Open Source Turns 20 Years Old: How This Term Came Into Existence?

When Netscape released the source code for its Netscape Communicator web browser 20 years ago, a discussion was sparked in the developer community. A new term was being sought that could appropriately explain this stuff. A related term, “free software,” existed but its seeming focus on price confused the newcomers.

For the first time, on February 3rd, 1998 in Palo Alto, the term Open Source was coined by Christine Peterson, who was executive director at Foresight Institute.

Christine Peterson has recently shared her unpublished account of how she came up with the term and how she proposed it. “Oldtimers must then launch into an explanation, usually given as follows: “We mean free as in freedom, not free as in beer.”,” she writes in her account.

As per Peterson, after Eric Raymond’s meeting with Netscape, he took Foresight’s help to strategize and refine their message. During that meeting itself on Feb 3rd, Peterson, who believed the need for a clearer term to describe such code, came up with the term Open Source Software.

Later that week, in another meeting on February 5, 1998, with the help of Todd Anderson, she was able to gather some kind of consensus around the open source name. “These were some key leaders in the community, and they liked the new name, or at least didn’t object.”

The Open Source Initiative was formed in following days. People like Tim O’Reilly, Bruce Perens, and others played a pivotal role in popularising the term. Perens also adapted his Free Software Guidelines for Debian GNU/Linux to serve as Open Source Definition (OSD).

Today, open source software and components are used in almost all software and devices. What are your views on the importance of open source? Share it and become a part of the discussion.

Red Hat to acquire CoreOS for $250 million

Red Hat has announced plans to acquire Kubernetes and container-native solution provider CoreOS. CoreOS is known for its enterprise Kubernetes platform Tectonic. Tectonic is designed to provide automated operations and portability across private and public cloud providers.

The acquisition is expected to close at $250 million.

“The next era of technology is being driven by container-based applications that span multi- and hybrid cloud environments, including physical, virtual, private cloud and public cloud platforms. Kubernetes, containers and Linux are at the heart of this transformation, and, like Red Hat, CoreOS has been a leader in both the upstream open source communities that are fueling these innovations and its work to bring enterprise-grade Kubernetes to customers. We believe this acquisition cements Red Hat as a cornerstone of hybrid cloud and modern app deployments,” said Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies for Red Hat.

Red Hat wil combine CoreOS’s capabilities with its Kubernetes and container-based portfolio, including Red Hat OpenShift.

Other CoreOS solutions include the enterprise container registry Quay, lightweight Linux distribution Container Linux, distributed data store for Kubernetes etcd, and application container engine rkt.

“Red Hat and CoreOS’s relationship began many years ago as open source collaborators developing some of the key innovations in containers and distributed systems, helping to make automated operations a reality. This announcement marks a new stage in our shared aim to make these important technologies ubiquitous in business and the world. Thank you to the CoreOS family, our customers, partners, and most of all, the free software community for supporting us in our mission to make the internet more secure through automated operations,” said Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS.

Linux Mint Is Killing Its KDE Edition, Debian-based LMDE 3 “Cindy” Is Coming

Last month, we told you that Linux Mint 18.3 will be codenamed Sylvia and gave you a preview of what features you should expect from the upcoming release. While there isn’t any specific release date fixed for Mint 18.3, we can expect to land somewhere in December 2017 with Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS base.

Bye Bye, KDE Edition!

In its monthly news update, Linux Mint team has just shared some interesting updates. The biggest highlight of the update is the discontinuation of KDE edition of this beginner-friendly Linux distro. As a result, Mint 18.3 will be the last release to feature a KDE edition.

“KDE is amazing but it’s not what we want to focus on,” the team says. The announcement adds that KDE is a fantastic environment but it’s also a “different world.” This makes sense as KDE’s whole ecosystem and the QT toolkit have very little in common with Mint.

Let’s hope that this step gives Mint development team more time and resources to work on Cinnamon and bring an even more polished Mint desktop experience to the users.

LMDE 3 is in works!

For those who don’t know, LMDE, Linux Mint Debian Edition, is a Debian-based Linux distribution aimed at experienced users. It’s slightly faster than Mint and runs newer packages.

Explaining LMDE’s importance, Mint team writes: “It is important for Linux Mint to continue to support LMDE as a fallback option in case Ubuntu ever disappeared and as a development target for the many projects and technologies we work on to guarantee compatibility outside of Linux Mint. ”

For its fans, there’s a good news; LMDE 3 is being developed. As expected, it’ll be based on Debian Stretch. It’s codename will be “Cindy.”

The users can expect LMDE 3 to ship in 2018 Q1 with a single edition based on Cinnamon 3.8.

Share your thoughts.

Over the last 10 years, open source has drastically transformed the way enterprises acquire and deploy software to support their operations. As general counsel for an open source and commercially licensed software company, I have been asked by hundreds of customers to review their use of open source software (OSS) and compliance with licensing terms. And as a former developer myself, I’ve gained unique insight into the implications of open source use by enterprises, both for internal applications and as embedded software in the products they license and sell.

OSS is ubiquitous and offers many advantages for commercial software development, including speed of development at little or no cost — but introducing third party software also introduces risks.

Open Source and the Strings Attached
The right to use another’s software is governed by a legal license agreement. In the case of OSS, the author distributes their software under one of a number of licenses considered to be open source, each with it’s own set of terms and conditions. These licenses fit into two major categories: Permissive and Copyleft. With Permissive licenses, there are few terms and conditions. With Copyleft licenses, the terms and conditions tend to be more stringent and bind any derivative work to the same terms and conditions.

Protecting Commercial Works, Protecting Your Fees
Most dangerous is the inclusion of Copyleft OSS in a closed source product. Under the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most frequently used Copyleft license, anyone who distributes that code or a derivative work must make the source code for the entire derivative work available under the same terms as the GPL license. Most commercial applications are developed on the premise that the source is closed and paid for. Requiring the release of source for free redistribution can be financially devastating for a commercial product.

Even Permissive open source licenses have requirements, such as retaining the copyright notices and providing prominent notice if the source has been changed (Apache). Failure to comply does not force the disclosure of source, but it could give rise to a claim of copyright infringement where the terms of the license are not followed.

Hidden Risks
There are often hidden risks associated with OSS packages. GPL code buried deep in software could give rise to a demand that you release your source code. When using larger packages, be sure to check not only the license for that package, but for all the included software.

If you use OSS from a project that is developed by a large pool of contributors, there may be little control over the source contributions. The larger the codebase, the larger the potential for problems. Risks include (1) contributors without a signed Contributor License Agreement (CLA), (2) contributors without permission from their employer to make a contribution; and (3) contributors who introduce code they’ve taken from elsewhere.

Quality Risks
Be sure to check the quality of an OSS package. Many projects may be good starting points, but are not “ready for prime time” for enterprise applications. OSS may be created by a developer or group of developers as a side project, without the same level of rigor and attention to quality as a commercial application.

Maintenance Risks
There’s also the issue of support and long-term maintainability. Organizations that use OSS in commercial offerings may not have a safety net of support if their application breaks as a result of third party code. They may have to turn to the community for support, versus paid, professional support from the vendor.

With open source projects, version-to-version breakage can also be an issue. Maintenance challenges are compounded when organizations build commercial offerings in part by assembling multiple open source components. The product becomes unstable as the developers struggle to keep the disparate components working together in the face of browser, operating system, and platform updates.

Mitigate Your Legal Risk
You can mitigate your risks by following some key steps. Some best practices:
•Track all third party software included in your distribution and the license type, and keep it up to date. Consider each addition carefully, examining the risks and the benefits.
•Be sure to republish the license text of each work (and subwork), particularly if you are distributing object code only.
•For Apache works, be sure to republish a copy of the Apache license, together with a prominent notice on any modified files that you have changed the files.
•Consider the use of any GPL work in a closed source application very carefully. If your application can be considered and extension of the GPL work, you may be required to disclose your source. Seek counsel if your rights are in doubt.
•Is the project supported by a specific group of developers and is there a thriving community dedicated to delivering a quality application? Or, is the software built by a single developer as a part-time project? Are contributions well vetted and under CLA?
•Consider the effort and expense of replacing the software should you encounter any issues. Can it be swapped out easily, or is it intimately entangled with your application?
•Consider the value of the contribution when compared to self-developed or commercial alternatives. Could you benefit from vendor engagement and professional support?

Conclusion
Open source software will continue to have a profound impact on how enterprises acquire and deploy software to support their operations. However, you should clearly understand the licensing implications and follow the rules. Consider quality, longevity, maintainability, community, contributors, and other risks before embracing or including a specific open source offering within your commercial product. By taking the several simple steps outlined in this article, you can reduce your risk and maximize returns.

The production release of the Oracle Database Programming Interface for C (ODPI-C), which gives more streamlined access to C and C++ developers to Oracle Database, has been launched on GitHub.

The open-source wrapper is aimed primarily at language interface developers, allowing users to quickly call more common features of the Oracle Call Interface (OCI), the main C API for Oracle Database. But the company says that its conciseness makes it a flexible and accessible tool.

The library is being used internally by Oracle for the Python cx_Oracle 6 interface and has already been implemented in Python, Node.js, Go and Rust interfaces and in custom applications.

ODPI-C aims to simplify memory and resource management when binding and defining data with a reference counting mechanism that stops applications from destroying resources that are in-use.

The project was an effort by the Oracle Database Data Access team, who maintain OCI and additional APIs for Oracle Database. ODPI-C was led by developer Anthony Tuininga, who also leads development of the cx_Oracle interface for Python.

Version 6 of cx_Oracle features support for the new ODPI-C abstraction layer. Notable changes include compatibility with Python Wheels and improvements to scalability, all made possible by ODPI-C.

The ODPI-C source code is available under the Apache 2.0 and Oracle UPL licenses for direct inclusion in the code base of an interface or other project.

It has been tested on Windows, Linux and OS X, with a minimum requirement of Visual Studio 2008, GCC 4.4 and Xcode 6, respectively.

Red Hat has updated their Red Hat Development Suite to version 2.0, including updates to Red Hat JBoss Development Suite and Red Hat Container Development Kit.

“The general theme of this release is expanded usability, product integration, expanded support for Middleware products in Development Suite,” senior product manager of Developer Tools at Red Hat, Bob Davis said in the blog post announcing the updates.

The Red Hat Development Suite installer is available for Windows, macOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and it will automatically download, install and configure selected tools such as EAP, Fuse and the Kompose 1.0 technical preview, a new addition to the suite.

Kompose is a tool that can be used to convert Docker Compose files to Kubernetes or Red Hat OpenShift artifacts. Kompose was conceived as an onboarding tool for Kubernetes users by Skippbox (since acquired by Bitnami) and it received contributions from Google and Red Hat early in development. It’s now a part of the Kubernetes Community Project as of version 1.0.0.

Kompose can be installed via YUM through another new addition, the Red Hat DevTools channel.

Heptio announced two new open source projects designed to improve Kubernetes operations, regardless of where a developer runs a cluster.

The first project is Heptio Ark, a utility for managing disaster recovery, specifically for Kubernetes cluster resources and persistent volumes, writes Craig McLuckie, founder and CEO of Heptio. It gives users a way to backup and restore applications and Pos from a series of checkpoints.

“Not only does this tool make it easy to create backups of all cluster objects (pods, services, replica sets, etc.), but it also coordinates volume snapshotting in a way that maintains pod associations,” writes McLuckie. “You can then use a single command to quickly restore the entire cluster, or just a subset of it.”

Heptio Sonobuoy is the second open source project, and it’s a diagnostic tool that makes it easy to understand the state of a Kubernetes cluster by running a set of Kubernetes conformance tests in an accessible and non-destructive manner, writes McLuckie.

Users can customize, extend and generate informative reports about their cluster with Heptio Sonobuoy, regardless of their deployment details.

Sonobuoy also solves challenges around configuration with Kubernetes clusters, since it runs a subset of the tests used by the open source community in new Kubernetes version releases.

“Heptio Sonobuoy is intrinsically customizable. We expect that the types of tests users run to verify cluster interoperability will change over time; this was one of the primary design goals the project needed to address,” writes McLuckie. “Plugin support allows developers and operators to extend the system with additional tests.”

Heptio plans to continue its work to make upstream Kubernetes accessible, but developers and the open source community can get started with both Ark and Sonobuoy in the meantime.

DigitalOcean’s network engineer Jeremy Stretch was on a mission to find a provider-grade IP address management solution. The search was unsuccessful, so Stretch and his team set out to build the cloud company’s most popular open source project, NetBox.

NetBox was first announced in June 2016, and it is targeted toward network engineers, data center technicians and systems administrators. It is written in Python, using the Django framework and a PostgreSQL database. Go and Python clients are available for the tool’s API as well.

The project is also open source, free, and provides network engineers with IPAM, DCIM, single converge database, Vlan management, and circuit provider management.

NetBox covers many areas of network management, but it does not provide network monitoring, DNS server, RADIUS server, configuration management, and facilities management. However, it can be used in populating external tools with the data needed to perform those functions.

One network engineer was looking for a fully comprehensive application for tracking network information when he discovered NetBox. Scott Hammersley said that a challenge for network engineers is having to keep up with information like VRF’s, Rack Elevations, and more. Plus, few applications combine all of the functionality features into one.

“NetBox is a swiss army knife, a gem, a diamond in the rough,” said Hammersley. “It combines all the features every person in the networking world needs, wants and should have.”

If you’re interested in giving NetBox a go, Hammersley has a few tips for consideration:

  • Follow written documentation provided by DigitalOcean’s Stretch (they are lengthy with components needed in Linux in order to get the solution to work)
  • Build a virtual machine to install/configure

See the installation guide for help getting NetBox up and running quickly.

 

After spending months in beta phase, Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) has finally grown into a complete Windows 10 feature.

While the Windows 10 Insiders can grab this feature by getting the Build 16251, other users need to wait for the Fall Creators Update. After this change, Windows users can use regular feedback channels to submit their reports.

With Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL), Microsoft allowed Windows developers to use Linux tools on Windows 10 itself. Just recently, more Linux distros were added to WSL and it became easier to install Linux on Windows 10 via Windows Store. Till now, this feature was in beta phase.

With the release of the Insider Build 1625, which can be grabbed by the Fast Ring Insiders, Windows Subsystem For Linux is out of beta. The early adopters will notice that WSL is no longer marked as a beta feature in this release.

Just in case you’re a conservative Windows 10 user who doesn’t trust Microsoft with its Preview builds, you’ll be able to witness this change in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update due in Fall 2017.

ubuntu suse on windows 10

 

Microsoft added that the skeptical users will now be able to use WSL as a day-to-day developer tool to create and test apps on Windows 10.

Are there some new features in WSL?

Not much. You’ll notice changes like the ability to file issues related to WSL via normal Windows 10 feedback channel. You can also use Windows 10 Feedback Hub to register your findings.

Don’t forget to share your experiences.

The developers of openSUSE Leap operating system have shipped the latest version in the form of openSUSE Leap 42.3.

This fixed release distro is powered by Linux kernel 4.4 and allows you to choose a variety of desktop choices, including KDE 5.8 and GNOME 4.20. This release comes with about 10,000 packages and shares even more source code with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

In November 2016, SUSE released openSUSE Leap 42.2. For those who don’t know, Leap is openSUSE’s fixed release for stability-minded users.

On the other hand, Tumbleweed is the rolling release for those who love bleeding edge Linux experience. Now, after about eight months of development, openSUSE Leap 42.3 has been released.

This release closely aligns with SUSE Linux Enterprise Service Pack 12, because the community versions share a common core with the enterprise versions.

This release features even more SUSE Linux Enterprise source code and syncs many common packages. SUSE has called this release perfect for seasoned Linux users, sysadmins, and developers. Recently, openSUSE was also featured on our list of best Linux distros for programming.

What’s new in openSUSE Leap 42.3

openSUSE Leap 42.3, the third edition of the 42 series, comes loaded with more than 10,000 packages. This release is powered by the same Linux 4.4 Long Term Support (LTS) kernel which powered the previous release.

Talking about the desktop environments offered, Leap 42.3 uses KDE 5.8 release as the default choice. You are also allowed to go with GNOME 3.20 release. You can also choose many other desktop environments from the installer.

The backup utility Borg can now be used to automatically backup your data on a regular basis. Also, in the text mode installer, all the options of YaST are included without the need for GUI.

openSUSE developers have also made this release better for gamers. Apart from getting a stable system for running Steam, the players can also use Wine and PlayOnLinux for playing the games which aren’t available on Linux.

Download openSUSE Leap 42.3

The Linux enthusiasts can go ahead and download openSUSE Leap 42.3 Linux distribution by visiting this link. The users can either choose torrent links or go for direct download options.

So, are your going to try out the latest Leap release? Don’t forget to share your experiences with us.