Category Archives: opensource

Google Bridges Android, iOS Development With Flutter 1.0

Google has launched Flutter 1.0, the first stable release of its open source, cross-platform UI toolkit and SDK. "Flutter lets developers share a single code base across Android and iOS apps, with a focus on speed and maintaining a native feel," reports Ars Technica. From the report: Flutter enables cross-platform app code by sidestepping the UI frameworks of both Android and iOS. Flutter apps run on the Flutter rendering engine and Flutter framework, which are shipped with every app. The Flutter platform handles communication with each OS and can spit out Android and iOS binaries with native-looking widgets and scrolling behavior if desired. It's kind of like applying a "video game" style of development to apps: if you write for a game engine like Unity or Unreal, those engines are packaged with your game, allowing it to run on multiple different platforms. It's the same deal with Flutter. Flutter apps are written in Dart, and the SDK offers programmers nice quality-of-life benefits like the "stateful hot reload," a way to instantly make code changes appear in the emulator. For IDEs, there are plugins for Visual Studio Code, Android Studio, and IntelliJ. Apps come with their own set of Flutter UI widgets for Android and iOS, with the iOS widgets closely following Apple's guidelines and the Android widgets following Google's Material Design. Flutter is designed to be fast, with its custom app engine running on Google's hardware-accelerated Skia engine. This means 60fps apps on Android and iOS and a path for 120fps apps in the future. This is a bigger deal on Android than it is on iOS. The Google Ads app is already built on Flutter, which means Google "thinks Flutter is ready for prime time," writes Ron Amadeo. There's a list of other apps built on Flutter, too. Amadeo goes on to suggest that Flutter may be the path to Android's replacement. "Flutter ships its own app engine on Android and iOS, but in secret, Google is also developing an OS called 'Fuchsia' that runs these Flutter apps natively," writes Amadeo. "With Fuchsia, Google would switch from the Android apps written in Java to Flutter apps written in Dart..."

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Developer Misinterprets Linux Code of Conduct, Suggests Replacing F-Word with ‘Hug’

Seeking compliance with Linux's new Code of Conduct, Intel software engineer Jarkko Sakkinen recently requested comments on a set of changes to kernel code comments which Neowin described as "replacing the F-word with 'hug'. " 80 comments quickly followed on the Linux Kernel Maintainer's List: Several contributors responded to the alterations calling them insane. One wondered if Sakkinen was just trying to make a joke, and another called it censorship and said he'd refuse to apply any sort of patches like this to the code he's in charge of... Some of the post-change comments read "Some Athlon laptops have really hugged PST tables", "If you don't see why, please stay the hug away from my code", and "Only Sun can take such nice parts and hug up the programming interface". Eventually LWN.net publisher Jonathan Corbet deflated most of the controversy by pointing out that Linux's new Code of Conduct applies to future comments but clearly indicates that it does not apply explicitly to past comments. And Jarkko Sakkinen acknowledged that he had missed that part of the discussion.

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RISC-V and Linux Foundations Partner to Promote Open Source CPU

"The Linux Foundation and RISC-V Foundation announced yesterday a joint collaboration project to promote open source development and commercial adoption of the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA)," reports TechRepublic: Though some devices that integrate RISC-V will use real-time operating systems rather than Linux, the use of Linux in development will be instrumental as existing tools are being extended to support the RISC-V ISA when developing software on traditional computers. "This joint collaboration with the Linux Foundation will enable the RISC-V Foundation to offer more robust support and educational tools for the active RISC-V community, and enable operating systems, hardware implementations and development tools to scale faster," said Rick O'Connor, executive director of the RISC-V Foundation, in a press release. In many ways, RISC-V is a hardware equivalent to the open source principles that guide the Linux project, as the ISA is open source, is not subject to patent encumbrances, and is available under the BSD license. [L]icensing fees for Arm or MIPS ISAs -- both of which are fundamentally RISC in principle -- can be avoided by using RISC-V.... As alternatives like Alpha, SuperH, MIPS, and even Intel's own Itanium processors have fallen by the wayside, organizations using those ISAs in their products have had difficult adjustment periods transitioning away, while patent encumbrances largely prevent third parties from continuing development or providing drop-in replacements for those technologies. RISC-V's open nature prevents these issues, as it is possible for any organization to extend or customize their own implementation, and any organization can produce their own RISC-V processors. Manufacturers like how RISC-V CPUs aren't restricted to a single manufacturer, according to the article, which points out that NVIDIA and Western Digital have both announced plans to use RISC-V in some upcoming products. RISC-V is also "gaining popularity in Internet of Things, low-power, and embedded applications," and Western Digital even plans to ultimately transition its annual consumption of processors -- one billion cores per yer -- to RISC-V.

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Why Some Open-Source Companies Are Considering a More Closed Approach

There's no question that the concept of open-source software has revolutionized the enterprise software world, which spent billions of dollars fighting the mere idea for several years before accepting that a new future had arrived. But more than a few people are starting to wonder if the very nature of open-source software -- the idea that it can be used by pretty much anyone for pretty much anything -- is causing its developers big problems in the era of distributed cloud computing services. From a report: Two prominent open-source software companies have made the decision to alter the licenses under which some of their software is distributed, with the expressed intent of making it harder -- or impossible -- for cloud computing providers to offer a service based around that software. Two companies do not a make a movement. But as the cloud world packs its bags for Las Vegas and Amazon Web Services' re:Invent 2018 conference next week, underscoring that company's ability to set the agenda for the upcoming year, the intersection between open-source projects and cloud computing services is on many people's minds. "The way that I would think of it, the role that open source plays in creating commercial opportunities has changed," said Abby Kearns, executive director of the open-source Cloud Foundry Foundation. "We're going to see a lot more of this conversation happening than less. I would put it in a very blunt way: for many years we were suckers, and let them take what we developed and make tons of money on this." Redis Labs CEO Ofer Bengal doesn't mince words. His company, known for its open-source in-memory database (used by American Express, Home Depot, and Dreamworks among others), has been around for eight years, an eternity in the fast-changing world of modern enterprise software. [...] "Ninety-nine percent of the contributions to Redis were made by Redis Labs," Bengal said. There's a longstanding myth in the open-source world that projects are driven by a community of contributors, but in reality, paid developers contribute the bulk of the code in most modern open-source projects, as Puppet founder Luke Kanies explained in our story earlier this year.

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Uber Joins Linux Foundation Cementing Commitment To Open Source Tools

At the 2018 Uber Open Summit, Uber announced it was joining the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member, making a firm commitment to using and contributing to open source tools. TechCrunch reports: Uber CTO Thuan Pham sees the Linux Foundation as a place for companies like his to nurture and develop open source projects. "Open source technology is the backbone of many of Uber's core services and as we continue to mature, these solutions will become ever more important," he said in a blog post announcing the partnership. "Uber has made significant investments in shared software development and community collaboration through open source over the years, including contributing the popular open source project Jaeger, a distributed tracing system, to the Linux Foundation's Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2017," an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. As the report mentions, it took the ride-hailing service a long time for them to join the Linux Foundation. "Uber has been long known for making use of open source in its core tools working on over 320 open source projects and repositories from 1500 contributors involving over 70,000 commits, according to data provided by the company," reports TechCrunch.

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