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Interviews: Ask Senior Director Matt Keller About the Global Learning XPRIZE 28

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
The former Vice President of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Matt Keller is currently the Senior Director of the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE. The competition challenges teams from around the world to develop open source software solutions that will allow children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within a 18 month competition period. After 18 months a panel of judges will evaluate the projects and announce semi-finalists. Semi-finalists will have a month to tweak their projects and/or reconfigure their teams before the judges elect the top five finalist to proceed. Each of the five teams selected will receive $1 million to field test their ideas with the eventual winners receiving the Grand Prize of $10 million. The Global Learning XPRIZE is recruiting teams now through April 30, 2015. Matt has agreed to answer any questions you might have about the competition and the future of education in general. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Open Source

Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons 261

Posted by timothy
from the year-of-the-hurr-durr dept.
An anonymous reader writes Following polling on Linus Torvald's Google+ page, he's decided to make the next kernel version Linux 4.0 rather than Linux 3.20. Linux 4.0 is going to bring many big improvements besides the version bump with there being live kernel patching, pNFS block server support, VirtIO 1.0, IBM z13 mainframe support, new ARM SoC support, and many new hardware drivers and general improvements. Linux 4.0 is codenamed "Hurr durr I'ma sheep."
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Parental Content Control For Free OSs? 256

Posted by timothy
from the good-idea-or-not dept.
m.alessandrini writes Children grow up, and inevitably they will start using internet and social networks, both for educational and recreational purposes. And it won't take long to them to learn to be autonomous, especially with all the smartphones and tablets around and your limited time. Unlike the years of my youth, when internet started to enter our lives gradually, now I'm afraid of the amount of inappropriate contents a child can be exposed to unprepared: porn, scammers, cyberbullies or worse, are just a click away.

For Windows many solutions claim to exist, usually in form of massive antivirus suites. What about GNU/Linux? Or Android? Several solutions rely on setting up a proxy with a whitelist of sites, or similar, but I'm afraid this approach can make internet unusable, or otherwise be easy to bypass. Have you any experiences or suggestions? Do you think software solutions are only a part of the solution, provided children can learn hacking tricks better than us, and if so, what other 'human' techniques are most effective?

Tim O'Reilly On Big Data, CS Education, and the Future of Print 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the timbits-of-wisdom dept.
M-Saunders writes: How do we take advantage of big data without putting our privacy at risk? Should everyone be able to code? And how much life is still in the market for printed books and publications? Linux Voice put these questions to Tim O'Reilly, the founder of O'Reilly media, and the man who helped to popularize the terms Open Source and Web 2.0. ("Should everybody be a professional coder? No way. Should everybody be able to do more than just use a GUI? Absolutely. Should people be able to automate operations of a computer? Absolutely.") Despite the amount of "free" (or advert-supported) content out there, O'Reilly still believes there's plenty of money to be made: "I think that the willingness of people to pay for things that delight them will not go away."
GNU is Not Unix

After 30 Years of the Free Software Foundation, Where Do We Stand? 201

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-changed? dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this interview with John Sullivan, Executive Director of The Free Software Foundation. "There is a growing concern about government surveillance. At the same time, those of us who live and breathe technology do so because it provides us with a service and freedom to share our lives with others. There is a tacit assumption that once we leave the store, the device we have in our pocket, backpack, or desk is ours. We buy a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, and we use applications and apps without even thinking about who really owns the tools and whether we truly own any of it. You purchase a device, yet you are not free to modify it or the software on it in any way. It begs the question of who really owns the device and the software?"
Open Source Gets Routing 77

Posted by timothy
from the proceed-to-virtuous-circle-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Good news for OpenStreetMap: the main website now has A-to-B routing (directions) built in to the homepage! The OSM website offers directions which are powered by third-parties using OSM data, providing car, bike, and foot routing. OpenStreetMap has a saying: 'What gets rendered, gets mapped' – meaning that often you don't notice a bit of data that needs tweaking unless it actually shows up on the map image. It will make OpenStreetMap's data better by creating a virtuous feedback loop."
Open Source

PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth? 391

Posted by Soulskill
from the never-say-never dept.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Luke Wolf, a KDE developer, argues that PC-BSD might become a serious desktop OS contender by year 2020, since Linux so far has failed to grasp any serious market share. He writes, "Consider this: In the past 10 years has the distribution you run changed significantly in what it offers over other distributions? I think you'll find the answer is largely no. I do have to give a shout out to openSUSE for the OBS, but otherwise I've used my desktop in the same exact way that I have always used it within the continuity of distribution X,Y, or Z since I started using them. Distributions simply aren't focused on desktop features, they're leaving it up to the DEs to do so." He continues, "PC-BSD on the other hand in fitting with the BSD mindset of holistic solutions is focused on developing desktop features and is moving rapidly to implement them." What do you think?
Open Source

Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System 754

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-sides dept.
lkcl writes The introduction of systemd has unilaterally created a polarization of the GNU/Linux community that is remarkably similar to the monopolistic power position wielded by Microsoft in the late 1990s. Choices were stark: use Windows (with SMB/CIFS Services), or use UNIX (with NFS and NIS). Only the introduction of fully-compatible reverse-engineered NT Domains services corrected the situation. Instructions on how to remove systemd include dire warnings that "all dependent packages will be removed", rendering a normal Debian Desktop system flat-out impossible to achieve. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate that it is actually possible to run a Debian Desktop GUI system (albeit an unusual one: fvwm) with libsystemd0 removed. The reason for doing so: it doesn't matter how good systemd is believed to be or in fact actually is: the reason for removing it is, apart from the alarm at how extensive systemd is becoming (including interfering with firewall rules), it's the way that it's been introduced in a blatantly cavalier fashion as a polarized all-or-nothing option, forcing people to consider abandoning the GNU/Linux of their choice and to seriously consider using FreeBSD or any other distro that properly respects the Software Freedom principle of the right to choose what software to run. We aren't all "good at coding", or paid to work on Software Libre: that means that those people who are need to be much more responsible, and to start — finally — to listen to what people are saying. Developing a thick skin is a good way to abdicate responsibility and, as a result, place people into untenable positions.

Wayland 1.7.0 Marks an Important Release 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: The 1.7.0 release of Wayland is now available for download. The project thanks all who have contributed, and especially the desktop environments and client applications that now converse using Wayland. In an official announcement from Bryce Harrington of Samsung, he says the Wayland protocol may be considered 'done' but that doesn't mean there's not work to be done. A bigger importance is now given to testing, documentation, and bugfixing. As Wayland is maturing, we are also getting closer to the point where the big Linux distros will eventually start integrating it to their operating system.
Open Source

Live Patching Now Available For Linux 117

Posted by timothy
from the not-big-and-fancy dept.
New submitter cyranix writes "You may never have to reboot your Linux machine ever again, even for kernel patching," and excerpts from the long (and nicely human-readable) description of newly merged kernel code that does what Ksplice has for quite a while (namely, offer live updating for Linux systems, no downtime required), but without Oracle's control. It provides a basic infrastructure for function "live patching" (i.e. code redirection), including API for kernel modules containing the actual patches, and API/ABI for userspace to be able to operate on the patches (look up what patches are applied, enable/disable them, etc). It's relatively simple and minimalistic, as it's making use of existing kernel infrastructure (namely ftrace) as much as possible. It's also self-contained, in a sense that it doesn't hook itself in any other kernel subsystem (it doesn't even touch any other code). It's now implemented for x86 only as a reference architecture, but support for powerpc, s390 and arm is already in the works (adding arch-specific support basically boils down to teaching ftrace about regs-saving).
Open Source

Is Modern Linux Becoming Too Complex? 716

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-it-yourself-after-several-years-of-intensive-study dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Debian developer John Goerzen asks whether Linux has become so complex that it has lost some of its defining characteristics. "I used to be able to say Linux was clean, logical, well put-together, and organized. I can’t really say this anymore. Users and groups are not really determinitive for permissions, now that we have things like polkit running around. (Yes, by the way, I am a member of plugdev.) Error messages are unhelpful (WHY was I not authorized?) and logs are nowhere to be found. Traditionally, one could twiddle who could mount devices via /etc/fstab lines and perhaps some sudo rules. Granted, you had to know where to look, but when you did, it was simple; only two pieces to fit together. I've even spent time figuring out where to look and STILL have no idea what to do."

VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: Two weekends ago an update for VLC media player was shared during a presentation in Brussels at FOSDEM. Lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf covered VLC's continued vibrant development, as well as features that are coming for VLC 2.2 and VLC 3.0. VLC 2.2.0 will feature automatic, GPU-accelerated video rotation support, extension improvements, resume handling, support for new codecs/formats and rewrites to some of the existing formats, VDPAU GPU zero-copy support, x265 encoder support, etc. Further out is VLC 3.0.0, which is planned to have Wayland support, GPU zero-copy support for OpenMAX IL, ARIB subtitle support, HEVC / VP9 hardware decoding on Android, a rework of the MP4 and TS demuxers, and browsing improvements. The VLC FOSDEM 2015 presentation is available in PDF form. The VLC Git shortlog can be used to follow the development of the project.
Open Source

Linaro Launches an Open-Source Spec For ARM SBCs 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the helping-you-make-new-toys dept.
DeviceGuru writes: Not content to just standardize ARM-based Linux and Android software, Linaro has just launched 96Boards, an open-source spec for ARM-based single board computers. Along with the spec's rollout, Linaro also announced a $129 HiKey SBC based on a HiSilicon 64-bit, octa-core Kirin 620 SoC, and compatible with the 96Boards Consumer Edition (CE) spec's 85 x 54mm 'standard' form factor option. The 96Boards initiative plans to offer a series of specs for small-footprint 32- and 64-bit Cortex-A boards, including an Enterprise Edition (EE) of its spec in Q2.
Open Source

Measuring the Value of Open Hardware Designs 18

Posted by Soulskill
from the buy-one-get-one-free dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Industry knows open source software has an immense value, but how valuable is an open hardware design? To answer that question, Dr. Joshua Pearce, an associate professor at Michigan Tech University, analyzed three methods to quantify the value of open hardware design in the latest issue of the journal Modern Economy. The methods are summarized in an article at
Open Source

Rich Olson Embodies the Spirit of the Maker Movement (Video) 50

Posted by Roblimo
from the we-really-need-4d-printing dept.
What kind of person builds a cloud chamber at home in his spare time -- and wants to make it easy for other people to make them, too? How about someone who uses a 3-D printer to make shifters for his bicycle? And then there's the spherical speaker enclosures and the alarm clock that shreds money if you don't wake up. The clock isn't original. Seattle resident Rich Olson (whose URL is says someone else originally made it and he liked the idea. No 3-D printing or laser cutting required; just buy and hook up some inexpensive, easy-to-find components and off you go. Despite its lack of originality (which Rich freely admits), this little project got Rich mentioned everywhere from financial publications to the New York Daily News to Huffington Post's UK edition, which is somewhat amusing when you realize that Rich is not famous (outside of a small circle of maker-type people) and doesn't have anyone doing PR for him.

By day, Rich is a humble mobile app developer. But when he's done working he becomes Mr. 3-D and laser cut cool designer guy who does fun things in his workshop with CAD software, a 3-D printer, a laser cutter, and (of course) traditional cutting, drilling, and shaping tools. Since he's an open source devotee, Rich posts almost all of his designs online so you can make them yourself. Or modify them. Or use them to spur an entirely new idea that you can then make, and hopefully pass on to others. While it's interesting to see that Martha Stewart is now selling 3-D printer designs, Rich and his hobby are what the maker movement is really about. If you're so inclined, you can follow Rich on YouTube, where he posts a video now and then that shows what he's made recently or follow his low-volume blog to see what he's up to.

RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el 551

Posted by timothy
from the purity-in-body-mind-and-spirit dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the news that Richard Stallman is upset over the prospect of GNU Emacs's Grand Unified Debugger (Gud.el) supporting LLVM's LLDB debugger. Stallman says it looks like there is a systematic effort to attack GNU packages and calls for the GNU Project to respond strategically. He wrote his concerns to the mailing list after a patch emerged that would optionally support LLDB alongside GDB as an alternative debugger for Emacs. Other Emacs developers discounted RMS' claims by saying Emacs supports Windows and OS X, so why not support a BSD-licensed compiler/debugger? The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.

Xfce Getting a New Version Soon 193

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-eye-candy dept.
jones_supa writes It looks like the release of Xfce 4.12 is finally about to materialize. It has been about two and half years since the last stable release. There is now a concerted effort underway to ship a new release of this lightweight GTK+2 desktop environment out around the end of February or early March. "As we have discussed the status and progress of core components with many of you individually, we feel confident that the state of Xfce is good enough to polish some final edges and push more translations until then," wrote Simon Steinbeiß on the xfce4-dev mailing list. The official list of showstopper bugs does not look too bad either. However, looking at the long time between releases certainly makes one think if the project could have use for some extra resources.

GnuPG Gets Back On Track With Funding 51

Posted by Soulskill
from the pulling-together dept.
jones_supa writes: Soon after the poor state of the GnuPG was unveiled, the online community has rallied to help Werner Koch. He wanted to hire a full-time programmer to work on the project alongside him and to ensure that he's not living on the brink of bankruptcy all the time. Immediately after the article was published, it was revealed that he got a one-time grant of $60,000 from the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative. Also, the community donated over $150,000, and Facebook and Stripe have each pledged to provide $50,000 per year. All in all, it looks like Werner Koch won't be worried about funding for quite some time. The problem remains: it's very likely that other projects just as important as this one are probably facing the same kind of issues, but it would be nice to hear about them before they get in trouble, and not after.
Open Source

Microsoft Open Sources CoreCLR, the .NET Execution Engine 253

Posted by Soulskill
from the following-through dept.
An anonymous reader writes: As part of Microsoft's continuing project to open source the .NET framework, the company has announced that CoreCLR, the execution engine for .NET Core, is now available on GitHub. CoreCLR handles things like garbage collection, compilation to machine code, and IL byte code loading. The .NET team said, "We have released the complete and up-to-date CoreCLR implementation, which includes RyuJIT, the .NET GC, native interop and many other .NET runtime components. ... We will be adding Linux and Mac implementations of platform-specific components over the next few months. We already have some Linux-specific code in .NET Core, but we're really just getting started on our ports. We wanted to open up the code first, so that we could all enjoy the cross-platform journey from the outset."
Open Source

Systemd Getting UEFI Boot Loader 471

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-module-among-many dept.
New submitter mrons writes: Many new features are coming for systemd. This includes the ability to do a full secure boot. As Lennart Poettering mentions in a Google+ comment: "This is really just about providing the tools to implement the full trust chain from the firmware to the host OS, if SecureBoot is available. ... Of course, if you don't have EFI SecureBoot, than nothing changes. Also if you turn it off, than nothing changes either. [sic]" Phoronix notes, "Gummiboot is a simple UEFI boot manager that's been around for a few years but only receives new work from time-to-time. Lennart and Kay Sievers are looking at adding Gummiboot to systemd to complete the safety chain of the boot process with UEFI Secure Boot. Systemd will communicate with this UEFI boot loader to ensure the system didn't boot into a compromised state."