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Operating Systems

Operating Systems Still Matter In a Containerized World 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the try-to-contain-yourself dept.
New submitter Jason Baker writes: With the rise of Docker containers as an alternative for deploying complex server-based applications, one might wonder, does the operating system even matter anymore? Certainly the question gets asked periodically. Gordon Haff makes the argument on Opensource.com that the operating system is still very much alive and kicking, and that a hardened, tuned, reliable operating system is just as important to the success of applications as it was in the pre-container data center.
Open Source

At Home with Tim O'Reilly (Videos 1 and 2 of 6) 7

Posted by Roblimo
from the not-just-a-man-but-a-vital-force-behind-open-source dept.
Wikipedia says Tim O'Reilly "is the founder of O'Reilly Media (formerly O'Reilly & Associates) and a supporter of the free software and open source movements." And so he is. O'Reilly Media is also the company from which Make magazine and the assorted Maker Faires sprang, before spinning off into an ongoing presence of their own. (This year's Solid conference, as well as the confluence of hardware and software at OSCON demonstrate O'Reilly's ongoing interest in the world of makers, though.) O'Reilly has been a powerful force in technical book publishing, popularized the term Web 2.0, and has been at least a godfather to the open source movement. He's also an interesting person in general, even more so when he's hanging out at home than when he's on stage at a conference or doing a formal interview. That's why we were glad Timothy Lord was able to get hold of Tim O'Reilly via Hangout while he was in a relaxed mood in a no-pressure environment, happy to give detailed responses based on your questions, from small (everyday technology) to big (the Internet as "global brain").

We've run a few two-part videos, but this is the first time we've split one video into six parts -- with two running today, two tomorrow, and two Thursday. But then, how many people do we interview who have had as much of an effect on the nature of information transmission -- as opposed to just publishing -- as Tim O'Reilly? We don't know for sure, but there's a good chance that O'Reilly books are owned by more Slashdot readers than books from any other publisher. That alone makes Tim O'Reilly worth listening to for nearly an hour, total. (Alternate Video Links: Video 1 ~ Video 2; transcript below covers both videos.)
Open Source

Project Aims To Build a Fully Open SoC and Dev Board 47

Posted by timothy
from the reducing-the-riscs dept.
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "A non-profit company is developing an open source 64-bit system-on-chip that will enable fully open hardware, 'from the CPU core to the development board.' The 'lowRISC' SoC is the brainchild of a team of hardware and software hackers from the University of Cambridge, with the stated goal of implementing a 'fully open computing eco-system, including the instruction set architecture (ISA), processor silicon, and development boards.' The lowRISC's design is based on a new 64-bit RISC-V ISA, developed at UC Berkeley. The RISC-V core design has now advanced enough for the lowRISC project to begin designing an SoC around it. Prototype silicon of a 'RISC-V Rocket' core itself has already been benchmarked at UC Berkeley, with results results (on GitHub) suggesting that in comparison to a 32-bit ARM Cortex-A5 core, the RISC-V core is faster, smaller, and uses less power. And on top of that it's open source. Oh, and there's a nifty JavaScript-based RISC-V simulator that runs in your browser."
Software

Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX? 198

Posted by timothy
from the ask-your-users dept.
New submitter fpodoo writes "We are going to launch a new version of Odoo, the open source business apps suite. Once a year we release a new version and all the documentation has to be rewritten, as the software evolves a lot. It's a huge effort (~1000 pages, 250 apps) and it feels like we are building on quicksand. I am wondering if it would be better to invest all our efforts in R&D on improving the user experience and building tools in the product to better help the user. Do you know any complex software that succeeded in avoiding documentation by having significantly improved usability? As a customer, how would you feel with a very simple product (much simpler than the competition but still a bit complex) that has no documentation?"
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Corporate Open Source Policy? 57

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the in-the-open dept.
Phiro69 (3782875) writes Does anyone have any best practices/experience they would like to share on how their corporate entity put Open Source Software out on the Internet? Historically at my engineering firm, we've followed a model where we internally build a 1.0 release of something we want to open source, the product owner and legal perform a deep review of the release, and we push it out to a platform like Github where it typically sits and rusts.

Our engineering interns have started down a new path: Using Github from the beginning (I set the repo private), and, after a bare minimum is completed, flipping the repo public and continuing development in the open using Github. How do PO and Legal reviews fit in? How can we ensure we're not exposing ourselves or diluting our IP if we're doing semi-constant development, publicly, sans a heavily gated review process? What does everyone else do? Or does corporate America avoid this entire opportunity/entanglement/briar patch?
Input Devices

Type 225 Words per Minute with a Stenographic Keyboard (Video) 109

Posted by Roblimo
from the you-can-type-faster-if-you-use-more-than-one-finger-at-a-time dept.
Joshua Lifton says you can learn to type at 225 words per minute with his Stenosaurus, an open source stenography keyboard that has a not-there-yet website with nothing but the words, "Stenography is about to evolve," on it as of this writing. If you've heard of Joshua it's probably because he's part of the team behind Crowd Supply, which claims, "Our projects raise an average of $43,600, over twice as much as Kickstarter." A brave boast, but there's plenty of brainpower behind the company. Joshua, himself. has a PhD from MIT, which according to his company bio means, "he's devoted a significant amount of his time learning how to make things that blink." But the steno machine is his own project, independent of Crowd Supply.

Stenotype machines are usually most visible when court reporters are using them. They've been around since the 1800s, when their output was holes in paper tape. Today's versions are essentially chorded keyboards that act as computer input devices. (Douglas Engelbart famously showed off a chorded keyboard during his 1968 Mother of All Demos.) Today you have The Open Steno Project, and Stenosaurus is a member. And while Joshua's project may not have an actual website quite yet, it has an active blog. And the 225 WPM claim? Totally possible. The world record for English language stenography is 360 WPM. And you thought the Dvorak Keyboard was fast. Hah! (Alternate Video Link)
Businesses

Larry Rosen: A Case Study In Understanding (and Enforcing) the GPL 191

Posted by timothy
from the he-actually-wrote-the-book dept.
lrosen (attorney Lawrence Rosen) writes with a response to an article that appeared on Opensource.com late last month, detailing a court case that arose between Versata Software and Ameriprise Financial Services; part of the resulting dispute hinges on Versata's use of GPL'd software (parsing utility VTD-X, from Ximpleware), though without acknowledging the license. According to the article's author, attorney Aaron Williamson (former staff attorney for the Software Freedom Law Center), "Lawyers for commercial software vendors have feared a claim like this for essentially the entire 20-odd-year lifetime of the GPL: a vendor incorporates some GPL-licensed code into a product—maybe naively, maybe willfully—and could be compelled to freely license the entire product as a result. The documents filed by Amerprise in the case reflect this fearful atmosphere, adopting the classically fear-mongering characterization of the GPL as a 'viral' license that 'infects' its host and 'requires it to become open source, too.'" Rosen writes: I want to acknowledge Aaron's main points: This lawsuit challenges certain assumptions about GPLv2 licensing, and it also emphasizes the effects of patents on the FOSS (and commercial) software ecosystem. I also want to acknowledge that I have been consulted as an expert by the plaintiff in this litigation (Ximpleware vs. Versata, et al.) and so some of what I say below they may also say in court. Read on for the rest (and Williamson's article, too, for a better understanding of this reaction to it). An important take-away: it's not just the license that matters.
Open Source

Open-Source Gear For Making Mind-Controlled Gadgets 32

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-your-mind dept.
the_newsbeagle writes If you've been hankering to control a robotic battle spider with your mind but haven't known how to begin, you're in luck. A startup called OpenBCI is now selling an Arduino-compatible board that any reasonably competent DIYer can use to build a brain-computer interface. The board takes in data from up to 8 EEG scalp electrodes, and hackers are already using it to pull of some good tricks. There's the guy with the battle spiders, and there's a group in L.A. building a paint-by-brain system for a paralyzed graffiti artist.
Networking

Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series? 426

Posted by timothy
from the blue-pill-that-stacks-neatly dept.
First time accepted submitter jarmund (2752233) writes "I first got a WRT54GL in 2007. Now, 7 years later, it's still churning along, despite only having one of its antennae left after an encounter with a toddler. As it is simply not up to date to today's standards (802.11N for example), what is a worthy successor? I enjoyed the freedom to choose the firmware myself (I've run Tomato on it since 2008), in addition to its robustness. A replacement will be considered second-rate unless it catered for the same freedom as its predecessor." Is there a canonical best household router nowadays?
Linux Business

Red Hat CEO: Open Source Goes Mainstream In 2014 65

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the year-of-the-linux-lightbulb dept.
ashshy (40594) writes Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst likes to post "state of the union" addresses at the end of every year. Last December, he said that open source innovation is going mainstream in 2014. In an interview with The Motley Fool, Whitehurst matches up his expectations against mid-year progress. Spoiler alert: It's mostly good news.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library? 132

Posted by timothy
from the when-vi-is-not-the-answer dept.
New submitter Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes I recently engaged in a conversation about handling PDF texts for a range of needs, such as creation, manipulation, merging, text extraction and searching, digital signing etc etc. A couple of potential picks popped up (PDFBox, itext), given some Java experience of the other fellows. And then comes the reality of choosing software as a long term knowledge investment! ideally, we would like to combine these features:
  • open source, with a community following ; the kind of stuff Slashdotters would prefer
  • tidy software architecture; simple things should remain simple
  • allow open API allowing usage across many languages (say: Python & Java)
  • clear licensing status, not estranging future commercial use
  • serious multilingual & font support
  • PDF-handling rich features, not limiting usage for invoicing, e-commerce, reports & data mining
  • digital signing should not go against other features

I'd like to poll the collective Slashdot crowd wisdom about if/which PDF related libraries, they have written software with, keeps them happy for *all* the above reasons. And if not happy with that all, what do they thing is the best bet for learning one piece of software in the area, with great reusability across different circumstances and little need for extra hacks? I'd really like to hear the smoked out war stories. It is easy to obtain a list of such libraries, yet tricky to understand whethe people have obtained success with them!

Microsoft

Microsoft's Olivier Bloch Explains Microsoft Open Source (Video) 101

Posted by Roblimo
from the we're-open-source-or-maybe-we're-not-we're-trying-to-figure-it-all-out dept.
Most of us don't think of Microsoft when our thoughts turn to open source. This is probably because the company's main products, Windows and Office, are so far from open that just thinking about them probably violates their user agreement.. But wait! says Olivier Bloch, Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., we have lots and lots of open source around here. Look at this. And this and this and even this. Lots of open source. Better yet, Olivier works for Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., not directly for the big bad parent company. Watch the video or read the transcript, and maybe you'll figure out where Microsoft is going with their happy talk about open source. (Alternate Video Link)
Businesses

Digia Spinning Off Qt Division Into New Company 59

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the it's-a-long-way-back-to-trolltech dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that, after a six year journey, Qt will once again be maintained by a standalone company. From the Digia weblog: ... Even though the open source project and the commercial side of Qt are highly dependent upon each other, they have over the last years drifted apart. ... Because of the separation between the open source and commercial offerings, we often end up competing against ourselves instead of competing against other technologies. ... We are now starting a conscious effort to overcome these problems. As you might have read, Digia has decided to move the Qt business into a company of its own. Thus we will soon have a company (owned by Digia), that will focus 100% on Qt. At the same time we would like to take the opportunity and retire qt.digia.com and merge it with the content from qt-project.org into a new unified web presence. The unified web page will give a broad overview of the Qt technology, both enterprise and open-source, from a technical, business and messaging perspective.
The Internet

Ushahidi Helps Track Everything From Election Violence to Oil Spills (Video) 18

Posted by Roblimo
from the crowdsourcing-at-its-finest dept.
Wikipedia says, "Ushahidi, Inc. is a non-profit software company that develops free and open-source software (LGPL) for information collection, visualization, and interactive mapping. Ushahidi (Swahili for 'testimony' or 'witness') created a website in the aftermath of Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election (see 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis) that collected eyewitness reports of violence reported by email and text message and placed them on a Google Maps map." Ushahidi has also been used to map some of the BP oil spill damage in Louisiana and many other events both positive and negative around the globe. This is a mature project, headquarted in Kenya, that recently spun out the BRCK, a "go anywhere, do anything, self-powered, mobile WiFi device," which looks like it would be useful in bringing Internet connectivity to places where the electricity supply is unreliable. || According to Ushahidi, today's interviewee, Rob Baker, "is responsible for overseeing company deliverables and is a lead on communications strategies. Previously, with a 10-year background in software development and with his field experience for aid programs, Rob was a lead for Ushahidi deployments around the world, primarily working in East Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. He’s spoken at the United Nations, World Bank, government, hackathons, and at technical conferences." (Alternate Video Link)
Open Source

Open Source Pioneer Michael Tiemann On Open Source Business Success 41

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the smash-the-system dept.
ectoman (594315) writes Opensource.com has a summary of an interview with Michael Tiemann, co-founder of Cygnus Solutions and one of the world's first open source entrepreneurs. Now VP of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat, Tiemann offers an historical perspective on what makes open source businesses successful, and shares how he dealt with the open source movement's early skeptics. "A lot of the skepticism is a response to the abstract; it's a response to the unknown," Tiemann says, "And when you bring a concrete success story with just absolutely stellar credentials that doesn't just outperform the field, but embarrasses the field, then the skeptics begin to look like they're on the wrong side." The full audio interview on Hacker Public radio (~1 hour).
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation? 430

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-up-with-the-times dept.
First time accepted submitter TWX writes I've been out of computers as a serious home-hobby for many years and in returning I'm aghast at the state of documentation for Open Source projects. The software itself has changed significantly in the last decade, but the documentation has failed to keep pace; most of what I'm finding applies to versions long since passed or were the exact same documents from when I dropped-out of hobbyist computing years ago. Take Lightdm on Ubuntu 14.04 for example- its entire configuration file structure has been revamped, but none of the documentation for more specialized or advanced uses of Lightdm in previous versions of Ubuntu has been updated for this latest release. It's actually harder now to configure some features than it was a decade ago. TLDP is close to a decade out-of-date, fragmentation between distributions has grown to the point that answers from one distro won't readily apply to another, and web forums for even specific projects are full of questions without answers, or those that head off into completely unrelated discussion, or with snarky, "it's in the documentation, stupid!" responses. Where do you go for your FOSS documentation and self-help?
Media

The XBMC Project Will Now Be Called Kodi 188

Posted by Soulskill
from the lessons-in-picking-a-name dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Citing the problems caused by the lack of legal control over the current name and its long outdated origins as the reasons for the change, The Xbox Media Center team announced that they will switch the project's name to Kodi when version 14 is released later this year. If you're wondering how they picked the name Kodi, here's what they said: "We considered a TON of names. We had a number of requirements for the new name, such as being reasonably pronounceable in various languages and not be a mouthful to say, not be used as a trademark for someone else's media-related product, be easy to remember, etc. The group came up with a list of names and had our lawyer go over them. We then got back a smaller list that had been checked for various legal issues, and then we voted on the final name."
PHP

PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification 180

Posted by timothy
from the let-the-ossification-ceremony-commence dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Despite becoming one of the most widely used programming languages on the Web, PHP didn't have a formal specification — until now. Facebook engineer and PHP core contributor Sara Golemon announced the initiative at OSCON earlier this month, and an initial draft of the specification was posted Wednesday on GitHub."
Open Source

Fotopedia Is Shutting Down; Data Avallable Until August 10 45

Posted by timothy
from the grab-now-if-you-want-any dept.
New submitter Randall Booth writes Fotopedia has sent notice to its users that it is shutting down. 'We are sorry to announce that Fotopedia is shutting down. As of August 10, 2014, Fotopedia.com will close and our iOS applications will cease to function. Our community of passionate photographers, curators and storytellers has made this a wonderful journey, and we'd like to thank you for your hard work and your contributions. We truly believe in the concept of storytelling but don't think there is a suitable business in it yet. If you submitted photos and stories to Fotopedia, your data will be available to download until August 10, 2014. After this date, all photos and data will be permanently deleted from our servers."
Open Source

Meet Apache Software Foundation VP Rich Bowen (Video) 14

Posted by Roblimo
from the a-patchy-server-rules-the-online-world dept.
Apache is behind a huge percentage of the world's websites, and the Apache Software Foundation is the umbrella organization that provides licensing and stucture for open source projects ranging from the Apache Web server to Apache OpenOffice to small utilities that aren't household names but are often important to a surprising number of people and companies. Most of us never get to meet the people behind groups like the Apache Software Foundation -- except today we tag along with Tim Lord at OSCON and chat with Apache Software Foundation Executive Vice President Rich Bowen -- who is also Red Hat's OpenStack Community Liason. (Alternate Video Link) Update: 07/30 22:23 GMT by T : Note that Bowen formerly served as Slashdot sister site SourceForge's Community Manager, too.

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