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Brief items

Google working to build a larger patent pile

Google has announced that it is bidding for Nortel's considerable pile of software patents. "If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community—which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome—continue to innovate. In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it's the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners."

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Mozilla reabsorbing Mozilla Messaging

The Mozilla project has announced that the Mozilla Messaging project (which produces Thunderbird) will cease to be a separate operation. "We intend to combine the two teams to increase our effectiveness. Practically this means we’ll be integrating Mozilla Messaging with Mozilla Labs. David Ascher will lead a new innovation group within Mozilla Labs focused on online communications and social interactions on the Web. After the teams merge into Mozilla Labs we will dissolve Mozilla Messaging. This simplifies our overall structure."

Comments (1 posted)

Articles of interest

NASA Hosts Its First Open Source Summit (eWeek)

eWeek reports on NASA's Open Source Summit, which was held March 29-30 at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley. Speakers included Google's Chris DiBona, David Wheeler of the Institute for Defense Analysis, Mozilla's Pascal Finette, Bob Sutor of IBM, and Red Hat's Brian Stevens. "NASA's use of open source has been restricted in past years due to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) of the U.S. State Department, which apply directly to aerospace equipment. DiBona argued that these restrictions ought to be eased. [...] If NASA's IT group used more open-source software, DiBona said, the help of the community would save time and tax dollars as well as speed up transfer of technology to and from aerospace programs. It also would accelerate NASA's software-procurement practices, he said."

Comments (10 posted)

Professional Quality CAD on Linux with DraftSight (Linux.com)

Nathan Willis reviews the zero-cost-but-proprietary beta release of DraftSight, computer-aided design (CAD) software for Linux. "Although this new app is not open source, it is the first professional-level package available for free on Linux that can read and write the industry-standard .DWG file format. Free software CAD still has a long way to go, but for now DraftSight offers Linux users a rare glimmer of hope."

He goes on to look at some of the alternatives. "As frustrating as it is, those are the options right now for CAD on Linux: non-free software that supports DWG, or free software that doesn't. All this stems back to the need to reverse-engineer the DWG file format itself. An independent group called the Open Design Alliance (ODA) did just that, and created a Linux-compatible library called OpenDWG. Yet as is too often the case, the organization and product do not live up to their names. You must be a paid-up member of the ODA in order to access its software, and you are not allowed to share it with others."

Comments (21 posted)

Capturing SIGCSE conversation: Computer science professors discuss teaching open source (Opensource.com)

Over at Opensource.com, Mel Chua summarizes what was learned about teaching open source at the SIGCSE computer science education conference. "When the completion of a project hinges on many factors outside a student's control, professors need to find different ways of grading. It's unfair to penalize a student for good work that wasn't accepted as a patch simply because an external dependency slipped or an outside developer didn't respond to their email before the semester ended. To address this, Grant Hearn from the University of the Western Cape suggested competency categories rather than hard rubrics--did the student do something related to documentation in the project? Write some form of feature specification? Can the student hand you a chat log with a remote developer from upstream (regardless of the outcome of that conversation)? Figure out learning objectives and turn them into benchmarks that are under the student's control."

Comments (none posted)

Villa: MPL Beta 2- as FAQ

On his blog, Luis Villa discusses the latest beta version of the update to the Mozilla Public License (MPL). In particular, there is an experimental rewrite of the license in FAQ form: "This approach has two advantages. First, it helps you draft and organize things more clearly. Since every paragraph was the answer to a question, things were broken up into what normal human beings would consider more logical units, instead of the giant blocks of text legal documents sometimes sprawl into. Preparing the FAQified version of Beta 2 made us aware of some MPL sections that had this problem, and it helped us reorder and reorganize text as a result- something which you can see in (for example) the new Section 8 of MPL 2 Beta 2, which is part of the old Section 9 broken out so that it makes more sense independently. Because of this, these changes will help every reader of the license, even if we never publish another "FAQified" version."

Comments (2 posted)

New Books

Agile Web Development with Rails, Fourth Edition--New from Pragmatic Bookshelf

Pragmatic Bookshelf has release "Agile Web Development with Rails, Fourth Edition", by Sam Ruby, Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson.

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Resources

FSFE Newsletter - April 2011

The Free Software Foundation Europe April newsletter is out. In this issue: FSFE turned 10, a worldwide celebration of Open Standards, and several other topics.

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Contests and Awards

Tagesschau.de awarded for the use of Open Standards

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has awarded Tagesschau.de for the use of Open Standards at the "Document Freedom Day". "The prize is awarded by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V. (FFII) for offering the broadcasted shows also in the free video format "Ogg Theora"."

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Calls for Presentations

Linux Security Summit 2011 - Announcement and CFP

The call for participation is open for the Linux Security Summit which will be held September 8 in Santa Rosa, California, co-located with the Linux Plumbers Conference. There will be brief technical talks and Q&A panel sessions. The deadline for abstracts and panel discussion topics is May 27.

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Upcoming Events

Events: April 14, 2011 to June 13, 2011

The following event listing is taken from the LWN.net Calendar.

Date(s)EventLocation
April 11
April 14
O'Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo Santa Clara, CA, USA
April 13
April 14
2011 Android Builders Summit San Francisco, CA, USA
April 16 Open Source Conference Kansai/Kobe 2011 Kobe, Japan
April 25
April 26
WebKit Contributors Meeting Cupertino, USA
April 26
April 29
OpenStack Conference and Design Summit Santa Clara, CA, USA
April 28
April 29
Puppet Camp EU 2011: Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands
April 29 Ottawa IPv6 Summit 2011 Ottawa, Canada
April 29
April 30
Professional IT Community Conference 2011 New Brunswick, NJ, USA
April 30
May 1
LinuxFest Northwest Bellingham, Washington, USA
May 3
May 6
Red Hat Summit and JBoss World 2011 Boston, MA, USA
May 4
May 5
ASoC and Embedded ALSA Conference Edinburgh, United Kingdom
May 5
May 7
Linuxwochen Österreich - Wien Wien, Austria
May 6
May 8
Linux Audio Conference 2011 Maynooth, Ireland
May 9
May 11
SambaXP Göttingen, Germany
May 9
May 10
OpenCms Days 2011 Conference and Expo Cologne, Germany
May 9
May 13
Linaro Development Summit Budapest, Hungary
May 9
May 13
Ubuntu Developer Summit Budapest, Hungary
May 10
May 13
Libre Graphics Meeting Montreal, Canada
May 10
May 12
Solutions Linux Open Source 2011 Paris, France
May 11
May 14
LinuxTag - International conference on Free Software and Open Source Berlin, Germany
May 12 NLUUG Spring Conference 2011 ReeHorst, Ede, Netherlands
May 12
May 15
Pingwinaria 2011 - Polish Linux User Group Conference Spala, Poland
May 12
May 14
Linuxwochen Österreich - Linz Linz, Austria
May 16
May 19
PGCon - PostgreSQL Conference for Users and Developers Ottawa, Canada
May 16
May 19
RailsConf 2011 Baltimore, MD, USA
May 20
May 21
Linuxwochen Österreich - Eisenstadt Eisenstadt, Austria
May 21 UKUUG OpenTech 2011 London, United Kingdom
May 23
May 25
MeeGo Conference San Francisco 2011 San Francisco, USA
June 1
June 3
Workshop Python for High Performance and Scientific Computing Tsukuba, Japan
June 1 Informal meeting at IRILL on weaknesses of scripting languages Paris, France
June 1
June 3
LinuxCon Japan 2011 Yokohama, Japan
June 3
June 5
Open Help Conference Cincinnati, OH, USA
June 6
June 10
DjangoCon Europe Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 10
June 12
Southeast LinuxFest Spartanburg, SC, USA

If your event does not appear here, please tell us about it.

Audio and Video programs

LAM: Best of 2010 mix - Now online

The *Linux Audio Musicians Best of 2010 mix* is available for your listening pleasure. "Congratulations!!! to the Artists and Bands that made 2010 a bumper year for well produced and unique music from the Linux Audio Community. This mix is the biggest yet with over 100 tracks included and over 12 hours of music to listen to. A hefty selection of guitar music and rock productions are included in this years mix to complement the large range of electronica. The variation of styles and genres is superb and as expected there was lots of off the wall and challenging music produced during the 2010 period also."

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Page editor: Rebecca Sobol


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