How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better

Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better. Read the rest

The Equation Group's sourcecode is totally fugly

With the leak of exploits developed by The Equation Group, the long-secret, NSA-adjacent super-elite hacking squad -- published by The Shadow Brokers, who have some extremely heterodox theories about auction design -- it's now possible to audit the source code of some of the NSA's crown-jewel cyberweapons. Read the rest

The Tor Project's social contract: we will not backdoor Tor

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I first encountered the idea of "social contracts" for software projects in Neal Stephenson's seminal essay In the Beginning Was the Command Line, which endorsed the Debian project on the strength of its social contract: "As far as I know, Debian is the only Linux distribution that has its own constitution." Read the rest

48 hours later, Adblock Plus beats Facebook's adblocker-blocker

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On August 9, Facebook announced that it had defeated adblockers; on August 11, Adblock Plus announced that it had defeated Facebook. Read the rest

A free/open computer on a card that you swap in and out of a 3D printed laptop

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Lou Cabron writes, "Finally, after five years of work, Rhombus Tech has gone from a free/libre/open source "spec" to their first actual modular devices! The video is amazing. Read the rest

Apollo 11 sourcecode on Github

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Though the code for Apollo 11's "Apollo Guidance Computer" has been online since 2003, when Ron Burkey rekeyed it from the scans that Gary Neff had uploaded, ex-NASA intern Chris Garry's posting of the code to Github last week has precipitated a widespread interest in the code, along with close scrutiny of the code itself. Read the rest

Crowdfunding for a "live-coded" album of algorave music

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Alex AKA Yaxu writes, "I co-founded the Algorave movement. Now I'm working on an album of live-coded algorave-style music." Read the rest

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

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