TWTWTW Edition 2-3

That Was The Week That Was (TWTWTW): Edition 2

This is the second edition of TWTWTW, a weekly blog proclaiming noteworthy news in the open source world. It provides a concise distilled commentary of notable open source related news from a different perspective. For the second edition, we present a succinct catchup covering software, hardware, book releases, ending with a real Barry Bargain!

Software Releases

UpspinThe most interesting open source software development this week is the announcement of a suite of software components called Upspin. This is an experimental project to build a framework for naming and sharing files and other data securely, uniformly. It does this by offering interfaces, protocols and components to construct an information management system.

By giving names to files stored on the Internet in a universal and consistent way, they are easier to find. The software is aimed at personal users, families, or groups of friends.

Ubuntu MATE has announced a new image for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3. It adds a ton of performance enhancements. Even heavyweight applications like LibreOffice perform well on this release. I’m also interested in an open-source voice recognition platform designed for the Raspberry Pi from MATRIX Labs. MATRIX Voice is already fully funded. One to keep an eye (and an ear) on.

The final 4.10 release of the Linux kernel was announced by Linus Torvalds this week. 4.10 is notable for the introduction of gVirt, a GPU virtualization feature for Intel Integrated GPUs, tons of new drivers and improvements including TV tuners, webcams and video cameras, as well as support for more ARM devices including the Nexus 5 and 6 and the Allwinner A64.

It’s often cited releasing code under an open source license helps find bugs quicker. But exploits can go undetected for years even with mature open source software. For example, this week CVE-2017-6074 identifies a vulnerability affecting the Linux kernel’s DCCP protocol IPV6 implementation. It has existed in the Linux kernel for more than 11 years! Andrey Konovalov, a Google developer, publicly announced the vulnerability which can be used to gain kernel code execution from unprivileged processes.

SteamVRNext big news for gamers. Valve Software has published a development release of SteamVR for Linux. SteamVR is a Steam-integrated Virtual Reality platform. As the name suggests, this enables developers to begin creating SteamVR content for Linux platforms. The program is a beta release. Developers need to use an NVIDIA developer beta driver that’s built on “Vulkan,” the successor to OpenGL, or an AMD card. Intel graphics aren’t currently supported.

Here’s a novel development. The U.S. Department of Defense is seeking feedback on a proposed open source licensing agreement. They intend to release projects under this license, seeking contributing from the open source community to produce better products and services. More information is available at their GitHub code base.


Book Releases

Open Source in BrazilThis week O’Reilly Media publishes a free to download 28 page book. It explores the many trends in business, education, and government that contribute to open source activity in Brazil. It is available in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats. Regrettably, the book itself is not released under an open source license. I hear you cry “Come on O’Reilly!” To be fair, O’Reilly are a right-minded publisher. For example, their Open Books project are good reads if dated. And they recognize the contributions made by open source advocates through their O’Reilly Open Source Awards. Past recipients have included VM Brasseur, Maírín Duffy, Rikki Endsley, Marjin Haverbeke, and Sarah Sharp. Publicity of this nature is always welcome.

OSSBlog (yes, that’s this site) has published the third in a series of open source programming books. This time Perl is under the spotlight. Perl is a family of high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming languages. There are 16 engaging books available to share and distribute. Read all about them: Grasp Perl with Open-Source Books. A summary page listing all of the open source book series is available.


Hardware Releases

adlepc-1500LinuxGizmos.com reports that ADL Embedded Solutions have unveiled a tiny rugged mini-PC with quad- or dual-core Atom E3800 SoCs, HD video, 2x GbE, wide DC input, and -40 to 70°C temps.

More information is available at ADL Embedded Solutions homepage.

A Genuine Barry Bargain for computer DIY enthusiasts

We end TWTWTW: Edition 2 with a fantastic time-limited offer from Humble Bundle, a digital storefront that lets buyers pay what they want. The Humble Book Bundle for Arduino and Raspberry Pi is awesome value. Arduino sells microcontroller kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world. The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers to promote the teaching of computer science in schools and in developing countries.

For a minimum of $1, the Humble Bundle offers publications from Make, an American bimonthly magazine concentrating on DIY computing projects. The first is Volume 38 of Make: magazine, and also Make: Basic Arduino Projects which is a companion book to MakerShed’s Ultimate Arduino Microcontroller Pack. The book details 26 projects that you can build. The bundle gets better with the book Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot, as well as two Getting Started books, the first about the Internet of Things, the second concerning Netduino.

There are also more expensive bundles adding additional books showing readers how to make a mind-controlled Arduino robot, a Raspberry Pi-controlled robot, AVR programming. The most expensive bundle offers 7 more Make books; sensors, and Arduino Bots and Gadgets are packed with useful information. The offer expires on 8 March, so don’t hang about. Humble Bundle website

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