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Open Source

Devuan's Systemd-Free Linux Hits Beta 2 (theregister.co.uk) 30

Long-time Slashdot reader Billly Gates writes, "For all the systemd haters who want a modern distro feel free to rejoice. The Debian fork called Devuan is almost done, completing a daunting task of stripping systemd dependencies from Debian." From The Register: Devuan came about after some users felt [Debian] had become too desktop-friendly. The change the greybeards objected to most was the decision to replace sysvinit init with systemd, a move felt to betray core Unix principles of user choice and keeping bloat to a bare minimum. Supporters of init freedom also dispute assertions that systemd is in all ways superior to sysvinit init, arguing that Debian ignored viable alternatives like sinit, openrc, runit, s6 and shepherd. All are therefore included in Devuan.
Devuan.org now features an "init freedom" logo with the tagline, "watching your first step. Their home page now links to the download site for Devuan Jessie 1.0 Beta2, promising an OS that "avoids entanglement".
Hardware Hacking

Own An Open Source RISC-V Microcontroller (crowdsupply.com) 101

"Did you ever think it would be great if hardware was open to the transistor level, not just the chip level?" writes hamster_nz, pointing to a new Crowd Supply campaign for the OnChip Open-V microcontroller, "a completely free (as in freedom) and open source 32-bit microcontroller based on the RISC-V architecture." hamster_nz writes: With a completely open instruction-set architecture and no license fees for the CPU design, the RISC-V architecture is well positioned to take the crown as the 'go to' design for anybody needing a 32-bit in their silicon, and Open-V are crowd-sourcing their funding for an initial manufacturing run of 70,000 chips, offering options from a single chip to a seat in the design review process. This project is shaping up to be a milestone for the coming Open Source Silicon revolution, and they are literally offering a seat at the table. Even if you don't end up backing the project, it makes for very interesting reading.
Their crowdfunding page argues "If you love hacking on embedded controllers, breaking down closed-source barriers, having the freedom to learn how things work even down to the transistor level, or have dreamed of spinning your own silicon, then this campaign is for you."
Open Source

Open-Source Hardware Makers Unite To Start Certifying Products (infoworld.com) 57

An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld on the new certifications from the Open Source Hardware Association: The goal of certification is to clearly identify open-source hardware separate from the mish-mash of other hardware products. The certification allows hardware designs to be replicated. For certification, OSHWA requires hardware creators to publish a bill-of-materials list, software, schematics, design files, and other documents required to make derivative products. Those requirements could apply to circuit boards, 3D printed cases, electronics, processors, and any other hardware that meets OSHWA's definition of open-source hardware...OSHWA will host a directory for all certified products, something that doesn't exist today because the community is so fragmented.
After signing a legally-binding agreement, hardware makers are allowed to use the Open Hardware mark, which one of their board members believes will help foster a stronger sense of community among hardware makers. "People want to be associated with open source."
Open Source

Green Party Calls For Recount, Wants To Push For Open-Source Voting Machines (nbcnewyork.com) 297

The Green party candidate in the U.S. presidential election, Jill Stein, has raised over $5 million in donations to fund a recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which are the states key to Hillary Clinton's loss on November 8th. She is seeking a recount in these three states after computer scientists discovered Clinton averaged 7% worse in counties with e-voting machines vs. counties with only paper or optical scan ballots. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: On November 23, the Stein/Baraka Green Party Campaign launched an effort to ensure the integrity of our elections," calling for "publicly-owned, open source voting equipment." In approximately 48 hours (as of 1:20pm EST (GMT-5) on Nov-25-2016) $5,026,516.15 has been raised to pay for a recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and [they are] currently collecting towards a recount in Michigan. The Green party also states: "The Green Party Platform calls for 'publicly-owned, open source voting equipment and deploy it across the nation to ensure high national standards, performance, transparency and accountability; use verifiable paper ballots; and institute mandatory automatic random precinct recounts to ensure a high level of accuracy in election results.'" More details can be read on MSNBC news. The Washington Post asks: Why are people giving Jill Stein millions of dollars for an election recount? UPDATE 11/25/16: Washington Examiner is reporting that Green Party officials have filed for a presidential vote recount in Wisconsin.
UPDATE 11/26/16: Hillary Clinton's campaign said Saturday that it will take part in the recount in Wisconsin.
Open Source

Apple Releases macOS 10.12 Sierra Open Source Darwin Code (9to5mac.com) 134

An anonymous reader writes:Apple has released the open source Darwin code for macOS 10.12 Sierra. The code, located on Apple's open source website, can be accessed via direct link now, although it doesn't yet appear on the site's home page. The release builds on a long-standing library of open source code that dates all the way back to OS X 10.0. There, you'll also find the Open Source Reference Library, developer tools, along with iOS and OS X Server resources. The lowest layers of macOS, including the kernel, BSD portions, and drivers are based mainly on open source technologies, collectively called Darwin. As such, Apple provides download links to the latest versions of these technologies for the open source community to learn and to use.
Desktops (Apple)

Fedora 25 Now Available -- Makes It Easier To Switch From Windows 10 Or Mac (betanews.com) 153

Reader BrianFagioli writes: After the release of both alpha and beta versions, Fedora 25 is officially here and ready for production machines. If you aren't familiar with the popular Linux-based operating system, please know that it is the distribution of choice for the founder of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds. One of the most endearing qualities of Fedora is its focus on only offering truly free open source software. Also, you can always count on a very modern version of the Linux kernel being available. Despite having very up-to-date packages, it is always very stable too. My favorite aspect, however, is the commitment to the GNOME desktop environment; other DEs are available, though. The team says, "Fedora 25 Workstation now makes it easier to for Windows and OS X users to get started, with Fedora Media Writer serving as the default download for those operating systems. This tool helps users find and download the current Fedora release and write it to removable media, like a USB stick, allowing potential Fedora users to 'test drive' the operating system from that media environment. Fedora can then be installed to their systems with the same process".
Red Hat Software

Red Hat CEO Predicts Open Source Infrastructures With Proprietary Business Functionality (fortune.com) 53

An anonymous reader summarizes the highlights of Fortune's new interview with Red Hat CEO James Whitehurst: A recruiter told Whitehurst the culture at Red Hat was "a little bit like that Blues Brothers movie, when Dan Aykroyd says, 'We're on a mission from God.'" But Whitehurst says geeky passion "makes it a great place to be a part of," and even argues that the success of Microsoft in the 1990s can be attributed to its Microsoft Developer Network, which led developers into Microsoft's platform and infrastructure. "Developers now are heavily using open-source tools and technology and, bluntly, I think that's why Microsoft had to open source .NET and why they're embracing more open source in general. Because open source is where innovation is coming from and is what developers are consuming, it forces vendors to participate."

Looking towards the future, Whitehurst says "A rough line would be almost to say most infrastructure is going to be open source and most business functionality above it is going to be proprietary." And he also warns open source companies, "if you don't have the unique business model that allows you to add value on top of the free functionality, in the end you're going to fail... a lot of open source companies have come and gone because they've been more focused on the functionality versus how they add value around the functionality."

Software

cURL Author Is Getting Tech Support Emails From Car Owners (daniel.haxx.se) 141

AmiMoJo writes: The author of the popular cURL utility has been receiving requests for help from frustrated car owners having difficulty with their infotainment systems... [B]ecause his email address is listed on the "about" screen, as required by the cURL license, some desperate users are reaching out to him in the hopes of finding a solution.
It sounds annoying to receive complaints like "why there delay between audio and video when connect throw Bluetooth and how to fix it." But though he rarely answers them, Stenberg writes that "I actually find these emails interesting, sometimes charming and they help me connect to the reality many people experience out there."

In a post titled "I have toyota corola," Stenberg says "I suspect my email address is just about the only address listed. This occasionally makes desperate users who have tried everything to eventually reach out to me. They can't fix their problem but since my email exists in their car, surely I can!"
Music

Red Hat Announces Fedora Will Support MP3 Playback (fedoraproject.org) 140

Long-time Slashdot reader jrincayc shares news from Red Hat's Fedora Engineering Manager, Tom Callaway. On the Fedora-legal mailing list, Callaway announced: Red Hat has determined that it is now acceptable for Fedora to include MP3 decoding functionality (not specific to any implementation, or binding by any unseen agreement). Encoding functionality is not permitted at this time.
And the same day Christian Schaller announced on the Gnome blog that mp3 playback would be supported in Fedora Workstation 25. You should be able to download the mp3 plugin on Day 1 through GNOME Software or through the missing codec installer in various GStreamer applications. For Fedora Workstation 26 I would not be surprised if we decide to ship it on the install media.
He added, "I know this has been a big wishlist item for a long time for a lot of people..."
Java

Java's Open Sourcing Still Controversial Ten Years Later (infoworld.com) 89

An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld: Sun Microsystems officially open-sourced Java on November 13, 2006... "The source code for Java was available to all from the first day it was released in 1995," says [Java creator James] Gosling, who is now chief architect at Liquid Robotics. "What we wanted out of that was for the community to help with security analysis, bug reporting, performance enhancement, understanding corner cases, and a whole lot more. It was very successful." Java's original license, Gosling says, allowed people to use the source code internally but not redistribute. "It wasn't 'open' enough for the 'open source' crowd," he says... While Gosling has taken Oracle to task for its handling of Java at times, he sees the [2006] open-sourcing as beneficial. "It's one of the most heavily scrutinized and solid bodies of software you'll find. Community participation was vitally important..."

A former Oracle Java evangelist, however, sees the open source move as watered down. "Sun didn't open-source Java per se," says Reza Rahman, who has led a recent protest against Oracle's handling of enterprise Java. "What they did was to open-source the JDK under a modified GPL license. In particular, the Java SE and Java EE TCKs [Technology Compatibility Kits] remain closed source."

Rahman adds that "Without open-sourcing the JDK, I don't think Java would be where it is today."
Windows

Open Source Pioneer Munich Debates Report That Suggests Abandoning Linux for Windows 10 (techrepublic.com) 176

As an open-source software pioneer, Munich spent years moving away from Windows, but now politicians are debating a report that suggests the city could eventually abandon Linux. A report on TechRepublic adds: If the authority ruling Germany's third largest city backs proposals to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available across the council, it would be a significant step away from open-source software for an organization once seen as its champion. Over a nine-year period starting in 2004, the council moved about 15,000 staff from using Windows and Office to LiMux -- a custom version of the Ubuntu desktop OS -- and other open source software. At the time, Munich was one of the largest organizations to reject Windows, and Microsoft took the city's leaving so seriously that then CEO Steve Ballmer flew to Munich to meet the mayor. Now a report commissioned by current mayor Dieter Reiter to help determine the future of IT at the council has outlined a project to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available to all departments, and give staff the choice about whether to use Windows or LiMux.
Security

User Forks FileZilla FTP Client After Getting Hacked (filezillasecure.com) 166

Slashdot reader Entropy98 writes: A frustrated FileZilla user took matters into his own hands after getting hacked due to the fact that his saved passwords were being saved in plain text files. Despite years of numerous requests over almost 10 years the FileZilla devs refused to add a Master Password option to encrypt the stored passwords. Finally fed up one user forked FileZilla and created FileZilla Secure with the Master Password option.
Operating Systems

Mythbuntu Linux Has Been Discontinued (softpedia.com) 49

"Mythbuntu as a separate distribution will cease to exist. We will take the necessary steps to pull Mythbuntu specific packages from the repositories unless someone steps up to take these packages over," read Friday's announcement. prisoninmate writes: Mythbuntu was an operating system based on the widely-used Ubuntu Linux distro and built around the MythTV free and open source digital video recorder (DVR) project... The Mythbuntu team recommends users who want to use Mythbuntu to install the latest release of the Xubuntu Linux operating system and then add the Mythbuntu PPA (Personal Package Archive), which will continue to provide the latest MythTV releases and other related packages...

The first release of the OS was back when Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) was announced, and the last one was Mythbuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus). From this point...there will be no new ISO images anymore. Also, the mythbuntu-desktop and Mythbuntu-Control-Centre packages are now discontinued and won't be available from the Ubuntu repositories anymore. However, users will still be able to install the MythTV software and configure it as they see fit.

Open Source

US Government Launches Code.gov To Showcase Its Open Source Software (venturebeat.com) 57

An anonymous reader shares a VentureBeat report: The White House has announced the launch of Code.gov, a website that shows off U.S. government open-source projects and offers relevant resources for government agencies. By launching this site the White House is hoping to improve public access to the government's software and encourage the reuse of software across government agencies. The launch comes four months after the White House introduced the Federal Source Code policy, which specifically mandates that government agencies "make custom-developed code available for Government-wide reuse and make their code inventories discoverable" at Code.gov, with certain exceptions. The new site already has almost 50 code repositories from more than 10 agencies, U.S. chief information officer Tony Scott wrote in a blog post.
Open Source

Wordpress Founder Accuses Wix Of Stealing Code (ma.tt) 176

An anonymous reader writes: "Wow, dude I did not even know we were fighting," Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami posted on the company's blog Saturday -- responding to Wordpress creator Matt Mullenweg, who on Friday accused Wix of stealing their code. "The claim is that the Wix mobile apps distribute GPL code and aren't themselves GPL, so they violate the license," Mullenweg wrote.

Abrahami argued that "Everything we improved there or modified, we submitted back as open source," adding "we will release the app you saw as well... " Mullenweg responded "It appears you and [lead engineer] Tal might share a misunderstanding of how the GPL works," ultimately adding "software licensing can be tricky and many people make honest mistakes."

Wix had also argued they're giving back to the open source community by listing 224 public projects on their GitHub page. "Thank you for the offer to use them," Mullenweg responded. "If we do, we'll make sure to follow the license you've put on the code very carefully."
Education

How Linux Saved A School's Failing Windows Laptop Program (opensource.com) 255

OpenSource.com reports on a Minnesota school's 1:1 program -- one device per child -- where "Lots of the Windows laptops were in very poor condition and needed to be replaced." An anonymous reader writes: An Indiegogo campaign triggered extra money and donations of laptops, allowing the school's Linux club to equip much of the school with Linux laptops. "When you're using open source software you're free to use operating systems and application software without the hassle of license keys or license tracking inherent with proprietary software," says Stu Keroff, the school's technology coordinator. "This allows a school to experiment [and] gives them the freedom to make mistakes...

But there's also another benefit. "By empowering the students to be part of that process we were able to get more done, and to generate more excitement about the learning that the students were taking part in." There's now a waiting list for the school's Linux club, where they'd planned to cap membership at 35...until 62 students applied. Instead, they found themselves creating two Linux clubs, one for the sixth graders, and one for the 7th and 8th graders.

And to answer the obvious question -- they're using Ubuntu, with the Unity desktop.
AI

Is Microsoft Mainstreaming Machine Learning? (networkworld.com) 51

Tuesday Microsoft updated their open source Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), adding support for both C++ and Python. "This announcement is more than a point release..." argues Network World. "It's the recognition of AI and machine learning as the next big platform after mobile." This announcement represents a shift in Microsoft's customer focus from research to implementation... The toolkit is a supervised machine learning system in the same category of other open-source projects such as Tensorflow, Caffe and Torch. Microsoft is one of the leading investors in and contributors to the open machine learning software and research community. A glance at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference reveals that there are just four major technology companies committed to moving the field of neural networks forward: Microsoft, Google, Facebook and IBM.
A Microsoft engineer described CNTK as "democratizing AI," according to Microsoft's announcement, which also notes that their toolkit "has been optimized to best take advantage of the NVIDIA hardware and Azure networking capabilities that are part of the Azure offering."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.7 Reaches End of Life, Users Urged To Move To Linux 4.8 (softpedia.com) 77

prisoninmate writes: The Linux 4.7 kernel branch officially reached end of life, and it has already been marked as EOL on the kernel.org website, which means that the Linux kernel 4.7.10 maintenance update is the last one that will be released for this branch. It also means that you need to either update your system to the Linux 4.7.10 kernel release or move to a more recent kernel branch, such as Linux 4.8. In related news, Linux kernel 4.8.4 is now the latest stable and most advanced kernel version, which is already available for users of the Solus and Arch Linux operating systems, and it's coming soon to other GNU/Linux distributions powered by a kernel from the Linux 4.8 series. Users are urged to update their systems as soon as possible.
Open Source

Fedora 25 Beta Linux Distro Now Available For Raspberry Pi (betanews.com) 52

Slashdot reader BrianFagioli writes: Fedora 25 Beta Workstation is now available for both the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3. In addition to the Workstation image, Fedora 25 Beta Server is available too. Owners of ARMv6-powered Pi models, such as the Pi Zero, are out of luck, as the operating system will not be made available for them.
Peter Robinson (from the Fedora release engineering team) writes, "The most asked question I've had for a number of years is around support of the Raspberry Pi. It's also something I've been working towards for a very long time on my own time... The kernel supports all the drivers you'd expect, like various USB WiFi dongles, etc. You can run whichever desktop you like or Docker/Kubernetes/Ceph/Gluster as a group of devices -- albeit it slowly over a single shared USB bus!"
Encryption

VeraCrypt Security Audit Reveals Many Flaws, Some Already Patched (helpnetsecurity.com) 75

Orome1 quotes Help Net Security: VeraCrypt, the free, open source disk encryption software based on TrueCrypt, has been audited by experts from cybersecurity company Quarkslab. The researchers found 8 critical, 3 medium, and 15 low-severity vulnerabilities, and some of them have already been addressed in version 1.19 of the software, which was released on the same day as the audit report [which has mitigations for the still-unpatched vulnerabilities].
Anyone want to share their experiences with VeraCrypt? Two Quarkslab engineers spent more than a month on the audit, which was funded (and requested) by the non-profit Open Source Technology Improvement Fund "to evaluate the security of the features brought by VeraCrypt since the publication of the audit results on TrueCrypt 7.1a conducted by the Open Crypto Audit Project." Their report concludes that VeraCrypt's security "is improving which is a good thing for people who want to use a disk encryption software," adding that its main developer "was very positive along the audit, answering all questions, raising issues, discussing findings constructively..."

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