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Posts by Steve Woods
This Linux Foundation video is over a year old and some of the figures may be out of date and relate solely to the USA. Nevertheless, it still gives a valuable insight into the collaborative working that goes into putting the Linux operating system together.
I live not very far away from Felix Road Adventure Playground, which for four decades has provided opportunities for play for inner city children in Easton.
As regular readers will be aware, the playground has been under threat of closure ever since Bristol City Council made a mess of outsourcing play facilities around the city.
In response to this calamitous cock-up, local Easton residents organised a petition to save Felix Road (posts passim).
According to the Save Felix Road Twitter account, a debate on the playground will be held at a full meeting of Bristol City Council on 17th December as the petition has gained more than the required number of signatures to trigger a discussion in the council chamber.
I’ll await developments with interest as it’s not right that children in one of the most deprived parts of the city suffer when Bristol City Council cocks things up.
There’s an open data meet-up taking place in central Bristol next month.
It will be held on 30th January 2014 at the Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Bristol, BS1 5TX (map) from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Topics to be discussed will include licensing, linked open data, open data and open government.
Speakers are due to be announced in due course and I’ll keep readers updated of developments as the event gets nearer.
Hat tip: Jukesie
Today’s Le Monde Informatique reports that the AllSeen Alliance, an umbrella group for major consumer electronics manufacturers, is working on an open source framework with which it will be possible to connect almost anything to the internet.
Household electrical goods, cars and computers could soon communicate with each other thanks to an open source framework developed by the AllSeen Alliance with the support of the Linux Foundation. This group of major consumer electronics manufacturers includes Cisco, D-Link, Haier, LG Electronics, Qualcomm, Panasonic and Sharp. According to the Linux Foundation, “the framework, originally developed by Qualcomm under the name of the AllJoyn Project, will enable different systems to see each other, to connect and to interact transparently, irrespective of their manufacturer or the operating system they use”. Members of the alliance will contribute to the framework by providing engineering resources and software resources to enable developers, manufacturers and suppliers to provide interoperable services and devices. “Qualcomm has contributed to the AllJoyn code under the aegis of the AllSeen Alliance. This will hold the copyright, offering the project a broader reach,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. “The open source community can also contribute to this code,” he added.
The framework runs on Linux, Android, iOS, Windows and other OS variants involved. “Developers can download the code already and find details of APIs using the reference source allseenalliance.org and start working,” the Foundation announced. “Once APIs comprising an interoperability layer are supplied to the open source community, it will be possible to graft all sorts of services onto them,” Zemlin stated in an email. For example, the framework could enable users to play music easily because there are various wireless loudspeakers nearby. “Today this would be difficult because the majority of consumers have audio systems from different manufacturers, they store their music on various media and use different cloud storage services,” Zemlin explained. “This framework will therefore enable easy playing of music on compatible loudspeakers near these sources,” he added. “Engineers are already at work writing this code and implementing it in existing products. We are expecting several announcements of this type at the next CES (7th -10th January 2014), ” he stated.
A truly universal framework
The framework could also be used to enable a domestic electrical system to turn of a home’s heating system when the house is empty and thus contribute to reducing household energy bills. “Such a system could be adapted to different scenarios; for example, to put household equipment on standby when its occupants are out and turn them on gradually before their return,” Zemlin declared. “The same system could enable the family car to be detected when it’s a mile away, switch on the lights and start up the heating or even open the garage door automatically when the car is approaching,” he added. “All these communications could work with existing transmission technologies – wifi, Bluetooth – and future ones, such as those based on radio waves,” Zemlin also stated.
The AllSeen Alliance is the Linux Foundation’s 11th collaborative project. “As companies create more products integrating this code, the developer community devoting time to extending and improving this code will grow, just like what happened with other projects based on Linux or OpenStack,” Zemlin stated.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Private Eye (posts passim).
Amongst their many admirable features is a long-running lookalikes photo comparison on its letters pages.
The picture below has taken its inspiration from the Eye and features 2 lots of villains, the East End’s Kray twins and the Eton Posh Boys gang.
I’ll leave you to decide which are the nastier set of criminals.
USL Umbria 1′s territory includes the districts of Perugia, Assisi, Trasimeno, the middle and upper Tiber valley and the upper Chiasco valley (the Chiasco is a tributary of the Tiber. Ed.).
After some two months from the start of the migration, USL Umbria 1 has already converted 300 stations from running proprietary office suites to LibreOffice and is scheduled to migrate the rest of its PC pool within the next few months.
In parallel with the LibreOffice installation, users are being offered training in the new software; those who’ve already been switched to the open source office suite should complete their training by the end of the year.
In the opinion of the LibreUmbria project, USL Umbria 1 is a good example of how it is possible for public sector organisations to adopt free and open source software.
Germany’s Heise Online reports that security firm Sucuri is warning of a wave of phishing emails intended to trick WordPress administrators into installing a plug-in which serves up malware to site visitors. The email ostensibly offers site administrators the Pro version of the popular All in One SEO Pack plug-in free of charge.
However, anyone clicking on the email’s download link isn’t taken to the official WordPress plug-in page, but to a spammer-infested domain in Australia (.com.au) or Brazil (.com.br). At least administrators should be taken aback by now! According to Sucuri, some of their customers have nevertheless actually installed the malicious plug-in. This results in the malicious code opening a backdoor on the server giving the attackers full access and replacing the infected blog’s index.php file.
Once installed, the criminals behind the fake plug-in can insert any code they like into their victim’s website and attempt to attack visitors’ computers. Several versions of the malicious plug-in relay visitors to pornography site or other servers which also attempt to install malware on victims’ computers.
Due to its widespread use, WordPress is a favourite target for hackers who attempt to misuse others’ websites for spam distribution or for DDoS attacks. There was such a DDoS attack recently on a forum in which thousands of legitimate WordPress sites were misused as part of the attack wave without the knowledge of their owners.
The apology is reproduced below.
It would appear that since publication of the original article, journalists at the Chronicle have learned the actual meaning of the word ‘cartel’.
Oldham is the home town of Gavin Wheeldon, the founder of Advanced Language Solutions (ALS) which was subsequently sold to Capita and renamed Capita Translation & Interpreting. The latter is currently presiding over the fiasco commonly known as the Ministry of Justice framework agreement for courts and tribunals interpreting (posts passim).
The Document Foundation, the non-profit organisation behind the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite, announced earlier today that the LibreOffice 4.2 International Bug Hunting Session will start on 6th December and end on 8th December. During the three days, volunteers from all over the world will test the beta of LibreOffice 4.2 to find bugs and regressions.
LibreOffice 4.2 will be released at the end of January 2014 with a large number of new features and loads of fixed bugs. See the release notes for more details. The community is working to make this major release the finest in the history of the free office suite.
In order to join the bug hunting session, volunteers should download LibreOffice 4.2 Beta 2 from http://www.libreoffice.org/download/pre-releases/.
Mentors will be available at least from 08:00 UTC to 22:00 UTC and will be reachable through IRC (irc://chat.freenode.net/libreoffice-qa) and the QA mailing list (email@example.com).
Other information on the LibreOffice 4.2 International Bug Hunting Session can be found on the Document Foundation wiki.
Today’s Le Monde Informatique asks how the world of high-powered computing (HPC) can be reconciled with the needs of companies as regards simulation and modelling. An American research centre is working of the creation of an app store to provide dedicated applications.
The major problem for supercomputers is that companies are not benefiting from this technology. The modelling and simulation tools based on supercomputer processing could enable companies to create and test prototypes in virtual environments. However, the licence fees required for simulating wind tunnels, furnaces, welding and other processes are expensive. Furthermore, these solutions require multi-core systems and qualified engineers to use them. The solution is to take a HPC treatment and convert it into an application.
The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is working on this via a programme called AweSim. An investment of US $ 6.5 mn. has been made by the US government and private companies such as Procter & Gamble to create an App Store. This should open at the end of the first quarter of 2014 with one application and several web-based tools. The AweSim programme has the ultimate aim of becoming a business and bringing together thousands of applications.
Reducing costs and resorting to open source tools
Tom Lange, Procter & Gamble’s Director of Modelling and Simulation states that these solutions will serve as the group’s logistics. He explains that traditionally, “the software industry is based on the sale of licences which can cost $50,000 dollars per year for an HPC application. This price is beyond the reach of small businesses which are not interested in temporary use”.
AweSim will use open source HPC tools in its applications and is working on partnerships with major HPC software suppliers to make some of their solutions available in the form of applications. OCS is also working on a development kit so that other centres with supercomputers can supply applications. Programme Director Alan Chalker explains how this may work. A vehicle manufacturer wants to produce a solution to reduce the wind resistance of an 18 wheel truck. He will be able to download a CAD file, refine some parameter, click to launch it and use 128 cores out of the OCS supercomputer’s 8,500. The final cost will be US $200-500 for one hour of processing by over 6,000 CPUs. It will take 48 hours to simulate the process and report the results. A test in an actual wind tunnel can cost up to US $100,000.