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This week in Linux and OSS news, GitHub CEO shares thoughts on tech industry’s heavyweights shifting to Linux, National Law Review spotlights Hyperledger, and more! Read on to get caught up on this week’s top Linux and open source headlines.

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GitHub

GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath speaks about how tech industry heavyweights are “no longer opposed to open source software” and why.

1) “Big companies are now embracing open source. If more companies are turning to software, they are going to need someplace to store all that code. Enter GitHub…”

GitHub CEO Talks About How Microsoft and Apple Are Changing– Fortune

2) NLR provides an overview of blockchain and its importance, including The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project.

Beyond Bitcoin: The Potential of Distributed Ledger Technology (Part 1) – The National Law Review

3) Orange to be the first network operator to test AT&T’s ECOMP network management and orchestration platform.

Orange First to Test AT&T’s ECOMP– Light Reading

4) “Microsoft has been focused on open sourcing software for at least a decade, but it has rapidly increased this work in recent years.”

Microsoft Really Does Love Linux– The Verge

5) Vim 8 has been released. 

Classic Unix/Linux Editor Vim Gets First Update in Years– ZDNet

Kurt Kremitzki, who is in his final year of studying biological and agricultural engineering at Texas A&M, visited a Mayan community in the Yucatan this spring to help design irrigation systems. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced last month.  

Kurt was inspired to take the project a step further when he realized that a system of Raspberry Pis with cell phone connectivity and open source software could create an automated irrigation system based on weather reports and sensor readings. He is now working with a local university in Mexico to develop such a system, which is just the first step in his dream of using technology to find new ways to meet the world’s growing food needs.

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Kurt Kremitzki

LiFT scholarship recipient Kurt Kremitzki

Linux.com: How did you learn Linux?

Kurt Kremitzki: I was introduced to Linux in the era of Red Hat Linux 9, but I thought it *was* Linux, and when “Enterprise” was added I stopped using it. Several years ago, I picked up Ubuntu and started using it full time. More recently, besides use at home, I applied what knowledge I have of Linux to a robotics competition, using the Raspberry Pi, hosted by the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers in New Orleans last year. When a similar competition was assigned to an introductory Control Theory class I took last semester, the professor opted to have me assist the TA and all my classmates in teaching basic Linux skills and Python programming to do a simple maze following project.

Linux.com: Why did you become a developer?

Kurt: Originally graduating high school at 16, I chose to explore my talent working with computers by studying Computer Science, but found that studying it for its own sake was uninspiring. I didn’t finish but ended up with a job as a developer anyway, until several years ago. I decided to go back to school for Biological & Agricultural Engineering, where I could use my computer skills to solve pressing challenges, like the need to feed almost 10 billion people by 2050.

Linux.com: How do you use Linux now?

Kurt: This spring, I visited an impoverished Mayan community in the Yucatan to assist in design and repair of backyard irrigation systems. I was inspired to work further with them, and one particular way I want to use Linux to make a difference involves my (hopeful) senior design project plans.

When I visited that community, the potential benefit of Linux, and in particular something like the Raspberry Pi, was obvious. Although water was abundant, knowledge about agriculture has largely been lost as a result of the near-slavery conditions of the hacienda system, and so a simple base of a Raspberry Pi and cell phone network connectivity could serve both as an educational platform and the heart of an irrigation automation system. However, since technical knowledge in the village is limited, my team and I would have to work with the local university to (a) prepare open sourced teaching tools on how to use and repair our (also open source) irrigation automation system and (b) come up with an extremely resilient system that is easy to repair (e.g., create a simple, dedicated SD card flasher from another Raspberry Pi and a button.)

Using wirelessly gathered sensor data and local weather readings, the irrigation system could efficiently use water, and also serve as a guide for planting and harvesting, making the best use of two of our most precious resources: time, and the free energy of the sun. The local university has  been working on backyard irrigation systems with small Mayan villages for the last 6 years, and there is tremendous potential to expand this program, both for the Mayan villagers and the students at the university.

Linux.com: How can Linux help solve the problem of food scarcity?

Kurt: Closely related to Linux and the notion of open source software is the idea of empowerment. One of the most pressing issues in my field is the need to feed 9-10 billion people by the year 2050, and because of inefficiencies in our global food system, that means an increase in production of 70 to 100 percent. We may need to double our global production with no new cropland being discovered (in fact it’s being eaten up by cities) and less water being available.

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LiFT scholarship

Solving food scarcity with Linux and open source.

One of the only ways I foresee this being done is with the help of Linux and open source tools, since no one person can possibly tackle a problem that large, and even when solutions will be found, they will not be like the “cathedrals” seen in agriculture today, with large, “black box” tractors where farmers have neither the right to repair nor the ability to understand what’s going on in the system that’s essential to their livelihood.

Instead, new developments in Linux, like nascent drone/UAV technology, things like Automotive Grade Linux, and the general ethos of collaboration will be essential. Linux and its associated tools and ecosystem will be pivotal in tackling the challenges of tomorrow, and in empowering people across the world to unlock the full potential of their computer resources to advance mankind, whether it’s in the agricultural sector or otherwise.

Linux.com: How do you plan to use your LiFT scholarship?

Kurt: Although I have quite a bit of experience using Linux as a programmer, there are gaps in my knowledge, as it’s mostly the result of searching for the solution to problems as I come across them. As a developer-turned-biosystems engineering student, I’ve realized this isn’t enough. The problems in my field, while vast and staggering in scope, are about 95 percent human and 5 percent technical. By seeking out formal training, I can cover the gaps in my knowledge, make myself more employable once I graduate, and most importantly, I can spend less time worrying about how technology works, and more time worrying about how technology can help solve human problems.

Linux.com: How will the scholarship help you achieve your dream of helping to solve the world’s looming food scarcity crisis?

Kurt: The estimated doubling of food production that will be needed to feed the world in 2050 is likely not going to come from the corn and soybean fields of Illinois or Iowa. Trying to get more productivity from that style of farming is a little like getting blood from a stone. Instead, some of the places most likely to contribute will be mountainous regions and small villages of China, Latin America, and Africa, where huge tractors and industrial farming practices don’t make physical or economic sense.

Advances in things like agricultural drones have huge potential to empower subsistence farmers; Linux and The Linux Foundation are already forging ahead in that field with work like the Dronecode Project, an open source UAV platform. Besides drones, bringing the wealth of the world’s knowledge in the form of Internet connectivity will have a huge impact for rural farmers’ productivity and for the happiness of rural people in general. Large strides are being made in this domain as well with projects like Rhizomatica in Mexico and Guifi.net in Spain where Linux is once again front and center.

There’s no shortage of work to be done to make the world a better place; Linux and the open source philosophy behind it is one of the best force multipliers to making things happen. With Linux, I can have complete control of computing resources from the physical layer to the presentation layer; I can choose to make and use technology that will help the most people.

 

Interested in learning more about starting your IT career with Linux? Check out our free ebook “A Brief Guide To Starting Your IT Career In Linux.” [Download Now]

 

1) Microsoft’s PowerShell scripting language and command-line shell has been released as open source, meaning that Windows and Azure’s management tools will have a greater reach.

PowerShell is Microsoft’s latest open source release, coming to Linux, OS X– Ars Technica

2) Open source has come so far over the last few decades and perceptions of it have changed in the business world

What People Don’t Get About Open Source– Light Reading

3) Swapnil Bhartiya considers the new Google OSS announcement from this week.

Why Google’s New Linux-Less Fuchsia Operating System is a Huge Deal– CIO

4) The Linux Foundation has taken steps to mitigate Linux security flaw

1.4 Billion Android Devices Affected by Linux TCP Flaw– Softpedia

5) The Linux Foundation’s latest open source project is focused on the “architecture, implementation and support of digital networks.”

Linux Foundation Touts Open-Source PNDA for Network Analytics– Silicon Angle

1) The White House released federal source code policy, requiring agencies to release 20% of new code they commission as open source. 

Open Source Won. So, Now What?– WIRED

2) A flaw in the Transmission Control Protocol poses a threat to Internet users, whether they use Linux directly or not.

Use the Internet? This Linux Flaw Could Open You Up to Attack– PCWorld

3) New Trojan targets Linux servers and is exploiting servers running the Redis NoSQL database to use them for bitcoin mining.

Linux.Lady Trojan Turns Linux Servers into Bitcoin Miners– The Inquirer

4) “Will Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn slow down the social networking company’s cadence of open-sourcing core technology for developers?”

LinkedIn: Open-Sourcing Under the Microsoft Regime– eWeek

5) Today’s CEOs increasingly have impressive technical backgrounds and open source is more valuable than ever. 

2046 is the Last Year Your CEO Has a Business Major– VentureBeat

1) British Government Digital Service (GDS) posted a job advertisement looking for a new ‘open source lead’. “How times have changed,” writes Adrian Bridgwater.

UK Government Recruits Chief Open Source Penguin– Forbes

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British flag

The British Digital Service (BDS) seeks an open source lead; a metaphor for the changing times.

2) Vendors are changing their business models to incorporate OSS.
Open Source Reshaping Vendor Business Models – Wikibon– Silicon Angle

3) Scott Gilbertson anticipates two great years ahead with Mint 18.x.

Mint 18 Review: “Just Works” Linux Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This– Ars Technica

4) This edition of Jim Lynch’s weekly digest focuses on how many gamers are actually using Linux.

Do You Use Linux as Your Main Gaming OS?– InfoWorld

5) The new CORD project will enable telcos to use SDN, NFV and cloud-based tech.

CORD Project Will Help Service Providers Build Cloud-Like Networks– eWeek

1) Wal-Mart announces they will make their application lifecycle management tool available as an open source project.

Wal-Mart Proves Open Source Is Big Business– Forbes

2)  Android Nougat updates protect the kernel’s memory and reduce attack surface.

Google Beefs Up Linux Kernel Defenses in Android– PC World

3) Facebook open sources Surround360 video capture system, with full specs and code on GitHub.

Facebook Releases Open Source Software for Its 360 Degree Camera– Popular Science

4) Flynn open source PaaS includes pieces necessary to get apps running, but doesn’t make use of recent technology.

Open Source Flynn Takes the Headaches Out of App Deployment– InfoWorld

5) Microsoft is making good on its promise to update client regularly.

Skype for Linux Alpha Gets New Functionality in Update– Neowin

1) Splice Machine’s decision to go open source reminds us that OSS is the new normal. 

Has Open Source Become the Default Business Model for Enterprise Software?– ZDNet

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bulgaria

The Bulgarian government kicks off a new open source software “experiment.”

2) Bulgaria’s government now requires all software written for their use to be open source. Sam Dean weighs the pros and cons.

As it Mandates Open Source, is Bulgaria Opening Questionable Doors?– OStatic

3) Here’s what you should learn from the breach of unpatched Ubuntu forum software.

The Hacking of Ubuntu Linux Forums: Lessons Learned– eWeek

4) “Anything made by a human is vulnerable” writes Howard Soloman about industry misgivings over The Dao project, a blockchain effort.

As a Blockchain-Based Project Teeters, Questions About the Technology’s Security– IT World Canada

5) Linux to be bumped to “a Web-based native version of Skype” due to a Skype rebuild.

Microsoft Kills P2P Skype, Native OS X, Linux Clients– The Register