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FSF Job Opportunity: Senior GNU/Linux Systems Administrator

FSF - Vie, 09/23/2016 - 22:24

This position, reporting to the executive director and working closely with the president, is an opportunity to make key contributions to the organization that started the GNU Project, launched the free software movement, and authored the GNU General Public License. The position is part of a technical team including a counterpart Senior Systems Administrator, a Web Developer, and many volunteers, tasked with maintaining and improving the FSF's technology infrastructure.

The ideal candidate will be a well-rounded GNU/Linux systems administrator who thrives on constant broad-based learning and problem-solving. They will also be familiar with the free software community and how it works; the position includes frequent contact and collaboration with volunteers and many GNU developers. Together, the Senior Systems Administrators have a great deal of influence over technology decisions within the FSF, and do crucial work empowering thousands of others to develop free software.

Examples of job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • be a lead voice in the FSF's software system decision-making and policy positions in technical areas;

  • install and maintain fully free GNU/Linux systems on servers, desktops, laptops, and embedded devices;

  • support GNU developers and FSF representatives in their use of FSF-owned systems;

  • monitor and improve system security and network infrastructure;

  • spec, purchase, and maintain new equipment;

  • coordinate and mentor interns and volunteer systems administrators both in the office and remotely;

  • share in the on-call rotation to deal with core system emergencies;

  • blog and speak about the technologies used at the FSF;

  • run the tech at our annual LibrePlanet conference;

  • pitch in to help with organization-wide projects like our major fundraising activities;

  • fix bugs and submit patches upstream for the software we use, and

  • occasionally help design, write, and release new software when existing software doesn't fit the bill.

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in a related field, at least five years of experience as a GNU/Linux systems administrator, and highlight their familiarity with any of the following:

  • apt-based GNU/Linux distributions;

  • TCP/IP, BGP, DNS, FTP, NFS, DHCP, iptables;

  • Libreboot and Coreboot;

  • Xen, KVM, CFEngine, RAID;

  • Drupal, Nginx, Apache2, CiviCRM, Plone, Zope, Mediawiki, Ikiwiki, Request Tracker, CAS, SQL, Squid;

  • Python, Bash, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby;

  • git, SVN, CVS;

  • Exim, Spamassassin, GNU Mailman; and

  • any physical hardware maintenance and hacking.

Because the FSF works globally and seeks to have our materials distributed in as many languages as possible, multilingual candidates will have an advantage. With our small staff of thirteen, each person makes a clear contribution. We work hard, but offer a humane and fun work environment at an office located in the heart of downtown Boston. The FSF is a mature but growing organization that provides great potential for advancement; existing staff get the first chance at any new job openings.

Benefits and Salary

This job is a union position that must be worked on-site at the FSF's downtown Boston office. The salary is fixed at $62,587/year and is non-negotiable. An on-site interview will be required with the executive director and other team members. Other benefits include:

  • full family health coverage through Blue Cross/Blue Shield's HMO Blue program,
  • subsidized dental plan,
  • four weeks of paid vacation annually,
  • seventeen paid holidays annually,
  • public transit commuting cost reimbursement,
  • 403(b) program through TIAA-CREF,
  • yearly cost-of-living pay increases (based on government guidelines), and
  • conference travel opportunities.
Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via email to hiring@fsf.org. The email must contain the subject line "Senior Systems Administrator." A complete application should include:

  • cover letter,
  • resume, and
  • links to any published free software work.

All materials must be in a free format. Email submissions that do not follow these instructions will probably be overlooked. No phone calls, please.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To guarantee consideration, submit your application by Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 9:00am EDT.

The FSF is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or any other legally protected status recognized by federal, state or local law. We value diversity in our workplace.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. We are based in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

Categorías: Software Libre

Top 5: Disk space management on Linux, Container orchestration with Kubernetes, and more

Open Source - Vie, 09/23/2016 - 21:10

In this week's top 5, we highlight a guide to Logical Volume Management on Linux, container orchestration systems, successful project manager tips, writing with bibisco, and a new My Linux Story.

Top 5 articles of the week

5. Dear younger self, here are four tips for reaching your goals


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Categorías: Open Source

4 command-line graphics tools for Linux

Open Source - Vie, 09/23/2016 - 09:02

Images and the command line. They seem an unlikely pair, don't they? There are people who'll tell you that the only way you can manipulate and view graphics is with GUI applications like GIMP.

For the most part, they're wrong. Command-line image tools do much of what their GUI counterparts can, and they can do it just as well. Sometimes, especially when dealing with multiple image files or working on an older computer, command-line tools can do a better job.


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Categorías: Open Source

The must-have features for Perl 6

Open Source - Vie, 09/23/2016 - 09:01

Perl 6 came out in general release around Christmas 2015, and since then I've heard a lot of questions about it, both from people in and out of the Perl community. Jeff Goff is a longtime member of the Perl community and a good friend who's been heavily involved in Perl 6 development, so I asked him a few of the questions from what I've been hearing others ponder.


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Categorías: Open Source

7 things you need to know for WordPress development

Open Source - Vie, 09/23/2016 - 09:00

WordPress never fails to surprise the web development community. Over time, it has evolved into one of the best Content Management Systems (CMS) out there. And currently, it powers more than 25% of the web. Besides its popularity, WordPress is also known for usability and an easy-to-develop environment.

Some basics

WordPress is an open source CMS licensed under GNU GPLv2.


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Categorías: Open Source

A Linux user's guide to Logical Volume Management

Open Source - Jue, 09/22/2016 - 14:18

Managing disk space has always been a significant task for sysadmins. Running out of disk space used to be the start of a long and complex series of tasks to increase the space available to a disk partition. It also required taking the system off-line.


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Categorías: Open Source

A brief history of Drupal from 1.0 to 8.0

Open Source - Jue, 09/22/2016 - 09:02

Drupal began as a forum for a few friends to monitor their shared Internet connection, which "was expensive and being spliced between them," according to Jared Whitehead's The rise of Drupal and the fall of closed sourceToday, it's one of the most popular content management systems out there, competing with powerhouses like WordPress.


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Categorías: Open Source

How do you get programmers to join your project?

Open Source - Jue, 09/22/2016 - 09:00

This month on The Queue, josephj from LinuxQuestions.org asks:

How can I get programmers to join our project?

I inherited a project coded in $programming_language when the original developer quit and no one else stepped forward. It is currently hosted on GitHub and has a GPL 3 license.

It's a tool I use every day and I don't want to see it die. I know very little $programming_language and very little GUI programming, so I can't maintain it myself.


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Categorías: Open Source

Today's #OpenOrgChat: Open organizations and accountability

Open Source - Jue, 09/22/2016 - 09:00

Join us later today for an #OpenOrgChat about "Open Organizations and Accountability"! As usual, we'll gather around the #OpenOrgChat hashtag at 2 p.m. Eastern (14:00 ET/18:00 UTC).

Follow OpenOrgBook and the chat's live stream for updates!


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Categorías: Open Source

Containing container chaos with Kubernetes

Open Source - Mié, 09/21/2016 - 09:03

You've made the switch to Linux containers. Now you're trying to figure out how to run containers in production, and you're facing a few issues that were not present during development. You need something more than a few well-prepared Dockerfiles to move to production. What you need is something to manage all of your containers: a container orchestration system.


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Categorías: Open Source

Checking in on the Taiga project management tool

Open Source - Mié, 09/21/2016 - 09:01

Taiga is one of the most popular open source project management tools out there right now. It is known for being usable and having a beautiful interface, and Opensource.com listed it in both the Top 5 open source project management tools in 2015 and the Top 11 project management tools for 2016.


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Categorías: Open Source

Free Software Foundation statement on 2016-09-16

FSF - Sáb, 09/17/2016 - 05:05

This morning, an open email circulated in which the author said that the Free Software Foundation ended a relationship with one of our employees for discriminatory reasons.

Although it is our usual policy not to comment publicly on internal personnel matters for privacy reasons, we felt it necessary to state unequivocally that the allegations made in that email are untrue.

It is part of our job to celebrate and improve the diversity of the free software world. We have strong anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to help provide a safe and supportive working environment. We uphold a safe space policy at all FSF events, and we provide scholarships to help people of different identities, and from different regions, attend. The FSF's mission is to defend the freedom of all computer users.

While we understand that it is difficult whenever an employment relationship ends, the suggestion that the separation was a result of discriminatory animus is unfounded. In the interest of protecting the privacy of all involved, we expect this to be our last public statement on the matter. We wish our former employee the best in all future endeavors.

Categorías: Software Libre

Free Software Foundation stresses necessity of full user control over Internet-connected devices

FSF - Vie, 09/09/2016 - 21:09

Most IoT systems consist of three components:

1) The "smart" device itself, capable of communicating via a protocol such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth or IEEE 802.11, running either a full operating system (commonly based on the kernel Linux) or an embedded OS designed for this purpose.

2) A remote service provided by the device manufacturer. The smart device communicates with this service in order to provide information about its current state and in order to provide an interface for users to control the device.

3) An application designed for mobile platforms which interacts with the remote service and allows control of the smart device regardless of whether the user is currently located near the device or not.

Devices that use the Zigbee or Z-Wave protocols also typically require a local "hub," a device running interface software that bridges the devices to the remote service.

There are multiple significant security concerns around this design pattern. The first is that either the smart devices themselves or the hub that they communicate with require Internet access. Depending on local network configuration, this may result in the devices being visible to the public Internet. These devices inherently provide a service of some description in order to permit their integration with the remote services, but frequently also provide additional services for directly local communication and often include further unnecessary services used for diagnostics during the design and production stage (such as MicroCell -- the same backdoor was present on a series of baby monitors shipped by a major manufacturer).

These devices are often locked down in such a way that it is impossible for the user to replace the software that they run. These devices are also often abandoned by their manufacturers after a short space of time due to them being either discontinued or replaced by newer devices. Users who continue using these devices are thus at significant risk, without any real chance of security updates being made available and frequently without any notification that any security issues have been identified. If any issues are identified, then without the permission of the manufacturer it is impossible for any third party to provide aid to said users.

This concern is frequently mitigated by typical home network setups that restrict external access to internal devices. But smart devices inherently require external access to be possible, and this functionality is provided by the remote service. The smart device connects to the remote service and awaits commands -- users in turn connect to the remote service and send commands.

These remote services are themselves frequently insecure. Authentication details are often sent in plaintext, allowing anyone who can observe network traffic to obtain credentials. Some systems involve no authentication at all (for instance). This makes it possible for a malicious individual to gain control over home devices, in some cases potentially even being able to execute arbitrary code on said devices and gain access to the internal network.

If vendors are unwilling or unable to fix these security issues, users are left in an unfortunate position. They can either retain the convenience provided by the smart devices they paid for, or they can remove them and attempt to obtain a refund. The worst case scenario is perhaps when the vendor unilaterally decides to shut down the remote service, rendering the devices useless.

Another consideration is the behavior of the manufacturer itself. Manufacturers may not always act in the interests of their customers, doing things ranging from invasive collection of personal data to intrusive advertising or even disabling device functionality remotely. Even if ostensibly permitted by terms of service, users should be able to protect themselves against such scenarios.

There is an alternative. Third-party free software alternatives to the pre-installed software are common in certain market segments, such as home routers (libreCMC, OpenWrt and DD-WRT, for instance). Security vulnerabilities can be mitigated by replacing the original software with a functional equivalent provided by a third party. Unfortunately, many IoT devices are designed such that the software can only be replaced by the manufacturer. The software will only communicate with the manufacturer's remote service -- no third party can provide a functional equivalent.

To ensure that users do not end up in a situation where they are left choosing between security and convenience, or left with no ability whatsoever to use the devices they bought, it is vital that these devices be ultimately under the control of the user. The user should be able to replace the software on the device in order to fix security vulnerabilities. The user should be able to modify the software on the device such that it communicates with a different remote service that provides strong security guarantees. The user should not be left with no option other than to discard the device and replace it with a new version.

In order for this to be possible, it is necessary to know how the devices communicate with the remote server. Unfortunately this is frequently in the form of a proprietary protocol that lacks any public documentation, and as such it is a significant engineering effort for anyone to implement a replacement service. Several well-known protocols exist for controlling remote devices (such as MQTT) and re-using these rather than proprietary protocols makes it easier to both identify whether any security issues exist (being forced to reverse engineer a protocol may result in missing subtle aspects that cause security issues) and provide alternative implementations in the event of significant security flaws being discovered or the vendor choosing to cease support of the remote services.

To that end, we encourage the adoption of practices that:

a) Ensure that documented and freely-implementable (rather than patent-encumbered) protocols be used for communication between smart devices and remote services, and

b) Ensure that owners of smart devices are able to replace their software with implementations provided by either themselves or third parties in order to prevent the vendor being a single point of failure in either service

c) Strongly encourage the use of free "as in freedom" software throughout the entire stack, making it easier for security researchers to identify issues, third parties to provide alternative implementations and users to retain as much control as possible over devices that will become increasingly integrated into their homes and lives.

Matthew Garret is a member of the FSF's board of directors.

This was submitted in response to the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity request for information about current and future states of cybersecurity in the digital economy.

Categorías: Software Libre

FSF Job Opportunity: Copyright and Licensing Associate

FSF - Mar, 08/30/2016 - 20:05

This position, reporting to the executive director, works as part of our licensing and compliance team to protect and promote the use of freely licensed works of software and documentation. For over twenty years, the FSF's Licensing and Compliance Lab has been the preeminent community resource for information about free licensing. From enforcement of the GNU General Public License, to certifying software and devices as fully free, to the writing and distribution of licensing-related educational materials, the team does work vital for the free software movement.

For this position, we are looking for a strong writer who is familiar with free software copyright licenses, and understands the basics of how software is written, compiled, and distributed. Neither a legal nor computer science education is required, but both would be a plus. Ideal candidates will also have experience with administrative tasks and record keeping.

Examples of job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • diligent and careful filing, archiving, and recording of all the FSF's copyright assignment data (both electronic and paper),

  • daily correspondence with GNU and other free software developers from around the world,

  • reviewing hardware devices for our Respects Your Freedom certification program,

  • investigating violations of free licenses on FSF-copyrighted works,

  • public speaking as an FSF representative,

  • writing articles and materials on licensing-related issues and news,

  • helping to organize and facilitate educational licensing events both online and in-person,

  • working with volunteers and mentoring interns, and

  • pitching in to help with organization-wide projects like our major fundraising activities and the annual LibrePlanet conference.

Because the FSF works globally and seeks to have our materials distributed in as many languages as possible, multilingual candidates will have an advantage. With our small staff of thirteen, each person makes a clear contribution. We work hard, but offer a humane and fun work environment at an office located in the heart of downtown Boston. The FSF is a mature but growing organization that provides great potential for advancement; existing staff get the first chance at any new job openings.

Benefits and Salary

This job is a union position that must be worked on-site at the FSF's downtown Boston office. The salary is fixed at $51,646/year and is non-negotiable. Other benefits include:

  • full family health coverage through Blue Cross/Blue Shield's HMO Blue program,
  • subsidized dental plan,
  • four weeks of paid vacation annually,
  • seventeen paid holidays annually,
  • public transit commuting cost reimbursement,
  • 403(b) program through TIAA-CREF,
  • yearly cost-of-living pay increases (based on government guidelines), and
  • conference travel opportunities.
Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via email to hiring@fsf.org. The email must contain the subject line "Copyright and Licensing Associate". A complete application should include:

  • resume,
  • cover letter, and
  • a published writing sample.

All materials must be in a free format. Email submissions that do not follow these instructions will probably be overlooked. No phone calls, please.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To guarantee consideration, submit your application by Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 17:00 EDT.

The FSF is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or any other legally protected status recognized by federal, state or local law. We value diversity in our workplace.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. We are based in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

Categorías: Software Libre

Python vs. C/C++ in embedded systems

Open Source - Lun, 08/29/2016 - 09:03

The C/C++ programming languages dominate embedded systems programming, though they have a number of disadvantages. Python, on the other hand, has many strengths that make it a great language for embedded systems. Let's look at the pros and cons of each, and why you should consider Python for embedded programming.


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Categorías: Open Source

You don't need a green thumb with this farming robot

Open Source - Lun, 08/29/2016 - 09:02

FarmBot is a robotic open hardware system that assists anyone with a small plot of land and a desire to grow food with planting, watering, soil testing, and weeding. It uses a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and other awesome components, including weather-resistant materials.

Founder Rory Aronson talks details with me in this interview, but make sure you watch this video.


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Categorías: Open Source

Free education resources from Curriki and Sankoré wikis

Open Source - Lun, 08/29/2016 - 09:01

From the days of Gutenberg, technology has been linked to education. Curriki and Sankoré use open source to bring high-quality education to people who need it, and otherwise cannot access it.


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Categorías: Open Source

Git hooks, a cloud by the numbers, and more OpenStack news

Open Source - Lun, 08/29/2016 - 09:00

Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

OpenStack around the web

There is a lot of interesting stuff being written about OpenStack. Here's a sampling from some of our favorites:


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Categorías: Open Source

Facebook's computer vision tool, Linux at 25, and more news

Open Source - Sáb, 08/27/2016 - 09:00

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Facebook releasing more open source code, examining the success of Linux on its 25th birthday, Uganda's government moving to embrace open source, and more.

Open source news roundup for August 21-27, 2016


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Categorías: Open Source

Top 5: Alternatives to Office 365, Why do you love Linux?, and more

Open Source - Vie, 08/26/2016 - 21:15

In this week's Top 5, we highlight Docear for researchers, one Linux user's journey in keeping modern firmwares current, 25 reasons our readers love Linux, three command-line music players, and open source web-based office suite alternatives.

Top 5 articles of the week

5.How to organize your scholarly research with Docear


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Categorías: Open Source

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