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Operating Systems

Oracle Scraps Plans For Solaris 12 (theregister.co.uk) 11

bobthesungeek76036 writes: According to The Register, Solaris 12 has been removed from Oracle roadmaps. This pretty much signals the demise of Solaris (as if we didn't already know that...) From the report: "The new blueprint -- dated January 13, 2017 -- omits any word of Solaris 12 that Oracle included in the same document's 2014 edition, instead mentioning 'Solaris 11.next' as due to debut during this year or the next complete with 'Cloud Deployment and Integration Enhancements.' At the time of writing, search engines produce no results for 'Solaris 11.next.' The Register has asked Oracle for more information. The roadmap also mentions a new generation of SPARC silicon in 2017, dubbed SPARC Next, and then in 2020 SPARC Next+. The speeds and capabilities mentioned in the 2017 document improve slightly on those mentioned in the 2014 roadmap.
Open Source

Will The Death of the PC Bring 'An End To Openness'? (infoworld.com) 485

Slashdot reader snydeq shared "11 Predictions For the Future of Programming" by InfoWorld's contributing editor -- and one prediction was particularly dire: The passing of the PC isn't only the slow death of a particular form factor. It;s the dying of a particularly open and welcoming marketplace... Consoles are tightly locked down. No one gets into that marketplace without an investment of capital. The app stores are a bit more open, but they're still walled gardens that limit what we can do. Sure, they are still open to programmers who jump through the right hoops but anyone who makes a false move can be tossed...

For now, most of the people reading this probably have a decent desktop that can compile and run code, but that's slowly changing. Fewer people have the opportunity to write code and share it. For all of the talk about the need to teach the next generation to program, there are fewer practical vectors for open code to be distributed.

Open Source

Ask Slashdot: What's The Best Place To Suggest New Open Source Software? 221

dryriver writes: Somebody I know has been searching up and down the internet for an open source software that can apply GPU pixel shaders (HLSL/GLSL/Cg/SweetFX) to a video and save the result out to a video file. He came up with nothing, so I said "Why not petition the open source community to create such a tool?" His reply was "Where exactly does one go to ask for a new open source software?"

So that is my question: Where on the internet can one best go to request that a new open source software tool that does not exist yet be developed? Or do open source tools only come into existence when someone -- a coder -- starts to build a software, opens the source, and invites other coders to join the fray?

This is a good place to discuss the general logistics of new open source projects -- so leave your best answers in the comments. What's the best place to suggest new open source software?
Debian

Debian 8.7 Released (debian.org) 124

Debian 8.7 has been released. An anonymous reader quotes Debian.org: This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 8 but only updates some of the packages included.

There is no need to throw away old "jessie" CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated. Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update.

86 packages have been updated -- including some fixes for systemd. ("Rework logic to determine when we decide to add automatic deps for mounts; various ordering fixes for ifupdown; systemctl: Fix argument handling when invoked as shutdown...")
Open Source

Node.js's npm Is Now The Largest Package Registry in the World (linux.com) 133

Linux.com highlights some interesting statistics about npm, the package manager for Node.js.
  • "At over 350,000 packages, the npm registry contains more than double the next most populated package registry (which is the Apache Maven repository). In fact, it is currently the largest package registry in the world."
  • In the preceding four weeks, users installed 18 billion packages.
  • This translates into 6 billion downloads, "because approximately 66 percent of the installs are now being served from the cache."
  • ping.npmjs.com "shows that the registry's services offer a 99.999 uptime."
  • Every week roughly 160 people publish their first package in the registry

But what about the incident last year where a developer suddenly pulled all their modules and broke thousands of dependent projects? npm's Ashley Williams "admitted that the left-pad debacle happened because of naive policies at npm. Since, the npm team have devised new policies, the main one being that you are only allowed to unpublish a package within 24 hours of publishing it." And their new dissociate and deprecate policy allows developers to mark packages as "unmaintained" without erasing them from the registry.


Google

Google Boosts Python By Turning It Into Go (infoworld.com) 129

An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld: Grumpy, an experimental project from Google, transpiles Python code into Go, allowing Python programs to be compiled and run as static binaries using the Go toolchain... In a blog post announcing the open source release, Google stated the project stemmed from its efforts to speed up the Python-powered front end for YouTube. But Google hit an obstacle that's familiar to folks who've deployed Python in production: It's hard to get CPython -- the default Python interpreter written in C -- to scale efficiently. "We think Grumpy has the potential to scale more gracefully than CPython for many real world workloads," writes Google...

Because it doesn't support C extensions, Grumpy doesn't have CPython's Global Interpreter Lock, which is commonly cited as a roadblock to running Python concurrent workloads smoothly. Grumpy also uses Go's garbage collection mechanisms to manage memory under the hood, instead of CPython's. Grumpy creates close interoperation between Python and Go by allowing Go packages to be imported and used with the same syntax as Go modules.

Open Source

Hands On With the First Open-Source Microcontroller (hackaday.com) 83

The folks at SiFive have offered Brian Benchoff from Hackaday a look at the HiFive 1, the first hands-on with the first Open Hardware microcontroller. From the report: The design files for the HiFive 1 were made with Altium, a proprietary and non-Free software. Basically, the HiFive 1 is the SiFive FE310 microcontroller packaged in an Arduino Uno form factor. The pin spacing is just as stupid as it's always been, and there is support for a few Adafruit shields sitting around in the SDK. There are no analog pins, but there are two more PWM pins compared to the standard Arduino chip. The Arduino Uno and Leonardo have 32 kilobytes of Flash, while the HiFive 1 has sixteen Megabytes of Flash on an external SOIC chip. The HiFive 1 supports 3.3 and 5V I/O, thanks to three voltage level translators. The support for 5V logic is huge in my opinion -- nearly every dev board manufacturer has already written off 5V I/O as a victim of technological progress. The HiFive doesn't, even though the FE310 microcontroller is itself only 3.3V tolerant. It should be noted the addition of the voltage level translators add at least a dollar or two to the BOM, and double that to the final cost of the board. It's a nice touch, but there's room for cost cutting here. Other than that, the only other chip of note on the board is the FTDI FT2232HL, a well-supported but most certainly not Free and Open Source USB to UART chip. This is a two-port chip that provides programming, serial, and debug connections simultaneously. The folks at SiFive realize documentation and SDKs are necessary to turn a chip into a development board. To that end, they have a bare-metal SDK and support for the Arduino IDE. The board itself comes with a bootloader, and when you plug the HiFive 1 into a USB you get the equivalent of the Blink sketch from the Arduino. Yes, you too can have Open Source blinkies. What a magical time to be alive. Right now there are two methods of programming the HiFive 1. The Freedom E SDK, and the Arduino IDE. The Arduino IDE appears to be dependent on the Freedom E SDK, so either way, you'll have to get the SDK running. Right now, the SDK only works under Linux (and OS X, and possibly Cygwin), but support for Windows is coming. For Linux users, the getting started guide is more than sufficient, although it will take quite a while (at least 30 minutes) to build all the tools. Once the Freedom E SDK is installed, support for the Arduino IDE pretty much falls into place. You'll have to futz around with the Boards Manager, but with a few clicks, you get something fantastic. You can blink an LED with Open Source Hardware.
Open Source

Pull Requests Are Accepted At About The Same Rate, Regardless of Gender (techinasia.com) 94

An anonymous reader writes: Remember that story about how women "get pull requests accepted more (except when you know they're women)." The study actually showed that men also had their code accepted more often when their gender wasn't known, according to Tech In Asia -- and more importantly, the lower acceptance rates (for both men and women) applied mostly to code submitters from outside the GitHub community. "Among insiders, there's no evidence of discrimination against women. In fact, the reverse is true: women who are on the inside and whose genders are easy to discern get more of their code approved, and to a statistically significant degree."

Eight months after the story ran, the BBC finally re-wrote their original headline ("Women write better code, study suggests") and added the crucial detail that acceptance rates for women fell "if they were not regulars on the service and were identified by their gender."

Open Source

Postal, the Legendarily Violent Video Game by Running With Scissors, Is Now Open Source (ndtv.com) 66

An anonymous reader writes: Video game developer Running With Scissors has announced that it is open sourcing the original version of its most popular title-Postal, which was released back in 1997. Even though violence in video games has been a topic of debate for over decades now, Postal has been one of the most criticised games out of the lot. Running With Scissors has published the code for the game on Bitbucket under the GPL2 license and further said that it is entrusting the fans with the fate of its game. "Anyone with the time and skills can now tweak/change/update/modify anything in the game at all!" the company was quoted as saying in the report. Postal is popularly known for being termed "digital poison" by US Senator Joe Lieberman but developed an audience for itself over the years. Earlier this year, a high-definition remaster of the game called Postal Redux was released on Steam as well as PS4.
Open Source

HandBrake 1.0.0 Released After 13 Years Of Development (fossbytes.com) 143

HandBrake, popular open source video transcoder, has finally hit version 1.0.0 affter spending roughly more than 13 years in development. HandBrake 1.0.0 brings tons of new presets and support for more devices and file types. From a report: HandBrake 1.0.0 comes with new web and MKV presets. The official presets from HandBrake 0.10.x can be found under 'Legacy.' New Jason-based preset system, including command line support, has been added. The additional features of HandBrake are title/chapter selection, queuing up multiple encodes, chapter markers, subtitles, different video filters, and video preview. Just in case you have a compatible Skylake or later CPU, Intel QuickSync Video H.265/HEVC encoder support brings performance improvements. HandBrake 1.0.0 also brings along new online documentation beta. It's written in a simple and easy-to-understand language.You can download it here.
Open Source

FreeDOS 1.2 Is Finally Released (freedos.org) 146

Very long-time Slashdot reader Jim Hall -- part of GNOME's board of directors -- has a Christmas gift. Since 1994 he's been overseeing an open source project that maintains a replacement for the MS-DOS operating system, and has just announced the release of the "updated, more modern" FreeDOS 1.2! [Y]ou'll find a few nice surprises. FreeDOS 1.2 now makes it easier to connect to a network. And you can find more tools and games, and a few graphical desktop options including OpenGEM. But the first thing you'll probably notice is the all-new new installer that makes it much easier to install FreeDOS. And after you install FreeDOS, try the FDIMPLES program to install new programs or to remove any you don't want. Official announcement also available at the FreeDOS Project blog.
FreeDOS also lets you play classic DOS games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem, and Jill of the Jungle -- and today marks a very special occasion, since it's been almost five years since the release of FreeDos 1.1. "If you've followed FreeDOS, you know that we don't have a very fast release cycle," Jim writes on his blog. "We just don't need to; DOS isn't exactly a moving target anymore..."
Android

All Cyanogen Services Are Shutting Down (cyngn.com) 113

Long-time Slashdot reader Nemosoft Unv. writes: A very brief post on Cyanogen's blog says it all really: "As part of the ongoing consolidation of Cyanogen, all services and Cyanogen-supported nightly builds will be discontinued no later than 12/31/16. The open source project and source code will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod personally." Of course, with no focused team behind the CyanogenMod project it's effectively dead. Building an Android OS from scratch is no mean feat and most users won't be able to pull this off, let alone make fixes and updates. So what will happen next? Cyanogen had already laid off 20% of its workforce in July, and in November announced they had "separated ties" with Cyanogen founder and primary contributor Steve Kondik. One Android site quoted Kondik as saying "what I was trying to do, is over" in a private Google+ community, and the same day Kondik posted on Twitter, "Time for the next adventure." He hasn't posted since, so it's not clear what he's up to now. But the more important question is whether anyone will continue developing CyanogenMod.

UPDATE: Android Police reports that the CyanogenMod team "has posted an update of their own, confirming the shutdown of the CM infrastructure and outlining a plan to continue the open-source initiative as Lineage." The team posts on their blog that "we the community of developers, designers, device maintainers and translators have taken the steps necessary to produce a fork of the CM source code and pending patches."
Open Source

LibreOffice Will Have New 'MUFFIN' UI (documentfoundation.org) 173

New submitter iampiti writes: The Document Foundation has announced a new user interface concept for LibreOffice. Users will be able to choose from several toolbar configurations including the "Notebook bar" which is similar to Microsoft Office's ribbon. According to TDF, "The MUFFIN (My User Friendly -- Flexible Interface) represents a new approach to UI design, based on the respect of user needs rather than on the imposition of a single UI to all users"
Microsoft

Is Microsoft 'Reaping the Rewards' From Open-Sourcing Its .NET Core? (infoworld.com) 257

An anonymous reader quote InfoWorld: Two years ago Microsoft did the unthinkable: It declared it would open-source its .NET server-side cloud stack with the introduction of .NET Core... Thus far, the move has paid off. Microsoft has positioned .NET Core as a means for taking .NET beyond Windows. The cross-platform version extends .NET's reach to MacOS and Linux...

Developers are buying in, says Scott Hunter, Microsoft partner director program manager for .NET. "Forty percent of our .NET Core customers are brand-new developers to the platform, which is what we want with .NET Core," Hunter says. "We want to bring new people in." Thanks in considerable part to .NET Core, .NET has seen a 61% uptick in the number of developers engaged with the platform in the past year.

The article includes an interesting quote from Microsoft-watching analyst Rob Sanfilippo. "It could be argued that the technology generates indirect revenue by incenting the use of Azure services or Microsoft developer tools."
Open Source

3D Freeciv-Web (Beta) Released (freeciv.org) 68

It's the open source web version of the classic Linux strategy game, and now Slashdot reader Andreas(R) -- one of its developers -- has an announcement. Now the developers are working on bringing the game to the modern era with 3D WebGL graphics [and] a beta of the 3D WebGL version of Freeciv has been released today. The game will work on any device with a browser with HTML5 and WebGL support, and three gigabytes of RAM... It's a volunteer community development project and anyone is welcome to contribute to the project. Have fun and remember to sleep!
The developers of Freeciv-web are now also working on a VR version using Google Cardboard, according to the site, while the original Freeciv itself has still been maintained for over 20 years -- and apparently even has its own dedicated port number.
Open Source

GoboLinux 016 Released With Its Own Filesystem Virtualization Tool (gobolinux.org) 47

Long-time Slashdot reader paranoidd writes: GoboLinux announced Thursday the availability of a new major release. What's special about it is that it comes together with a container-free filesystem virtualization that's kind of unique thanks to the way that installed programs are arranged by the distro. Rather than having to create full-fledged containers simply to get around conflicting libraries, a lightweight solution simply plays with overlays to create dynamic filesystem views for each process that wants them. Even more interesting, the whole concept also enables 32-bit and 64-bit programs to coexist with no need for a lib64 directory (as implemented by mostly all bi-arch distributions out there).
"Instead of having parts of a program thrown at /usr/bin, other parts at /etc and yet more parts thrown at /usr/share/something/or/another, each program gets its own directory tree, keeping them all neatly separated and allowing you to see everything that's installed in the system and which files belong to which programs in a simple and obvious way."
Google

Google Joins the Open Source Cloud Foundry Foundation (betanews.com) 6

BrianFagioli quotes a report from BetaNews: Today, Google announces that it has joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation as a gold member. This is yet another example of the search giant's open source focus. Google joins some other respected companies at this membership level, such as Verizon, GE Digital, and Huawei to name a few. For whatever reason, the search giant stopped short of committing as the highest-level platinum member, however. "From the beginning, our goal for Google Cloud Platform has been to build the most open cloud for all developers and businesses alike, and make it easy for them to build and run great software. A big part of this is being an active member of the open source community and working directly with developers where they are, whether they're at an emerging startup or a large enterprise. Today we're pleased to announce that Google has joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation as a Gold member to further our commitment to these goals", says Brian Stevens, Vice President, Google Cloud.
Google

Google Makes Embedding Projector an Open Source Project (betanews.com) 14

Reader BrianFagioli writes: One of the best way to digest and present data is with visualizations and dashboards. Not everyone is a data scientist, so how you tell a story matters. Today, Google is making a rather nifty data visualization tool an open source project. Called "Embedding Projector", it can show what the search giant calls high-dimensional data. "To enable a more intuitive exploration process, we are open-sourcing the Embedding Projector, a web application for interactive visualization and analysis of high-dimensional data recently shown as an A.I. Experiment, as part of TensorFlow. We are also releasing a standalone version at projector.tensorflow.org, where users can visualize their high-dimensional data without the need to install and run TensorFlow," says Google.
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.9 Officially Released (kernel.org) 80

"As expected, today, December 11, 2016, Linus Torvalds unleashed the final release of the highly anticipated Linux 4.9 kernel," reports Softpedia. prisoninmate shares their article: Linux kernel 4.9 entered development in mid-October, on the 15th, when Linus Torvalds decided to cut the merge window short by a day just to keep people on their toes, but also to prevent them from sending last-minute pull requests that might cause issues like it happened with the release of Linux kernel 4.8, which landed just two weeks before first RC of Linux 4.9 hit the streets... There are many great new features implemented in Linux kernel 4.9, but by far the most exciting one is the experimental support for older AMD Radeon graphics cards from the Southern Islands/GCN 1.0 family, which was injected to the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver...

There are also various interesting improvements for modern AMD Radeon GPUs, such as virtual display support and better reset support, both of which are implemented in the AMDGPU driver. For Intel GPU users, there's DMA-BUF implicit fencing, and some Intel Atom processors got a P-State performance boost. Intel Skylake improvements are also present in Linux kernel 4.9.

There's also dynamic thread-tracing, according to Linux Today. (And hopefully they fixed the "buggy crap" that made it into Linux 4.8.) LWN.net calls this "by far the busiest cycle in the history of the kernel project."
Open Source

Fedora-based Linux Distro Korora (Version 25) Now Available For Download (betanews.com) 31

BrianFagioli writes: If you want to use Fedora but do not want to spend time manually installing packages and repos, there is a solid alternative -- Korora. Despite the funny-sounding name, it is a great way to experience Fedora in a more user-friendly way. Wednesday, version 25, code-named 'Gurgle', became available for release.

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