Category: General

  • The X.org Foundation is a non-profit governance entity charged with overseeing core components of the open source graphics community. X.org had been structured as a legal (non-profit) corporate entity registered in the state of Delaware for some years, which provided tax deduction on donations and other such benefits. Unfortunately, being a non-profit is not cheap and entails various administrative tasks – filing annual reports, maintaining a bank account, dealing with donations and expenses, and so on – so the overhead of being an independent non-profit was deemed not worth the benefits, and in 2016 the members voted to join Software in the Public Interest (SPI). Joining SPI made a lot of sense; primarily, it would relieve X.org of administrative burdens while preserving the benefits of non-profit status. The costs of being in SPI are offset by the savings of not having to pay the various fees required to upkeep the […]

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  • This article will explain how to use GStreamer to capture Digital Television (DTV) streams; it will focus on terrestrial DTV and ATSC broadcasts in the Silicon Valley area to provide examples, but the principles are the same for every other DTV standard or supported location. If you want to follow the examples, you will at the very least need a Linux machine with GStreamer and v4l-utils, and a DTV capture device. For my ATSC testing setup I use a WinTV-HVR 950Q USB stick (Hauppauge), connected to a Debian desktop computer that runs the latest code for GStreamer and dvbv5-scan from their respective git repositories, both uninstalled. This setup works well for me as a developer but if you simply want to play DTV streams on your machine, the version from your distribution’s binary packages should suffice. A Few Notes on Receiver Setup You’ll need to have your receiver setup properly to capture multi-media content from a radio […]

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  • I have recently moved to a new flat and I love it, though unfortunately not all is perfect. One might expect central London (literally 500m away from the actual geographical centre) to have the best internet connection London has to offer. Well, one would be wrong; I am no longer able to get anything better than lousy ADSL2+, and this amazing offering comes with a high price, a long contract, and a month’s wait for the installation. This has led me to choose a 4G internet provider; the connection is usually better than what I would have expected to get with any of the landline providers, is much cheaper, and I had it up and running less than 24hrs after I joined. However, there is a problem with this: the 4G provider uses a carrier-grade NAT, that made impossible to access my home server from outside my home network. Luckily, […]

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  • As my friends and colleagues know, I think the history of a project is very important for development. Being able to bisect, blame or read the log have proven very useful for finding bugs and understanding why a piece of code was written the way it was. Therefore, it makes sense to do whatever is possible to make sure history is preserved when moving files across repositories. Luckily for us, git has made it extremely easy. Merging Repositories Merging a repository (bar) into another repository (foo) is easy.

    This is it. It is very simple and retains all of the history from bar while maintaining the same commit hashes! This means that for example daed567e will point to the same commit in both foo and bar. Unfortunately it is not always that simple. Sometimes you may face conflicts, if for example you had a README file in both repositories, […]

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  • February 23, 2016 - Tom Hacohen

    Running letsencrypt as an Unprivileged User

    Running letsencrypt as an unprivileged user (non-root) is surprisingly easy, and even more surprisingly undocumented. There is no mention in the official documentation, nor was I able to find anything online. There are alternative clients that were designed to be run as unprivileged, but they are not as beginner-friendly as the official one. Personally, I’ve switched to acme-tiny (and created an AUR package for it). Its much smaller and lets me have an even more secure setup. Why would you want to bother with this? One word: security. You should always strive to run every process with the lowest privileges possible because this reduces the chances of data loss as a result of a bug. More importantly, this reduces the chances of your server being compromised and thus improves overall security. Summary In this tutorial we will setup letsencrypt to run as an unprivileged user using the webroot plugin. This […]

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  • The usage of https has been so far somewhat restricted on open source projects, because of the cost of acquiring and maintaining certificates. As a result of this and the need to improve Internet security, several projects are working on providing free valid certificates. Among those projects, Let’s Encript launched a public beta last week on December, 3 2015. The Let’s Encrypt Approach Let’s Encrypt is a Linux Foundation Collaborative project that started to fulfill an Electronic Frontier Foundation – EFF long-term mission to Encrypt the Web. According with EFF, the “aim is to switch hypertext from insecure HTTP to secure HTTPS. That protection is essential in order to defend Internet users against surveillance of the content of their communications; cookie theft, account hijacking and other web security flaws; cookie and ad injection; and some forms of Internet censorship.”. With that goal in mind, the Let’s Encrypt project is providing […]

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  • Open Source Wrap Up: November 14-20, 2015 Group of Biohackers Start Work on Open Source Insulin More than 370 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, and these people rely on regular insulin injections to regulate the amount of sugar in their blood. Despite this major need for insulin, there is no generic version available on the market, and the high cost results in it having limited availability in poorer parts of the world. A group of citizen and academic researchers and biohackers, led by Counter Culture Labs, have launched a project to develop a simple method for producing insulin and release the process to the public domain. They have launched a crowdfunding campaign (that has already exceeded their goal) to fund the first stage of this research.  For stage 1, ” the team will insert an optimized DNA sequence for insulin into E. coli bacteria, induce the bacteria to express […]

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  • November 13, 2015 - Samsung Open Source Group

    A New AI, Medical Robots, and More in This Week’s Wrap Up

    Open Source Wrap Up: November 7 -13, 2015 Google Releases Open Source AI Engine: TensorFlow Google has released TensorFlow, deep learning that is used in many of the company’s products, as open source. The software uses a library for numerical computation inside data flow graphs that pass dynamically sized, multi-dimensional arrays, called tensors, between nodes. The nodes perform processing asynchronously, in parallel once all tensors on their incoming edges become available. This design makes TensorFlow flexible and portable as it is relatively simple to reconstruct data flow graphs and use high-level programming languages to develop new computational systems. Google has used this to connect artificial intelligence research with product teams that build new products that use this software. By releasing it as open source, the company hopes to bring more people into this convergence effort and standardize the set of tools people rely on for this work. To learn more, […]

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  • November 6, 2015 - Samsung Open Source Group

    Open Source Eats Governance, and More. This Week in Open Source

    Open Source Wrap Up: November 1 – 6, 2015 Linux Foundation Launches Open API Initiative The Linux Foundation continues to expand their reach in the tech industry by launching the Open API Initiative (OAI) aimed at creating a vendor neutral, portable, open specification for providing metadata for RESTful APIs. This specification will be built on top of Swagger: a description system that makes APIs autodiscoverable and self-documenting. Open APIs have become a key component when creating new technologies, and are particularly important for sectors like the banking and health care industries. Any effort to improve standardization will certainly be valuable. More information can be found at the project home page. Open Source Mobile Voter Registration System Developed for Libya If you have followed international news at all in recent years, you are certainly aware of the ongoing instability throughout much of the Middle East. Libya has been hit particularly hard by […]

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  • Open Source Wrap Up: October 24-30, 2015 San Francisco Launches Open Source Voting System Development Effort Following the problems with hanging chads in the 2000 US Presidential Election cycle, the Federal government invested in developing electronic voting system. Since then, little has been done to improve these systems, and the proprietary electronic voting systems that were developed have come under scrutiny for potential security flaws in recent years. The contract between the city of San Francisco and the company that developed their electronic voting will end in December 2016. Now, the city government is signaling support for developing open source voting software in an effort to produce a system that is more secure and transparent, and less expensive. Additionally, they want a system that can be adapted to meet changing voting laws and technology advancement. They estimate this system would take 2 years to develop and cost between $4 million […]

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