Tuesday, December 31, 2013

GNU is growing, and we need your help

GNU30 logo
The GNU System is more than a collection of software components; it's a philosophy, a social movement. The ideas Richard Stallman articulated in the GNU Manifesto spawned some of the most important ideas of our time: copyleft and free culture. It is vital that we continue to develop the ideas in the GNU Manifesto and apply them to our rapidly changing relationship to technology. In a world where our computing freedoms, privacy, and security are eroding rapidly, Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation will continue to demand better.
Donate $30 today to help GNU build on thirty years of software freedom. Your donation by January 31st will help us meet our $450,000 annual fundraising goal.
Building on GNU's mission means expanding our focus to protect users of networked computers. This includes prioritizing the development of replacements for Service as a Software Substitute (SaaSS), as well as encryption and privacy protecting software. GNU is going to need more infrastructure, support, and coordination to be successful at this new goal.
Free software developers all over the world rely on GNU's infrastructure to build software that protects user freedom both online and offline. As the fiscal sponsor of GNU, the FSF provides this scaffolding, everything from maintaining server space for developers on Savannah, to hosting https://ftp.gnu.org/, which provides bandwidth for GNU downloads. All of these developer tools are run with entirely free software. FSF staff and volunteers also assist GNU projects with fundraising, promotion. and licensing, and enforce the GPL on their behalf.
We need your support to do all of this work on a larger scale. Can you give $30 to help us expand GNU in 2014?
GNU started as a way to guarantee user control over the software running on their local machine. But now, that's no longer enough. In an always-on networked world, machines elsewhere pose just as much of a threat to user freedom, even if we have complete control over what is sitting in front of us. GNU needs to -- and is -- evolving to meet this challenge.
As the GNU system turns thirty, free software and its philosophy are more relevant than ever, but there is still work to be done.
Will you help to ensure a bright future for the GNU system by donating $30 today?
Libby Reinish
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Q&A with James Kuffner, Google Robotics Researcher

Technology Review (12/23/13) Will Knight 

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently held a competition in which 16 teams had to develop robots to complete a series of tasks inspired by challenges faced in cleaning up the destroyed Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. "I think setting up these tasks and challenges is a good way to motivate people to work on hard problems and try to bring together the best hardware and software to make these machines do useful tasks," says Google scientist James Kuffner. He notes that to date, robotics has been very brittle, and it is going to take advanced software and hardware to make robots achieve the same level of performance and agility that humans and animals have. Although the tasks in the DARPA competition may look easy, they are very difficult for robots. "I feel like in the last 20 years there's been incredible acceleration, and I'm really excited to see this much effort and attention being paid to try and make the robots do something practical," Kuffner says.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Support Us : Free Libre Open Source lebanese Movement

Every benefit from eurabiahosting services are entirely invested in the "Free Libre Open Source Lebanese Movement" NGO in Lebanon

visit http://www.eurabiahosting.com

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Research Shows How MacBook Webcams Can Spy on Their Users without Warning

Washington Post (12/18/13) Ashkan Soltani; Timothy B. Lee

Johns Hopkins University researchers have provided the first public confirmation that it is possible to activate a laptop's camera without triggering the light indicating that the camera is turned on. The research proves that if a laptop has a built-in camera, it is possible that someone could access it to spy on the user at any time. The researchers studied computers that had a hardware interlock between the camera and the light to ensure that the camera could not turn on without alerting its owner. However, the researchers were able to bypass this security feature because modern laptops are actually several different computers in one package. The computers are designed to prevent software from activating the camera without turning on the light, but the researchers were able to reprogram the chip inside the camera, called a microcontroller, to defeat this feature. Attacks that exploit microcontrollers are becoming more common. "People are starting to think about what happens when you can reprogram each of those," says Twitter security expert Charlie Miller. He also says there is an easy way to thwart this surveillance, noting "the safest thing to do is to put a piece of tape on your camera."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

LibrePlanet for all!

I can't even tell you how excited I am for LibrePlanet 2014 on March 22 and 23, 2014, which is fast approaching! Right now, the rest of the FSF staff and I are working hard on the program for our annual conference so that in the next few weeks we'll be able to share our amazing roster of speakers with you. But here's the thing: to put together the strongest possible program, we need the funds to help some of our speakers travel to Cambridge, MA so that they can share their ideas with all of us. We also want to bring attendees who will learn a ton at LibrePlanet and bring that new knowledge back to their communities, helping us make LibrePlanet's reach truly global.
We've launched a scholarship fund so that we can bring free software movers and shakers to Cambridge in March for LibrePlanet. Will you consider giving someone the gift of LibrePlanet this year by donating today?
We only have a few short weeks before we will start awarding travel scholarships. The money raised between now and January 10, 2014 will help us subsidize airfare and hotel rooms for all kinds of amazing people. We've never had a formal scholarship program for LibrePlanet before. With your help, we can get off to a great start.
A donation of $50 covers one night in a shared Boston-area hotel room, but any amount helps. Please donate to the scholarship fund today.
On the flip side of this request of course are all of you out there who need assistance in order to make it to LibrePlanet 2014. I'm happy to announce that we've just launched the scholarship application on LibrePlanet.org -- applications are due by January 10, 2014 at 22:00 UTC. Apply today!
And please, help us spread the word. If you know someone who would love to attend LibrePlanet if only they had some help paying for their travel, send them this email right away. January 10, 2014 is right around the corner.
Happy hacking,
Libby Reinish
Campaigns Manager (and Conference Guru)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 10 open source projects in 2013, five community management tips, and more




  • Check out the events calendar to see other upcoming open source events and submit your own!

Top guides for getting things done the open source way. We've compiled our best guides and tutorials of 2013. Bookmark this page to review before you launch your next project.

Gaming caused quite a stir in education in 2013. We take a look at the role gaming played in education in 2013 and how it may evolve in 2014.

Open source software enthusiast Phil Shapiro explains why OpenShot video editor will be big in 2014 and how it achieves just the right balance between ease-of-use and a rich feature set.


Join the open source dialogue about the future of CIOs.

Can CIOs afford to ignore social media? Social media hasn't yet been a major focal point for most CIOs. Here are some ways your CIO can benefit from social media.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gift giving gnu advises shoppers to "give freely"

Gift giving gnu advises shoppers to "give freely"

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Friday, December 20th, 2013 -- Yesterday, Free Software Foundation activists visited the Boston Apple store to raise awareness of more ethical alternatives for technology gifts. The activists were accompanied by a gnu (the free software movement's buffalo-like mascot) and sported Santa hats in the spirit of the season. Shoppers were surprised to see such an unusual Santa, and many took stickers and copies of the FSF's "Giving Guide," which contains tips for purchasing tech gifts that respect computer users' freedom, privacy and security.

The Giving Guide, which is available online, suggests laptops, ebooks, 3D printers, and more gift ideas while discouraging shoppers from purchasing products with problems like proprietary software, hardware locked down with digital handcuffs, or ebooks that contain Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).
FSF executive director John Sullivan said, "This year we know it's not just Santa who's making a list -- the NSA and several large corporations are watching you too. Make sure that your holiday gifts keep your loved ones' personal information private and their freedom intact. Our Giving Guide will help you choose alternatives to bad products like Windows 8 and Macbooks, and give you tips for socially responsible gifts."
The Boston Apple store is one the largest in the world. Apple is known as one of the world's worst patent aggressors, and its computers, tablets, and cell phones run on restrictive proprietary software.
The FSF asks supporters to keep their eyes peeled for more appearances by the gnu in coming months.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About the GNU Operating System and Linux

Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom. See https://www.gnu.org/gnu/the-gnu-project.html.
In 1992, the essential components of GNU were complete, except for one, the kernel. When in 1992 the kernel Linux was re-released under the GNU GPL, making it free software, the combination of GNU and Linux formed a complete free operating system, which made it possible for the first time to run a PC without non-free software. This combination is the GNU/Linux system. For further explanation, see https://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gluglug X60 Laptop now certified to Respect Your Freedom

Gluglug X60 Laptop now certified to Respect Your Freedom

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, December 19, 2013 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to Gluglug X60 laptops. The RYF certification mark means that the product meets the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy. This is the first laptop to receive RYF certification from the FSF.
It can be purchased from http://shop.gluglug.org.uk.
The FSF has had a call out for a laptop sold with a free OS and free boot system since 2005. Today it announced that the call has been met.
"Finally there is a free software laptop that respects your freedom as it comes from the store," stated Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the FSF.
The boot programs (such as a BIOS) run when a computer is turned on and their primary purpose is to initialize the hardware before loading the operating system. Computer makers not only install nonfree boot programs, but they also have made it notoriously difficult for free software developers to have access to the necessary hardware specifications and information needed to produce free software replacements.
When a user purchases a product that bears the Respects Your Freedom certification mark, they can be confident they are recieving a product that comes with a free boot program and OS, as well as documentation under free licenses, multimedia unencumbered by proprietary formats, and the assurance it is not known to contain any backdoors and is not designed to share users' information without their knowledge (e.g. spyware).
"This announcement comes at a time when people have a heightened concern over controlling their data and securing their communication. Proprietary software is by nature fundamentally insecure, because it uses both force of law and technological measures to prohibit a user from controlling and securing her own computer. This new complete system runs on free software and is backed by the FSF's commitment to do our best at ensuring respect for your freedom and privacy," said FSF executive director John Sullivan.
The Gluglug X60 laptops are refurbished models of Lenovo's ThinkPad® X60. Gluglug has updated the computer by adding a modern wifi chipset, replacing the proprietary BIOS with a free software boot system made by modifying Coreboot to remove all proprietary microcode and proprietary blobs, and replacing the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS with the FSF-endorsed, Trisquel GNU/Linux OS.
"The Gluglug X60 laptop is a major victory for computer users and supporters of the Free BIOS campaign. Not only has Gluglug produced a 100% free version of Coreboot that carries freedom to each user, but it has made it easy and fun to install updates, which in my experience, make real and noticeable improvements to the operation of the laptop. I also found that despite the hardware being a few years old, the Gluglug X60 remains a durable machine that is more than capable of running modern GNU/Linux distro," added Joshua Gay, the licensing & compliance manager who heads-up the FSF's RYF certification program.
Francis Rowe of Gluglug issued the following statement:
Gluglug is very proud to have achieved RYF certification and we will always try to exceed the requirements. The mission of Gluglug is to promote free software in a practical way by making it easy to find a system built for total freedom. With the X60 laptops sold through the site you get everything: free boot program, free operating system, free drivers, free applications. The machines also come pre-fitted with a new 802.11n wireless card that is fully compatible with free software.
The machines come fully loaded with Trisquel GNU/Linux, and they can also have gNewSense or Parabola GNU/Linux installed on request. With the Gluglug X60, you get full source code for all of the tools used to create the boot program, plus documentation. If you want to hack your machine, you can. That's really the whole concept.
You also get updates, so when the Gluglug makes a substantial change to the firmware it ships, you will receive a copy of it along with documentation for how to flash it and tweak it to your needs.
A project like this is especially important in this day and age when more and more devices are becoming locked down with with things like Restricted Boot, and containing hardware-based backdoors. The Gluglug provides an opt-out for that kind of mistreatment.
To learn more about the Respects Your Freedom hardware certification, including details on the certification of the Gluglug X60 laptops, as well as information on source code for the device, visit https://www.fsf.org/ryf. Hardware sellers interested in applying for certification can consult criteria at https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/criteria.
For those needing to purchase other hardware, the FSF recommends the h-node.org database, as well as direct users toward hardware sellers that offer laptops with GNU/Linux preinstalled. The FSF is also asking supporters to write to Intel asking for the company to ship laptops with a free boot system to begin with, so that users can buy brand new freedom-respecting hardware in the future.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About Gluglug

The Gluglug is a Canvey Island, Essex, UK based company dedicated to Free Software. We sell computers that are made to respect the freedom of users to study and hack their machine. Visit http://shop.gluglug.org.uk.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How open source could save the honeybees, four reasons people aren't using open source, and more




  • Check out the events calendar to see other upcoming open source events and submit your own!

How are startups different from other projects? Startups and small businesses, at the beginning of their journey, are usually broke. Python can help startups save time and money.

The first supercapacitor-powered portable speakers are open source thanks to Sam Beck's open source sustainable electronics business. Learn more about the speakers and why Sam believes in open source.

Google's Open Source Director Chris DiBona recently sat down for a video interview with Opensource.com, talking about the way Google employees see open source. Watch the video.


Join the open source dialogue about the future of CIOs.

HBR Article: Creating the best workplace on Earth. In this Harvard Business Review article, the authors challenge readers to create the most productie and rewarding working environment possible. Are you up for the challenge?

Open source into the enterprise

If open source into the enterprise , it is not just the case of programmers control. It is truly the benefits are enormous. Administrators and operators know : nothing is more reliable and efficient than a Linux server to an application server java, for example turning, or a database.

Moreover , it would be ridiculous to say "we are a big company with a huge information system critical to the conduct of business , open source or free software is not done for us." Because the largest platforms in the world are built on open source (or GNU free software) bases . The Internet giants , Google, Facebook , Amazon and others, rely heavily on large components and open source products . They have requirements for quality of service , performance and productivity are well worth those of larger companies, and they chose open source. They have lawyers among the most competent , the most rigorous and the most paranoid of the world. And it did not stop to define a proactive open source policy.

In a study conducted by Forrester in 2008 and in 2010, a trend that emerges is that the reasons given for adopting more open source companies have evolved, the cost is less often cited among the top motivations, while the independence and freedom of choice , strength , openness, .. are most frequently mentioned .

Among the most important benefits of open source solutions include :

Freedom of choice: less dependency ( lock- in) with respect to a small number of suppliers in a monopoly or oligopoly . Margins that provides a near-monopoly position are such that the market for software focuses very quickly, leaving customers in a situation of dependency concern. The quality open source products make them a little freedom lost.
Compliance with standards: open source software tend to be more standards compliant , both because it is a prerequisite to support themselves on other open source bricks , and because they are not in logic protection.
The dynamics of change : open source software , at least some of them have a development that is based wholly or partly on a large community of developers , allowing a higher rate of evolution.
De facto standard : some of the major open source software have become de facto standards , so they focus both development efforts and expertise available.
As can be seen , the use of open source solutions provide many benefits. But even if the benefits are real , all solutions are created equal . And this is the purpose of this standard to present the best solutions , those ready to use in the most demanding environments.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

FSF: Reform corporate surveillance

FSF: Reform corporate surveillance

A group of technology companies, most of whom were implicated in handing user information over to the NSA, recently came together to ask world governments to reform the way they conduct surveillance, according to a set of principles.
Free Software Foundation executive director John Sullivan made the following statement:
"The Free Software Foundation may support one or more of the measures proposed to 'reform government surveillance.' We may end up working with this coalition of companies, after we have had a chance to review and discuss with them what they are advocating. It is encouraging to see recognition from the coalition about one side of the surveillance issue.
However, this problem is not one that can be solved through government reform alone, and there is a danger that focus on these reforms will be flypaper that drains energy for more fundamental change. In addition to policy reform, we must have software reform.
In the US, there were already policies and laws against many revealed spy agency behaviors. These rules are being ignored, or interpreted in ways that maximize surveillance.
The surveillance is actively enabled by these companies' software and technology. Microsoft Windows provides back doors for the NSA. Companies like Google and Facebook build their businesses on the model of consolidating huge amounts of user data, enabling mining of that data, and pulling users away from software run on their own computers to software that is remotely hosted.
Nowhere on the coalition site, or in the open letter, do any of the companies take any responsibility for what is happening. Yet, they have intentionally put their users in a vulnerable position, and exploited them without hesitation. They use copyright, patents, and contracts to insist that the software they publish be proprietary. Or, instead of distributing software at all, they provide it as a hosted 'service.'
Both have the same negative implications for users. The very people using this software are not allowed to see what it is actually doing, nor can they ask for someone else of their choosing to review it on their behalf. The result is a computer that in the end serves only the company who 'owns' the software -- and the governments with whom they choose to share information, or anyone who can find their way to the backdoors.
Furthermore, users need to worry not just about how their information is accessed by the government. They are also entitled to control how it is accessed by corporations. Corporate employees can abuse data in many of the very same ways NSA employees have.
While these companies voice their support for legislative changes they think will address the problem, they continue to drive technology which is on face damaging to everyone's privacy, freedom, and security.
We call on these companies to issue an additional set of principles declaring their support for user control over the software and computers they use. We need a http://reformcorporatesurveillance.org.
Until they do so, they can at best be allies of convenience in this effort. We might support their ideas for new laws, but we must be careful not to invest public resources inventing new policy band-aids to cover wounds they are perpetually re-opening. We won't let this distract us from their ongoing culpability, or the need for radical software reform."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BitCoin the open source money!

Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.

Bitcoin is an open source peer-to-peer payment network and digital currency introduced in 2009 by pseudonymous developer "Satoshi Nakamoto". Bitcoin has been called a cryptocurrency because it uses cryptography to secure funds. Transactions transfer bitcoins, the unit of currency, between Bitcoin addresses derived from cryptographic public keys. To spend the funds associated with an address, a user must broadcast a payment message digitally signed with the associated private key. Transactions are verified by a decentralized network of computers all over the world. Specialized computers use a proof-of-work system to prevent people from copying and spending the same bitcoin multiple times, a problem for digital currencies known as double-spending. The operators of these computers, known as "miners", are rewarded with transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins.
A collection of addresses and their associated private keys is known as a wallet. These may be stored online on the web, on local hardware (like a personal computer or mobile device), or on paper print-outs. Thefts of bitcoins from online wallets have been covered in the media, prompting assertions that the safest way to store bitcoins is in a paper wallet generated by the owner on an uncompromised computer.
In 2012, The Economist reasoned that Bitcoin has been popular because of "its role in dodgy online markets", and in 2013 the FBI shut down one such service, Silk Road, which specialized in illegal drugs (whereupon the FBI took control of approximately 1.5% of all bitcoins in circulation). However, Bitcoins are increasingly used as payment for legitimate products and services, and merchants have an incentive to accept the currency because transaction fees are lower than the 2 to 3% typically imposed by credit card processors. Notable vendors include OkCupid, Reddit, WordPress, and Chinese Internet giant Baidu.
Speculators have been attracted to Bitcoin, fueling volatility and price swings. As of November 2013, the use of Bitcoin in the retail and commercial marketplace is relatively small compared with a relatively large use by speculators.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How OpenStack differs from Amazon, the role of beautiful design in software, and more




  • Check out the events calendar to see other upcoming open source events and submit your own!

Enter for your chance to win a 3D printer, books from O'Reilly Media and PacktPub, and other fun gadgets and accessories.

With patent reform legislation moving forward, an impressive group of law professors recently weighed in to favor reform. Here's what they had to say.

Long-time Linux user Mark Travis explains why he designed InfiniSQL, a massively scalable relational database system (RDBMS), to be open source and how he hopes it will grow.


Join the open source dialogue about the future of CIOs.

Win our CIO reading list. We asked our Enterprisers Editorial Board to recommend books they enjoyed in 2013. Check out the complete list and find out how you can win this book bundle in our Twitter contest.

Register for LibrePlanet today!

Excited to attend LibrePlanet 2014?

Registration is now open for LibrePlanet 2014: "Free Software, Free Society," March 22-23, 2014 in Cambridge, MA. Register today!
LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts. LibrePlanet brings together software developers, policy experts, activists and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments and face challenges to software freedom. Newcomers are always welcome, and LibrePlanet 2014 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.
FSF members attend LibrePlanet gratis.
Not a member? Join today to register gratis, or register at our non-member rate. Your donations will also help us meet our goal of raising $450,000 by January 31st.
This year, the theme of LibrePlanet is "Free Software, Free Society." How can free software protect journalists, whistleblowers, activists, and regular computer users from government and corporate surveillance? How can free software, or free software values like copyleft, community development, and transparency, be used by people fighting to create free societies around the world? What challenges are standing between us and our goal of free software ubiquity? With your help, we'll tackle these questions and more at LibrePlanet 2014, on March 22 and 23 in Cambridge, MA.
We're excited to feature keynote addresses by Eben Moglen, founder of the Software Freedom Law Center, and Karen Sandler, executive director of the GNOME Foundation. The conference will also feature workshops in using free programs, talks and discussion panels with free software luminaries, plentiful networking opportunities, and a pre-conference social gathering. And as always, FSF founder and president Richard Stallman will be on hand to present the annual Free Software Awards.
If you're interested in the role of technology in struggles for justice, community, and freedom, then you will find a lot to be excited about at LibrePlanet. Join us at LibrePlanet 2014: Free Software, Free Society.
Register for the conference now or become a member to attend at no cost.
Hope to see you at LibrePlanet!
Libby Reinish
Campaigns Manager

Thursday, December 5, 2013

FSF responds to Microsoft's privacy and encryption announcement

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a new effort to "[protect] customer data from government snooping."
FSF executive director John Sullivan issued the following statement on Thursday, December 5th:
"Microsoft has made renewed security promises before. In the end, these promises are meaningless. Proprietary software like Windows is fundamentally insecure not because of Microsoft's privacy policies but because its code is hidden from the very users whose interests it is supposed to secure. A lock on your own house to which you do not have the master key is not a security system, it is a jail.
Even on proprietary operating systems like Windows, it is advisable to use free software encryption programs such as GNU Privacy Guard. But when no one except Microsoft can see the operating system code underneath, or fix it when problems are discovered, it is impossible to have a true chain of trust.
If the NSA revelations have taught us anything, it is that journalists, governments, schools, advocacy organizations, companies, and individuals, must be using operating systems whose code can be reviewed and modified without Microsoft or any other third party's blessing. When we don't have that, back doors and privacy violations are inevitable.
While the Microsoft announcement does promise "transparency" to reassure people that there are no back doors in Windows, this is no solution. Transparency in the Windows world normally means self-reports commissioned by Microsoft, or access granted to outsiders covering very limited portions of source code under strict agreements that limit sharing that information.
Freedom and security necessitate not just being allowed a peek at the code. Microsoft has demonstrated time and time again that its definition of a "back door" will not be the same as yours. Noticing that the back door is wide open will do you no good if you are forbidden from shutting it.
The solution after Microsoft's announcement is the same as it was before its announcement. Just like Microsoft's former chief privacy adviser, switch to a free software operating system like GNU/Linux, and don't look back."

Build us up! Free software is a cornerstone of a free society

They know when you are sleeping. They know when you're awake. They know if you've been bad or good...
You guessed it. We're not talking about Santa. The NSA and the world's big Internet and telecommunications companies have built a massive Surveillance Industrial Complex that undermines all our freedoms. We need to build our own infrastructure, one that values freedom, privacy, and security for all people. We need your help to do it.
Become a member of the Free Software Foundation today to help us reach our goal of $450,000 by January 31st.
The Free Software Foundation has been defending computer users' freedoms and privacy for nearly thirty years. No matter the political climate, we have always fought to defend the freedoms of all computer users. Today, in the face of mass surveillance, more people than ever are discovering that free software is a necessary cornerstone of a free society. With this momentum, we can turn our blueprints for a free software future into brick and mortar.
Since day one of the PRISM scandal, the FSF has been sounding the alarm. We've published high-profile op-eds in Wired and Slate, and as members of the Stop Watching Us coalition we marched on Washington to protest mass surveillance. And we're not just talking about the need for change; we're doing something about it. This September, we hosted a hackathon in honor of the GNU System's 30th anniversary, where participants made contributions to a dozen projects that form key building blocks of a surveillance-free future.
All the while, we've continued to build towards many more of the prerequisites for a free society, from working with hardware manufacturers to fighting DRM in HTML5.
With your support, we can do so much more in 2014.
The Free Software Foundation is only as powerful as our membership base; individual donations account for the majority of our funding each year. This has always been a grassroots, community-supported movement, and it always will be. This year, we need to meet our goal of $450,000 to build our vision for the free software movement. You can become a member of the FSF for just $10/month ($5/month for students); when you join, you'll get a variety of benefits, including free admission to our annual conference, LibrePlanet.
Please consider joining as a member to help us meet our fundraising goal by January 31st.
Every dollar you give helps to build us up.
Happy Hacking,
All of us at the Free Software Foundation

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tech Giants Are Countering Government Spying

USA Today (12/01/13) Jon Swartz

Leading technology firms such as Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Facebook, mirroring an industry-wide trend, are investing in new security technology to thwart U.S. government surveillance of their computer systems. Gartner predicts that cybersecurity IT budgets will jump to $93 billion in 2017, up from $65 billion this year. "This may be the first time a computer-security problem has had such sustained interest on a national level," says ESET North America's Stephen Cobb. Although many tech executives are reluctant to openly discuss their efforts to counter government spying, they fear consumer backlash from the revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's attempts to monitor their data systems. In fact, new polls show that consumers are responding to the news. For example, a recent Harris poll of about 2,000 people found that four out of five people have changed the privacy settings of their social media accounts in the past few months. Meanwhile, the spying revelations have prompted 19 percent of consumers to do less banking online and 14 percent to cut back on online shopping, according to an ESET-commissioned survey of 362 American adults in September. "It's a fundamental, overnight change in behavior—I have not seen this type of reaction to virus or hacking" in more than 20 years, Cobb says.

Enter to win open source gifts including 3D printer, Python catches up in the enterprise, and more


Help improve self-control and executive functioning skills in children and teens.

  • We all need to take it offline now and then
    Protecting our ability to focus is becoming more important.

  • TenFourFox extends useful life of older macs
    Open source web browser keeps older macs alive.

  • Jamaican Ministry of Health is the first to adopt free and open source health system nationwide
    Jamaica is the first country to embrace GNU Health nationwide.

  • Seven collaboration steps to take a video from concept to reality
    Using collaboration to tackle video projects.

  • Downloading Wikipedia is easier than you might think, what's in store for Linux in 2014, and more
    Stories you may have missed from around the web.



    • If you're planning an open source-related event in 2014, add it to our events calendar for all of our readers to see and share.

    • Check out the events calendar to see other upcoming open source events and submit your own!

    Python has developed into a robust and responsive language for the enterprise and other open initiatives around the world.

    In this exclusive interview, VP of the European Commission Neelie Kroes highlights some of the open government initiatives in Europe.

    Creative Commons introduced new 4.0 licenses last week to make sharing and reusing CC-licensed materials easier and more dependable than ever before.

    Get involved. There are a number of ways to participate at Opensource.com.


    Join the open source dialogue about the future of CIOs.

    Crossing the IT and Business Strategy Gap. We take a look at the current in-between state many CIOs are facing and offer possible solutions.

    Thursday, November 28, 2013

    Free Software Supporter Issue 68, November 2013

    Free Software Supporter

    Give freely this Cyber Monday: Introducing the 2013 Giving Guide

    The Free Software Foundation is proud to announce our 2013 Giving Guide. The Giving Guide features gifts that will not only make your recipients jump for joy; these gifts will also protect their freedom.
    • https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/give-freely-this-cyber-monday-introducing-the-2013-giving-guide
    Press release:
    • https://www.fsf.org/news/2013givingguide

    FSF campaigns manager speaks about free software at iD Programming Academy

    From November 7th
    Introducing new people to free software is an integral part of our mission at the FSF, so we were delighted when the director of a summer programming academy called and invited us to speak.
    • https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/fsf-campaigns-manager-speaks-about-free-software-at-id-programming-academy

    LibrePlanet 2014 dates announced

    From November 12th
    LibrePlanet is the annual conference of the Free Software Foundation. The next conference conference will take place on March 22 and 23, 2014 in Cambridge, MA. There are still plenty of ways to get involved, including applying to join our Exhibit Hall or joining our new Volunteer Committee.
    • https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/libreplanet-2014-dates-announced-session-proposal-deadline-extended

    Avaneya releases libre game for GNU/Linux based on lost NASA archives

    By Avaneya, from November 5th
    Avaneya is a science fiction game for GNU/Linux currently under active development. The project has released a tool to convert imagery from NASA's Viking 1 mission, which resulted in the first ever photographs of the Martian surface, from a legacy format into PNG files.
    • https://www.avaneya.com/content/news/News%20Release%20-%20VLR%20Debut.pdf

    Rockstar vs. Google: software patents as a license for privateering

    By FSF Europe, from November 7th
    Rockstar, a consortium of companies formed to collect certain patents put on sale in the dissolution procedure of Nortel, has sued Google and other companies over seven of those patents.

    When DRM comes to cars

    By FSF Europe, from November 14th
    In its Zoe electric car, car maker Renault apparently has the ability to remotely prevent the battery from charging. And that's more chilling than it may sound.

    Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

    From November 27th
    Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions to version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing. The Free Software Directory has been a great resource to software users over the past decade, but it needs your help staying up-to-date with new and exciting free software projects.
    To help, join our weekly IRC meetings on Fridays. Meetings take place in the #fsf channel on irc.gnu.org, and usually include a handful of regulars as well as newcomers. Everyone's welcome.
    The next meeting is Friday, November 29 from 2pm to 5pm EDT (19:00 to 22:00 UTC). Details here:
    After this meeting, you can check https://www.fsf.org/events to see the rest of December's weekly meetings as they are scheduled.

    LibrePlanet featured resource: GNU Press ideas

    Every month on LibrePlanet, we highlight one resource that is interesting and useful -- often one that could use your help.
    For this month, we are highlighting the Ideas page for GNU Press, which we use to solicit feedback about the FSF shop. This page has been a source of great ideas in the past and we invited you to adopt, spread and improve this important resource.
    Do you have a suggestion for next month's featured resource? Let us know at campaigns@fsf.org.

    GNU Toolchain update

    From November 18th
    The GNU toolchain refers to the part of the GNU system which is used for building programs. These components of GNU are together often on other systems and for compiling programs for other platforms.
    This month features significant improvements to GCC.
    • http://nickclifton.livejournal.com/15001.html

    Richard Stallman's speaking schedule

    For event details, as well as to sign-up to be notified for future events in your area, please visit https://www.fsf.org/events.
    So far, Richard Stallman has the following events in December:

    Thank GNUs!

    We appreciate everyone who donates to the Free Software Foundation, but we'd like to give special recognition to the folks who have donated $500 or more in the last month.
    This month, a big Thank GNU to:
    • Jeff Root
    • Pierre-Alain Blanc
    • Wesley Andres Watters
    • Deb Nicholson
    • Richard Fontana
    • Fabián Rodríguez
    • Will Rico and Cindy Fung
    • Jon Howell
    • Boone Gorges
    • Simon Phipps
    • Bruce Baumgart
    • John Gilmore
    • Etienne Grossmann
    You can add your name to this list by donating at https://donate.fsf.org.

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Free Software Foundation encourages shoppers to 'Give Freely' with new Giving Guide

    Free Software Foundation encourages shoppers to 'Give Freely' with new Giving Guide

    This post can be viewed online at https://www.fsf.org/news/2013givingguide.
    BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, November 27, 2013 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced its 2013 Giving Guide, a resource for conscientious shoppers looking for geeky gifts that respect users' freedom. Many holiday shoppers will be turning to gadgets and online services as gifts for friends and family, but these gifts are often rife with proprietary software, anti-features, or Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), all of which restrict how the gift can be used. The 2013 Giving Guide, found at , can be used to find great presents that don't compromise the recipient's freedoms.
    "The Giving Guide is a map through the minefield of restrictive electronics and Web services that many will be seeking as gifts this season, just as one might shop for fair labor products from worker-owned cooperatives, or environmentally friendly products from local sources. There's no need to sacrifice your freedom or the freedom of the people you care about," said Libby Reinish, campaigns manager for the FSF.
    The FSF objects to products that run proprietary software, because they inherently take control out of users' hands. Waiving that control invites insecurity, surveillance, and sabotage, with harmful implications for both society and individuals.
    "The best gifts come with no strings attached. Relentless advertising and a few nice features may make the new Windows 8.1 release and iPhones with iOS7 tempting. But gifting these products is rewarding socially irresponsible companies, and on top of that, encouraging recipients to support them in the future. Our Guide highlights better gifts for a better future," said John Sullivan, the FSF's executive director.

    About the Free Software Foundation

    The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

    Ant vs Maven

    Apache Ant
    • Ant doesn’t have formal conventions such as a common project directory structure; you have to tell Ant exactly where to find the source and where to put the output. Informal conventions have emerged over time, but they haven’t been codified into the product.
    • Ant is procedural; you have to tell Ant exactly what to do and when to do it. You have to tell it to compile, then copy, then compress.
    • Ant doesn’t have a lifecycle; you have to define goals and goal dependencies. You have to attach a sequence of tasks to each goal manually.

    Apache Maven
    • Maven has conventions: in the example, it already knew where your source code was because you followed the convention. It put the bytecode in target/classes, and it produced a JAR file in target.
    • Maven is declarative; all you had to do was create a pom.xml file and put your source in the default directory. Maven took care of the rest.
    • Maven has a lifecycle, which you invoked when you executed mvn install. This command told Maven to execute a series of sequence steps until it reached the lifecycle. As a side effect of this journey through the lifecycle, Maven executed a number of default plugin goals that did things such as compile and create a JAR.

    Apache Hadoop 2.2.0

    Apache Hadoop 2.2.0 consists of significant improvements over the previous stable release (hadoop-1.x).

    Here is a short overview of the improvments to both HDFS and MapReduce.
    • HDFS Federation
      In order to scale the name service horizontally, federation uses multiple independent Namenodes/Namespaces. The Namenodes are federated, that is, the Namenodes are independent and don't require coordination with each other. The datanodes are used as common storage for blocks by all the Namenodes. Each datanode registers with all the Namenodes in the cluster. Datanodes send periodic heartbeats and block reports and handles commands from the Namenodes.
      More details are available in the HDFS Federation document.
    • MapReduce NextGen aka YARN aka MRv2
      The new architecture introduced in hadoop-0.23, divides the two major functions of the JobTracker: resource management and job life-cycle management into separate components.
      The new ResourceManager manages the global assignment of compute resources to applications and the per-application ApplicationMaster manages the application’s scheduling and coordination.
      An application is either a single job in the sense of classic MapReduce jobs or a DAG of such jobs.
      The ResourceManager and per-machine NodeManager daemon, which manages the user processes on that machine, form the computation fabric.
      The per-application ApplicationMaster is, in effect, a framework specific library and is tasked with negotiating resources from the ResourceManager and working with the NodeManager(s) to execute and monitor the tasks.
      More details are available in the YARN document.

    Getting Started

    The Hadoop documentation includes the information you need to get started using Hadoop. Begin with the Single Node Setup which shows you how to set up a single-node Hadoop installation. Then move on to the Cluster Setup to learn how to set up a multi-node Hadoop installation.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Top 20 open source holiday gifts, how to attract more women to tech conferences, and more




    • Are you planning an open source conference, seminar, meeting, webinar, or some other event in 2014? Raise awareness about your event by submitting it to our events calendar for all of our readers to see and share.

    • Check out the events calendar to see other upcoming open source events and submit your own!

    It's important to grow interest in the Linux kernel among college students. Using these specific training activities, it's easier to get college students involved.

    Want to write a book in five days? Plan a book sprint. Here's how the Google Summer of Code Doc Camp did it, and you can too.

    Prepare students for a rapidly changing world by teaching with open source. That's the advice from school IT director Gregg Ferrie, who outlines ways to use open source in the classroom.

    Thank someone who has helped you with an open source project, send them an eCard.


    Join the open source dialogue about the future of CIOs.

    Feedback is a gift. In the Age of the Enterpriser, user input is a gift. Find out how feedback can be used to foster collaboration and garner support for technology initiatives. Are you Enterpriser? Here's how we define it.

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    Open Source: A Platform for Innovation


    Posted via Blogawayhttp://www.wired.com/insights/2013/11/open-source-a-platforinnovationm-for-innovation

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    How to grow younger Linux developers, using cats and dogs to explain SELinux, and more




    Here's what's coming up in December:

    • Open Source Conference 2013 is the largest conference on Enterprise Open Source & IT Innovation in the Benelux. The conference is Dec. 6 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Check out the events calendar to see other upcoming open source events and submit your own!

    Using illustrations of cats and dogs, we explain how the SELinux primary model works. These cartoons will leave you smiling, and help you understand SELinux.

    Creating higher education syllabi could become easier with the new open source Salsa application. The creators are seeking collaborators across the higher education spectrum.

    Which office suite do you use? Tell us in our latest poll and see how you compare to other Opensource.com readers.

    Ever have a hard time explaining "open source" to someone? Forward them this primer to teach them about the open source way.


    Join the open source dialogue about the future of CIOs.

    What can CIOs learn from Magic Johnson? The next generation of CIOs can learn an important lesson from the way the NBA legend played the game, says Build-A-Bear Workshop Chief Information and Interactive Officer Dave Finnigan.