Development Suddenly Resumes on Linux Distro CutefishOS

Last month fans were worried about CuteFish OS, with its domain timing out, emails going unanswered, and a Twitter feed that hadn’t posted anything since March.

But “now it looks like the original development team behind CuteFishOS is coming back to life,” according to this report from The New Stack — with a Reddit user planning a fork now saying that’s been put on hold, since “I’d be duplicating work for no reason.”

Last Sunday — on July 31st — CuteFish’s official repository on GitHub was updated with a new announcement in its profile. “Your Favorite CutefishOS are back now!” [sic]

It also promised “New website in the works (coming soon).” and pointed to a new URL.

You can see the changes happening right before your eyes. That website’s domain — — was registered just ten days ago, on Thursday, July 28th — and it’s still a work in progress. On Thursday afternoon it was pointing to a non-English-language page hosted on the Pakistani cloud platform QCloud — but by Thursday night it was showing a testing page for a NGNIX HTTP server running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

And there’s now also a new README file in CuteFish’s GitHub repository listing five items as “progressing.” The first item is “official website preparation,” but other items include collating the previous pull requests and issues, “fix the existing problem,” and eventually adding new features. The sole contributor to the repository appears to be a Chinese coder going under the name of Biukang.

“We are preparing for the restart of CutefishOS,” says Biukang’s GitHub profile now.

But the article still hails last month’s discussion of a fork as “a chance to see open source communities mobilizing into action just to fill a perceived void.”

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NVIDIA Publishes 73k Lines Worth Of 3D Header Files For Fermi Through Ampere GPUs

In addition to NVIDIA being busy working on transitioning to an open-source GPU kernel driver, yesterday they made a rare public open-source documentation contribution… NVIDIA quietly published 73k lines worth of header files to document the 3D classes for their Fermi through current-generation Ampere GPUs. Phoronix’s Michael Larabel reports: To NVIDIA’s Open-GPU-Docs portal they have posted the 73k lines worth of 3D class header files covering RTX 30 “Ampere” GPUs back through the decade-old GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” graphics processors. These header files define the classes used to program the 3D engine of the GPU, the texture header and texture sampler layout are documented, and other 3D-related programming bits. Having all of these header files will be useful to the open-source Nouveau driver developers to save on their reverse-engineering and guessing/uncertainty over certain bits.

NVIDIA’s Open GPU Kernel Driver is for only GeForce RTX 20 “Turing” series and newer, so it’s great seeing NVIDIA now posting this documentation going back to Fermi which is squarely to help the open-source community / Nouveau. […] The timing of NVIDIA opening these 3D classes back to Fermi is interesting and potentially tied to SIGGRAPH 2022 happening this week. Those wanting to grab NVIDIA’s latest open-source GPU documentation can find it via this GitHub repository.

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New Linux Foundation Podcast: ‘Untold Stories of Open Source’

The nonprofit Linux Foundation pays Linus Torvalds’ salary and supports many other open source projects. But they also launched a new podcast series this week covering “The Untold Stories of Open Source.”

“Each week we explore the people who are supporting Open Source projects, how they became involved with it, and the problems they faced along the way,” explains the podcast’s GitHub page (where you can put in a pull request to suggest future episodes or track the project’s progress.)

The podcast is available on its official web page, as well as on Spotify, Apple, Google, or “wherever you listen to your podcasts,” according to an announcement from the Linux Foundation. An introductory page says the podcast will be “used to inform the Linux and Open Source communities as to the current state in development of open source initiatives and Linux Foundation Projects. It is vendor neutral, with no interviews of commercial product vendors or sales teams.”

Here’s the first four episodes:

Balancing Priorities at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, with Priyanka Sharma, general manager
A Life in Open Source, with Brian Behlendorf, general manager at Open Source Security Foundation
A New Model for Technical Training, with Clyde Seepersad, senior vice president of the Linux Foundation’s training/certification project
The Business Side of Open Source, with Patrick Debois, “godfather of DevOps”

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Fedora’s Lead Speaks on the Popularity of Linux and the Importance of Open Source

Fedora project leader Matthew Miller spoke to TechRepublic’s Jack Wallen this week, sharing some thoughts on the future of Linux — and on open source in general:
Matthew Miller: I think it’s a lost cause to try to “sell” our quirky technology interest to people who don’t see it already. We need to take a different approach…. I think our message, at its root, has to be around open source…. [W]ith Linux, when you install an open-source distro, you’re not just part of a fan community. You’re part of a colossal, global effort that makes software more available to everyone, makes that software better and better, and makes the whole world better through sharing… Just by using it you’re sharing in this amazing undertaking, part of a move away from scarcity to an economy based on abundance….
Jack Wallen: What’s the biggest difference in Linux today vs. Linux of 10 years ago?

Matthew Miller: I think first we have to start with just the amazing ubiquity of it. Ten years ago, it was cute to find a TV that ran Linux. Now, not only is it definitely powering your TV, you’ve probably got Linux running on your lightbulbs! It’s everywhere. And while Linux had pushed proprietary Unix from the server room, ten years ago Windows-based servers were pushing back. The cloud changed that — now, the cloud is Linux, almost completely. (Anything that isn’t is a legacy app that it was too much trouble to port!) From tiny devices to the most powerful mainframes and supercomputers: Linux, Linux, Linux….

Jack Wallen: If Linux has an Achilles’ heel, what is it?

Matthew Miller: Linux and the whole free and open-source software movement grew up with the rise of the internet as an open communication platform. We absolutely need that to continue in order to realize our vision, and I don’t think we can take it for granted.

That’s more general than an Achilles’ heel, though, so right now let me highlight one thing that I think is troubling: Chrome becoming the dominant browser to the point where it’s often the only way to make sites work. Chromium (the associated upstream project) is open source, but isn’t really run as a community project, and, pointedly, very very few people run Chromium itself. I’d love to see that change, but I’d also like to see Firefox regain a meaningful presence.
Miller also said Fedora’s next release is focused on simplicity. (“When the OS gets in the way, it drops from the conversation I want to have about big ideas to … well, the boring technical details that people never want to deal with”)
And he also shared his thoughts on what Linux needs most. “What I’d really like to see more of are more non-technical contributors. I mean, yes, we can always benefit from more packagers and coders and engineers, but I think what we really need desperately are writers, designers, artists, videographers, communicators, organizers and planners. I don’t think big companies are likely to provide those things, at least, not for the parts of the Linux world which aren’t their products.”
“We need people who think the whole grand project I’ve been talking about is important, and who have the skills and interests to help make it real.”

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Should Companies Audit Their Software Stacks for Critical Open Source Dependencies?

Thoughtworks is a technology consultancy/distributed agile software design company. The principle technologist in its CTO’s office warns that managers of IT assets “need to keep up” with the changing economics of open source:

Early 2022 has brought with it an unusually high level of commotion in the open-source community, largely focused on the economics of who — and how we — should pay for “free” software. But this isn’t just some geeky flame war. What’s at stake is critical for vast swaths of the business world….

We know of many open-source enthusiasts who maintain their software personally while leading busy professional lives — the last thing they want is the responsibility of a service-level agreement because someone paid them for their creation. So, is this the end of the road for the open-source dream? Certainly, many of the open-source naysayers will view the recent upheavals as proof of a failed approach. They couldn’t be more wrong. What we’re seeing today is a direct result of the success of open-source software. That success means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all description to define open-source software, nor one economic model for how it can succeed.

For internet giants like Facebook or Netflix, the popularity, or otherwise, of their respective JavaScript library and software tool — React and Chaos Monkey — is beside the point. For such companies, open-source releases are almost a matter of employer branding — a way to show off their engineering chops to potential employees. The likelihood of them altering licensing models to create new revenue streams is small enough that most enterprises need not lose sleep over it. Nonetheless, if these open-source tools form a critical part of your software stack or development process, you might want some form of contingency plan — you’re likely to have very little sway over future developments, so understanding your risks helps.

For companies that have built platforms containing open-source software, the risks are more uncertain. This is in line with Thoughtworks’ view that all businesses can benefit from a greater awareness of what software is running in their various systems. In such cases, we advise companies to consider the extent to which they’re reliant on that piece of software: are there viable alternatives? In extreme circumstances, could you fork the code and maintain it internally?

Once you start looking at crucial parts of your software stack where you’re reliant on hobbyists, your choices begin to dwindle. But if Log4J’s case has taught us anything, it’s this: auditing what goes into the software that runs your business puts you in a better place than being completely caught by surprise.

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The Free Software Foundation’s ‘LibrePlanet’ Conference Happens Online This Weekend

LibrePlanet, the annual conference hosted by the Free Software Foundation, will be happening online this weekend. The event “provides an opportunity for community activists, domain experts, and people seeking solutions for themselves to come together in order to discuss current issues in technology and ethics,” according to its web page. This year’s LibrePlanet theme is “Living Liberation”.

And while you’re listening to the presentations, you can apparently also interact with the rest of the community:

Each LibrePlanet room has its own IRC channel on the Libera.Chat network… Want to interact with other conference-goers in a virtual space? Join us on LibreAdventure, where you’ll be able to video chat with fellow free software users, journey to the stars, and walk around a replica of the FSF office!

Our Minetest server is back by popular demand, and now running version 5.x of everyone’s favorite free software, voxel sandbox game. You can install Minetest through your GNU/Linux distro’s package manager, and point your client to with the default port 30000.

Sunday’s presentations include “Living in freedom with GNU Emacs” and “Hacking my brain: Free virtual reality implementations and their potential for therapeutic use.”

And Sunday will also include a talk from Seth Schoen, the first staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (who helped develop the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority) titled “Reducing Internet address waste: The IPv4 unicast extensions project.”

View the complete schedule here.

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