F-Droid: A free, open, privacy-oriented Android app store that corrects Android's "original sin"

After uncovering a ferocious horde of hidden spyware in official Android apps the Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus have pitched in with F-Droid's app store that only allows apps that include their source-code and whose licenses require anyone who modifies them to also include the source. Read the rest

Flybrix: "rebuildable, crash-friendly drones" made from Lego

Flybrix kits allow you to turn a variety of Lego builds into little copter-drones that you can fly with an app or a Bluetooth joystick. Read the rest

At long last, open video formats are triumphing

Apple was the last major holdout on proprietary video codecs, the only major industry player that hadn't signed onto the Alliance for Open Media, home of the AV1 video format, a successor to On2's groundbreaking open formats of the early web years, which led to the company's acquisition by Google in 2010. Read the rest

The Quantum Game: like Laser Maze, but built on real principles of quantum mechanics

Laser Maze is a super-fun electronic board game that challenges players to arrange angled mirrors to route a laser beam from an emitter to a sensor, avoiding obstacles; in The Quantum Game, you undertake the same fundamental task, but with a virtual laser that only emits one photon, and virtual beam-splitters, absorbtive polarizers, quarter-wave plates, polarizing beam splitters, Faraday rotators, and other exotic apparatus. Read the rest

Mirai's creators plead guilty, reveal that they created a DDoS superweapon to get a competitive edge in the Minecraft server industry

Last year, the Mirai botnet harnessed a legion of badly secured internet of things devices and turned them into a denial of service superweapon that brought down critical pieces of internet infrastructure (and even a country), and now its creators have entered guilty pleas to a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act federal case, and explained that they created the whole thing to knock down Minecraft servers that competed with their nascent Minecraft hosting business. Read the rest

How a maker with Type I diabetes led an open source project to create a free-as-in-code artificial pancreas

Dana Lewis kickstarted the Open Artificial Pancreas System (previously) by trying to solve her own problems with monitoring her glucose levels, calculating insulin doses, and administering them around the clock -- an onerous task that her life depended on, which disrupted her sleep and challenged her to make reliable calculations regarding dangerous substances while her blood-sugar levels were troughing or spiking. Read the rest

The MNT Reform: a modular, open source hardware, blob-free laptop inspired by classic PCs

Lukas F. Hartmann grew up on PCs like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amiga 500, and while he appreciates the power and portability of modern laptops, he missed the character and invitation of experiment in these classic PCs. Read the rest

Canadian spy agency releases its top anti-malware tool as free software.

The Canadian Communications Security Establishment -- the most secretive of Canada's spy agencies -- has released the sourcecode for Assemblyline, a "Swiss Army Knife for malware analysis" that rolls up several malware analysis tools into a single unit, which can scan files for known malware and also assign a score to files indicating the likeliness that the file has a previously unseen form of malware. Read the rest

Crowdfunder for a free/open phone crosses $1M mark

One of the holy grails of free and open computing is a really great free/open phone; it's been tried many times before without much success, but a new crowdfunder from Purism (who make a pretty great free/open laptop) has just crossed the $1,000,000 mark and is on track to hit its target of $1.5M in the next 18 days. Read the rest

Lifelong Kindergarten: how to learn like a kid, by the co-creator of Scratch

Mitchel Resnick is one of the most humane, accomplished and prolific creators of educational technology in the world, one of the co-creators of Logo and Lego Mindstorms, and founder the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten group, where the open source, kid-friendly, open-ended Scratch software development tool was born; in a new book (also called "Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play") Resnick analyzes the extraordinary successes that have emerged from his kid-centered view of learning with technology, sketching out a future in which kids program their classroom computers, not the other way around.

The brilliant life and brutal death of Bassel Khartabil, killed by Assad for writing free software

Bassel Khartabil was a Syrian free software, free speech and Creative Commons activist who was jailed and tortured by the Assad regime, which eventually secretly sentenced him to death, then executed him in 2015, but kept it a secret until 2017. Read the rest

Snowden: Public money shouldn't fund software the public isn't allowed to fix

Paul Brown writes, "The FSFE's 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign wants to convince lawmakers that software created with public funds should be made available to the public under Free Software licences. Read the rest

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

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