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7 resources for open education materials

Open Source - Mar, 08/23/2016 - 09:03

Shrinking school budgets and growing interest in open content has created an increased demand for open educational resources. According to the FCC, "The U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material." There is an alternative: openly licensed courseware. But where do you find this content and how can you share your own teaching and learning materials?

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Categorías: Open Source

Almost open: BIOS and firmware update tips for Linux users

Open Source - Mar, 08/23/2016 - 09:02

I suppose I'm lucky in that for more than 10 years my primary work environment has been Linux-based, yet all to often I've been forced to dig out a DOS or Windows image because I need to patch some BIOS device firmware. These days I don't own anything than has a valid Windows license, and even my 2008 white MacBook has spent most of its life running either Ubuntu or Fedora. Luckily most hardware manufacturers have started to provide bootable images for patching system firmware, and for enterprise-grade hardware they even provide Linux-ready tools.

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Categorías: Open Source

How to organize your scholarly research with Docear

Open Source - Mar, 08/23/2016 - 09:01

The Docear academic literature suite blends Freeplane and JabRef to make a comprehensive academic paper-writing application, with support for mind-mapping, citations, notes, and many other features.

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Categorías: Open Source

Open education is more than open content

Open Source - Mar, 08/23/2016 - 09:00

The famous playwright George Bernard Shaw once said: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

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Categorías: Open Source

FSF Job Opportunity: Web Developer

FSF - Lun, 08/22/2016 - 19:42

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a motivated and talented Boston-based individual to be our full-time Web Developer.

This position, reporting to the executive director, works closely with our sysadmin team to maintain and improve the FSF's Web presence. The FSF uses several different free software Web platforms in the course of its work, both internally and externally. These platforms are critical to work supporting the GNU Project, free software adoption, free media formats, and freedom on the Internet; and to opposing bulk surveillance, Digital Restrictions Management, software patents, and proprietary software.

We are looking for someone who is comfortable with keeping these systems up-to-date and working, as well as customizing them when necessary. While the main duties will relate to the backend systems, frontend experience with templates, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and design tools will be a big plus. The Web Developer will help lead major projects, such as the relaunch of https://www.fsf.org and migration of https://audio-video.gnu.org to GNU MediaGoblin. S/he will also be part of the team running the annual LibrePlanet conference as well as contribute to decisions about which new platforms to use or which existing ones to retire.

Examples of platforms maintained by the Web Developer include, but are not limited to:

  • CiviCRM
  • Drupal
  • MediaWiki
  • Plone / Zope
  • Ikiwiki
  • Request Tracker
  • Etherpad
  • CAS
  • GNU social
  • GNU MediaGoblin
  • Icecast

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. This position is also a good starting point for anyone who might be interested in other roles on our technical team in the future.

Benefits and Salary

This job is a union position that must be worked on-site at the FSF's downtown Boston office. An on-site interview will be required with the executive director and other team members. The salary is fixed at $51,646/year and is non-negotiable. Other benefits include:

  • conference travel opportunities,
  • 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).
Application Instructions

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

  • resume,
  • cover letter, and
  • links to any previous work online.

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 must be received by Thursday, September 1, 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. Women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

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

What do we mean when we talk about software 'alternatives'?

Open Source - Lun, 08/22/2016 - 09:03

The word alternative is one of those shifty terms, with a definition that changes depending on perspective. For instance, something that is alternative to one person is the norm for another. Generally, the term alternative is considered to be defined by the fact that it is not considered to be in the majority or the mainstream.

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Categorías: Open Source

How scientists are using digital badges

Open Source - Lun, 08/22/2016 - 09:02

The open source world pioneered the use of digital badges to reward skills, achievements, and to signal transparency and openness. Scientific journals should apply open source methods, and use digital badges to encourage transparency and openness in scientific publications.

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Categorías: Open Source

5 reasons professors should encourage students to get involved in open source projects

Open Source - Lun, 08/22/2016 - 09:01

I've been supporting student participation in humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS) projects for over a decade. I've seen students get motivated and excited by working in a professional community while they learn and mature professionally. Out of the many reasons for supporting student participation in open source, here are five of the most compelling reasons.

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Categorías: Open Source

App development, avoiding pitfalls, and more OpenStack news

Open Source - Lun, 08/22/2016 - 07:00

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

Google's new OS, Intel's open source VR headset, and more news

Open Source - Sáb, 08/20/2016 - 09:00

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look Google's new open source operating system, Intel's VR HoloLens device, Microsoft open sourcing PowerShell, and more.

Open source news roundup for August 14-20, 2016

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Categorías: Open Source

Top 5: What is copyleft? Top 5 (os) web servers, and more

Open Source - Vie, 08/19/2016 - 21:15

In this week's Top 5, we highlight an introduction to copyleft, the most popular open source web servers, the background story on a Certificate Authority called Let's Encrypt, the state of West Virgina turning to an open source game engine for their new school curriculum, and open source options for disk imaging.

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Categorías: Open Source

Writing an academic paper? Try Fidus Writer

Open Source - Vie, 08/19/2016 - 09:02

The Fidus Writer online editor is especially for academics who need to write papers in collaboration with other authors, and it includes special tools for managing citations, formulas, and bibliographies. If you're writing an academic paper by yourself, you have a lot of choices for tools to edit your document. Some of them even take care of making your footnotes and bibliographies come out in the right format. But writing collaboratively is harder, for lots of reasons.

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Categorías: Open Source

3 command-line music players for Linux

Open Source - Vie, 08/19/2016 - 09:01

One perception that Linux can't seem to shake off is that you can't do anything without using the command line. A number of people in my circle have been using Linux effectively for years, and they've yet to crack open a terminal window.

Having said that, working at the command line can make certain tasks faster and more efficient. If you're using older hardware, command-line tools are an excellent alternative to graphical applications since they don't use too many resources.

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Categorías: Open Source

How to build your own maker workbench

Open Source - Vie, 08/19/2016 - 09:00

Maker projects can be tough if you don't have a good workspace. For a long time, mine was an ESD mat on the dining room table. But as my projects (and family) grew, I was under increased pressure to find somewhere else to work. Really, the 3D printer is what put my wife over the edge (and rightfully so).

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Categorías: Open Source

Top 5 open source web servers

Open Source - Jue, 08/18/2016 - 09:03

Statistics show us that well over 80% of web applications and websites are powered by open source web servers. In this article, I look at the most popular open source web servers, and briefly review their history, technology, features, and more. I will also provide some tips so you can easily deploy one of the popular web servers yourself.

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Categorías: Open Source

Making documentation easy with Read the Docs

Open Source - Jue, 08/18/2016 - 09:02

In the Doc Dish column, we often have focused on writing documentation, but that's not the whole story. For what shall it profit a writer if they write the whole document and have no readers? Once documentation is written, it must get in front of the user so to be read. For anything beyond simple readme files, this can be a challenge; often documentation writers need design, hosting infrastructure, search tools, and so on. One project aims to make that a little easier.

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Categorías: Open Source

Building an open medical records system for the developing world

Open Source - Jue, 08/18/2016 - 09:01

How do you introduce a woman whose very life is the epitome of humanitarian efficacy? Judy Gichoya is a Kenyan medical doctor specializing in radiology and an experienced programmer who's accelerating the growth of OpenMRS.

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Categorías: Open Source

How collaborative should I be during strategic planning?

Open Source - Jue, 08/18/2016 - 09:00

The short answer is: very collaborative.

Strategic planning requires hearing from all levels of the organization; leaders, managers, co-workers, and employees. And at the end of the day, key stakeholders have to agree on the final mission, vision, and a set of objectives to align around and track priorities. When more stakeholders have input into the plan, then they are more likely to drive the implementation. That’s why collaboration is critical.

But if it were that simple to be collaborative, everyone would be doing it. So why don’t we?

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Categorías: Open Source

How to fire yourself: A founder's dilemma

Open Source - Mié, 08/17/2016 - 09:02

"Grant, would you rather see your ideas implemented, or be the one who tries to implement them—but who never has time to finish even one of them, much less the majority of them?" Those cogent words, paraphrased from ex-Entagen and current Systemhouse CEO Chris Bouton, a long-time friend, really struck a nerve.

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Categorías: Open Source

Flatpak: A new framework for building and distributing desktop applications

Open Source - Lun, 08/15/2016 - 09:03

Fragmentation is a longstanding Achilles heel for the Linux desktop. In a world of myriad incompatible distributions, popular apps are typically limited to one or two of the most popular distributions, and the creation of new apps is stifled. The impact of fragmentation on application developers offers a good example of the problem: To release an app for Linux, a developer must contend with different package formats and a baffling number of distributions, all of which have their own particular conventions.

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Categorías: Open Source