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SAP: One of Open Source’s Best Kept Secrets

1 week 6 days ago

SAP has been working with open source for decades and has now established an open source program office (OSPO) to further formalize the coordination of its open source activities and expand its engagement with the open source communities.

Setting up an Nginx Reverse Proxy

1 week 6 days ago

A reverse proxy is a service that takes a client request, sends the request to one or more proxied servers, fetches the response, and delivers the server's response to the client.

ZaReason Debuts New Gamerbox 9400, Google Announces Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier Android Apps, Microsoft Bringing Xbox Live to Android, Kernel 5.0-rc5 Is Out and Mallard 1.1 Released

1 week 6 days ago

News briefs for February 4, 2019.

ZaReason debuted its new Gamerbox 9400, "the ultimate Linux gaming PC". And, the Gamebox is just the beginning, ZDNet reports, quoting ZaReason CEO Cathy Malmrose: "Our current team is mostly gamers so, not surprisingly, that is the direction we are going. We have a full line of gaming machines in R&D." The Gamebox runs Ubuntu 18.04, with a 64-bit Pentium 3.8Ghz G5500 Coffee Lake processor and 8GB of DDR4 memory.

Google announces two new audio apps for Android to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing: Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier. Live Transcribe "takes real-world speech and turns it into real-time captions using just the phone's microphone". Starting today, Live Transcribe will rollout gradually as a limited beta via the Play Store and pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices. You can sign up here to be notified when it's more widely available. Sound Amplifier makes "audio is more clear and easier to hear. You can use Sound Amplifier on your Android smartphone with wired headphones to filter, augment and amplify the sounds in your environment. It works by increasing quiet sounds, while not over-boosting loud sounds." Sound Amplifier is available now via the Play Store and supports Android 9 Pie or later and comes pre-installed on Pixel 3.

Microsoft is bringing Xbox Live to Android, macOS and Nintendo Switch. According to The Verge, "Some iOS and Android games already have Xbox Live Achievements, but they're only enabled in titles from Microsoft Studios and there's not many of them available right now. Microsoft describes this new push as much bigger. 'Xbox Live is expanding from 400 million gaming devices and a reach to over 68 million active players to over 2 billion devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK,' says the GDC listing."

Linux kernel 5.0-rc5 is out. Linus writes, "I'm happy to report that things seem to be calming down nicely, and rc5 is noticeably smaller than previous rcs. Let's hope the trend continues."

Mallard 1.1 was released recently. Mallard is a "markup language for dynamic topic-oriented help. It is designed to be as simple as possible, while still providing the features needed for a modern help system. Mallard features a unique reciprocal linking system that helps writers create flexible help frameworks that are easy to extend with new content. Writers can create an outline-like structure, and as they add new help topics, the reciprocal linking mechanism will neatly integrate the new help topics with the existing help topics." To see the list of what's new, go here.

News gaming Hardware ZaReason Google Android Mobile Accessibility Microsoft kernel Mallard
Jill Franklin

If Software Is Funded from a Public Source, Its Code Should Be Open Source

1 week 6 days ago
by Glyn Moody

If we pay for it, we should be able to use it.

Perhaps because many free software coders have been outsiders and rebels, less attention is paid to the use of open source in government departments than in other contexts. But it's an important battleground, not least because there are special dynamics at play and lots of good reasons to require open-source software. It's unfortunate that the most famous attempt to convert a government IT system from proprietary code to open source—the city of Munich—proved such a difficult experience. Although last year saw a decision to move back to Windows, that seems to be more a failure of IT management, than of the code itself. Moreover, it's worth remembering that the Munich project began back in 2003, when it was a trailblazer. Today, there are dozens of large-scale migrations, as TechRepublic reports:

Most notable is perhaps the French Gendarmerie, the country's police force, which has switched 70,000 PCs to Gendbuntu, a custom version of the Linux-based OS Ubuntu. In the same country 15 French ministries have made the switch to using LibreOffice, as has the Dutch Ministry of Defence, while the Italian Ministry of Defence will switch more than 100,000 desktops from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice by 2020 and 25,000 PCs at hospitals in Copenhagen will move from Office to LibreOffice.

More are coming through all the time. The Municipality of Tirana, the biggest in Albania, has just announced it is moving thousands of desktops to LibreOffice, and nearly 80% of the city of Barcelona's IT investment this year will be in open source.

One factor driving this uptake by innovative government departments is the potential to cut costs by avoiding constant upgrade fees. But it's important not to overstate the "free as in beer" element here. All major software projects have associated costs of implementation and support. Departments choosing free software simply because they believe it will save lots of money in obvious ways are likely to be disappointed, and that will be bad for open source's reputation and future projects.

Arguably as important as any cost savings is the use of open standards. This ensures that there is no lock-in to a proprietary solution, and it makes the long-term access and preservation of files much easier. For governments with a broader responsibility to society than simply saving money, that should be a key consideration, even if it hasn't been in the past.

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Glyn Moody

Linux 5.0 rc5

2 weeks ago

Linus Torvalds: I'm happy to report that things seem to be calming down nicely, and rc5 is noticeably smaller than previous rc's.