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Rackspace Jumps Into Kubernetes, Again

4 weeks 2 days ago

ServerWatch: Rackspace is now among the multiple vendors offering managed Kubernetes-as-a-service, but it isn't the first time Rackspace has tried to enable a containers-as-a-service (CaaS) model.

How to install Jekyll on CentOS 7

1 month ago

Jekyll is Ruby based, free and easy to use site generator, designed for creating static blogs, but it can be also used for creating all types of static websites as well

Cookies That Go the Other Way

1 month ago
by Doc Searls

The web—or at least the one we know today—got off on the wrong hoofs. Specifically, I mean with client-server, a distributed application structure that shouldn't subordinate one party to an other, but ended up doing exactly that, which is why the web today looks like this:

Clients come to servers for the milk of HTML, and get cookies as well.

The original cookie allowed the server to remember the client when it showed up again. Later the cookie would remember other stuff: for example, that the client was a known customer with a shopping cart.

Cookies also came to remember fancier things, such as that a client has agreed to the server's terms of use.

In the last decade, cookies also arrived from third parties, some for site analytics but mostly so clients could be spied on as they went about their business elsewhere on the web. The original purpose was so those clients could be given "relevant" and "interest-based" advertising. What matters is that it was still spying and a breach of personal privacy, no matter how well its perpetrators rationalize it. Simply put, websites and advertisers' interests end at a browser's front door. (Bonus link: The Castle Doctrine.)

Thanks to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into full force this Friday, that kind of spying is starting to look illegal. (Though loopholes will be found.) Since there is a world of fear about that, 99.x% of GDPR coverage is about how the new regulation affects the sites and services, and what they can do to avoid risking massive fines for doing what many (or most) of them shouldn't have been doing in the first place.

But the problem remains structural. As long as we're just "users" and "consumers," we're stuck as calves.

But we don't have to be. The web's underlying protocol, HTTP, is distributed and collaborative. It doesn't say we need to be subordinate to websites, always consenting to those sites' terms and policies. It doesn't even say we have to be calves to the websites' cows. Consent can go the other way.

And so can cookies. So let's bake some.

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Doc Searls

Read-Only Memory

1 month ago

LinuxJournal: Memory pools are a standard way to group memory allocations in Linux so their time cost is more predictable.

VMware Announces OpenStack 5, Tesla Releases Some Source Code, KDE's Plasma 5.13 Beta and More

1 month ago

News briefs for May 21, 2018.

VMware today announced its new OpenStack 5. According to the press release, "VMware Integrated OpenStack 5 will be one of the first commercial OpenStack distributions to comply with the OpenStack Foundation's 2018.02 interoperability guidelines. An active member of the OpenStack community, VMware packages, tests, and supports all major components of the distribution, including the full open source OpenStack code in a multi-cloud architecture."

Tesla has released some of the source code for its in-car tech. Engadget reports that the company "has posted the source code for both the material that builds the Autopilot system image as well as the kernels for the Autopilot boards and the NVIDIA Tegra-based infotainment system used in the Model S and Model X."

KDE's Plasma team released Plasma 5.13 beta late last week: "We have spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics."

The Linux 4.18 kernel will have the Steam Controller driver that will work without needing the Steam client or other third-party applications. Phoronix reports that "HID subsystem maintainer Jiri Kosina has now queued this Valve Steam Controller driver into his HID-next tree for Linux 4.18. This HID driver will expose the Steam Controller as a virtual mouse, virtual keyboard, and custom HID device(s). In turn this should allow the Steam Controller to work happily with any Linux application."

SoftMaker recently released SoftMaker FreeOffice 2018, the newest version of its free software. SoftMaker says "with FreeOffice 2018 you can not only open, but also save documents in the Microsoft file formats DOCX, XLSX and PPTX. Share files directly with Microsoft Office users, without having to export them first!" Note that although it is free to download and use, FreeOffice is not open source.

WordPress recently announced its latest release, 4.9.6, which is a privacy and maintenance release intended to help users be GDPR-compliant. The WordPress blog notes "We're committed to supporting site owners around the world in their work to comply with this important law. As part of that effort, we've added a number of new privacy features in this release."

News VMware OpenStack KDE Steam WordPress GDPR Desktop
Jill Franklin

Nextcloud 13: How to Get Started and Why You Should

1 month ago
by Marco Fioretti

Nextcloud could be the first step toward replacing proprietary services like Dropbox and Skype.

In its simplest form, the Nextcloud server is "just" a personal, free software alternative to services like Dropbox or iCloud. You can set it up so your files are always accessible via the internet, from wherever you are, and share them with your friends. However, Nextcloud can do so much more.

In this article, I first describe what the Nextcloud server is and how to install and set it up on GNU/Linux systems. Then I explain how to configure the optional Nextcloud features, which may be the first steps toward making Nextcloud the shell of a complete replacement for many proprietary platforms existing today, such as Dropbox, Facebook and Skype.

Figure 1. A safe home for all your data that all your devices can reach—that's what Nextcloud wants to be.

Why Nextcloud and Not ownCloud?

Nextcloud, whose version 13 was released in February 2018, was spun off the popular ownCloud project in 2016, out of licensing and other disagreements. See the Resources section for some of the most complete feature-by-feature comparisons between Nextcloud and ownCloud. The most basic capabilities are still almost identical, two years after the fork. Some of the functions described here, however, are easier to integrate in Nextcloud than in its ancestor. In addition, my personal reasons for recommending Nextcloud over ownCloud are the following:

  • Licensing and pricing policies: all the official components of Nextcloud are both free as in freedom and as in free beer. You pay only for support and update services. That's not the case with ownCloud.
  • Long-term roadmap: at the moment, ownCloud seems to be more focused on corporate customers and more relevant for investors, while Nextcloud seems to be more focused on extending "direct" user-to-user communication and cooperation features.

Figure 2. The Original Nextcloud/ownCloud Functions: File and Picture Storage, Dropbox-Style

A Word on Security

Several good reasons to choose Nextcloud as the online home for your own files and data are related to security. I don't cover them in detail in this introductory article, but I want to mention at least some of them.

Nextcloud refuses continuous (that is, malicious) attempts to authenticate from any computer, except those whose IP addresses are included in "brute-force IP whitelists". (Of course, the best possible whitelist you can configure is an empty one.)

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Marco Fioretti