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Firefox

Firefox 37 Released 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
Today Mozilla began rolling out Firefox version 37.0 to release channel users. This update mostly focuses on behind-the-scenes changes. Security improvements include opportunistic encryption where servers support it and improved protection against site impersonation. They also disabled insecure TLS version fallback and added a security panel within the developer tools. One of the things end users will see is the Heartbeat feedback collection system. It will pop up a small rating widget to a random selection of users every day. After a user rates Firefox, an "engagement" page may open in the background, with links to social media pages and a donation page. Here are the release notes and full changelist.
Government

India Mandates Use of Open Source Software In Government 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-at-last dept.
jrepin writes The Indian government announced a policy yesterday that makes it mandatory to use open-source software in building apps and services, in an effort to "ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs." The new policy (PDF) states that all government organizations must include a requirement for their software suppliers to consider open-source options when implementing e-governance applications and systems. The move will bring the Indian government in line with other countries including the US, UK and Germany that opt for open-source software over proprietary tools.
Open Source

European Commission Will Increase Use of Open Source Software 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the leading-by-example dept.
jrepin writes: The European Commission has updated its strategy for internal use of Open Source Software. The Commission, which is already using open source for many of its key ICT services and software solutions, will further increase the role of this type of software internally. The renewed strategy puts a special emphasis on procurement, contribution to open source software projects, and providing more of the software developed within the Commission as open source.
Bug

MIT Debuts Integer Overflow Debugger 40

Posted by timothy
from the measure-twice-cut-once dept.
msm1267 writes Students from M.I.T. have devised a new and more efficient way to scour raw code for integer overflows, the troublesome programming bugs that serve as a popular exploit vector for attackers and often lead to the crashing of systems. Researchers from the school's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) last week debuted the platform dubbed DIODE, short for Directed Integer Overflow Detection. As part of an experiment, the researchers tested DIODE on code from five different open source applications. While the system was able to generate inputs that triggered three integer overflows that were previously known, the system also found 11 new errors. Four of the 11 overflows the team found are apparently still lingering in the wild, but the developers of those apps have been informed and CSAIL is awaiting confirmation of fixes.
GNU is Not Unix

GNU Nano Gets New Stable Release 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: GNU Nano 2.4.0 has been released as the first stable update to this UNIX command line text editor in a number of years. The release codenamed "Lizf" brings a wide variety of changes: full undo system, Vim-compatible file locking, linter support, formatter support, flexible syntax highlighting, and random bugfixes.
Software

MuseScore 2.0 Released 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
rDouglass writes: MuseScore, the open source desktop application for music notation, has released version 2.0 for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. This release represents the culmination of four years of development, including technical contributions from over 400 people. In addition to a completely new UI, top features include linked parts (good for pieces with many instruments), guitar tablature, flexible chord symbols, and fret diagrams. The program integrates directly with the MuseScore.com online library of scores, and music written with the application can be displayed and played using the MuseScore mobile app.
GNU is Not Unix

RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More 165

Posted by samzenpus
from the straight-from-the-man dept.
alphadogg writes "According to Richard Stallman, godfather of the free software movement, Facebook is a "monstrous surveillance engine," tech companies working for patent reform aren't going nearly far enough, and parents must lobby their children's schools to keep data private and provide free software alternatives. The free software guru touched on a host of topics in his keynote Saturday at the LibrePlanet conference, a Free Software Foundation gathering at the Scala Center at MIT.
The Almighty Buck

DuckDuckGo Donates $100,000 Among Four FOSS Projects 36

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-a-little-cash dept.
jones_supa writes As is the search engine company's annual habit, DuckDuckGo has chosen to advance four open source projects by donating to them. The primary focus this year was to support FOSS projects that bring privacy tools to anyone who needs them. $25,000 goes to The Freedom of the Press Foundation to support SecureDrop, which is a whistleblower submission used to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. The Electronic Frontier Foundation was given $25,000 to support PrivacyBadger, which is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking your surfing habits. Another $25,000 arrives at GPGTools to support GPG Suite, which is a software package for OS X that encrypts files or messages. Finally, $25,000 was donated to Riseup to support Tails, which is a live operating system that aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity.
Open Source

How Device Drivers Are Reverse Engineered 27

Posted by Soulskill
from the freeing-your-peripherals dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Linux Voice magazine has published a long article about how people go about reverse engineering drivers for hardware peripherals. They use Python and a USB radio-controlled car to demonstrate, walking us through the entire process. It's a cool, easy-to-follow insight into what often seems to be a rather opaque process.
Music

"Open Well-Tempered Clavier" Project Complete; Score and Recording Online 59

Posted by timothy
from the make-benefit-glorious-nation dept.
rDouglass writes Open source music notation software MuseScore, and pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, have completed the Open Well-Tempered Clavier project and released a new studio recording and digital score online, under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0, public domain) license. Their previous project, the Open Goldberg Variations (2012), has shown its cultural significance by greatly enhancing the Wikipedia.org article on J.S. Bach's work, and by making great progress in supplying musical scores that are accessible to the visually impaired and the blind. The recording has also received very positive early reviews by music critics. Over 900 fans of J.S. Bach financed this project on Kickstarter.com, where a total of $44,083 was raised.
GNU is Not Unix

The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the live-free-or-die dept.
An anonymous reader writes: It was March, 1985 when Richard M. Stallman published the GNU Manifesto in Dr. Dobb's Journal of Software Tools. Thirty years on, The New Yorker has an article commemorating its creation and looking at how it has shaped software in the meantime. "Though proprietary and open-source software publishers might appear at the moment to have the upper hand, Stallman's influence with developers (among whom he is known simply by his initials, 'rms') remains immense. When I asked around about him, many people spoke of him as one might of a beloved but eccentric and prickly uncle. They would roll their eyes a bit, then hasten to add, as more than one did, 'But he's right about most things.' I told Stallman that I'd spoken with several developers who venerate his work, and who had even said that without it the course of their lives might have been altered. But they don't seem to do what you say, I observed; they all have iPhones. 'I don't understand that either,' he said. 'If they don't realize that they need to defend their freedom, soon they won't have any.'"
Open Source

Kolab Summit 2015 Announced 15

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
First time accepted submitter stilborne writes The Kolab Collaboration Suite, the open source groupware system that scales from "Raspberry PI" installations to 100k+ seat enterprise deployments, has been adopted by companies and governments around the world, making it one of most successful "poster children" for Free Software and Open Standards. In order to chart the next steps forward, the Kolab community has announced the inaugural Kolab Summit to be held in The Hague on May 2-3, 2015. Along with workshops, BoFs and coding break-out sessions, presentations will be given by key developers from a number of open source projects including Kolab, Roundcube, cyrus imap, and KDE among others. Registration is free, and the call for presentations is live for the next few weeks.
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: What Can Distributed Software Development Teams Learn From FLOSS? 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-swear-at-people-unless-you-can-get-away-with-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes: As a long time free software proponent and leader of a small development team (10+ people) within a mid-sized company, I always try to incorporate my experiences from both worlds. Lately I was confronted with the need to accept new team members from abroad working on the same codebase and I expect to have even more telecommuting people on my team in the future (even though research suggests the failure rate of virtual teams could be as high as 70%). On the other hand, FLOSS does not seem to suffer from that problem, despite being developed in a distributed manner more often than not. What can corporations and managers learn from FLOSS to make their distributed teams more successful? Consequently, what FLOSS tools, methods, rules, and policies can and should be incorporated into the software development process within a company more often? I'm interested in hearing what you think, especially regarding technical issues like source code ownership and revision control systems, but also ways of communication, dealing with cultural differences, etc.
Google

Google Code Disables New Project Creation, Will Shut Down On January 25, 2016 140

Posted by timothy
from the that's-a-shame dept.
An anonymous reader writes GitHub has officially won. Google has announced that Google Code project creation has been disabled today, with the ultimate plan to kill off the service next year. On August 24, 2015, the project hosting service will be set to read-only. This means you will still be able to checkout/view project source, issues, and wikis, but nobody will be able to make changes or new commits. On January 25, 2016, Google Code will be shut down. Google says you will be able to download tarballs of project source, issues, and wikis "throughout the rest of 2016." After that, Google Code will be gone for good.
KDE

The Role of a Nonprofit In Open Source Development 49

Posted by timothy
from the gentle-guidance dept.
jrepin writes KDE is among the biggest open source projects which continues to innovate and evolve with the changing times. Often we have seen this particular community create technologies ahead of its time which were later adopted by other projects. The Linux Foundation talked to Lydia Pintscher, the president of the KDE e.V., the nonprofit organization that oversees the legal and financial aspects of the KDE project, to understand the relationship between the community and the organization. We also discussed the challenge of recruiting more women to open source projects and women in the KDE community.
Open Source

Why We Need Free Digital Hardware Designs 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-it-up dept.
jrepin writes Free software is a matter of freedom, not price; broadly speaking, it means that users are free to use the software and to copy and redistribute the software, with or without changes. Applying the same concept directly to hardware, free hardware means hardware that you are free to use and to copy and redistribute with or without changes. But, since there are no copiers for hardware, is the concept of free hardware even possible? The concept we really need is that of a free hardware design. That's simple: it means a design that permits users to use the design (i.e., fabricate hardware from it) and to copy and redistribute it, with or without changes. The design must provide the same four freedoms that define free software. Then "free hardware" means hardware with an available free design.
Open Source

On Firing Open Source Community Members 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
An anonymous reader writes: As open source started booming, more people joined. Opinionated people. People who listened to the "we welcome everyone!" message and felt that their opinion could be their primary contribution. For some, they felt showing up at the gig gave them the right to dictate what the band played. From a leadership perspective, this was a tough spot to be in. On one hand, you want to foster an open, welcoming, and empowered community. You want that diversity of skills, but you also want value and quality. Low-quality contributors don't bring much other than noise: they are a net drain on resources because other good contributors have to take time away to support them.

In addition to this, those entitled, special-snowflakes who felt they deserved to be listened to would invariably start whining on their blogs about what they considered to be poor decisions. This caused heat in a community, heat causes sweating, sweating causes irritability, and irritability causes more angry blog posts. Critical blog posts were not the problem; un-constructive, critical blog posts were the problem. So what's the best way to foster a welcoming environment while still being able to remove the destructive elements?
Graphics

In the Age of Free AAA Game Engines, Where Does Our Open Source Engine Stand? 184

Posted by timothy
from the loyal-opposition dept.
New submitter erlend_sh writes The game development industry just got hit by a tidalwave of free: Unity 5, Unreal Engine 4 and Source 2 all give away their flagship product for free now. They're all different brands of 'free,' but who cares? The average game developer certainly won't. Which left us wondering: Are hobbyist-run open source game engines like jMonkeyEngine still relevant? From the linked article: This just in: Physically Based Rendering isn’t dark magic, cross platform publishing is not the thing of fairy tales, and a solid asset pipeline is not exclusive to a million dollar budget. They’re not easy; faaar from it. But as long as we can show that these things can be accomplished by a part-time hobbyist just for the heck of it, the end user gets a fair price (i.e. free!), and our fellow hardcore misfits will continue trying to solve the most difficult problems the industry has to offer. ... If this exciting new thing called “free” keeps going in the right direction, everyone still in the race gets a leg up.
Encryption

Tor Project Aims To Eclipse US Government Funding 53

Posted by timothy
from the not-the-entire-government's-funding dept.
An anonymous reader writes Developed by the U.S. Navy and the recipient of millions of dollars of government grants, the Tor Project is now aiming to ween itself off dependence of U.S. government funds "including setting a goal of 50 percent non-U.S. government funding by 2016." The initiative comes after months of discussion over what some vocal critics deemed a contradiction in funding and purpose.
Graphics

Mesa 10.5 Updates Open-Source Graphics Drivers 24

Posted by timothy
from the pushing-pixels dept.
An anonymous reader writes Mesa 10.5 has been released to update the open-source Linux graphics driver stack. This quarterly update to Mesa has initial support for Intel's next-generation Skylake graphics, Qualcomm Adreno A4xx support, EGL support on the BeOS-inspired Haiku, the new NIR intermediate representation, and other changes. While new GL4 extensions were implemented, the Intel/Radeon/Nouveau drivers only have enough support right now to expose OpenGL 3.3, but GL4.2 is expected out of the open-source drivers by the end of the year.