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Open Source

Is Apache OpenOffice Finally On the Way Out? (apache.org) 137

Reader JImbob0i0 writes: After almost another year without a release and another major CVE leaving users vulnerable for that year the Chairman of the Project Management Committee has started public discussions on what it will entail to retire the project, following the Apache Board showing concern at the poor showing.
It's been a long battle which would have been avoided if Oracle had not been so petty. Did this behaviour actually help get momentum in the community underway though? What ifs are always hard to properly answer. Hopefully this long drawn out death rattle will finally come to a close and the wounds with LibreOffice can heal with the last few contributors to AOO joining the rest of the community.

Operating Systems

OpenBSD 6.0 Released (sdtimes.com) 94

LichtSpektren writes: Version 6.0 of the free operating system OpenBSD has just been released. This release features much improved hardware and armv7 support, a new tool called proot for building software ports in an isolated chroot environment, W^X that is now strictly enforced by default, and removal of official support for Linux emulation, usermount, and systrace. The release announcement can be read here. The release is OpenBSD's 40th release on CD-ROM and 41st release via FTP/HTTP.
AMD

New Intel and AMD Chips Will Only Support Windows 10 (pcworld.com) 585

An anonymous reader writes: Buried in the announcement of the new Kaby Lake (seventh-generation) processors and a rash of incoming notebooks set to use them is the confirmation that they will have a Windows 10 future. Microsoft has been warning people for ages that Kaby Lake will not run on anything older than Windows 10, and it looks like AMD's upcoming Zen chip will be going the same way. Microsoft said, "As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support. This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon." "We are committed to working with Microsoft and our ecosystem partners to help ensure a smooth transition given these changes to Microsoft's Windows support policy," an Intel spokesperson said. "No, Intel will not be updating Win 7/8 drivers for 7th Gen Intel Core [Kaby Lake] per Microsoft's support policy change." An AMD representative was equally neutral. "AMD's processor roadmap is fully aligned with Microsoft's software strategy," AMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster said, via a company spokeswoman. Slashdot reader MojoKid via HotHardware has some more details on Intel's Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Series Processors for those yearning to learn more.
Software

Apple To Remove Abandoned Apps From The App Store (techcrunch.com) 67

Apple has issued an email to its community of developers indicating that it will remove apps that are outdated or no longer work. "We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don't follow current review guidelines, or are outdated," Apple wrote. TechCrunch reports: In addition to search ads and extensions in many different apps in iOS 10, Apple plans to remove all these useless apps that clutter the App Store search pages. And Apple is not going to stop at abandoned apps. The company will also fight spammy app names. For instance, if you search for "Instagram" on the App Store, one of the first results is an app that is called "[app name] Photo Collage, Picture Editor, Pic Grid, F... and then it gets cut off. With this SEO strategy, app developers can trick App Store searches. If you search for "pic collage," chances are you're going to find this app. Apple wants clean names to make App Store searches relevant again. From now on, app names have to be shorter than 50 characters. Apple will start reviewing old apps on September 7. Apps that crash on launch will be removed immediately. Other apps will get a notice from Apple first. And if you don't update over the next 30 days, your app will be removed -- you'll be able to submit your app again though. You can view Apple's FAQ if you have any unanswered questions.
Programming

400,000 GitHub Repositories, 1 Billion Files, 14TB of Code: Spaces or Tabs? (medium.com) 391

Here's a debate that refuses to die: given a choice, would you rather use spaces or tabs? An episode of Silicon Valley last season had a bit on this. Now we have more data to analyze people's behavior. A Google developer has looked into 400,000 GitHub repositories -- 1 billion files, 14 terabytes to find that programmers with interest in specific languages do seem to prefer either tabs or spaces. Spoiler alert: space wins, like all the time.
AI

Baidu Open-Sources Its Deep Learning Tools (theverge.com) 27

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all done it -- and now Baidu's doing it, too. The Chinese tech giant has open sourced one of its key machine learning tools, PaddlePaddle, offering the software up to the global community of AI researchers. Baidu's big claim for PaddlePaddle is that it's easier to use than rival programs. Like Amazon's DSSTNE and Microsoft's CNTK, PaddlePaddle offers a toolkit for deep learning, but Baidu says comparable software is designed to work in too many different situations, making it less approachable to newcomers. Xu Wei, the leader of Baidu's PaddlePaddle development, tells The Verge that a machine translation program written with Baidu's software needs only a quarter of the amount of code demanded by other deep learning tools. Baidu is hoping this ease of use will make PaddlePaddle more attractive to computer scientists, and draw attention away from machine learning tools released by Google and Facebook. Baidu says PaddlePaddle is already being used by more than 30 of its offline and online products and services, covering sectors from search to finance to health. Xu said that if one of its machine learning tools became too monopolistic, it would be like "trying to use one programming language to code all applications." Xu doesn't believe that any one company will dominate this area. "Different tools have different strengths," he said. "The deep learning ecosystem will end up having different tools optimized for different uses. Just like no programming language truly dominates software development."
Java

Slashdot Asks: What Are Your Favorite Java 8 Features? (infoworld.com) 427

New submitter liveedu shares with us a report from InfoWorld: When Java 8 was released two years ago, the community graciously accepted it, seeing it as a huge step toward making Java better. Its unique selling point is the attention paid to every aspect of the programming language, including JVM (Java Virtual Machine), the compiler, and other help-system improvements. Java is one of the most searched programming languages according to TIOBE index for July 2016, where Java ranks number one. Its popularity is also seen on LiveCoding, a social live coding platform for engineers around the world, where hundreds and thousands of Java projects are broadcasted live. InfoWorld highlights five Java 8 features for developers in their report: lambda expressions, JavaScript Nashorn, date/time APIs, Stream API and concurrent accumulators. But those features only scratch the surface. What makes Java 8 amazing in your opinion? What are your favorite Java 8 features that help you write high quality code? You can view the entire list of changes made to the programming language here.
Software

Companies Are Developing More Apps With Fewer Developers (fortune.com) 163

Fortune reports that the "yawning gap in tech skills" has resulted in a surprising shift in supply and demand in the software industry. And in many companies now, a growing trend of developer jobs being given to non-developers can be seen. From the article: That's because a relatively new technology, known as low-code or no-code platforms, is now doing a big chunk of the work that high-priced human talent used to do. Low-code platforms are designed so that people with little or no coding or software engineering background -- known in the business as "citizen developers" -- can create apps, both for use in-house and for clients. Not surprisingly, the low-code platform industry, made up of about 40 small companies (so far), is growing like crazy. A recent Forrester Research report put its total revenues at about $1.7 billion in 2015, a figure that's projected to balloon to $15 billion in the next four years. Low-code-platform providers, notes Forrester, are typically seeing sales increases in excess of 50% a year.The report cites QuickBase, a company whose low-code platforms are used by half of the Fortune 500 companies, as an example. Its CEO Allison Mnookin says that almost any employee can now do most or all of the same work that developers used to do. Mnookin adds that there's a big advantage in this. "Opening an app's development to the non-techies who need the app removes misunderstandings between the IT department and other employees about what the end user needs."
Programming

C Programming Language Hits a 15-Year Low On The TIOBE Index (businessinsider.com) 232

Gamoid writes: The venerable C programming language hit a 15-year low on the TIOBE Index, perhaps because more mobile- and web-friendly languages like Swift and Go are starting to eat its lunch. "The C programming language has a score of 11.303%, which is its lowest score ever since we started the TIOBE index back in 2001," writes Paul Jansen, manager of TIOBE Index. With that said, C is still the second most popular programming language in the world, behind only Java. Also worth noting as mentioned by Matt Weinberger via Business Insider, "C doesn't currently have a major corporate sponsor; Oracle makes a lot of money from Java; Apple pushes both Swift and Objective-C for building iPhone apps. But no big tech company is getting on stage and pushing C as the future of development. So C's problems could be marketing as much as anything."
Music

What Jonathan Coulton Learned From The Technology Industry (geekwire.com) 88

In a new article on GeekWire, Jonathan Coulton explains why he left a comfortable software development job in 2005 to launch a career as an online singer-songwriter. But he also describes the things he learned from the tech industry. "These guys were doing this thing they wanted to do, this thing they felt competent doing. They didn't chase after things, and they worked hard, but it was a business they created because they enjoyed it. They tried to minimize the things they didn't want to do. It wasn't about getting rich; it was about getting satisfied...

"I wanted to a set a good example to my children. I wanted to be the person I wanted to be, someone willing to take chances -- a person who didn't live with enormous regrets..." Within the first year, he had not replaced his software salary, but had enough success to cover his babysitter and to keep food on the table.

When he was younger -- in the pre-internet days -- "It was very unclear how to become a musician," Coulton explains. But somehow rolling his own career path eventually led to a life which includes everything from guest appearances on radio shows to an annual cruise with his fans (this year featuring Aimee Mann, Wil Wheaton, and Redshirts author John Scalzi).
Databases

100 Arrested In New York Thanks To Better Face-Recognition Technology (arstechnica.com) 85

New York doubled the number of "measurement points" used by their facial recognitation technology this year, leading to 100 arrests for fraud and identity theft, plus another 900 open cases. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In all, since New York implemented facial recognition technology in 2010, more than 14,000 people have been hampered trying to get multiple licenses. The newly upgraded system increases the measurement points of a driver's license picture from 64 to 128.

The DMV said this vastly improves its chances of matching new photographs with one already in a database of 16 million photos... "Facial recognition plays a critical role in keeping our communities safer by cracking down on individuals who break the law," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "New York is leading the nation with this technology, and the results from our use of this enhanced technology are proof positive that its use is vital in making our roads safer and holding fraudsters accountable."

At least 39 US states use some form of facial recognition software, and New York says their new system also "removes high-risk drivers from the road," stressing that new licenses will no longer be issued until a photo clears their database.
Communications

Facebook Is Testing Autoplaying Video With Sound (thenextweb.com) 152

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is testing a "feature" that autoplays video clips on your feed with sound. It's not a very big test, but there's a possibility the company could roll it out to a larger group of users. The Next Web reports: "The company is currently trying two methods of getting people to watch video with sound in Australia: the aforementioned autoplaying, and an unmute button on the lower right corner of videos, like Vine videos on a desktop. The latter certainly sounds more reasonable; the last thing you want is to be checking Facebook quickly during a meeting or class, and suddenly have your phone blaring out an advert because you happened to stop on a video. Thankfully, you can disable the 'feature' from your settings, but the point is there's nothing wrong with the current opt-in approach, especially considering how many companies are embracing video captioning, and that Facebook even has its own auto-caption tool for advertisers." "We're running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start," a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable Australia. "For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself. This is one of several tests we're running as we work to improve the video experience for people on Facebook."
Programming

20% of Scientific Papers On Genes Contain Conversion Errors Caused By Excel, Says Report (winbeta.org) 349

An anonymous reader writes from a report via WinBeta: A new report from scientists Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren, and Assam El-Osta says that 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel. In the scientific article, titled "Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature," article's abstract section, the scientists explain: "The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions."

It's easy to see why Excel might have problems with certain gene names when you see the "gene symbols" that the scientists use as examples: "For example, gene symbols such as SEPT2 (Septin 2) and MARCH1 [Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase] are converted by default to '2-Sep' and '1-Mar', respectively. Furthermore, RIKEN identifiers were described to be automatically converted to floating point numbers (i.e. from accession '2310009E13' to '2.31E+13'). Since that report, we have uncovered further instances where gene symbols were converted to dates in supplementary data of recently published papers (e.g. 'SEPT2' converted to '2006/09/02'). This suggests that gene name errors continue to be a problem in supplementary files accompanying articles. Inadvertent gene symbol conversion is problematic because these supplementary files are an important resource in the genomics community that are frequently reused. Our aim here is to raise awareness of the problem."
You can view the scientific paper in its entirety here.
Canada

Ashley Madison Security Protocols Violated Canada, Austrialia Privacy Laws (www.cbc.ca) 29

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said Tuesday that the Canada-based online dating and social networking service Ashely Madison used inadequate privacy and security technology while marketing itself as a discreet and secure way for consenting adults to have affairs. CBC.ca reports: "In a report Tuesday, the privacy watchdog says the Toronto-based company violated numerous privacy laws in Canada and abroad in the era before a massive data breach exposed confidential information from their clients to hackers. The hack stole correspondence, identifying details and even credit card information from millions of the site's users. The resulting scandal cost the company about a quarter of its annual revenues from irate customers who demanded refunds and cancelled their accounts. Working with a similar agency in Australia, the privacy group says the company knew that its security protocols were lacking but didn't do enough to guard against being hacked. The company even adorned its website with the logo of a 'trusted security award' -- a claim the company admits it fabricated." The report found that "poor habits such as inadequate authentication processes and sub-par key and password management practices were rampant at the company" and that "much of the company's efforts to monitor its own security were 'focused on detecting system performance issues and unusual employee requests for decryption of sensitive user data.'" What's more is that Ashley Madison continued to store personal information of its users even after some of which had deleted or deactivated their account(s). These people then had their information included in databases published online after the hack.

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