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Atari VCS Finally on Indiegogo, Free Software Directory Meet-up Tomorrow, Minifree Libreboot X200 Tablet Has Been FSF-Certified and More

3 weeks ago

News briefs for May 31, 2018.

The Atari VCS finally appeared on Indiegogo this week and already has $2,083,244 USD at the time of this writing (the goal was $100,000). The user interface is proprietary, but it's "built on an open source Linux OS so you can add your own software and apps to customize your own platform". The Indiegogo page also mentions that "a planned line of Atari VCS peripherals and accessories will let you build your own Game and Entertainment-Powered 'Connected Home' experience." It will include classic arcade games as well as modern titles and is expected to begin shipping in July 2019.

Join the Friday Free Software Directory IRC meet-up tomorrow, June 1, 12pm EDT to 3pm EDT. This week's theme is health software, and the meeting is on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

There's a new open-source framework for government projects: the Louisville Metro Government recently made its traffic data infrastructure available in the cloud and open-sourced the code, allowing other cities to build upon it, Route 50 reports. Louisville had won an Amazon Web Services grant last year to "merge its traffic data with Waze's and then run predictive analytics in the cloud to better time traffic signals to manage flow." More than 80 local, state and federal governments are now part of the Waze Connected Citizens Program, and the network is expanding to other open-source projects and is called the Open Government Coalition.

Redis 5.0 RC1 is out for testing this week, Phoronix reports. The biggest new feature is the Streams data type implementation, but 5.0 also offers new APIs, better memory reporting and more. See the Redis 5.0 RC1 announcement for all the details.

The Minifree Libreboot X200 tablet has been FSF-certified, which means "the product meets the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy". The X200 tablet is a "fully free laptop/tablet hybrid that comes with Trisquel and Libreboot pre-installed. The device is similar to the previously certified Libreboot X200 laptop, but with a built-in tablet that enables users to draw, sign documents, or make handwritten notes."

News gaming FOSS Hardware Redis FSF
Jill Franklin

Why You Should Do It Yourself

3 weeks ago
by Kyle Rankin

Bring back the DIY movement and start with your own Linux servers.

It wasn't very long ago that we lived in a society where it was a given that average people would do things themselves. There was a built-in assumption that you would perform basic repairs on household items, do general maintenance and repairs on your car, mow your lawn, cook your food and patch your clothes. The items around you reflected this assumption with visible and easy-to-access screws, spare buttons sewn on the bottom of shirts and user-replaceable parts.

Through the years though, culture has changed toward one more focused on convenience. The microeconomic idea of "opportunity cost" (an idea that you can assign value to each course of action and weigh it against alternative actions you didn't take) has resulted in many people who earn a reasonable wage concluding that they should do almost nothing themselves.

The typical thinking goes like this: if my hourly wage is higher than the hourly cost of a landscaping service, even though that landscaping service costs me money, it's still cheaper than if I mowed my own lawn, because I could somehow be earning my hourly wage doing something else. This same calculation ends up justifying oil-change and landscaping services, microwave TV dinners and replacing items when they break instead of repairing them yourself. The result has been a switch to a service-oriented economy, with the advent of cheaper, more disposable items that hide their screws and vehicles that are all but hermetically sealed under the hood.

This same convenience culture has found its way into technology, with entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley wracking their brains to think of some new service they could invent to do some new task for you. Linux and the Open Source movement overall is one of the few places where you can still find this do-it-yourself ethos in place.

When referring to proprietary software, Linux users used to say "You wouldn't buy a car with the hood welded shut!" With Linux, you can poke under the hood and see exactly how the system is running. The metaphorical screws are exposed, and you can take the software apart and repair it yourself if you are so inclined. Yet to be honest, so many people these days would buy a car with the hood welded shut. They also are fine with buying computers and software that are metaphorically welded shut all justified by convenience and opportunity cost.

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Kyle Rankin

Chrome 67 Released, New Version of RaspAnd, SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics Now Available for Linux and More

3 weeks 1 day ago

News briefs for May 30, 2018.

Chrome 67 has been released, and it includes several security fixes as well as default support for WebAuthn, which provides "a way to sign up to websites using biometrics like fingerprints or facial images stored in a smartphone, or USB hardware like Yubikey's authentication device", ZDNet reports. Chrome 67 also features new APIs for augmented and virtual reality.

RaspAnd developer Arne Exton announced yesterday the new version of his Android-based OS for the Raspberry Pi. This build is based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat, and Exton says "RaspAnd 7.1.2 Build 180529 can be used with the official Raspberry Pi 7 inch touchscreen and Big TV Screens." He also mentions that Bluetooth now works for the very first time and video performance in Kodi 18.0 has improved.

SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics are now available for Linux. According to GamingOnLinux, they've also added new features, including two-player online multiplayer, leaderboards, challenge modes, VR support and more. In addition, they have also lowered the price to $29.99 for the whole collection, which is available on Steam.

LWN reports a large set of stable kernel updates this morning: "4.16.13 (272 patches), 4.14.45 (496 patches), 4.9.104 (329 patches), 4.4.134 (268 patches) and 3.18.111 (185 patches)".

Plex now supports podcasts, and according to the Engadget post, "It's also free, helps contain all your media—including photos, music, news and videos—in one place, and doesn't make passive aggressive subscription requests. In fact there isn't any subscription required at all."

News Chrome Security Raspberry Pi gaming kernel multimedia
Jill Franklin