exchange. The research organisation, based in Meyrin, Switzerland, has a support contract with Kopano, the Dutch/German software company that is developing the eponymous mail server. “Kopano offers support for their 100% open source software. That sets it apart from business that offer support for premium features built onto their basic open source product,” Tanaglia says.

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Hardware, Science and History

Filed under
OS
Hardware
Sci/Tech
  • An Open Source Toolbox For Studying The Earth

    Fully understanding the planet’s complex ecosystem takes data, and lots of it. Unfortunately, the ability to collect detailed environmental data on a large scale with any sort of accuracy has traditionally been something that only the government or well-funded institutions have been capable of. Building and deploying the sensors necessary to cover large areas or remote locations simply wasn’t something the individual could realistically do.

    But by leveraging modular hardware and open source software, the FieldKit from [Conservify] hopes to even the scales a bit. With an array of standardized sensors and easy to use software tools for collating and visualizing collected data, the project aims to empower independent environmental monitoring systems that can scale from a handful of nodes up to several hundred.

  • The Early History of Usenet, Part II: Hardware and Economics

    There was a planning meeting for what became Usenet at Duke CS. We knew three things, and three things only: we wanted something that could be used locally for administrative messages, we wanted a networked system, and we would use uucp for intersite communication. This last decision was more or less by default: there were no other possibilities available to us or to most other sites that ran standard Unix. Furthermore, all you needed to run uucp was a single dial-up modem port. (I do not remember who had the initial idea for a networked system, but I think it was Tom Truscott and the late Jim Ellis, both grad students at Duke.)

    There was a problem with this last option, though: who would do the dialing? The problems were both economic and technical-economic. The latter issue was rooted in the regulatory climate of the time: hardwired modems were quite unusual, and ones that could automatically dial were all but non-existent. (The famous Hayes Smartmodem was still a few years in the future.) The official solution was a leased Bell 801 autodialer and a DEC DN11 peripheral as the interface between the computer and the Bell 801. This was a non-starter for a skunkworks project; it was hard enough to manage one-time purchases like a modem or a DN11, but getting faculty to pay monthly lease costs for the autodialer just wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, Tom and Jim had already solved that problem.

  • UNIX Version 0, Running On A PDP-7, In 2019

    WIth the 50th birthday of the UNIX operating system being in the news of late, there has been a bit of a spotlight shone upon its earliest origins. At the Living Computers museum in Seattle though they’ve gone well beyond a bit of historical inquiry though, because they’ve had UNIX (or should we in this context say unix instead?) version 0 running on a DEC PDP-7 minicomputer. This primordial version on the original hardware is all the more remarkable because unlike its younger siblings very few PDP-7s have survived.

    The machine running UNIX version 0 belongs to [Fred Yearian], a former Boeing engineer who bought his machine from the company’s surplus channel at the end of the 1970s. He restored it to working order and it sat in his basement for decades, while the vintage computing world labored under the impression that including the museum’s existing machine only four had survived — of which only one worked. [Fred’s] unexpected appearance with a potentially working fifth machine, therefore, came as something of a surprise.

Open Data for Genome Research: Multiplex Assays of Variant Effect (MAVE)

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OSS
Sci/Tech
  • New, open-source database improves genomics research collaboration

    Sharing datasets that reveal the function of genomic variants in health and disease has become easier, with the launch of a new, open-source database developed by Australian and North American researchers.

    The MaveDB database is a repository for data from experiments - called multiplex assays of variant effect (MAVEs) - that systematically measure the impact of thousands of individual sequence variants on a gene's function.

  • Open-source database enhances genomics research collaboration

    An open-source database of genomic variants in health and disease has been developed by Australian and North American researchers to simplify the sharing of this information between academics.

    The MaveDB database stores data from multiplex assays of variant effect (MAVE) experiments, which systematically measure the impact of thousands of individual sequence variants on a gene’s function. It was developed by researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, as well as the University of Washington in the US and the University of Toronto in Canada.

  • Open-source Database Enhances Genomics Research Collaboration

    The MaveDB database is a repository for data from experiments – called multiplex assays of variant effect (MAVEs) – that systematically measure the impact of thousands of individual sequence variants on a gene’s function. These experiments can provide valuable information about how proteins produced by that gene function, how variants in that gene may contribute to disease, and how to engineer synthetic versions of naturally occurring proteins that are more effective than the original protein.

    MaveDB is the first publicly accessible database for this data. Its development was led by Alan Rubin from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia, Associate Professor Douglas Fowler from the University of Washington, US, and Professor Frederick Roth from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Halloween Update for FreeCAD & Debian Science Work

Filed under
Debian
Sci/Tech

In August, a major milestone towards unified, mainline mechanical assembly functionality in FreeCAD was reached.

One of the core challenges in implementing assembly functionality is the problem of topological naming. In a CAD model there are topological entities, such as solids, faces, edges, and vertices. We must choose some algorithm to name them so that you can refer to relationships to make an assembly. A simple example would be two cubes, connected by touching faces. If a parameter in your model changes, and after recalculation, your "Face_N" is on the wrong side of the cube, your assembly may break, or not be what you are expecting. Without a good approach to topological naming, parametric FreeCAD models won't be robust to changes and recalculations, which defeats the purpose of parametric modeling.

Because this is such a difficult problem, progress has been slow. However, recently a relatively new FreeCAD developer, 'realthunder', put significant work towards this problem, with a solution finally on the horizon. Because it required major changes to FreeCAD's internals, the review and testing period was and continues to be lengthy.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • OnMSFT.com – What we use [Ed: "On Microsoft" is actually... not on Microsoft. It's on GNU/Linux.]

    OnMSFT runs Ubuntu 18.04 and Nginx...

  • Linux 5.7 Staging Will Be ~28.7k Lines Of Code Lighter Thanks To Nuking WUSB + UWB

    With the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle in two months there is some "spring cleaning" within the staging area that is leading to almost twenty-nine thousand lines of code being removed thanks to removing a deprecated feature. Last year we reported on Linux deprecating Wireless USB and Ultra Wideband subsystems. That WUSB and UWB code was demoted after being orphaned without a code maintainer for years with Wireless USB really not being popular in an era of Bluetooth and WiFi advancements. With no one having expressed concern or stepping up to maintain the code since deprecating WUSB and UWB, the code is now set to be removed with Linux 5.7.

  • Everything you need to know about the ArcoLinux Tweak Tool

    Screenshot of the last version

  • Mozilla Reps in 2020 Berlin All Hands

    14 Reps were invited to participate in this year’s All Hands in Berlin. At the All-Hands Reps learned some easy German words (Innovationsprozess-swischenstands-schreihungsskizze), did some art (see here X artistic endeavor during a group activity), and learned about cultural differences in communication.

  • Waterfox: Firefox Fork With Legacy Add-ons Options

    In this week’s open source software highlight, we take a look at a Firefox-based browser that supports legacy extensions that Firefox no longer supports while potentially providing fast user experience. When it comes to web browsers, Google Chrome leads the market share. Mozilla Firefox is there still providing hopes for a mainstream web browser that respects your privacy. Firefox has improved a lot lately and one of the side-effects of the improvements is removal of add-ons. If your favorite add-on disappeared in last few months/years, you have a good new in the form of Witerfox.

  • Vulkan 1.2.133 Released With VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info

    It's been nearly one month since the release of Vulkan 1.2.132 and that came shortly after the big Vulkan 1.2 milestone, but out today is now Vulkan 1.2.133. Vulkan 1.2.133 has various clarifications to the documentation, adds a vendor ID for Codeplay, VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_vote / VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_ballot are deprecated, and other clarifications/corrections to the text.

  • Work on IoT Device Communication Standardization Begins

    Most people working with industrial automation equipment are familiar with OPC UA for machine and device communications. More recently, industry has been getting up to speed with MQTT and its complimentary role for industrial device communications. While OPC UA has long been an industry standard, work is now beginning on a broad standardization of MQTT communications via Sparkplug, the open source software specification that enables applications, sensors, devices or gateways to integrate data within an MQTT communications infrastructure. Sparkplug defines MQTT topics namespace, payload, and session state management. [...] This work will address the issue of MQTT ‘s undefined topics structure and data types—a key differentiator from OPC UA which “provides a framework for standard and custom datatypes, a defined (hierarchical) namespace and a definition for request/response style communication patterns,” as noted by Jen Reiman in ctron’s blog post about OPC UA implementation with the Eclipse Foundation’s Milo (an open source communication stack for developing OPC UA clients and servers). Founding members of the Sparkplug Working Group include Chevron, Canary Labs, Cirrus Link Solutions, HiveMQ, Inductive Automation, and ORing.

  • Google pulls 500 malicious Chrome extensions after researcher tip-off

    Google has abruptly pulled over 500 Chrome extensions from its Web Store that researchers discovered were stealing browsing data and executing click fraud and malvertising after installing themselves on the computers of millions of users. Depending on which way you look at it, that’s either a good result because they’re no longer free to infect users, or an example of how easy it is for malicious extensions to sneak on the Web Store and stay there for years without Google noticing.

  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (evince, postgresql-9.4, and thunderbird), Fedora (ksh and libxml2), openSUSE (hostapd and nextcloud), Red Hat (chromium-browser, firefox, flash-plugin, and ksh), and SUSE (firefox and thunderbird). 

  • Microsoft's Edge roadmap reveals history sync coming this summer, Linux support coming

    Recently, Microsoft updated its public roadmap for its still-new Edge browser, which is based on Chromium. There's quite a bit on there, from minor fixes to major things like support for Linux. Two specific things are new. The ability to navigate a PDF via a table of contents is now under review, and the tab preview feature from Edge Legacy is now in discussion. As 'in review' and 'in discussion' suggest, neither is a commitment to actually building out the features.

  •                
  • Nintendo Is Likely to Suffer Global Switch Shortages From Virus
                     
                       

    Limited component supply coming out of China is affecting output at a Nintendo assembly partner’s factory in Vietnam, which the gaming giant primarily uses to build consoles for the U.S., said the people, asking not to be named because the details are private. A shortage of components this month would affect Switch units scheduled for arrival in April, after existing inventory and current shipments of the console have sold through.

  •                
  • Roboflow: Popular autonomous vehicle data set contains critical flaws

    A machine learning model’s performance is only as good as the quality of the data set on which it’s trained, and in the domain of self-driving vehicles, it’s critical this performance isn’t adversely impacted by errors. A troubling report from computer vision startup Roboflow alleges that exactly this scenario occurred — according to founder Brad Dwyer, crucial bits of data were omitted from a corpus used to train self-driving car models. Dwyer writes that Udacity Dataset 2, which contains 15,000 images captured while driving in Mountain View and neighboring cities during daylight, has omissions. Thousands of unlabeled vehicles, hundreds of unlabeled pedestrians, and dozens of unlabeled cyclists are present in roughly 5,000 of the samples, or 33% (217 lack any annotations at all but actually contain cars, trucks, street lights, or pedestrians). Worse are the instances of phantom annotations and duplicated bounding boxes (where “bounding box” refers to objects of interest), in addition to “drastically” oversized bounding boxes.

  • The Open Wearables Initiative expands founding team; begins soliciting algorithms and datasets for wearable and connected health technologies

    Shimmer Research, a global leader in wearable technology for research applications, today announced that the Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is now actively soliciting open source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies at http://www.owear.org. OWEAR is a collaboration designed to promote the effective use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research through the open sharing and benchmarking of algorithms and datasets. OWEAR has also expanded its Working Group to include executives from four major global pharmaceutical companies, a major clinical research organization (CRO), Sage Bionetworks and the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe).

Events: LibreOffice at FOSDEM, GTK Hackfest in Brussels and Kiwi TCMS in Sofia, Singapore, Kiev & Moscow

Debian and Ubuntu: SnowCamp 2020, Ben Armstrong 'Un-retires', Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter

  • SnowCamp 2020

    This is just a late reminder that there are still some seats available for SnowCamp, taking place at the end of this week and during the whole weekend somewhere in the Italian mountains. I believe it will be a really nice opportunity to hack on Debian things and thus I'd hope that there won't be empty seats, though atm this is the case.

  • Ben Armstrong: Introducing Dronefly, a Discord bot for naturalists

    In the past few years, since first leaving Debian as a free software developer in 2016, I’ve taken up some new hobbies, or more accurately, renewed my interest in some old ones. During that hiatus, I also quietly un-retired from Debian, anticipating there would be some way to contribute to the project in these new areas of interest. That’s still an idea looking for the right opportunity to present itself, not to mention the available time to get involved again. With age comes an increasing clamor of complaints from your body when you have a sedentary job in front of a screen, and hobbies that rarely take you away from it. You can’t just plunk down in front of a screen and do computer stuff non-stop & just bounce back again at the start of each new day. So in the past several years, getting outside more started to improve my well-being and address those complaints. That revived an old interest in me: nature photography. That, in turn, landed me at iNaturalist, re-ignited my childhood love of learning about the natural world, & hooked me on a regular habit of making observations & uploading them to iNat ever since. Second, back in the late nineties, I wrote a little library loans renewal reminder project in Python. Python was a pleasure to work with, but that project never took off and soon was forgotten. Now once again, decades later, Python is a delight to be writing in, with its focus on writing readable code & backed by a strong culture of education.

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 618

    Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 618 for the week of February 9 – 15, 2020.

Fedora and Red Hat: Test Day This Thursday, Report on State of Enterprise Open Source 2020 and More

  • Fedora 32 Gnome 3.36 Test Day 2020-02-20

    Thursday, 2020-02-20 is the Fedora 32 Gnome Test Day! As part of changes Gnome 3.36 in Fedora 32, we need your help to test if everything runs smoothly!

  • The State of Enterprise Open Source 2020: Enterprise open source use rises, proprietary software declines

    Last year we set out to determine how IT leaders think about open source, why they choose it and what they intend to do with it in the future. The result was The 2019 State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report, and the findings were clear and confirmed what we see happening in the industry. Enterprise open source has become a default choice of IT departments around the world and organizations are using open source in categories that have historically been more associated with proprietary technology. Headed into the second year of the survey, we had a new directive in mind. We wanted to dive deeper into how IT leaders’ intentions and usage have changed. We surveyed 950 IT leaders in four regions. Respondents had to have some familiarity with enterprise open source and have at least 1% Linux installed at their organization. Respondents were not necessarily Red Hat customers and were unaware that Red Hat was the sponsor of this survey. This allowed us to get a more honest and broad view of the true state of enterprise open source.

  • Manage application programming interfaces to drive new revenue for service providers

    Telecommunications service providers have valuable assets that can be exposed, secured, and monetized via API-centric agile integration. They can derive additional value from new assets, developed internally or through partners and third parties and integrated in a similar way with OSS and BSS systems. Service providers can open new revenue paths if they enhance the value they deliver to customers and to their partner- and developer-ecosystems. APIs can help them accomplish this goal. Services that providers can potentially offer with APIs include direct carrier billing, mobile health services, augmented reality, geofencing, IoT applications, and more. Mobile connectivity, for example, is key to powering IoT applications and devices, giving service providers an inside track to provide APIs to access network information for IoT services. In mobile health, APIs can serve as the link between the customer and healthcare partners through the user’s smartphone. Embracing this API-centric approach, service providers can realize increased agility by treating OSS/BSS building blocks as components that can be reused again and again. They may also innovate faster by giving partners controlled access to data and services, expand their ecosystem by improving partner and third-party collaboration, and generate more revenue through new direct and indirect channels.