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  1. Open source Chromium browser shows up on the Microsoft Store If you've ever looked for web browsers in the Microsoft Store, you've probably come up short on finding anything at all. That's because according to Microsoft Store policy, any third-party browser needs to have the same rendering engine as its own Edge. But now, Edge runs on Chromium, which opens up the Store to a wide array of browsers. One of those is Chromium itself, which has now appeared on the Store, as spotted by Aggiornamenti Lumia. Chromium is an open source project that's managed by Google, but to be clear, this isn't being published by any big brand. It's published by a developer called Store Ports, who seemingly ran the browser through the Desktop App Converter and threw it up on the Store. The developer does have 10 other apps on the Store, some of which are also ports, and some aren't. One app is labeled as 'Universal (UWP) File Explorer', but the app description says that it's just a shortcut to the app that's hidden in Windows 10. If you want to check out Chromium on the Microsoft Store, you can find it here. It's unclear how often the browser will be updated. Open source Chromium browser shows up on the Microsoft Store
  2. A Desktop App for YouTube Music ====================================================================== Changelog: Add Unlisted languages (Deutsch, Bahasa Indonesia, Türkçe, Italiano, Japanese) Option to remove the download bar on taskbar #158 Miniplayer sizes (4, 5 and 6) Select audio output mpris integration #144 Single instance settings & lyrics windows #154 Option to minimize app on startup #148 BUG report button on context menu (right click mouse) Fix Dark grey bar at bottom of the app #109 A JavaScript error occured in the main process #126, #112 Last.fm won't authenticate. #124 Mini player and lyrics windows become unresponsive and lock up desktop when moved #151 Lyrics at times do not advance to the next/previous songs #156 Share should open in the default browser #141 Improve Single instance mode #107 Improve some languages Check if video is advertisement and prevent scrobble Electron v7.2.4 Lyrics Companion Server Listen on http://localhost:9863/query to get info about player and track. (WS or HTTP Request) Listen on http://localhost:9863/info to get info about app and server. (HTTP Only) You can enable or disable protection token (prevent unauthorized commands) ====================================================================== Home: https://ytmdesktop.app/ https://github.com/ytmdesktop/ytmdesktop ------------------------------ Download for Windows: https://github.com/ytmdesktop/ytmdesktop/releases/download/v1.10.0/YouTube.Music.Desktop.App.Setup.1.10.0.exe Download for Mac or Linux: https://github.com/ytmdesktop/ytmdesktop#available-for
  3. HandyPAF

    Tricycle 2.4.3 (x64)

    Video transcoding... easier than riding a bike. ------------------------------ Tricycle is an open-source video transcoder. It takes the guesswork out of converting videos by using layman's terms and providing a reasonable default configuration. Tricycle is powered by other open-source projects such as FFmpeg, x264, and x265. Features: Reads/decodes most video and audio formats Writes/encodes to the following formats Container formats: MP4 MKV Video formats: AVC (H.264) HEVC (H.265) Audio formats: AAC Dolby Digital (AC-3) Dolby TrueHD (copy/passthru to MKV only) DTS (copy/passthru only) DTS Master Audio (copy/passthru to MKV only) Supports 4K resolution and HDR (HDR10) Tonemaps HDR to SDR Scales video to standard resolutions Detects and crops black bars Crops to a selected aspect ratio Reduces noise in video Overlays subtitles (all or forced only) Supports mutliple audio tracks in mono, stereo, 5.1 surround, or 7.1 surround (copy/passthru to MKV only) ====================================================================== Changelog: All Platforms Fixed a bug that prevented transcodes from starting with some culture settings Fixed a bug that prevented the video configuration from displaying properly with some culture settings ------------------------------ Requirements: macOS High Sierra (10.13) or later Windows 7 or later (64-bit) .NET Framework 4.6.1 or later ====================================================================== Home: https://github.com/kmcclive/tricycle ------------------------------ Download: Windows | MacOS
  4. Why the entire open source movement is under threat right now FOSS projects are scrambling to raise funds during the pandemic (Image credit: Shutterstock / fatmawati achmad zaenuri) To date, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected over 170 technology events worldwide. Some of them have been postponed and others have moved online, but the majority have been cancelled outright. This has had a significant impact on the open source community, placing high-profile organizations and projects under mounting financial pressure. The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the organisation responsible for assessing open source licenses and preventing, “the abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement”, has indicated it needs to raise $600,000 to meet its funding goals for 2020. The Drupal Association, which oversees the development of the popular Drupal CMS, has already had to lay off staff and as a direct result of event cancellations - and it too needs to raise $500,000. At a surface level, the role of a technology event in helping foster free and open source software (FOSS) communities isn’t immediately apparent. But the reality is that running and attending events has helped raise money for FOSS projects and their governing bodies for decades, sustaining their existence. Further, these events offer various opportunities for the FOSS projects to educate new users and onboard fresh contributors, coordinate their core development activities, perform project housekeeping and brainstorm ideas for future development. Open source community Event cancellations can also negatively impact the already limited funds of participating open source projects and individual contributors. In a bid to minimise the monetary impact of a cancelled event on the FOSS ecosystem, a group of stalwarts from the community, along with their corporate backers, have banded together to form the FOSS Responders working group. In addition to creating a corpus fund, the group is identifying open source events and communities that are most in need of support and also wants to support individuals who are unable to absorb conference-related cancellation fees. The fund, much like the community it is designed to sustain, is hosted on open crowdfunding platform Open Collective. Not only is the platform's code released under the MIT License, but it also publishes financial information relating to campaigns. The Sloan Foundation has contributed $50,000 to the FOSS Responders fund, while Google, Indeed.com, and Sentry.io have pitched in $10,000 each, bringing the total close to $100,000. FOSS Responders is also holding a virtual funding event on Friday May 22, and Indeed.com has promised to match all donations upto $5,000. Besides monetary assistance, FOSS Responders is also working to create a resource center to equip projects with technical resources to help them engage with their community and even organise events virtually. If you are looking for financial help, you can apply to the fund for an emergency grant either as an individual or as a project. And if you want to support the open sources community, here’s a collection of crowdfunding campaigns set up by FOSS foundations to help mitigate the monetary setbacks it has suffered. Source: Why the entire open source movement is under threat right now (TechRadar)
  5. Microsoft’s romance with open source software is on display at Build 2020 But that hasn't stopped Edge from making out with Pinterest. 105 with 65 posters participating, including story author An absolute ton of new announcements has been coming out of this week's Microsoft Build 2020 virtual conference for Windows developers. While cool, most of them are a little thin for individual reports—so we'll get you up to speed on them in this roundup, with links out to each topic if you're interested in more. Windows Terminal goes 1.0 First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 3 images. As Windows 10—and Server 2019—pack in more and better command-line functionality, one of the parts of the overall experience that began looking shabby by comparison is the terminal itself. Windows Terminal seeks to change that, and it has just gone 1.0. The terminal itself is open source and is available for perusal and/or hacking at Github under the MIT license. Microsoft's own announcement makes a point of individually crediting 14 contributors by name and acknowledging hundreds more, which is a more-than-welcome sea change for those of us old enough to have lived through the Halloween Documents era. As for the usability of the project itself—it's promising but still needs work, from the jaundiced perspective of a daily-driving Linux user. We like the JSON-formatted Settings file, which can be spawned in Notepad with a simple menu click. We like the native support for both tabs and panes even more—but rough edges include the fact that, under default configs, an Ubuntu/bash shell suddenly turns into two PowerShell panes if you split it. The problem is that the pane-split hotkeys only support creating the new panes with the default profile under Terminal, and the profile includes the interpreter loaded. In addition to changing the default profile—which is very nerdily done by copying and pasting GUIDs in the settings.json—clever users can work around this limitation to some degree by simply executing a different interpreter inside the pane, after the pane itself has been opened. Terminal 1.0 also offers somewhat PuTTY-style copy-and-paste support—selecting text in Terminal doesn't automatically put it in the copy buffer like it does on PuTTY (you need a more Linux-y ctrl-shift-C for that), but right-clicking in another Terminal pane instantly pastes. There are plenty more features in Terminal, most of which seem to amount for now to "shiny"—background images, animated GIFs, scanlines and glowing text (to emulate ancient green-screen CRTs), and so forth. Interested users are advised to check out the Build announcement here and the project docs here. Azure Arc adds Kubernetes management to its CV First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 3 images. Azure Arc is—or at least will be—Microsoft's one-stack-fits-all-services cloud-management tool. The goal is for Arc to be as vendor- and type-neutral as possible, with support for managing Windows and Linux servers and VMs, Azure cloud services, and now Kubernetes container clusters from a single pane of glass. It has been tempting to think of Microsoft and Canonical as locked-in partners with the emphasis on Ubuntu in Windows Subsystem for Linux, but Microsoft demonstrates continued vendor neutrality in Arc with an announcement of direct support and integration of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server—which has a larger overall footprint in Europe than it does in the United States, aside from some specialty platforms (such as SAP Hana Enterprise Resource Planning). Although Azure Arc is still in preview (mostly public preview, with some features still in private preview) interested users can sign up to get started with it today. Microsoft loves open source these days—here's the Fluid framework to prove it The Fluid framework was one of the more interesting announcements made at last year's Ignite conference. Fluid enables document collaboration at massive scale and low latency—and it also blurs the lines between traditional document types, allowing simple and functional dynamic content embedding from one framework to the next. Enlarge / We were mildly impressed that this copied Word table rendered properly in an instant message at all—let alone that the recipient could update the data inside the IM itself. (Click through to view the animated demo.) Microsoft Microsoft has been teasing us with Fluid integration into Office 365 apps since the framework's initial announcement in September—this week, the company took things a step further by promising to open source the framework as well. Office 365 VP Jared Spataro announced that "Microsoft will be making the Fluid Framework open source, allowing developers and creators to use key infrastructure from Fluid Framework in their own applications." As exciting as this is, we're a little worried about the follow-on social engineering implications—being able to easily embed fully responsive Office document functionality in arbitrary webpages may make it that much easier to confuse users into putting confidential data and credentials into places they shouldn't. A live preview of some uses of the Fluid Framework is available here, for anyone with a OneDrive for Business account. Social hacking—integrated voice and text chat in Visual Studio Live Share Enlarge / Live collaboration between colleagues with very low latency is possible using VS Live Share. Microsoft Visual Studio Live Share is sort of like Google Docs for code—you and several colleagues can live-edit the same document, with cursors highlighting each of your changes live as they happen. Latency in VS Live Share is considerably lower than what most users will be accustomed to from Google Docs, however—and of course, the collaboration happens inside a full-featured development environment, not a simple word-processing document. The missing piece of this puzzle, until now, has been out-of-band communication—more simply, chat, whether text or voice. Until now, developers have needed to sideload separate tools for that—perhaps using Teams in another window for instant messaging, or Mumble / Skype / Hangouts / whatever for voice. Today's public preview brings the missing communication features directly into Visual Studio Live Share itself. Project Reunion—you got your UWP in my Win32 Project Reunion aims to allow access to both UWP and Win32 libraries from a single unifying framework. Microsoft One of the frustrations with developing for Windows is the coexistence of legacy and modern APIs. Use of the elderly Win32 API is for many developers more familiar, but shifting to UWP—the Universal Windows Platform—means getting access not only to Windows but also to Xbox One, HoloLens, and future hardware platforms. UWP also means an additional layer of security, which will frustrate as many developers as it delights—UWP apps can only be installed directly from the Microsoft Store. Project Reunion, unveiled Wednesday at Build 2020, aims to heal this divide somewhat by decoupling both APIs from the Windows OS and making functionality universally available to apps built under either API. For example, Reunion makes WinUI 3 Preview 1—the modern native UI framework for Windows—available to either UWP or Desktop (Win32) apps in the same way. Microsoft is engineering Project Reunion openly and publicly on Github, giving non-Microsoft developers a chance to directly influence the future of Windows development. Microsoft Teams adds bookings, bots, and broadcasts Microsoft Teams is the next-generation messaging and collaboration application from Redmond, replacing what your cynical author used to call "Lync, Skype for Business, or whatever they're calling it this week." Unlike Lync and Skype for Business, Teams has a functional Web interface. This makes it a much less painful experience for those who don't or can't install the native client directly onto their own PC—including, but not limited to, Linux users. The news this week is integration of appointment scheduling and shift management directly in Teams itself, along with chatbots and support for third-party streaming services. Scheduling and chatbots are exactly what they sound like—and if you're not familiar with the streaming option, think "interview on Teams, stream to the world via Open Broadcast Studio (or similar platform)." Pinterest integration added to Edge Collections Enlarge / Edge Collections are a handy way to group a bunch of websites and rich-formatted notes together. They can be saved, exported, and shared directly. Jim Salter To the dismay of die-hard Chrome fans and Microsoft haters alike, we at Ars have been getting increasingly interested in the Edge browser. By ditching its own proprietary rendering engine and collaborating with Google on the Chromium open source browser, Microsoft gained back a lot of available personnel hours and energy for innovation. Building atop Chromium pretty much instantly produced a snappy, usable browser guaranteed to work nearly anywhere that Chrome does; since then, Microsoft has split its focus on integration with its own platforms (such as Office 365 SSO authentication) and usability features. Collections is one of those features—simply put, it allows users to graphically, intuitively, and simply build rich "website playlists" that can be saved and perused later. Microsoft might have lost us a bit with its latest integration, though—the browser is integrating Pinterest into its Collections feature, showing suggestions for Pinterest boards at the bottom of users' Edge Collections, and allowing Collections themselves to export to Pinterest. Meh. Listing image by Microsoft Source: Microsoft’s romance with open source software is on display at Build 2020 (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  6. Microsoft: we were wrong about open source Microsoft has embraced open source and even Linux in recent years Image by Alex Castro / The Verge Microsoft has admitted it was wrong about open source, after the company battled it and Linux for years at the height of its desktop domination. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously branded Linux “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches” back in 2001. Microsoft president Brad Smith now believes the company was wrong about open source. “Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century, and I can say that about me personally,” said Smith in a recent MIT event. Smith has been at Microsoft for more than 25 years and was one of the company’s senior lawyers during its battles with open-source software. “The good news is that, if life is long enough, you can learn … that you need to change,” added Smith. Microsoft has certainly changed since the days of branding Linux a cancer. The software giant is now the single largest contributor to open-source projects in the world, beating Facebook, Docker, Google, Apache, and many others. Microsoft has gradually been adopting open source in recent years, including open-sourcing PowerShell, Visual Studio Code, and even Microsoft Edge’s original JavaScript engine. Microsoft has also partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10, and it acquired Xamarin to aid mobile app development and GitHub to maintain the popular code repository for developers. Microsoft is even shipping a full Linux kernel in a Windows 10 update that will release later this month, and it moved to the Chromium browser engine for Edge last year. Microsoft is also collaborating with open-source communities to create PowerToys for Windows 10, and the company’s new open design philosophy may mean we’ll see a lot more open-source efforts in Windows in the years to come. Source: Microsoft: we were wrong about open source (The Verge)
  7. Just wanted to open a discussion in regards to building a somewhat secure PC or laptop in respect to privacy of the business/user. With everything slowly becoming closed source and with end users having no access to control the security of their systems (E:G - Spretre, Meltdown, Thunderbolt exploits, Intel Management Engine etc). I am very interested in building a computer that runs on open-source system software such as Linux, and has full access to CPU firmware code with features such as Libreboot or Coreboot. This has been something I have been researching for a while. Would be very interested in hearing from others with such a setup or also any ideas on the above topic. Any ideas in regards to implementing such system or just brainstorming on how to build a secure setup would be great. Im talking about open-source software, hardware switches, manually removing components such as microphones / cameras to prevent three letter agencies stockpiling data and hoarding it in fusion centers. For a bit of context, please watch this Documentary. Any feedback on systems by companies such as System76 and Purism and the like would be phenomenal! Thanks in advance!
  8. steven36

    The High Seas Are Open Source

    One of the biggest problems of owning an older boat (besides being a money pit – that is common to all boats regardless of age) is the lack of parts and equipment, and the lack of support for those parts if you can find them at all. Like most things, this is an area that can benefit greatly from some open source solutions, which the Open Boat Projects in Germany has been able to show. (Google Translate from German) This group has solutions for equipment problems of all kinds for essentially any sized boat. At their most recent expo, many people were interested in open source solutions for situations where there is currently only an expensive proprietary option, such as support for various plotting devices. This isn’t the only part of this project, though. It includes many separate projects, like their solutions for autopilot and navigation. There are even complete hardware packages available, all fully documented. Open source solutions for large, expensive things like this are often few and far between for a number of reasons. There are limited options for other modes of open source transportation too, as it seems like most large companies are not willing to give up their secrets easily. Communities like this, however, give us hope that people will have other options for repairing their vehicles without having to shell out too much money. Source
  9. muCommander is a cross-platform, open source file manager Total Commander has been the favorite file manager of many users for decades. It's no surprise that it has been the inspiration for many clones. muCommander is one of these, and happens to be an open source alternative. The program is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Here's a comparison of the interfaces of Total Commander and muCommander. The latter's GUI is perhaps a bit easier on the eyes, that's probably due to the theme and the icons on the toolbar. But it's the features that are important. muCommander has a two-pane interface, obviously. You can switch to a horizontal view from the Window menu. Not a fan of the dual-pane view? Switch to the single pane mode. There is an optional tree view that can be enabled as well. An address bar is available at the top of each pane, to the left of which is a drive switcher menu button. There are five columns displayed in the interface: Extensions (which is the icon column on the left edge), file name, size, Date, Permissions. These can be toggled from the View menu's Show/Hide Columns. Drag and drop a column to rearrange the order. Right-clicking inside the interface brings up a context menu that's used for opening files in their default handler, or load the location in Explorer. You can also use the menu to copy files, or just the file names, base names or the path of the files. Working with a bunch of files or folders? Use the mark and unmark options, there are mark all and unmark all menu items too. One useful feature here is the "Change Permissions" options that lets you set the Read, Write and Executable permission for each file and folder on a per-user or group basis. The program has an archiver tool built-in that you can use to pack ZIP, TAR, GZip, BZip2 formats. Unpacking support includes 7z, RAR among other popular formats. The File Menu has a checksum value checker tool, a file splitter and joiner, and a batch rename utility. The application remembers the previous session and opens the last accessed folders when you start it again. This behavior can be changed from the Preferences. muCommander can be used to setup and connect to your FTP, SMB, SFTP, S3, HTTP, HDFS, NFS, VSPHERE servers. You may also email files directly from the application. Bookmarks can be added to quickly jump to your favorite folders. The command bar at the bottom displays some functions that you can access, these can also be used by using the hotkeys F3-F10. muCommander features a built-in text and image viewer that can be accessed from the command bar or the F3 key. There is an internal editor too, but this only works with text files. The Refresh button in the Command Bar is an extra option that most File Managers don't have. Speaking of which, you can customize the bottom bar from the View menu and there are a whole host of shortcuts to choose from. The program has a handful of themes to choose from including a retro theme that's similar to Norton Commander, a dark theme and some sub-theme styles as well. muCommander is keyboard friendly and there are many shortcuts that you can use and customize. The program requires Java to run. The Linux version is quite identical to the Windows version. Though the current build was updated a year ago, the developer has been working on it, and has recently hinted that a new version will be released soon. Of the many Total Commander clones out there, muCommander is one of the better ones. Landing Page: http://www.mucommander.com/ Source: muCommander is a cross-platform, open source file manager (gHacks)
  10. Open source licenses: What, which, and why Learn what open source licenses are, which one to choose, and why it matters. Enlarge / Most open source projects are vastly more restrictive with their trademarks than their code. OpenBSD's Puffy, Linux's Tux, and the FSF's Meditating Gnu are among the few FOSS logos that can easily and legally be remixed and reused for simple illustrative purposes. OpenBSD, Free Software Foundation, Larry Ewing, Seattle Municipal Archives Most people have at least heard of open source software by now—and even have a fairly good idea of what it is. Its own luminaries argue incessantly about what to call it—with camps arguing for everything from Free to Libre to Open Source and every possible combination of the above—but the one thing every expert agrees on is that it's not open source (or whatever) if it doesn't have a clearly attributed license. You can't just publicly dump a bunch of source code without a license and say "whatever—it's there, anybody can get it." Due to the way copyright law works in most of the world, freely available code without an explicitly declared license is copyright by the author, all rights reserved. This means it's just plain unsafe to use unlicensed code, published or not—there's nothing stopping the author from coming after you and suing for royalties if you start using it. The only way to actually make your code open source and freely available is to attach a license to it. Preferably, you want a comment with the name and version of a well-known license in the header of every file and a full copy of the license available in the root folder of your project, named LICENSE or LICENSE.TXT. This, of course, raises the question of which license to use—and why? There are a few general types of licenses available, and we'll cover each in its own section, along with one or more prominent examples of this license type. Default licensing—proprietary, all rights reserved In most jurisdictions, any code or content is automatically copyrighted by the author, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise stated. While it's good form to declare the author and the copyright date in the header of any code or document, failing to do so doesn't mean the author's rights are void. An author who makes content or code available on their own website, a Github repository, etc—either without a stated license or with an express declaration of copyright—maintains both usage and distribution rights for that code, even though it's trivially simple to view or download. If you execute that code on your own computer or computers, you're transgressing on the author's usage rights, and they may bring civil suit against you for violating their copyright, since they never granted you that right. Similarly, if you copy that code and give it to a friend, post it on another website, sell it, or otherwise make it available anywhere beyond where the author originally posted it, you've transgressed upon the author's distribution rights, and they have standing to bring a civil suit against you. Note that an author who maintains proprietary rights to a codebase may individually grant license to persons or organizations to use that code. Technically, you don't ever "buy" software, even when it's boxed up in a physical store. What you're actually purchasing is a license to use the software—which may or may not include physical media containing a copy of the code. Home-grown licenses The short version of our comment on home-grown licensing is simple: just don't do it. There are enough well-understood, OSI-approved open source licenses in the world already that nearly any person or project should be able to find an appropriate one. Writing your own license instead means that potential users of your project, content, or code will have to do the same thing the author didn't want to—read and understand a new license from scratch. The new license will not have been previously tested in court, which many (though not all) of the OSI-approved open source licenses have been. Even more importantly, your new license will not be widely understood. When a person or company wants to use a project licensed under—for example—GPL v3, Apache 2.0, or CC0 (more on these licenses later), it's relatively easy to figure out whether the license in question grants enough rights, in the right ways, to be suited for that purpose. Asking a competent intellectual property lawyer for advice is cheap and easy, because that competent IP lawyer should already be familiar with these licenses, case-law involving them, and so forth. By contrast, if your project is licensed "Joe's Open Source License v1.01" nobody knows what that means. Legal consultation for a project under that license will be much more expensive—and dicey—because an IP lawyer would need to evaluate the text of the license as an entirely new work, unproven and untested. The new license might have unclear text, unintentional conflicts between clauses, or be otherwise unenforceable due to legal issues its author did not understand. Failure to choose an OSI-approved license can also invalidate a project from certain rights or grants. For example, both Google and IBM offer royalty-free usage of portions of their patent portfolio to open source projects—and your project, no matter how "free" you consider it, may not qualify with a home-grown license. (IBM specifically names OSI license approval as a grant condition.) OSI-approved licenses The Open Source Initiative maintains a list of approved open source licenses, which comply with the OSI's definition of "open source." In the OSI's own words, these licenses "allow software to be freely used, modified, and shared." There is a lot of overlap among these licenses, many of which probably never should have existed—see "home grown licenses," above—but at some point, each of them gained enough traction to go through the OSI license approval process. We're going to break this list of licenses down into three categories and list some of the more notable examples of each. Most authors don't need to read and understand the OSI's entire list—there usually aren't enough differences between common and uncommon variants of a general license type to make it worth straying from the most commonly used and well-understood versions. Strong copyleft licenses A copyleft license is a license that grants the permission to freely use, modify, and redistribute the covered intellectual property—but only if the original license remains intact, both for the original project and for any modifications to the original project anyone might make. This type of license—sometimes dismissively or fearfully referred to as "viral"—is the one attached to such famous projects as the Linux kernel, the GNU C Compiler, and the WordPress content management system. A copyleft license may be "strong" or "weak"—a strong copyleft license covers both the project itself and any code that links to any code within the covered project. A weak copyleft license only covers the original project itself and allows non-copyleft-licensed code—even proprietary code—to link to functions within the weak-copyleft-licensed project without violating its license. Some of the more popular strong copyleft licenses include: GPLv2—the GNU General Public License allows for free usage, modification, and distribution of covered code, but the original license must remain intact and covers both the original project and any modifications. No attribution or patent grants are required in the GPLv2, but the seventh section does prohibit redistribution of GPLv2 licensed code if patents or any other reason would render the redistributed code unusable to a recipient. The GPL also requires that anyone distributing compiled versions of a project make original source code available as well, either by providing the source along with the distributed object code, or by offering it upon request. GPLv3—Version three of the GNU General Public License is for most intents and purposes similar to GPLv2. It handles patents differently, however—the GPLv2 forbade redistribution under the GPLv2 if doing so would potentially require royalty payments for patents covering the work. The GPLv3 goes a step further and explicitly grants free usage rights to any patents owned, then or in the future, by any contributor to the project. The GPLv3 also expressly grants recipients the right to break any DRM (Digital Rights Management) code contained within the covered project, preventing them from being charged with violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or similar "tamper-proofing" laws. AGPL—the Affero GNU General Public License is, effectively, the GPLv3 with one significant additional clause—in addition to offering GPL freedoms to those who receive copies of AGPL-licensed software, it offers those same freedoms to users who interact with the AGPL-licensed software over a network. This prevents an individual or company from making significant valuable modifications to a project intended for widespread network use and refusing to make those modifications freely available. We're going to give a little more ink to the AGPL outside of our bulleted list above, because it's a little harder to explain its impact to someone who isn't already very familiar with copyleft. In order to better understand its impact, we'll look at one real AGPL licensed project and a fictitious scenario involving a large company that might wish to adopt it. The Nextcloud Web-based file-sharing suite is an AGPL-licensed project. Because it's licensed under a GPL variant, any person or company can freely download, install, and use it, either for themselves or to offer services—including paid services—to others. Let's imagine a hypothetical company—we'll call the company PB LLC, and their product Plopbox—that decides to spin up a large commercial site offering paid access to managed, hosted Nextcloud instances. In the course of making Plopbox scale to millions of users, PB LLC makes substantial modifications to the code. The modified code consumes far fewer server resources and also adds several features that Plopbox's users find valuable enough to distinguish Plopbox substantially from vanilla installations of Nextcloud. If Nextcloud—the open source project PB LLC consumed in order to create the Plopbox service—had been licensed under the standard GPL, those modifications could remain proprietary, and PB LLC would not be required to provide them to anyone. This is because the standard GPL's restrictions only kick in on redistribution, and PB LLC did not redistribute its modified version of Nextcloud. Since PB LLC only installed Nextcloud on its own servers, it's not obligated to provide copies of Nextcloud—either the original or the modified versions—to anyone, either automatically or upon request. However, Nextcloud is not licensed under either standard version of the GPL—it's licensed under the Affero GPL, and the Affero GPL grants all of the rights associated with the GPL to networked users of a covered project, not merely to recipients of distributed code. So PB LLC actually would be required to make their scalability and new-feature modifications available, in source code form (and object code form, if applicable) to anyone who had both used the project (eg, by opening a Plopbox account) and requested a copy. Weak copyleft licenses A weak copyleft license is essentially similar to a strong copyleft license, but it does not extend its "viral" protection across linkage boundaries. Modifications to the weak-copyleft library (or other project) itself must retain the original license, but any code outside that project—even fully proprietary code—may link directly to functions inside the weak copyleft-licensed project. There are relatively few weak copyleft licenses. The most commonly encountered are: LGPL—the Lesser GNU General Public License. Sometimes still referred to by its original name, GNU "Library" General Public License, since it's most commonly used in shared libraries. Compatible for use with GPL-licensed projects. MPL 2.0—the Mozilla Public License. MPL 2.0 is compatible for use with GPL-licensed projects; prior versions were not. CDDL v1.0—The Common Development and Distribution License, originally authored by Sun Microsystems. CDDL is famously considered incompatible with the GPL, although this incompatibility has not been tested in court. The major difference between the LGPL and the MPL is attribution—in order to link to an LGPL project from a non-GPL-compliant project, you must "give prominent notice... that the Library is used in it (and) covered by this license." The MPL does not have any attribution requirements; you may redistribute MPL projects, and link to functions within an MPL project, without any need to announce that you're doing so. The Mozilla Public License is also notable for offering "forward migration." The Mozilla Foundation, as license steward, may create updated versions of the MPL in the future, with unique version numbers. Should it do so, any user of a project licensed MPL 2.0 may choose to use it under the original MPL 2.0 or any later version of the license. The CDDL similarly allows forward migration but defines the license steward as Sun Microsystems rather than the Mozilla Foundation. Unlike the LGPL and MPL 2.0, CDDL is generally considered incompatible—possibly deliberately—with the GPL. Some organizations have chosen to dynamically link CDDL and GPL licensed code anyway—most notably Canonical, makers of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, who announced their decision to do so by distributing a Linux port of the ZFS filesystem in early 2016. We at Canonical have conducted a legal review, including discussion with the industry’s leading software freedom legal counsel, of the licenses that apply to the Linux kernel and to ZFS. And in doing so, we have concluded that we are acting within the rights granted and in compliance with their terms of both of those licenses. Others have independently achieved the same conclusion. Differing opinions exist, but please bear in mind that these are opinions. One significant dissent to Canonical's position comes from the Software Freedom Conservancy, which states that linking CDDL and GPL code is necessarily a GPL violation. Although the SFC states this in no uncertain terms, it expresses "sympathy" to Canonical's goals, and its conclusion focuses on asking Oracle (the CDDL's license steward, as the current owners of Sun Microsystems) to resolve the issue. Should Oracle make the original ZFS codebase available under a GPLv2 compatible license—including any of the compatible permissive licenses—this availability would, in turn, grandfather in the later OpenZFS project without need for laborious consultation of every individual contributor. We do not recommend modern use of the CDDL license—it is neither generally useful as a permissive license due to its GPL incompatibility, nor is it likely to be useful as a "GPL poison pill" given the strong stance Canonical and others have taken in belief that legal challenges to the linkage of CDDL and GPLv2 code would fail in court. Permissive licenses Permissive licenses make very few restrictions in the usage, distribution, or modification of covered projects. As a result, one permissive license tends to be very similar to another. The most common restriction in permissive licenses is attribution—in other words, these licenses generally require statements giving credit to the original project in any projects derived from them. (We cover permissive licenses that do not require attribution in the next section on public domain equivalent licenses.) Notable permissive licenses include: BSD four-clause license—the original 1990 Berkeley Software Distribution license allowed for free usage, modification, redistribution, and even relicensing of covered software. Four clauses provided the only limiting factors: any redistribution must include the copyright notice of the original project (clauses one and two), any advertising materials for the project or any derivative project must acknowledge the use of the source project (clause three), and no rights to use the name of the authors and/or owners of the original project are granted to endorse any derivative projects (clause four). BSD three-clause license—The BSD three-clause license, first published in 1999, omits the advertising clause from the original four-clause BSD license. It is otherwise identical. BSD two-clause license—Also known as the "Simplified BSD license" or "FreeBSD license," the two-clause BSD license omits the endorsement clause as well as the advertising clause of the original BSD license. Apache license 2.0—the Apache license is a permissive license similar to the BSD two-clause license, except that it additionally grants patent rights similarly to the GPLv3. The Apache 2.0 license also requires redistribution of the original contents of a NOTICE file, should one be present in the source project. The NOTICE file may be appended to if desired but must not omit the original contents and must not alter—or seem to alter—the license terms. "MIT license"—we placed this one in scare quotes because it's ambiguous and could refer to any of several license variants. When someone says "MIT license" they most commonly mean the variant known as the Expat license—which, similarly to the BSD two-clause license, grants usage, modification, redistribution, and relicensing rights to the covered project, requiring only that the original copyright notice be retained and included. In an attempt to de-obfuscate usage of the term "MIT License," the OSI has published a word-for-word copy of the Expat license. GNU All-permissive License—this is another extremely simple permissive license, allowing usage, redistribution, and modification of covered projects, requiring only inclusion of the original copyright and the single paragraph of the GNU all-permissive license itself. Although it's possible to license entire projects under the GNU APL, this is both uncommon and discouraged—it's really intended for use in README, INSTALL, and similar, simple single files. Although software surveys performed by Github and Black Duck Software both list the MIT License as the most commonly encountered open source license, we strongly recommend against its usage due to the ambiguity involved. The MIT license does not grant (or restrict) usage significantly differently from the BSD two-clause license. Since the BSD two-clause license is considerably more clear, both in its own text and in what "BSD two-clause license" refers to in normal use, we strongly recommend its use instead. We recommend the Apache 2.0 license to those who wish to explicitly grant patent rights—with the caveat that this makes Apache 2.0 compatible with the GPLv3 but not with the more widely used GPLv2. Public domain equivalent licenses Many of the people who publish their work without any license notice at all just don't want to bother reading or understanding any of the licenses or their implications and mistakenly believe that providing the work without providing a license makes it "free." We understand the desire not to have to think about licensing, but implore those people to use a public domain equivalent license instead. There is only one OSI-approved public domain equivalent license, and here it is, in its own single-bullet list: BSD 0-clause license—this is the warranty disclaimer from the original BSD license, with none of the restrictive clauses, and with the leading statement "Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted." The BSD 0-clause license does not specifically grant royalty-free usage of software patents to anyone receiving or using BSD 0-clause licensed projects. This is the only OSI-approved public domain equivalent license. Non-OSI-approved licenses For the most part, if a license is not OSI approved, you shouldn't consider using it—and you should be wary of using it, as well. Whether you're looking for strong copyleft, weak copyleft, or permissive licensing, there are plenty of examples in the OSI-approved list and, therefore, no reason to stray. On the other hand, there's only one OSI-approved public domain equivalent license—and the kind of folks who don't find permissive licenses permissive enough tend to be pretty stubborn and may balk even at that. With that in mind, we'll cover a few of the most notable non-OSI-approved public domain equivalents here. Unlicense—the Unlicense states that covered works are released into the public domain and goes on to specify exactly what that means. This is not an OSI-approved license, due in part to its use of the term "public domain" itself, which could complicate any legal situations involving works placed under the Unlicense. CC0—The Creative Commons Zero license is the most permissive form of the Creative Commons family of licenses, which are more commonly used to cover text and media creations than code. The Creative Commons Foundation submitted CC0 to the OSI for ratification as an open source license; although the OSI never formally rejected it, they were unable to reach a conclusion to ratify it—due mostly to its explicit disclaimer of conveyance of patent rights, which the OSI refers to as both "exceedingly rare" and "potentially dangerous" in an open source license. WTFPL—short for, well, WTF Public License, the WTFPL is a very short and exceedingly informal affirmation that you can do whatever you'd like to do with any code made available under the WTFPL. The Free Software Foundation recognizes the WTFPL as a GPL-compatible Free Software License but does not recommend its use; the OSI rejected the WTFPL entirely on the dubious grounds that it is "no different to a public domain dedication," despite its lack of use of the term "public domain" and the different rights associated with public domain in different jurisdictions. We want to note—again—that we do not recommend the use of any non-OSI-approved license. Using any of these unapproved public domain-equivalent licenses—no matter how apparently free—is a risky proposition. It's better to use a non-OSI-approved license than no license at all, but doing so runs the risk of disqualifying yourself or your users from patent or even monetary grants. Source: Open source licenses: What, which, and why (Ars Technica)
  11. LF Energy and Alliander Announce a program -- GXF -- to securely manage the modern electrical grid's Industrial Internet of Things. The first you may know about the next cyberwar might be when your power goes out. Just ask the citizens of Kiev, Ukraine -- whose power was cut off for an hour by an attack from Russian hackers. Indeed, you probably don't know it, but the first shots have already been fired in the US. In March 2019 a Denial of Service (DoS) attack hit power grid control systems in Utah, Wyoming, and California. Energy companies know it, which is one reason LF Energy, a Linux Foundation project, announced its latest project: Grid eXchange Fabric (GXF). Dutch distribution system operator Alliander created it as an Open Smart Grid Platform (OSGP). GXF is a scalable and technology-agnostic Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform. It enables grid operators to securely collect data and monitor, control, and manage smart devices on the grid. Specifically, it can be used in the following ways: A user or operator uses one web application to monitor and/or control devices. The application connects to the GXF via web services. These are divided into functional domains, such as Public Lighting, Smart Metering, and Power Quality Third-party developers can use web services to develop or integrate new applications. The platform handles all these application requests securely and uses various functions and services to do so. For the 'translation' and communication of user/operator commands to the various smart devices, the platform uses open protocols. The platform supports various IP based data telecommunication technologies and protocols to communicate with the devices. This is important because electrical grid operators have added IIoT devices to their power grid. Each device requires vastly different tools and processes to ensure interoperability. The purpose of GXF is to decrease the overall complexity and associated maintenance costs of accessing these devices by creating a single generic method of abstracting data access. In short, this is a way of bringing system integration to the electrical grid. GXF also comes with a set of security recommendations to keep the hackers from turning off your lights. These include: Communication over TLS IPSec Virtual Private Network Firewalls between all servers and layers Certificates from a recognized Certificate Authority (CA) Audit trail on all actions throughout the platform Role-based Access Control (RBAC) "We have the tools necessary to make our power grid more efficient and better for our environment, but we're running into a system integration problem at a global scale," said LF Energy Executive Director Dr. Shuli Goodman. "Grid operators need a way to cut through the noise of different data access protocols to pull insights from smart devices directly. With the addition of GXF, we will leverage the shared expertise of our community to tackle this problem head on." GXF is a foundational move. Broadly, GXF will be used as a generic connectivity layer to collect and direct data for IIoT asset monitoring and analytics. It will also enable energy network operators to create advanced business applications across multiple use cases, but that work needs to be done. With an open-source approach, this will be much easier and more secure than doing it piecemeal with proprietary software. Some GXF functionality already exists. For instance, Alliander is already using GXF to manage public street lights in the Netherlands. Other grid operators have applied GXF as the head-end system, which allows for maximum data flexibility between smart meters and network operators, while some have used GXF to manage microgrids. Other attempts to make the electrical grid more secure, such as the recently passed Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, want to step back by adding analog backups to today's modern digital electrical systems. I don't think this will scale that well. We need modern, open-source systems like GXF to securely manage today's electrical grids. With it, we can build a clean, secure connectivity layer for modern IIoT electrical grids. Otherwise, well, with at least three hacking groups potentially disrupting US power grids, we're in trouble. Oh, and by the way, the US Cyber Command has been planting malware in the Russian electrical grid as well. Source
  12. Opinion: It was incompetence, not politics, that led to the Iowa caucus app misfiring. Above all, it was poor programming. Open-source software techniques could have prevented this blunder. When the Iowa Democratic Caucus results were delayed by an application foul-up Bernie Sanders supporters were outraged at a stolen victory. Now, as the results trickle in, and Sanders' results turned out OK, they've quieted down. But the fact remains that the application not only fouled up caucus results reporting, but it also made people even less trusting of the election process. Most of the Iowa caucus post-mortem has focused on Shadow, the company behind the app, and its parent organization, Acronym. The root problem wasn't with the groups behind the misfiring application, IowaReporterApp; it was with a fundamentally flawed software development process. What happened with the Iowa caucus app? The app was insufficiently tested, didn't install properly on many phones, and frequently failed to perform as expected. In short, the app was ripe for failure. Even before the caucus, many experts were concerned about the app's security. It wasn't the first time. In 2016, Iowa precinct chairs tried to use a Microsoft smartphone app to relay results to party headquarters. Its reporting mechanism crashed. This time around Shadow was paid about $63,000 by the Iowa Democratic Party and $58,000 by the Nevada Democratic Party to develop IowaReporterApp. That may sound like a lot of money, but for a mission-critical, mobile application it was on the cheap side. IowaReporterApp had a simple job: Count support for candidates and report back via the app. But the app didn't scale, the phone lines were understaffed, and caucus connectivity was spotty. In short, a programming failure was exacerbated by deployment and execution problems. Shadow admitted as much: "We sincerely regret the delay in the reporting of the results of last night's Iowa caucuses and the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers. As the Iowa Democratic Party has confirmed, the underlying data and collection process via Shadow's mobile caucus app was sound and accurate, but our process to transmit that caucus results data generated via the app to the IDP was not." Was the Iowa caucus app tested at all? Some people have called the Iowa caucus a beta test. I wish! This was an alpha test. The program was only made available to users on Jan. 18, just over two weeks before the caucus. To install the application, instead of using a mainstream app store, users had to download and install it into their phones from TestFairy, an Android app testing platform, and Apple's beta app TestFlight test site. According to Vice, Jonathan Green, chair of the Democratic presidential primary caucuses in Iowa's Fremont Township and Lone Tree precincts and an IT systems administrator, the program didn't work properly. Indeed, Green said, he didn't receive final app instructions until Feb. 3 at 1pm, the day of the caucus. The final instruction e-mail also added that precinct leaders should call the results if the app "stalls/freezes/locks up." As Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for Cyber Policy and Security, Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, observed, "The idea of releasing a poorly tested app to users without app-specific training hours before it was to be used for real is the height of hubris -- or naivete." There was reason to believe the app would blow up As Evan (Rabble) Henshaw-Plath, CEO of Planetary, a new decentralized social network, tweeted [sic]: "The caucus app is firebase / react app built by one senior engineer who's not done mobile apps and a bunch of folks who were very recent code academy graduates who as of a couple months ago worked as a prep cook for Starbucks and receptionist at Regus." In short, the app and its underlying infrastructure were badly done. Then, the fail-safe after that -- calling in the results -- failed because not enough people were available to deal with the load. So, the Iowa caucus failed because of simple incompetence. Another reason the app failed badly is due to how electoral software is funded and a misguided belief in proprietary software development. Henshaw-Plath tweeted that the "fundamental problem is we've got a very broken way we fund campaign tech." Political software is, by its very nature, focused on the short term: Gaining contributions and winning the election. Therefore, he continued, while "in normal tech circles we'd have a bunch of free software libraries and tools we build on together, but the campaign tech space doesn't have this because decision makers fear our tools will be taken and used by the other side." "The decision makers," he continued, "refuse to use free software, alienating the progcoders/ragtag communities. They also refuse to fund projects between cycles to build reusable platforms." This is fundamentally flawed thinking by leaders without a grasp of how modern software development works. As Alex Stamos, a cybersecurity expert at Stanford University, tweeted: You are building a tabulation system on the critical path of human history. Do you: a) Have your decent public university CS dept build an open-source solution and ask for public review? b) Pay the lowest bidder and keep it secret from election security experts? The result is, well, we just saw it: A proprietary program thrown together without enough time by developers who were outmatched by their job. This simply doesn't work. Open source is the way forward It took years, but everyone outside of Apple now uses open-source methods to create the software that's changing the world. Political party leaders need to wake up and realize it's the 21st century and embrace it as well. It's not as if open-source election software projects don't exist. Here are some that could help us have safe, trustworthy political campaigns and elections: The Progressive Coders Network's mission is to build open-source tools to empower the grassroots and reduce the influence of big money in politics. Some of their projects include National Voter File, a modern database of voter files; Carpool action, a program to link voters to drivers; and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, which seeks to bring mathematical fairness to electoral district mapping. Ragtag has a similar mission to Progressive Coders. Some of their projects include Helpdesk to connect campaign workers and political activists with tech-savvy helpers and Web Squads for campaigns needing website development help. In both these groups, we're seeing basic civics, a class sorely missing for generations from schools, coming together with open-source software. It's not just small groups working on open-sourcing the election process. Microsoft is getting into the open-source election act. ElectionGuard is an open-source software development kit (SDK) for cryptographically securing voting machines. ElectionGuard should be released soon and, hopefully, will be implemented in some voting machines before the 2020 general election. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and VotingWorks (a non-partisan, organization) recently open-sourced a tool for auditing election results: Arlo. Its code is available on GitHub. The Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute, as part of its Trust the Vote project, is working on ElectOS, a long-idle open-source elections technology platform. When completed, this work in progress will support elections administration and voting. That will include creating, marking, casting, and counting ballots and managing all back-office functions. ElectOS, in theory, could replace today's flawed and obsolete electronic voting systems. But real work needs to be done on it before it can be deployed in elections. The top three voting machine manufacturers -- ES&S. Hart InterCivic, and Dominion -- all use proprietary software. Indeed, most of these run on Windows 7 or even older operating systems. Oh, and in case you've been living under a rock, Windows 7 fell out of support in January 2020. Software failures like Iowa's are unacceptable It's well past time that political parties and governments move to open source. Although, as Lin pointed out, Iowa got one thing right: "It required that votes be counted on paper, and then tallied electronically. ... With that paper trail, the Democrats -- and the nation as a whole -- will be able to regard this event as a case study in how to recover from a poorly run election. … Without the paper trail, there would never be any clarity -- just a whole lot of doubt." The last thing we need is more doubt in our elections. Open source or proprietary, we need a paper ballot audit trail. Unfortunately, Lin observed, "voters in at least nine states including Texas, New Jersey, and Indiana will cast their ballots electronically on systems that do not leave a paper trail." This is a mistake that may be even worse than continuing to rely on out-of-date proprietary software for our elections. Source
  13. 'Its life doesn't have to end!' More than 10 years on from its campaign to persuade users to dump Windows 7 for a non-proprietary alternative, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has kicked off a petition to urge Microsoft to open-source the recently snuffed software. On the face of it, the logic seems pretty simple. On 14 January Windows 7 reached its end of life as Microsoft turned off the free security update taps with a final fix (which seemed to bork desktop wallpapers for some users). "Its life doesn't have to end," cried the foundation. "We call on Microsoft to upcycle it instead." Unfortunately, the FSF couldn't resist a final dig, saying the killing of the OS had brought to an end "its updates as well as its 10 years of poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security." Hey team, way to go on persuading the Redmond gang to do you a solid. Suggesting such a release would go some way to "undo past wrongs" may not be a persuasive argument for the Seattle suits, who probably saw Windows 7 as way of undoing the heinous deeds of Vista. There is a precedent. Ancient MS-DOS and Word code has been opened up, and the Calculator app found in the current Windows 10 now lurks on GitHub. But an entire, relatively recent OS? We can see some problems, not least the licensed components lurking in Windows 7 that would need to be either excised or open-sourced as well. Then there are the bits and pieces that the company would consider valuable secrets (large chunks of Windows 7 linger on in Windows 10 after all.) And then there is the fact that Windows 7 is not actually unsupported. Three more years of updates are available for those who can pay. And with Windows (as well those parts of it licensed to third parties) still accounting for a sizeable chunk of Microsoft's revenues, we can imagine a very functional and highly compatible free version is not really in the company's best fiscal interests. And let's be honest, who knows what might be lurking in that code. "Take that, Penguin fsckers!" anyone? It was a different time. The Register contacted Microsoft on the off-chance that Windows 7 might be showing up on GitHub at some point soon, but we were told that the company doesn't comment on rumours and speculation. The Win 7 request from FSF is neither rumour nor speculation. In any event, if open source is your thing, there are plenty of Linux distributions in a far better state of usefulness than what was around when Windows 7 first launched. And if there is that Windows app you just can't do without, the popular compatibility layer Wine received a bump to version 5 this week, replete with over 7,400 tweaks to allow you to inflict more Windows apps on your Penguin-tinged OS. Still, never say never. If you told us 10 years ago that Microsoft would be about to ship a version of Windows containing the Linux kernel we might have sprayed precious beer from our nostrils. So who knows what else might be coming down the line? Source
  14. Links Homepage Source Code Download 32-bit Download 64-bit To set up file type associations and AutoPlay handlers, use mpv-install.bat. To play content from various media streaming sites, place youtube-dl.exe in the same directory as mpv.
  15. In 2019, multiple open source companies changed course—is it the right move? "We have to draw a line between open source and the right to make money with open source." Enlarge / Stock photos continue to be a gift to the world. Maybe it's sometimes on par with open-source software. cnythzl / Getty Images Free and open source software enables the world as we know it in 2019. From Web servers to kiosks to the big data algorithms mining your Facebook feed, nearly every computer system you interact with runs, at least in part, on free software. And in the larger tech industry, free software has given rise to a galaxy of startups and enabled the largest software acquisition in the history of the world. Free software is a gift, a gift that made the world as we know it possible. And from the start, it seemed like an astounding gift to give. So astounding in fact that it initially made businesses unaccustomed to this kind of generosity uncomfortable. These companies weren't unwilling to use free software, it was simply too radical and by extension too political. It had to be renamed: "open source." Once that happened, open source software took over the world. Recently, though, there's been a disturbance in the open source force. Within the last year, companies like Redis Labs, MongoDB, and Confluent all changed their software licenses, moving away from open source licenses to more restrictive terms that limit what can be done with the software, making it no longer open source software. The problem, argue Redis Labs, MongoDB and others, is a more modern tech trend: hosted software services. Also known as, "the cloud." Also known as Amazon AWS. Amazon, for its part, came out swinging, releasing its own version of the code behind Elastic Search this spring in response to licensing changes at Elastic (the company behind Elastic Search). And besides a new trademark dispute over Amazon's naming convention, Elastic has a very different response from that of MongoDB and Redis—it hasn't said a word in protest. Enlarge / Unrelated to the matter at hand: The swag game is strong at MondoDB. MongoDB on Facebook Cloud burst MongoDB the company is built around the open source "NoSQL" database of the same name. MongoDB's database is useful for storing unstructured data, for example images, which it can handle just as well as it handles more traditional data types. Data is stored in JSON-like documents rather than the columns and rows of a relational database. Since there's no structured tables there's no "structured query language" for working with the data, hence the term "NoSQL." MongoDB is not the only NoSQL database out there, but it's one of the most widely used. According to industry aggregator, DB Engines, MongoDB is the fifth most popular database, with everyone from Google to Code Academy to Foursquare using MongoDB. MongoDB is also leading the charge to create a new kind of open source license, which CTO Eliot Horowitz believes is necessary to protect open source software businesses as computing moves into the new world of the cloud. The cloud, argue Horowitz and others, requires the open source community to re-think and possibly update open source licenses to "deal with new challenges in a new environment." The challenges are, essentially, AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, which are all capable of taking open source software, wrapping it up as a service, and reselling it. The problem with AWS or Azure wrapping up MongoDB and offering it as part of a software as a service (SaaS) is that it then competes with MongoDB's own cloud-based SaaS—MongoDB Atlas. What's threatened then is not MongoDB's source code, but MongoDB's own SaaS derived from that source code, and that happens to be the company's chief source of revenue. To combat the potential threat to its bottom line, MongoDB has moved from the Gnu Public License (GPL) to what it calls the Server Side Public License, or SSPL. The SSPL says, in essence, you can do anything you want with this software, except use it to build something that competes with MongoDB Atlas. Originally MongoDB submitted the SSPL to the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the organization that oversees and approves new open source licenses. But after seeing the writing on the wall—discussion on the OSI mailing lists, combined with the wording of the license made it unlikely the SSPL would ever be approved by the OSI—MongoDB withdrew the SSPL from consideration earlier this year. The SSPL is not an open source license and it never will be. To understand why, it helps to realize that MongoDB is not the first open source business to run into this situation. In fact, part of this problem—companies taking software, using it as they please, and contributing nothing back to the open source community—is the entire reason open source software exists at all. Open source licenses vary, but the gist since the 1998 founding of OSI has generally been as follows: you can take this code and do what you want with it, but you can't make the code proprietary, and if you use it in another project, then that project can't be proprietary either. These licenses were written this way to prevent companies from taking open source code, using it in their own code, and not sharing any of that work back to the original project. But the concept of SaaS didn't exist two decades ago. And today, Horowitz argues that wrapping a piece of code in a SaaS offering is the modern equivalent of using it in an application. It is a novel argument, but it's in defense of a very old problem that goes well beyond licensing. It's a problem that goes all the back to the beginning of free software long before the OSI—how do you make money off software if you give it away for free? One traditional answer has been that you sell services around your open source software. But for Horowitz that's not good enough. "Monetizing open source with support contracts has never been a great business model," he tells Ars. Red Hat would likely disagree, but Horowitz believes that more protective licenses would bring more venture capital investment and spawn more software businesses based on the open model MongoDB has used. "We're unique," he says, "I want us to be less unique." He may be correct. A more protective license could induce more venture capital investment because there's (arguably) a greater likelihood of return on their investment. But if that capital did come, it wouldn't be investing in open source because that kind of restriction on the software means it no longer fits the definition of open source. The counter argument Quite a few open source advocates have already made the counter argument to what MongoDB's Horowitz believes. The current set of licenses are fine, others say, it's the business models that need work. Bruce Perens, co-author of the original open source definition, says the SSPL is incompatible with the OSI's open source definition number nine, which says that the "license must not restrict other software." Since the SSPL forces any SaaS software that is aggregated with the covered software, but not a derivative of it, to nevertheless be open source, it fails this test. "I wrote number nine into the OSD to prohibit exactly this sort of conduct," says Perens. "The text is really clear." MongoDB is far from the only one complaining that the cloud is raining on its profits. Redis Labs, another data storage company, was the first to sound the alarm about cloud providers threatening its business, and Redis Labs may have the better solution in the end. Redis Labs initially changed its license to include something called the Common Clause sub-license, which forbids anyone from selling any software it covers. Software licensed with the Common Clause is not, by anyone's definition, open source, which Redis Labs acknowledged. It has never described those portions of its software as open source. But this spring, Redis Labs made yet another licensing change—in essence dropping all pretense of being open source software and adopting a homegrown proprietary license for some of its modules. To be clear, most of Redis is governed by the Apache 2.0 License, but some modules are not, namely RedisJSON, RedisSearch, RedisGraph, RedisML and RedisBloom. The license Redis Labs applies to these modules says that while users can view and modify the code or use it in their applications, it restricts which types of applications they can build. With Redis Labs' new license, you are not free to build anything you want. You cannot build database products, a caching engine, a processing engine, a search engine, an indexing engine or any kinds of ML or AI derived serving engine. You cannot in other words use Redis Labs' code to compete with Redis Labs. This violates one of the core tenants of open source licensing—that there be no restrictions on derivative software. Unfortunately for both Redis Labs and MongoDB, it doesn't make sense to simultaneously say that you are open source and that only you should profit from your open source software. There is a business model where that does make sense: proprietary software. That's a path that Elastic.co has hewed for some time. While part of the problem here is that there is no playbook set in stone yet, some companies have managed to prosper with both open source and proprietary code. Elastic is one such example; it has faced the exact competition from AWS and soldiered on. Not only has Amazon for years offered Elasticsearch on AWS (ostensibly competing with Elastic's own offerings), Amazon recently packaged up its own version of the Elasticsearch codebase, extending it to offer for free several of the services Elastic hasn't released as open source. Elastic's response has been little more than the corporate equivalent of a shrug. Enlarge / Redis Labs' change of course didn't prevent the company from recently reaching a user milestone. Redis Labs on Facebook Lessons from history Why does MongoDB want to be open source at all? After all, there is no shortage of very successful proprietary software. Why not embrace that path and move on? Horowitz told Ars he believes "that open source results in better systems software, especially databases," going on to cite security and community as advantages of remaining open source. He's right about both of those—more eyes on the software means fewer bugs, better security. But looking at the open source definition again, it's clear that Horowitz is missing one key component that's built into to every open source license—generosity. Open source does not limit what you can do with the software ever. Full stop. This may well be the chief reason for the concept's success; it's certainly what made it palpable to large businesses in the first place. Generosity of this kind is how you grow a community, the cornerstone on which any successful open source project is built. By allowing the widest possible range of users to use your software, you get the biggest possible community. More eyes on bugs, more people fixing them. That community is what turns into momentum. That momentum becomes market share. Sometimes market share becomes profit, but that's not ultimately a promise of open source. As Perens puts it, "we have to draw a line between 'open source' and the right to make money with open source. The open source definition allows, but does not support, your right to make money. We're not going to change the rules because you can make money better that way." To its credit, Horowitz and MongoDB seem to have come around to this point for view, or at least accepted the inevitability of it when they withdrew the SSPL from consideration as an OSI-approved license. Just because you build it and they come, does not mean massive profit. In fact, if you build it and they come and then you take it away, it might be worse than if you'd never built it. Redis Labs' move away from open source comes after it reaped all the benefits of open source—community support, wide adoption, and code contributions from a widespread sources chief among those benefits. To put it bluntly, Redis Labs angered the community. When free software developers get mad, they get forking, and there is indeed a fork of Redis, GoodFORM. GoodFORM takes the re-licensed Redis modules as they were prior to the license change, and this project will maintain them for Debian, Fedora, and other Linux distros that cannot ship proprietary software. The unintended consequence of Redis Labs' new license is that anyone wanting to use a full and open source version of Redis will have to use GoodFORM, not Redis. Individual developers might not much care, but large companies looking to use open source software aren't so cavalier. For them, it usually comes down to a choice—either use clearly open source software with an OSI approved license, or call the lawyers. And no one ever wants to call the lawyers just to install a piece of software. Perens tells Ars that this was one of the key motivations behind the initial open source definition (originally written for the Debian project). "The open source definition means that you shouldn't need a lawyer just to be a user," says Perns. "And one of the ways we do that is minimizing the legal load." Redis Labs' new license puts companies in the position of needing a lawyer, so GoodFORM becomes the more logical choice. This also may hint at why MongoDB wanted to remain open source in the end. Historically, other open source projects which have changed to closed source licenses have not fared well. The Xfree86 project was the defacto standard for running X Windows for most of the 1990s, up through the early 2000s. In 2004, Xfree86 began shipping code that the Free Software Foundation felt was counter to the GPL. The downstream operating systems using Xfree86 decided that was unacceptable and a fork, X.org, was born. Today, X.org occupies the place Xfree86 once did and Xfree86 is abandoned. Other examples are easy to find: LibreOffice forked from OpenOffice, MariaDB came out of license changes in MySQL, Wireshark came out of Ethereal, and the list goes on. The key thing to note in all these situations is not just that the forks happened, but that the new projects took with them the developers, the community, and the momentum that sustains open source software over the long haul. Lose the goodwill of the open source community, and it can be vicious in exacting its revenge. It's also efficient in doing so: Xfree86 was effectively dead six months after X.org began; OpenOffice disappeared into irrelevancy similarly quickly. The overwhelming lesson of open source history is that once you are open source, it's very unlikely you will change course and survive. What makes open source work: Generosity If open source history teaches that there is no going back, it's worth considering why. Beanbooks, a little project spun out of Linux computer manufacturer System76, is a perfect example of what Perens sees as an ideal open source software scenario. In The emerging economic paradigm of Open Source, Perens argues that a company's non-differentiating software is its best scenario for open source software. That is, open source provides the infrastructure of the business, not the core. To put it another way, Beanbooks was not System76's profit center, but it is an enabling technology for System76's profit center—which remains building Linux-based computers. However, despite being a perfect candidate for an open source license, Beanbooks is not open source. Why? System76 sells a hosted version of Beanbooks, a SaaS, and at the time the company was worried that a larger company would come along, take the GPL code, essentially clone Beanbooks, and get all the profit from System76's investment. So System76 founder Carl Richell says he can empathize with companies like MongoDB and Redis Labs, but he has already been down the worry-about-someone-stealing-your-code-for-competing-SaaS road and regrets it. "Our concern was that someone would wrap up the software and we would lose all our investment," Richell told Ars. He says System76 wanted something like patent protection for a few years, but that "ended up hurting us, hurting the platform, and we shouldn't have had those concerns." While the SaaS version of Beanbooks looks to be fine, the available code does not get updates and is, from a free software perspective, fairly useless. The Github page is a ghost town. There's no development, no community. Beanbooks the service carries on, but it does so without a community contributing ideas, code, and everything else vibrant open source projects have. Richell thinks Beanbooks might have avoided its fate if it had a GPL or similar license from the beginning. "If it was good enough that someone wanted it, that's great," says Richell. The key to success for Ritchell isn't the open source software, it's the innovation. "Differentiation is not what you've done today, but how rapidly you can advance," he said. As the software developer you have a head start, and, hopefully, a vision of where you are going. Those are your differentiators to use Perens' terms. "The only way to be successful is to stay ahead," Richell added. "I don't think the license has anything to do with it." The Chef project, makers of various software automation and deployment tools, seems to agree. This initiative offers an alternative course to that of MongoDB and Redis. In the spring, Chef announced it would change its license to be completely open source (under the Apache 2.0 license). "We welcome anyone to use and extend our software for any purpose in alignment with the four essential freedoms of Free Software," wrote Chef CEO Barry Crist. While Crist didn't mention any other companies, it's hard to see the specific language of "the four essential freedoms" as anything but a response to Redis and MongoDB. Enlarge / Stock photos strike again: "Computer code lines on a display." photovibes / Getty Images What the future looks like Everyone loves an underdog, and Redis Labs and MongoDB want to portray themselves as the open source underdogs waging a heroic battle against the forces of evil in the form of AWS. Are they? Redis Labs and MongoDB both continue to look like very healthy companies. Redis Labs raised $60 million dollars in funding earlier this year and, based on the companies doing the funding, Redis looks poised for a successful IPO. MongoDB's IPO in 2017 was, by all accounts, a huge success. It's stock IPOed at $24 and has steadily climbed since. Today, it trades above $100 a share. Earlier in 2019 one of MongoDB's biggest users, Lyft, did defect to Amazon, but after a slight stock drop, MongoDB's stock was right back up where it was before Lyft defected. Neither company is hurting. At least not yet. The fallout from their license changes remains to be seen, but given that much of the development of MongoDB comes from employees, it will likely be fine regardless of whether it's open source or not. The fate of either business is unimportant to the fate of the larger open source paradigm. The open source paradigm has never been a setup that works for everyone. As Perens put it in a conversation we had earlier this year, "you can use any license you want as long as you don't call it open source, that's your freedom. But we have certain rights that come with open source it doesn't make sense to give these up to protect a business model." Through all the conversations I had with developers and founders in fact, one line kept coming back to me. System76 founder Carl Richell said it most explicitly: "If generosity isn't built into open source, it isn't going to work." Generosity, in this case, is the right to use the software for any purpose. This has always been the basic litmus test for new open licenses—is the license limiting the generosity of the software? What got open source where it is today is that it could be used anywhere, with anything. Need to combine open source and proprietary software? No problem. Need to re-write that open source library so it can interface with your proprietary code? No problem. Want to take that open source library, wrap it up as a service, and sell it? No problem. Because in the end, that's what open source is: freedom through generosity. And as Perens points out, that's what it is even when that model doesn't work for a particular business. Source: In 2019, multiple open source companies changed course—is it the right move? (Ars Technica) If you like this post, then this post.
  16. By Asha Barbaschow Microsoft Australia's CTO told Red Hat Forum his company is committed to open source, and that the fundamental mission driven by Satya Nadella is best achieved through democratisation. Microsoft has copped a lot of flack over comments it has made regarding open source in the past; with one in particular made by its former CEO Steve Ballmer back in 2002 that described Linux and the General Public License as cancers. Highlighting the irony that Microsoft was presenting during Red Hat Forum 2019 in Melbourne on Tuesday, Redmond's Australian CTO Lee Hickin said the company has come a long way since those comments were made. "I recognise the irony of Microsoft here at an open source community event. I'm really proud to do that, and I'm humbled and privileged that we can be on the stage with Red Hat to share our story," Hickin said. Hickin has been with Microsoft on and off since 2005, saying that he's seen three leaders and three very different companies. "We're in an amazing place right now with a leader like Satya who really understands what it means to think about where we need to be for our customers, to really transform the company from being essentially the proprietary software company, to being an open source company," he said. "And I say that with my hand on my heart in a very serious way: We are an open source company, we are committed to open source, we're committed to Red Hat, and we're committed to continuing our engagement and our support to a broad open source community through a range of technologies, not least of which GitHub is one." Hickin touched on the mission that Satya Nadela set for Microsoft when he joined as CEO, which was to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. "We try to put that in context of how we, or at least I, internalise that thinking, which is [that] it's about democratising access. As a company, our vision is to democratise access to technology so that the rich power of AI, of data platforms, of services, and tools, and technologies -- whether they be ours, our competitors, our partners, open source, non-open source -- making sure that all of that technology is available to everybody in the best, most efficient, most cost effective way," he said. "So that democratisation, that ability, we want to give our customers the tools they need to make them where they are. "I think it's very aligned with how Red Hat operates." While Hickin said the suite of tools that are currently available under Microsoft would have been previously "unthinkable", he said he's proud to say they now exist. According to Hickin, more than 50% of what goes into Azure is from open source partners. "We are not the proprietary Windows company; we are the open source cloud that has a range of services across a whole bunch of tools and technologies," he said. "Azure is an open source platform and open source stack." Asha Barbaschow travelled to Red Hat Forum as a guest of Red Hat. Source
  17. Modding Time It's about time LINUX SMARTPHONES have hardly set the world on fire in the last few years (unless you're Russian). Yes, yes, we know Android is a Linux-based system but it hardly counts - and when Ubuntu can't make it work, who can? Nevertheless, plucky little operations like Pine64 have been offering the prospect of Linux laptops for years, and now they plan to bring their own handset too. But the really interesting bit is that Pine is also working on its equivalent of WearOS and the first fruits are being previewed in the form of a Linux smartwatch. PineTime (almost impossible to say in any voice but Kath & Kim) is set to run ARM Mbed or FreeRTOS and is specifically designed as a companion to Linux smartphones. If only we knew of any companies planning one of those… la la la…. The big draw, however, is that PineTime is set to cost just $25 (£20 in New Boris Bucks) making it a very easy sell for those five people who want the phone. The prototypes show that its the software that is unique, the casing and strap have both seen the light of day in other smartwatches, but the software? That's all-new, baby. Don't expect a Huawei Watch 2 or Ticwatch Pro - this is very much an entry-level affair. Expect a heart rate monitor, and Bluetooth and not a massive amount else. But the fact that (being open-source) this is a damn fine tinker-toy will make a lot of developers and hobbyists dead happy. Pine64 describes it as a ‘side project'. It's not got a release date, as yet, and was only mentioned in passing on the company's Twitter page. However, the response has been bigger than that for the phone itself, so it sounds like the great un-Windowed are going to be mad for this. Fingers crossed, anyway. It can't do worse than WearOS, eh? Source
  18. Google Wants to Help Tech Companies Know Less About You By releasing its homegrown differential privacy tool, Google will make it easier for any company to boost its privacy bona fides. Olekcii Mach/Alamy As a data-driven advertising company, Google's business model hinges on knowing as much about its users as possible. But as the public has increasingly awakened to its privacy rights this imperative has generated more friction. One protection Google has invested in is the field of data science known as "differential privacy," which strategically adds random noise to user information stored in databases so that companies can still analyze it without being able to single people out. And now the company is releasing a tool to help other developers achieve that same level of differential privacy defense. Today Google is announcing a new set of open source differential privacy libraries that not only offer the equations and models needed to set boundaries and constraints on identifying data, but also include an interface to make it easier for more developers to actually implement the protections. The idea is to make it possible for companies to mine and analyze their database information without invasive identity profiles or tracking. The measures can also help mitigate the fallout of a data breach, because user data is stored with other confounding noise. "It’s really all about data protection and about limiting the consequences of releasing data," says Bryant Gipson, an engineering manager at Google. "This way, companies can still get insights about data that are valuable and useful to everybody without doing something to harm those users." "If you want people to use it right you need to put an interface on it that is actually usable by actual human beings." Lea Kissner, Humu Google currently uses differential privacy libraries to protect all different types of information, like location data, generated by its Google Fi mobile customers. And the techniques also crop up in features like the Google Maps meters that tell you how busy different businesses are throughout the day. Google intentionally built its differential privacy libraries to be flexible and applicable to as many database features and products as possible. Differential privacy is similar to cryptography in the sense that it's extremely complicated and difficult to do right. And as with encryption, experts strongly discourage developers from attempting to "roll your own" differential privacy scheme, or design one from scratch. Google hopes that its open source tool will be easy enough to use that it can be a one-stop shop for developers who might otherwise get themselves into trouble. "The underlying differential privacy noisemaking code is very, very general," says Lea Kissner, chief privacy officer of the workplace behavior startup Humu and Google’s former global lead of privacy technology. Kissner oversaw the differential privacy project until her departure in January. "The interface that’s put on the front of it is also quite general, but it’s specific to the use case of somebody making queries to a database. And that interface matters. If you want people to use it right you need to put an interface on it that is actually usable by actual human beings who don’t have a PhD in the area." (Which Kissner does.) Developers could use Google’s tools to protect all sorts of database queries. For example, with differential privacy in place, employees at a scooter share company could analyze drop-offs and pickups at different times without also specifically knowing who rode which scooter where. And differential privacy also has protections to keep aggregate data from revealing too much. Take average scooter ride length: even if one user’s data is added or removed, it won’t change the average ride number enough to blow that user’s mathematical cover. And differential privacy builds in many such protections to preserve larger conclusions about trends no matter how granular someone makes their database queries. Part of the reason it's so difficult to roll your own differential privacy is that these tools, like encryption schemes, need to be vetted by as many people as possible to catch all the flaws and conceptual issues that could otherwise go unnoticed. Google's Gipson says this is why it was such a priority to make the tool open source; he hopes that academic and technical communities around the world will offer feedback and suggestions about improving Google's offering. Uber similarly released an open source differential privacy tool in 2017 in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and updated it in 2018. Apple, meanwhile, uses a proprietary differential privacy scheme. The company has been on the forefront of implementing the technology, but independent researchers have found that the approach may not offer the privacy guarantees Apple claims Google says that one novel thing its solution offers is that it doesn't assume any individual in a database is only associated with one record at most, the way most other schemes do. This is true in a census or medical records database, but often doesn't apply to a data set about people visiting particular locations or using their mobile phones in various places around the world. Everyone gets surveyed once for the census, but people often visit the same restaurant or use the same cell tower many times. So Google's tool allows for the possibility that a person can contribute multiple records to a database over time, a feature which helps to maintain privacy guarantees in a broader array of situations. Along with the tool itself, Google is also offering a testing methodology that lets developers run audits of their differential privacy implementation and see if it is actually working as intended. "From our perspective, the more people that are doing differential privacy, inside of Google or outside, the better," Google's Gipson says. "Getting this out into the broader world is the real value here, because even with lots of eyes on a thing you can still miss glaring security holes. And 99.9 percent differentially private is not differentially private." As with any technique, differential privacy isn't a panacea for all of big tech's security ailments. But given how many problems there are to fix, it's worth having as many researchers as possible chasing that last tenth of a percent. Source: Google Wants to Help Tech Companies Know Less About You
  19. With cloud companies open-sourcing their innovations, and enterprises increasing participation, open source sustainability is at an all-time high There has perhaps never been so much angst over whether open source software development is sustainable, and yet there has never been clearer evidence that we’re in the golden age of open source. Or on the cusp. Here and there an open source company might struggle to make a buck, but as a community of communities, open source has never been healthier. There are a few good indicators for this. The clouds have parted The first is that the clouds—yes, all of them—are open sourcing essential building blocks that expose their operations. Google rightly gets credit for moving first on this with projects like Kubernetes and TensorFlow, but the others have followed suit. For example, Microsoft Azure released Azure Functions, which “extends the existing Azure application platform with capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in virtually any Azure or third-party service as well as on-premises systems.” Azure Functions is a significant open source release, so much so that CNCF executive director Dan Kohn initially assumed that the Azure Functions “SDK is open source, but I don’t think the underlying functions are.” In other words, Kohn assumed the on-ramp to Azure was open source, but not the code that could enable a developer to run serverless setup on bare metal. That assumption, however, was wrong, and Kohn corrected himself: “This is open source and can be run on any environment (including bare metal).” Boom. More recently, AWS released Firecracker, a lightweight, open source virtualization technology for running multi-tenant container workloads that emerged from AWS’ serverless products (Lambda and Fargate). In a textbook example of how open source is supposed to work, Firecracker was derived from the Google-spawned crosvm but then spawned its own upgrade in the form of Weave Ignite, which made Firecracker much easier to manage. These are just a few examples of the interesting open source projects emerging from the public clouds. (Across the ocean, Alibaba has been open sourcing its chip architecture, among other things.) More remains to be done, but these offer hope that the public clouds come not to bury open source, but rather to raise it. Enterprises are making waves Perhaps even more tellingly, mainstream enterprises are also getting religion on open source. Over a decade ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst declared an open source emergency of sorts: The vast majority of software written today is written in enterprise and not for resale. And the vast majority of that is never actually used. The waste in IT software development is extraordinary.... Ultimately, for open source to provide value to all of our customers worldwide, we need to get our customers not only as users of open source products but truly engaged in open source and taking part in the development community. Since that declaration, things have gotten better. While it remains true that most enterprises aren’t deeply engaged in the open source development community, that’s changing. In 2017, just 32.7% of developers responding to Stack Overflow’s developer survey said they contribute to open source projects. By 2019, that number had jumped to 65%: The data is somewhat problematic, as the questions asked in the two years were different; in 2017 they didn’t ask how often developers contribute, as Lawrence Hecht has highlighted. Most developers who contribute to open source do so episodically, and less than once per month. Even so, it’s not hard to believe that the more companies get serious about becoming software companies, the more they’re going to encourage their developers to get involved in the open source communities upon which they depend. At the corporate level, such involvement might seem easier for new-school enterprises like Lyft, which are roiling old industries by open sourcing code and data to help foster their disruption. “But of course the new kids are doing that,” you say. Well, it’s not just the upstarts. Old-school enterprises like Home Depot host code on GitHub, while financial services companies like Capital One go even further, sponsoring open source events to help foster community around their proliferating projects. Or for an even more dramatic example of old-school embracing new lessons, consider that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation spawned the Open Mobility Foundation, with open source software designed to help manage the scooters, bikes, drones, rideshare, and autonomous vehicles zipping around cities. So, again, not everybody is doing it. Not yet. But far more organizations are involved in open source today than were back in 2008, when Whitehurst made his plea for greater enterprise involvement. Such involvement is happening both at the elite level (public clouds) and in more mainstream ways, ushering in a golden era of open source. Source:Matt Asay / InfoWorld
  20. You can ask "How tall is the tower in Paris?" and it knows what you're talking about. Enlarge / The Eiffel Tower. Pedro Szekely Search engines today are more than just the dumb keyword matchers they used to be. You can ask a question—say, "How tall is the tower in Paris?"—and they'll tell you that the Eiffel Tower is 324 meters (1,063 feet) tall, about the same as an 81-story building. They can do this even though the question never actually names the tower. How do they do this? As with everything else these days, they use machine learning. Machine-learning algorithms are used to build vectors—essentially, long lists of numbers—that in some sense represent their input data, whether it be text on a webpage, images, sound, or videos. Bing captures billions of these vectors for all the different kinds of media that it indexes. To search the vectors, Microsoft uses an algorithm it calls SPTAG ("Space Partition Tree and Graph"). An input query is converted into a vector, and SPTAG is used to quickly find "approximate nearest neighbors" (ANN), which is to say, vectors that are similar to the input. This (with some amount of hand-waving) is how the Eiffel Tower question can be answered: a search for "How tall is the tower in Paris?" will be "near" pages talking about towers, Paris, and how tall things are. Such pages are almost surely going to be about the Eiffel Tower. Microsoft has released today the SPTAG algorithm as MIT-licensed open source on GitHub. This code is proven and production-grade, used to answer questions in Bing. Developers can use this algorithm to search their own sets of vectors and do so quickly: a single machine can handle 250 million vectors and answer 1,000 queries per second. There are some samples and explanations in Microsoft's AI Lab, and Azure will have a service using the same algorithms. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has spoken on a number of occasions of his desire to "Democratize AI" and make it available to everyone, creating not just a centralized, specialized tool that demands considerable expertise but something that a wide range of developers, solving a wide range of problems, can use as part of their toolkit. The release of SPTAG is an example of how Microsoft is putting those words into practice; the combination of an Azure service and open source means that developers can start with the more constrained, easy-to-use service, and as their expertise or requirements grow more complex, they can use SPTAG to build their own services. Source: Microsoft open sources algorithm that gives Bing some of its smarts (Ars Technica)
  21. The times, they are a-changin'—even bits of Windows will be open source. Enlarge The news from Microsoft's Build developer conference that surprised me most was that Microsoft will ship a genuine Linux kernel—GPLed, with all patches published—with Windows. That announcement was made with the announcement of Windows Terminal, a new front-end for command-line programs on Windows that will, among other things, support tabs. Microsoft's increased involvement with open source software isn't new, as projects such as Visual Studio Code and the .NET runtime have operated as open source, community-driven projects. But this week's announcements felt a bit different. The Linux kernel will be powering Microsoft's second generation Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The first generation WSL contains a partial re-implementation of the Linux kernel API that uses the Windows NT kernel to perform its functionality. In choosing this approach, Microsoft avoided using any actual Linux code, and hence the company avoided the GPL license with its "viral" stipulations that would have arguably forced Microsoft to open source WSL and perhaps even parts of Windows itself. In the second-generation WSL? It's a full GPLed Linux kernel running in a lightweight virtual machine. This won't be part of the base Windows installation—I'm told that developers will need to enable Developer Mode in Windows first—but it is, nonetheless, a GPL-licensed component forming part of a Windows component. Windows' WSL feature has GPLed underpinnings, and that's not something I would have expected to write even a year or two ago. Opening up Windows itself No less significant is the Windows Terminal project. Many Windows users will know that Windows' command-line programs depend on a process named conhost.exe that's responsible for drawing the command-line windows. As part of Windows Terminal, Microsoft has published the source to conhost.exe. This is an important (albeit uninteresting) part of Windows itself, and Microsoft has published it using the permissive MIT license. This is, I think, unprecedented. While Microsoft has open sourced Windows utilities such as Calculator, this represents the first time that the company has published core Windows code—and with an open source license to boot. The Windows Terminal project is similarly permissively licensed. While it's branded an early alpha release at present, once it stabilizes and has a solid feature set, it's likely to be integrated into Windows itself and to ship as a standard Windows component. Just as with the publishing of conhost.exe, this too represents something of a first: a (new) core Windows component that's developed as open source. Microsoft has changed. It's not the company it once was. Open source is no longer the enemy—it's now something that has a role across the entire company. And open source is not just for discrete, standalone applications; it's now a viable building block for core Windows features. Back in 2015, Mark Russinovich said that Microsoft could open source Windows. At the time, I wrote that this wouldn't happen any time soon but that we might well expect individual components, such as increasing parts of the .NET Framework, having their source opened. Lo and behold, this appears to be the very path that Microsoft is taking. Open source is now just a part of the company's toolkit, and there's little apparent limit to where it can be used. Source: Microsoft: The open source company (Ars Technica - Peter Bright)
  22. steven36

    SMPlayer 19.1.0

    SMPlayer is a free media player for Windows and Linux with built-in codecs that can play virtually all video and audio formats. It doesn't need any external codecs. Just install SMPlayer and you'll be able to play all formats without the hassle to find and install codec packs. One of the most interesting features of SMPlayer: it remembers the settings of all files you play. So you start to watch a movie but you have to leave... don't worry, when you open that movie again it will be resumed at the same point you left it, and with the same settings: audio track, subtitles, volume... Changelog: * Possibility to play 60fps videos from YouTube. * Now it's possible to search for subtitles typing the name of the movie or show. * Some bug fixes. HomePage: http://www.smplayer.info/ x86: https://sourceforge.net/projects/smplayer/files/SMPlayer/19.1.0/smplayer-19.1.0-win32.exe/download x64: https://sourceforge.net/projects/smplayer/files/SMPlayer/19.1.0/smplayer-19.1.0-x64.exe/download x86 Portable: https://sourceforge.net/projects/smplayer/files/SMPlayer/19.1.0/smplayer-portable- X64 Portable https://sourceforge.net/projects/smplayer/files/SMPlayer/19.1.0/smplayer-portable- 9 themes for SMPlayer SMTube 18.11.0 YouTube Browser to watch YouTube in SMplayer x86 https://sourceforge.net/projects/smtube/files/SMTube/18.11.0/smtube-18.11.0-win32.exe/download x64 https://sourceforge.net/projects/smtube/files/SMTube/18.11.0/smtube-18.11.0-x64.exe/download
  23. LIII BitTorrent Client is a open-source file sharing utility capable of downloading torrents with minimal impact on the system's resources. The software distinguishes itself from the competition with a minimalistic, no-nonsense interface and easily accessible options. Along with the standard features, LIII BitTorrent Client offers convenient downloads managing, flexible settings, etc. It is also possible to open torrents from URLs or magnet links. LIII BitTorrent Client is by far, the easiest torrent client we have used - a great alternative for users who want to keep themselves away from confusing features. Besides speed and low resource requirements, LIII BitTorrent Client includes everything you would expect to find in a torrent client. ----- Requirements: - Windows Vista/7/8/10 ----- Homepage: https://github.com/aliakseis/LIII https://codecpack.co/download/LIII-BitTorrent-Client.html Download: https://github.com/aliakseis/LIII/releases/download/ Portable: https://github.com/aliakseis/LIII/releases/download/
  24. HandyPAF

    ERAM 2.24 (x86/x64)

    ERAM is an Open Source RAM Disk with a size limit of 4 GB that uses page/non-paged/external RAM. You can use it for storing temp files, browser cache, etc. in order to speed up the programs that use those files. ----- Changelog: This version fixes some BSODs experienced when using it on a 64-bit OS and renames the files that are used by it. It now also comes with an improved Control Panel Applet (the font has been changed and the text has been improved). ----- Homepage https://github.com/Zero3K/ERAM Download https://github.com/Zero3K/ERAM/releases/download/v2.24/ERAM_x86.exe https://github.com/Zero3K/ERAM/releases/download/v2.24/ERAM_x64.exe Build Instructions https://github.com/Zero3K/ERAM#build-instructions Original Developer's Website http://www.vector.co.jp/authors/VA000363
  25. Two long-time developers of the Vuze BitTorrent client, formerly known as Azureus, have launched a new client. BiglyBT emerges at a time when Vuze development has stalled. The developers promise to take the project forward while removing all advertising and other annoyances. Back in the summer of 2003 a group of developers debuted a new torrent client, which they called Azureus. BitTorrent itself was still a relatively new technology at the time and users were eager to find new tools to transfer their files. The feature-rich Azureus client, which later rebranded to Vuze, delivered just that. In recent years, however, things have gone relatively quiet, up to a point where Vuze development appears to have stalled completely. Perhaps not surprising, as two of the core developers, parg and TuxPaper, have left the project and moved on to something new. “We are no longer involved in Vuze or Azureus Software, Inc. We can not speak to what their intentions are with the development of their product,” they inform us. The developers, who were also part of the original Azureus team, are not saying farewell to their code though. While they are no longer working on Vuze, the pair have started a new Azureus branch, one they will actively maintain. “We have invested such a large amount of our lives in the endeavor that we feel the need to keep the open source project active, for both our and our users’ enjoyment!” parg and TuxPaper tell us. BiglyBT, as they have named their new client, will continue where Vuze development stalled. In addition to optimizing the code and releasing new features, BiglyBT is determined to keep the open source project alive, without any commercial interests. “Our main goals for BiglyBT is to keep it ad-free and open source, and to continue to develop it into an even better torrent client. We also hope that a community will form again around the product.” BiglyBT main window People who try the new client will notice that it’s indeed very similar to Vuze, but without the ads and some other ‘cluttering’ features, such as DVD-burning. While BiglyBT looks and operates in a similar manner to Vuze, in the future the developers will work on a new set of features, a new style, and various other changes that will set it apart from its older brother. “Our first release is mostly a name change, but we have removed some of the things that we know users don’t particularly want or use, such as the content network, games promotions, DVD burning, the huge ad in the corner of the app, and the offers in the installer.” While Vuze appears to have downsized its development efforts, BiglyBT promises to go full steam ahead. The new client will also stay true to the Open Source nature. Previously, some people complained that Vuze included proprietary code, resulting in more restrictive license terms. BiglyBT is purely GPL, and will remain so. The client is currently available on all major desktop platforms, including Windows, MacOS and Linux. An open source Android app, forked from Vuze remote, will follow in a few weeks. BiglyBT should appeal to a wide range of users, especially the more seasoned torrent user who wants a client they can configure to their liking. “Our target users are people who love to delve into the world of torrenting. People who like to tinker and watch torrents do their thing. Hoarders who like to seed, automate, categorize and contribute back to the torrenting community,” the developers note. People who are interested in giving BiglyBT a spin can download the latest version from the official site. The application is free and won’t install any other applications or adware. Instead, it’s solely supported by donations from the public. TorrentFreak
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