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Free Pascal Compiler 3.0.0 Is Out; Adds Support For 16-Bit MS-DOS, 64-Bit iOS ( 99

Halo1 writes: Twenty-three years ago, development started on the first version of the Turbo Pascal and later also Delphi-compatible Free Pascal Compiler, for OS/2 no less. Two decades and change later, the new Free Pascal Compiler 3.0.0 release still supports OS/2, along with a host of older and newer platforms ranging from MS-DOS on an 8086 to the latest Linux and iOS running on AArch64. On the language front, the new features include support for type helpers, codepage-aware strings and a utility to automatically generate JNI bridges for Pascal code. In the mean time, development on the next versions continues, with support for generic functions, an optional LLVM code generator backend and full support for ISO and Extended Pascal progressing well.

Software Freedom Conservancy Asks For Supporters 30

paroneayea writes: Software Freedom Conservancy is asking people to join as supporters to save both their basic work and GPL enforcement. Conservancy is the steward of projects like Samba, Wine, BusyBox, QEMU, Inkscape, Selenium, and many more. Conservancy also does much work around GPL enforcement and needs 2,500 members to join in order to save copyleft compliance work. They list some of the past year's successes, too, including fighting for and successfully earning "an exemption from the Library of Congress in the DMCA review process to legally permit circumvention of encryption on Smart TVs, ensuring that you are free to hack on the devices that you legally own."
Hardware Hacking

Raspberry Pi Unveils New $5 Mini-computer 207

An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled the Pi Zero, a new $5 mini-computer, Thursday morning. The board is the smallest Raspberry Pi yet, containing the first-gen Raspberry Pi's BCM2835 chip (safely overclocked to 1GHz) and 512MB RAM. The latest issue of The Magpi will include a free Raspberry Pi Zero and hits U.K. newsstands Thursday. The announcement came just a few days before the highly anticipated C.H.I.P. $9 mini-computer goes on sale to the public. puddingebola writes: How can they achieve this price, you may ask? "Its 40-pin GPIO header has identical pinouts, although the pads on the circuit board are "unpopulated," meaning you'll have to solder on your own connector. The same goes for the composite video output: The connection is available, but if you need a socket, you must solder it yourself." Dude, go to Radio Shack. Some relevant specs besides those mentioned above, from the blog post linked:
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • "Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm"

New submitter graffitiwriter adds a note that the newest Pi has "already been turned into a retro gaming console. It turns out the Pi Zero is more than capable of running Retro Pie and other emulators, and even has a video output that lets you play games on an old CRT TV."


Video High-Security, Open-Source Router is a Hit on Indiegogo (Video) 111

The device is called the Turris Omnia, and its Indiegogo page says it's a "hi-performance & open-source router." Their fundraising goal is $100,000. So far, 1,191 backers have pledged $248,446 (as of the moment this was typed), with 49 days left to go. They've shipped 2,000 pieces so far but, says interviewee Ondej Filip, "95% of them are in the Czech Republic."

This is not only an open-source project, but non-profit as well. A big motive for it is heightened security, as the interview (and transcript) make clear. It's also apparent that the hardware here is overkill for a router; it can run a complete Linux distro, no problem, so it can function as a server, not just as a router. Interested? You might want to put a reservation in soon. This isn't the cheapest router (or even server) out there, but a lot of people obviously think a Turris Omnia, with its crypto security, automatic updates, and server functions would be nice to have.

Mozilla Is Removing Tab Groups and Complete Themes From Firefox ( 313

An anonymous reader writes: As part of Mozilla's "Go Faster" initiative for Firefox, the company is removing features that aren't used by many and require a lot of technical effort to continually improve. VentureBeat learned that the first two features to get the axe are tab groups and complete themes. Dave Camp, Firefox’s director of engineering, said, "Tab Groups was an experiment to help users deal with large numbers of tabs. Very few people chose to use it, so we are retiring it because the work required to maintain it is disproportionate to its popularity."

Video Meet Mårten Mickos, Serial Open Source CEO (Video) 23

Marten was the MySQL CEO who built the company from a small-time free software database developer into a worldwide software juggernaut he sold to Sun Microsystems. Next, he became CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, another open source operation, which Hewlett Packard bought in 2014. Now Mårten is CEO of hackerone, a company that hooks security-worried companies up with any one of thousands of ethical hackers worldwide.

Some of those hackers might be companies that grew out of university CS departments, and some of them may be individual high school students working from their kitchen tables. Would a large company Board of Directors trust a kid hacker who came to them with a bug he found in their software? Probably not. But if Mårten or one of his hackerone people contacts that company, it's likely to listen -- and set up a bug bounty program if they don't have one already.

Essentially, once again Mårten is working as an intermediary between technically proficient people -- who may or may not conform to sociey's idea of a successful person -- and corporate executives who need hackers' skills and services but may not know how to find non-mainstream individuals or even know the difference between "hackers" and "crackers." Editor's note: I have known and respected Mårten for many years. If this interview seems like a conversation between two old friends, it is.

Microsoft Open-Sources Visual Studio Code ( 158

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today unleashed a torrent of news at its Connect(); 2015 developer event in New York City. The company open-sourced code editing software Visual Studio Code, launched a free Visual Studio Dev Essentials program, pushed out .NET Core 5 and ASP.NET 5 release candidates, unveiled Visual Studio cloud subscriptions, debuted the Visual Studio Marketplace, and a lot more. The source for Visual Studio Code is available at GitHub under the MIT license. They've also released an extension (preview) for Visual Studio that facilitates code debugging on Linux.
Hardware Hacking

Adding Eye Control To Wheelchairs for Quadriplegics ( 15

szczys writes: The inventor of the Eyedriveomatic has ALS. This prevents him from controlling his electric wheelchair, but it didn't prevent him from teaming up with two other people (one also a quadriplegic) to design a way around the limitation. Eyegaze hardware is what lets people speak through a computer using only their eyes. Eyedrivomatic is an open source project that uses common materials to connect the Eyegaze to the joystick of the wheelchair without altering the chair (which is rented equipment in most cases). A 3D-printed gimbal is strapped over the existing joystick, but does not prevent it from still being used normally by caregivers. The gimbal's servo motors actuate the joystick with commands from the Eyegaze.

Slashdot Asks: Is Scrum Still Relevant? ( 371

An anonymous reader writes: In an article titled "Scrum is dead: breaking down the new open development method," Ahmad Nassri writes: "Among the most 'oversold as a cure' methodologies introduced to business development teams today is Scrum, which is one of several agile approaches to software development and introduced as a way to streamline the process. Scrum has become something of an intractable method, complete with its own holy text, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development , and daily devotions (a.k.a., Scrum meetings). Although Scrum may have made more sense when it was being developed in the early '90s, much has changed over the years. Startups and businesses have work forces spread over many countries and time zones, making sharing offices more difficult for employees. As our workforce world evolves, our software development methods should evolve, too." What do you think? Is Scrum still a viable approach to software development, or is it time to make way for a different process?
Open Source

Freeciv Founded 20 Years Ago Today ( 37

Andreas(R) writes to note that the Freeciv project today turns 20. The GPL'd project "was founded on November 14 1995, by Peter Joachim Unold, Claus Leth Gregersen and Allan Ove Kjeldbjerg. The three Danish students created this open source strategy game while studying computer science at Aarhus University. Today, 20 years later the founders of the project have been interviewed to find out about the early history of Freeciv."

Not that many games have their own officially designated port numbers, which says something about Freeciv's tenacity.

Microsoft Open Sources Its Machine Learning Toolkit ( 15

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has this week made its Distributed Machine Learning Toolkit (DMTK) openly available to the developer community. Researchers at the Microsoft Asia lab have released the toolkit on GitHub under an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) license, to encourage the use of multiple computers in parallel to solve complex problems. Its design builds on a parameter server-based programming framework, which allows big data machine learning tasks to be easily scaled, and flexibly and efficiently executed. The toolkit also contains two distributed machine learning algorithms, which can be used to train the world's fastest and largest topic model, as well as the largest word-embedding model.
This is a welcome move, especially after Google did something broadly similar.

Ask Slashdot: What Terminal Emulator Do You Use? 352

An anonymous reader writes: Although I spend a considerable amount of my time at work using shell commands and other text-based applications, I've never really given much thought to what terminal emulator I use. A recent article over on rounded up their picks for their seven favorite terminals, but I'm still unsure if it really matters which one I pick. Do you have a favorite terminal emulator, and if so, what makes it your favorite? I'm interested in hearing about that "one killer feature" that really sold you on your choice.

PostgreSQL Getting Parallel Query 83

New submitter iamvego writes: A major feature PostgreSQL users have requested for some time now is to have the query planner "parallelize" a query. Now, thanks to Robert Haas and Amit Kapila, this has now materialized in the 9.6 branch. Robert Haas writes in his blog entry that so far it only supports splitting up a sequential scan between multiple workers, but should hopefully be extended to work with multiple partitions before the final release, and much more beside in future releases.

Getting Started With GNU Radio ( 42

An anonymous reader writes: Software Defined Radio must be hard to create, right? Tools like GNU Radio and GNU Radio Companion make it much easier to build radios that can tune AM, FM, and even many digital modes. Of course, you need some kind of radio hardware, right? Not exactly. Hackaday has one of their video hands on tutorials about how to use GNU Radio with no extra hardware (or, optionally, a sound card that you probably already have). The catch? Well, you can't do real radio that way, but you can learn the basics and do audio DSP. The next installment promises to use some real SDR hardware and build an actual radio. But if you ever wanted to see if it was worth buying SDR hardware, this is a good way to see how you like working with GNU Radio before you spend any money.

With TensorFlow, Google Open Sources Its Machine Learning Resources ( 37

smaxp writes: Google has announced the open source release of TensorFlow, its machine learning software library. "TensorFlow has extensive built-in support for deep learning, but is far more general than that -- any computation that you can express as a computational flow graph, you can compute with TensorFlow (see some examples). Any gradient-based machine learning algorithm will benefit from TensorFlow’s auto-differentiation and suite of first-rate optimizers. And it’s easy to express your new ideas in TensorFlow via the flexible Python interface." This comes alongside some dramatic speed increases (PDF). The code is available at GitHub under an Apache 2.0 license. "Deep learning, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are all some of Google's core competencies, where the company leads Apple and Microsoft. If successful, Google's strategy is to maintain this lead by putting its technology out in the open to improve it based on large-scale adoption and code contributions from the community at large.

Open Source Anniversaries: 6 Years of Go, 11 of Firefox ( 65

digitalPhant0m writes: Six years ago today the Go language was released as an open source project. Since then, more than 780 contributors have made over 30,000 commits to the project's 22 repositories. The ecosystem continues to grow, with GitHub reporting more than 90,000 Go repositories. And, offline, we see new Go events and user groups pop up around the world with regularity And notes that Mozilla Firefox has just hit 11 years of age, too.
Open Source

WordPress Now Powers 25% of the Web 143

An anonymous reader writes: According to data from W3Techs one in four websites is now powered by WordPress. According to the report: "WordPress is used by 58.7% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 25.0% of all websites.” Venturebeat reports: "Today is a big day for the free and open-source content management system (CMS). To be perfectly clear, the milestone figure doesn't represent a fraction of all websites that have a CMS: WordPress now powers 25 percent of the Web.
Open Source

$1 Bid Wins Government Open Source Software Purchasing Experiment ( 124

An anonymous reader writes: A couple weeks ago we discussed a project from a software team within the U.S. General Services Administration. Its goal was to set up a portal to let developers bid on the creation of open source code needed by the government. From the beginning, they said it was an experiment, and now the results are in from their first project. The project was quickly bid all the way down to $1, and on Wednesday, the winner delivered a functional solution that met their criteria. They say, "When we received the $1 bid, we immediately tried to figure out whether it was intentional, whether it was from a properly registered company, and whether we could award $1. We contacted the bidder and we confirmed that the bid was valid, that the registration on was current, and that the bid would be the winning bid. It was a plot twist that no one here at 18F expected. This unexpected development will no doubt force us to rethink some of our assumptions about the reverse-auction model." Despite their surprise, the team feels this is proof that the system can succeed. They're now working to refine the process.
Open Source

Linus's Thoughts on Linux Security ( 291

Rick Zeman writes: The Washington Post has a lengthy article on Linus Torvalds and his thoughts on Linux security. Quoting: "...while Linux is fast, flexible and free, a growing chorus of critics warn that it has security weaknesses that could be fixed but haven't been. Worse, as Internet security has surged as a subject of international concern, Torvalds has engaged in an occasionally profane standoff with experts on the subject. ...

His broader message was this: Security of any system can never be perfect. So it always must be weighed against other priorities — such as speed, flexibility and ease of use — in a series of inherently nuanced trade-offs. This is a process, Torvalds suggested, poorly understood by his critics. 'The people who care most about this stuff are completely crazy. They are very black and white,' he said ... 'Security in itself is useless. The upside is always somewhere else. The security is never the thing that you really care about.'"

Of course, contradictory points of view are presented, too: "While I don't think that the Linux kernel has a terrible track record, it's certainly much worse than a lot of people would like it to be," said Matthew Garrett, principal security engineer for CoreOS, a San Francisco company that produces an operating system based on Linux. At a time when research into protecting software has grown increasingly sophisticated, Garrett said, "very little of that research has been incorporated into Linux."

Open Source

Fedora 23 Released ( 57

An anonymous reader writes: Today marks the release of Fedora 23 for all three main editions: Workstation, Cloud, and Server. This release brings GNOME 3.18, Libre Office 5.0, and Fedora Spins — alternate desktops that provide a different experience. Fedora 23 also includes a version optimized for running on ARM-based systems. You can read the full release notes on their website. "Fedora 23 also has important under-the-hood security improvements, with increased hardening for all compiled software and with insecure SSL3 and RC4 protocols disabled. We've also updated all of the software installed by default in Fedora Cloud Base Image and Fedora Workstation to use Python version 3, and the Mono .NET compatible framework is now at version 4. Perhaps most importantly, Unicode 8.0 support now enables the crucial U1F32D character."