Software Heritage: Creating a safe haven for software

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Software Heritage is an initiative that has made preserving software its main mission. Why is this important? Consider, if you will, the case of Gary Kildall's video game...

Intel x86s hide another CPU that can take over your machine (you can't audit it)

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Recent Intel x86 processors implement a secret, powerful control mechanism that runs on a separate chip that no one is allowed to audit or examine. When these are eventually compromised, they'll expose all affected systems to nearly unkillable, undetectable rootkit attacks. I've made it my mission to open up this system and make free, open replacements, before it's too late.

Jury hands Oracle its ass, says Google doesn't owe it a penny for Java

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When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, they acquired Java, Sun's popular programming language, pitched from its inception as an open standard for the networked computer. Read the rest

Oculus breaks promise, uses DRM to kill app that let you switch VR systems

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As recently as 5 months ago, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was promising his customers that they could play the software they bought from the Oculus store on "whatever they want," guaranteeing that the company wouldn't shut down apps that let customers move their purchased software to non-Oculus hardware. Read the rest

Nerdcore rapper Sammus's amazing OSCON keynote

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Sammus -- AKA Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo -- gave an opening keynote at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in Austin, Texas this week. It opened with an amazing musical performance but moved swiftly on to an inspiring, tearjerking talk about what happened to turn her into a woman who is so interested in technology. Read the rest

Save Firefox: The W3C's plan for worldwide DRM would have killed Mozilla before it could start

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The World Wide Web Consortium has been co-opted into standardizing a DRM scheme for letting entertainment companies control your browser; what's more, they've rejected even basic safeguards for competition, changing the browser landscape in a way that threatens the kind of disruptive innovation that gave us the Mozilla project and the Firefox browser. Read the rest

Peace in Our Time: how publishers, libraries and writers could work together

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Publishing is in a weird place: ebook sales are stagnating; publishing has shrunk to five major publishers; libraries and publishers are at each others' throats over ebook pricing; and major writers' groups are up in arms over ebook royalties, and, of course, we only have one major book retailer left -- what is to be done? Read the rest

Tiny, 8-bit console designed for hackability and homebrew game development

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Pocket CHIP is a tiny, $50, ARM-based pocket games console with a full keyboard and a Bluetooth interface. Read the rest

The gift economy at the heart of open source

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With the 18th O'Reilly Open Source convention approaching, Tim O'Reilly has written a stirring editorial on the value that inspires him about FLOSS: "to create more value than you capture." Read the rest

Let's Encrypt is actually encrypting the whole Web

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Let's Encrypt (previously) a joint EFF-Mozilla-Linux Foundation project that lets anyone easily create an SSL certificate for free in minutes and install and configure it so that visitors to their Websites will be shielded from surveillance, came out of beta this week, and it's already making a huge difference. Read the rest

Kids celebrate their 3D printed prosthetic hands

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Kevin writes, "Peyton Andry is a Cincinnati boy who was born with symbrachydactyly, a condition that caused the fingers of his right hand to be shorter or missing entirely." Read the rest

MIT Media Lab will default to permitting student code to be free/open

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Historically, MIT Media Lab students who released their work under free/open licenses had to get approval from a committee (that always granted it). Read the rest

How DRM would kill the next Netflix (and how the W3C could save it)

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The World Wide Web Consortium's decision to make DRM part of HTML5 doesn't just endanger security researchers, it also endangers the next version of all the video products and services we rely on today: from cable TV to iTunes to Netflix. Read the rest

How libraries can save the Internet of Things from the Web's centralized fate

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Everyone thinks libraries have a positive role to play in the world, but that role differs greatly based on whether you’re talking to a librarian or a patron. Ask a patron what libraries have in common and they’d probably answer: they share books with people. Librarians give a different answer: they share a set of values. It’s time for libraries to step up to those values by supporting access to the Internet and taking the lead in fighting to keep the Internet open, free, and unowned.

30% off O'Reilly's Open Source Convention in Austin, May 16-19

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O'Reilly's venerable, essential OSCON is in Austin, Texas this year, meaning that you'll get to combine brain-thumpingly good talks and workshops on free/open source tools and techniques with some of the world's best BBQ, millions of bats, my favorite toy store anywhere, and one of the best indie bookstores you could hope to visit. Read the rest

Open Source Initiative says standards aren't open unless they protect security researchers and interoperability

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The Open Source Initiative, a nonprofit that certifies open source licenses, has made an important policy statement about open standards. Read the rest

Github patches from women who don't reveal their gender more likely to be accepted than patches from identifiable women

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Researchers used a huge dataset of Github activity, up to April 15 2015, to examine the relationship between gender and the acceptance of a suggested revision by a project's maintainer. Read the rest

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