Former CIA director: secure US elections with open-source voting machines

Former CIA director R. James Woolsey and legendary free software creator Brian "bash" Fox took to the New York Times's op-ed page to explain that proprietary software and voting machines don't mix, because unless anyone who wants to can audit the software that powers the nation's elections, exploitable bugs will lurk in them, ready to be used by bad guys to screw up the vote-count. Read the rest

Kickstarting a "libre" recording of all of Bach's fugues

Robert Douglass writes, "You have graciously covered the Open Goldberg Variations and the Open Well-Tempered Clavier projects on Boing Boing in the past, and it has resulted in these works being the most discoverable and obtainable examples of Bach's work on the internet (reading Wikipedia? You'll find these recordings. Searching Google or YouTube because you're curious about Bach? You'll find these recordings. Both recordings have also received lavish critical praise from the classical music industry's leading reviewers, eg Gramophone magazine." Read the rest

Proof-of-concept camera encrypts images with GPG

W Aaron Waychoff, creator of the Falsom Upside-Down ⊥ "Resist" campaign, was inspired by this 2016 post; he writes, "I've made a proof-of-concept encrypting digital camera based on the open source, widely adoped GnuPG. This project uses public key encryption to encrypt every photo the camera takes before writing the encrypted version to memory. Of particular note, there are absolutely no UI changes over what an ordinary point-and-shoot camera provides. No extra keyboards or touch screens are needed as no passwords need be entered." Read the rest

Celebrate Independence Day with MC Frontalot's nerdcore rap about free software vs open source

Animator Chad Essley writes, "The new MC Frontalot (previously) nerdcore video is out for the 4th of July! Celebrate our nation’s hostility toward the British crown by listening to Front rap about internet arguments over Free Software!" Read the rest

Automattic's teleworking program is so successful they're closing their San Francisco office

Automattic -- the company behind WordPress -- has a fantastic teleworking policy that lets workers chose whether to come into offices in Portland, MN, Capetown, South Africa, and San Francisco, or to spend up to $250/month on a co-working space near them, or to work at any coffee shop with a stipend to pay for the coffee. Read the rest

Linux worm turns Raspberry Pis into cryptocurrency mining bots

Linux.MulDrop.14 is a Linux worm that seeks out networked Raspberry Pi systems with default root passwords; after taking them over and ZMap and sshpass, it begins mining an unspecified cryptocurrency, creating riches for the malware's author and handing you the power-bill. Read the rest

Donate to support GnuPG, the backbone of email privacy and security

It's been two years since the net came together to raise funds to support Werner Koch, who maintains the absolutely vital GnuPG email encryption system, used daily by millions to protect the privacy and integrity of their email. Read the rest

Kickstarting Evezor, an open robot that can carve, draw, engrave, pour, pick, place, cut, weld, print, grab, mill, assemble and create

We are introducing Evezor, a robot that can carve, draw, engrave, pour, pick, place, cut, weld, print, grab, mill, assemble and create your next project or business. Powered by Raspberry Pi, open source software and hardware, Evezor is the most hackable robotic arm there is. Evezor can share and automate the hand tools you already own and with open toolhead platform, anyone can make tools for this machine. Read the rest

Thunderbird finds a new home

Thunderbird is one of the last robust email clients, a must-have for people who don't want to use webmail or leave their mail on a server, waiting to be hacked and dumped -- but for years, it has been on deathwatch, as the Mozilla Foundation looked for another organization to take it over. Read the rest

Make: a two-button Binary Keyboard

Chris Johnstone's "Binary Keyboard" is an open source hardware, Arduino-based two-button input device that you can build for yourself, if you have the urge to key data directly to your computer in binary (don't worry, you can configure it to be little-endian or big-endian for ease of use). Read the rest

Libretaxi: a free, open, cash-only alternative to Uber, for the rest of the world

Libretaxi is an open source project that lets anyone become a rideshare driver in less than a minute; it has more than 20,000 users worldwide, and is maintained by Roman Pushkin, who started the project in December 2016 and is now planning to quit his job and work on it full time. Read the rest

The grueling emotional labor of an open source maintainer

Nolan Lawson is burning up the free/open source web with an essay called What it feels like to be an open-source maintainer, where he describes the contradictory and negative experiences of trying to please hundreds of people who are just trying to get his code to work, where the more emotional and technical work he does to make them happy, the more he ends up with. Read the rest

USG: an open source anti-BadUSB hardware firewall for your USB port

BadUSB is bad news: malware that targets the firmware in your USB port's embedded system, bypassing the OS, antivirus software and other countermeasures. Read the rest

Ten principles for user-protection in hostile states

The Tor Project's "Ten Principles for User Protection in Hostile States" is both thoughtful and thought-provoking -- it's a list that excites my interest as someone who cares about the use of technology in improving lives and organizing political movements (principle 1 is "Do not rely on the law to protect systems or users" -- a call to technologists -- while number 7 is aimed at companies, "Invest in cryptographic R&D to replace non-cryptographic systems" and principle 2 says "Prepare policy commentary for quick response to crisis," which suggests that the law, while not reliable, can't be ignored); and also as a science fiction writer (check out those tags! "Acausal trade," "Pluralistic singularity" and "Golden path"! Yowza!) Read the rest

NTP: the rebirth of ailing, failing core network infrastructure

Network Time Protocol is how the computers you depend on know what time it is (this is critical to network operations, cryptography, and many other critical functions); NTP software was, until recently, stored in a proprietary format on a computer that no one had the password for (and which had not been updated in a decade), and maintained almost entirely by one person. Read the rest

Crowdfunding powerful open hardware that is truly open and respectful of your rights

Crowd Supply (previously) is an extremely effective platform for funding open source hardware development, boasting twice the success-rate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo; it is also the birthplace of the proclamation of user rights, an outstanding document that lays out the rights of users to explore their hardware, use it independent of any subscription, use it with any other service or hardware, use it indefinitely without fear of remote kill-switching, to transfer it to others, to freely discuss it, to use it privately, and to be informed of security issues. Read the rest

The internet's core infrastructure is dangerously unsupported and could crumble (but we can save it!)

Nadia Eghbal's Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure is a long, detailed report on the structural impediments to maintaining key pieces of free/open software that underpin the internet -- it reveals the startling fragility of tools that protect the integrity, safety, privacy and finances of billions of people, which are often maintained by tiny numbers of people (sometimes just one person). Read the rest

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