Open Source Weekly #2

I’ll write you once a week on open source, sustainability and avoiding complexity.
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Thank you everyone for your positive feedback! It’s really encouraging 🤗
To the enthusiastic person who emailed me about the PinePhone but never received a response, sorry, I inadvertently deleted your email before replying 🙃

Projects

Podman (Apache 2.0)
This is THE discovery of the week. I was more and more irritated by Docker’s ecosystem, which is becoming more closed day after day (need to create an account to download, and so on…). Podman is an alternative to Docker which does not follow the client/daemon architecture but instead interface directly with the containers. It has the same CLI arguments as Docker so you can just alias docker=podman.

COVID-19
This is the data used to power the Johns Hopkins University’s dashboard tracking the cases of COVID-19.

Metabase (AGPL 3.0)
This one is dedicated to my friend Marina: even when you work in Business Intelligence you can use open source tools. Basically Metabase allows you to create dashboards from queries for your different data sources (PostgreSQL, Google BigQuery, SQLite, SparkSQL…).

Krita (GPL 3.0)
GIMP is the most famous open source photoshop replacement but can sometimes feel too cluttered. Krita is an alternative based on Qt.

Micro (MIT)
You never succeeded at closing Vim? Nano is too primitive to edit code? Micro is a modern command line editor with syntax highlighting for 130 languages, macros, simple autocompletion, and intuitive default keybindings.

Podcasts (GPL v3.0)
Podcasts is GNOME’s official podcasts app, written in Rust and GTK+ 3. What I find really awesome with this app:

  1. it’s responsive (it can adapt to screen size), proving mobile Linux has a future
  2. flatpak’s permissions are decent (some apps have such bad permissions, it defeats completely the purpose of the sandboxing offered by flatpak)

Project Sandcastle (GPL 2.0)
This project aims to port Android to iPhones. iPhones have really good hardware but the software is so restricted that $30 feature phones have achieved feature parity. I’m not convinced by the usefulness of such a project, but it is still worth mentioning because it can help to reduce e-waste by giving a second life to old iPhones.


Articles

Farmers are hacking their tractors because of a repair ban (YouTube video ~12mins)
I’ve watched numerous documentaries explaining that some companies are imposing a repair ban on farmers equipment. It’s really a shame that they have to break the law to regain their right to repair and fight planned obsolescence.

Project management with GitLab
GitLab is not only superior to GitHub because it’s open source (disclaimer, I’m an happy paying customer), it is because above all it’s an entire project management and DevOps platform. In this article, the author describes a good workflow (I’ve adopted it) to manage projects on GitLab.

Raspberry Pi camera has a DRM chip
I REALLY love Raspberry Pi (to the point that I once wanted to replace my expensive laptop with a cheap, homemade portable Raspberry Pi), this news made me a little bit sad. Is it pure evil and greed? I don’t know.

A half-hour to learn Rust
According to the 2019 Stack Overflow survey, Rust is the most loved programming language. It is also notoriously hard to learn. If you know how to program in another language, this 30mins guide is really good at summarizing all you need to know to get started.


Jobs

Do you want to make a positive impact on the world by working for a company developing Open Source Software? Here are some open positions.


Did you know?

Free Software vs Open source 2/2: Philosophy

Last week we saw the technical differences between Open Source and Free Software licenses. This week we will see the difference of philosophy between those two movements.

The Free software movement thinks that code is the law of the digital world. Would you live in a society where laws are secret and you can be arrested or ostracised at any moment for breaking them? Obviously not, and this is why they (and I) think that each and every line of code must be open.

The people behind Open Source, on the other hand, think that it’s ok to keep some software closed, mostly in order to keep an edge over concurrents and secure revenus to continue to innovate. Some companies (like Google) use it briantly by commoditizing their complements to evince their concurrents (they killed almost all PaaS with Kubernetes, while they sell IaaS), but this is a story for another issue ;)

In summary, Free Software is about rights while Open Source is about business.

Last but not least, here is the personal journey of a famous Developer: Drew Devault who started to release his software under Open Source licenses but then switched to Free Software licenses.

If you want to learn more about the relationship between Free Software and Society, I recommend the book Free Software, Free Society, that is available for $0 online.


Have a great day ✌️
Sylvain

I’ll write you once a week on open source, sustainability and avoiding complexity.
You can subscribe by Email, RSS or Mastodon