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Linux Foundation & Harvard Announce Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS) Contributor Survey

The Linux Foundation and Harvard University have announced their new FOSS Contributor Survey:

“In 2020, given the wide proliferation of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS), we aim to identify how to improve security, including the sustainability of the FOSS ecosystem, especially the FOSS systems heavily relied upon by organizations worldwide.

To do this, the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) have developed a survey for contributors to FOSS. If you contribute to FOSS, we would love for you to participate in our study. This voluntary survey takes around 15-20 minutes to complete and allows you to advocate for the FOSS projects you care about.”

Read more at the Linux Foundation

Why CII best practices gold badges are important

On the Linux Foundation blog, David A. Wheeler, Director of Open Source Supply Chain Security writes about CII Gold Badges:

“…a CII Best Practices badge, especially a gold badge, shows that an OSS project has implemented a large number of good practices to keep the project sustainable, counter vulnerabilities from entering their software, and address vulnerabilities when found. Projects take many such steps to earn a gold badge, and it’s a good thing to see.”

Read more at the Linux Foundation

Building a sustainable open source community: training and certifications

The Linux Foundation has a new blog post about why training and professional certifications are important for open source communities:

“The open source community works more organically and cyclically, which necessitates that a cadre of expertise is built for it not just to be deployed (as the commercial training and ecosystem have worked historically over the past 40 years) but also as part of its continuing development and for it and all of its participants to thrive. 

An open source software community develops software, and it gets deployed by professionals. Those professionals often eventually move on to different organizations and implement the same software. Those organizations will ultimately need more people to support deployments and write applications to extend and customize the software. These organizations also need system administration professionals and cloud providers to support solutions based on these open source software systems.”

Read more at the Linux Foundation blog.

Linux Kernel Training Helps in a Kernel Security Research Career

In 2016, Alexander Popov was a Linux kernel developer who had contributed 14 patches into the mainline kernel.

Alexander wanted to become a more effective open source contributor in the future, so he applied for and was awarded a Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarship in the Kernel Guru category.

Learn more at Linux Foundation Training

Meet Donut, An Open Source Social Networking Software

Donut is an open-source social networking project created by Codeuino, a volunteer-driven, open-source, social networking software development organization that wants to change the way communities and individuals use and create open-source social-environment tools.

Swapnil Bhartiya interviews Jaskirat Singh, Founder, Codeuino on behalf of the Linux Foundation. Here is the transcript of the interview:

Swapnil Bhartiya: Hi, this is Swapnil Bhartiya and today we have with us a special guest from India, Jaskirat Singh, founder of Codeuino, an open-source project or a community, that’s building amazing software for social networking. Jaskirat, first of all, welcome to the show. Now, tell us a bit about the project itself.

Jaskirat Singh: Codeuino is basically a social networking community that takes into the account of only social environment projects, like the Donut project, the Codebadge project, and the Spenceberry project.

Swapnil Bhartiya: So, basically it’s like an open-source community that is creating software targeted at social networking solutions.

Jaskirat Singh: Well, we just build the software side. So we have projects which any other external communities, any other projects, can use in their own way. We just provide a set of projects to make it available for the other external projects, other communities too. And those things can be used in their customization since it’s open-source and it’s free.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Now, you’ve mentioned three projects. One of the projects that I am personally interested in is project Donut. Tell us a bit more about the Donut project.

Jaskirat Singh: Donut is basically an open-source, feature-rich, and highly privacy-friendly social media platform. It is not a replication of Facebook. It’s a platform that has been built for community-oriented collaborations, in a customized way. It’s built on the Node.js framework that helps other communities to set-up their own platform.

This will act as the bridge between their projects and their users of the community. So this is basically a social media platform. And this comes with an expansive set of a library of modules, where you can even customize with some external as we have mentioned. We have an appropriate mechanism inside this Donut platform where you can organize, you can create more features inside the Donut platform itself with one click. So this is something which even helps you to create your own features, functionalities inside the Donut platform.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Now, if you look at history, there have been many efforts to create open-source solutions for social networking. I mean, Mastodon is a very good example, which did not get the kind of traction we expected it to get. So how different is Donut from these open-source efforts?

Jaskirat Singh: The world we currently live in is full of jarring technologies. And with each passing day, new software or gadget is brought into the market which tends to improve our lives in one or the other way. Communication technology has enabled new approaches to the external communities project and end-users in which stakeholders across various sectors are engaged in consensus building, and basically in the implementation process. So basically this Donut project allows the users to have one-on-one interaction with their own community.

So this is basically a platform that would help bridge the gap between the communities, their own workings, their own working ethics, and the targeted users, which gets involved with the communities because for every open-source community or every open-source project the most prioritized thing is their users. And every community, usually within the open-source, basically depends on the contribution they receive from the external users. So I think, this is something which would help engage the external users with their projects and they would be able to organize their own stuff on this particular self-hosted version of their own Donut on their server. So, this is something that will act as two sides of the Facebook network, which is a social media platform.

Swapnil Bhartiya: If I’m not wrong, you’re not building the next Mastodon, you’re not building the next Facebook or Twitter, you’re actually building an open-source social media solution or software that others can leverage to build a social network for their own needs. Is that correct?

Jaskirat Singh: Yes. We are building software.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Who is the target audience of Donut? If I’m not wrong, you seem to be looking at business-to-business or B-to-B space and not at business-to-consumer or B-to-C space. Is that correct?

Jaskirat Singh: Okay. Basically, if I talk about the targeted audience, so targeted audience in the sense, this is available to the communities. Suppose if I talk about a Linux Foundation community, it has got quite a lot of users, right? So, to sustain those users with their own communities, and to keep them updated about the stuff, and engage them with the external stuff like their media or even the projects, events and other things. So this is something that would help engage both the external communities as well as the targeted users for those particular communities.

Swapnil Bhartiya: And you have also been accepted into Google Summer of Code. What has been that experience so far?

Jaskirat Singh: We are involved in many major development programs like Google Summer of Code, Google Code-in, Google Season of Docs. We are currently in the phase of Google Summer of Code 2020. So, I think participation through these programs has enabled us to grow our community of various developers and other activists. And I think being a social networking community it fulfills a social need to interact with various other activists, researchers, designers, and developers across the globe.

Swapnil Bhartiya: I also want to know a bit about how widespread is the community. I do understand that it originated from India, but tell us a bit about where its developers are, is it specific to a region or it’s a global phenomenon?

Jaskirat Singh: Oh. Well, this is something not really restricted to our country. So this is something globally present. So, anyone can join our community.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Now, I want to take a step back. I understand a lot about the project. I want to know the story, why and when you got the idea to create this project? What problem did you see in this market that you wanted to solve with it?

Jaskirat Singh: Oh. Well, I just want you to know, when I started with this project, I was around 14 years old, and the major problem for me was to seek some contribution, like how to basically set up the foundation for this particular project. Because, I actually got to know about the open-source stuff from one of the contest by Google, which is named as Google Code-in. And after that, it really made me research how social media platforms are made. So I was wondering, how about if every community and every project have their own Facebook? So this is something that helped me and motivated me to research these topics. I started brainstorming around why there is a need for social environments, why there is a need for a community bridge between the users, why there’s a need for sustainability within any community or any project.

This motivated and encouraged me to start with this particular project, and with this growing project, we had a chance to integrate other projects like discussion forums with this social media platform and the project, which measures the health of the user. So it’s all about getting all in one place. Even more importantly, this type of project doesn’t exist for now. We would be the first one to do it.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Now, one of the critical pieces of any project especially open-source projects is funding. So how are you funding or sponsoring the project?

Jaskirat Singh: Well, for now, we don’t have enough funding. We don’t receive enough funding for now, but whatever the funding we receive, is basically from the development programs, and anyone like I just had Google Summer of Code, and those are the things, they usually pay, they support some open-source communities who do participate. So this basically, we are even looking forward to having financial support from the communities, some large base communities, and where we could help grow our market, we could have grown our development phase, so this is something. Even now if I talk about, I would really like to thank Linux Foundation, because the Linux Foundation recently is supporting us, and even we got approved for a Linux Foundation’s new CommunityBridge Mentorship program, where Codeuino is participating with the two mentees. So I think this is something we are really excited about.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Right. If you look at open-source, the commercialization of open-source is critical to the health of the project, and its ecosystem. It ensures that the project has some longevity. Do you have any plans to commercialize Donut?

Jaskirat Singh: Now, basically yes, because currently, we have a lot of goals. We are currently in a phase of making this reach to some external markets as well, making it a more viable product at a production level. And we are heavily working on this Donut platform, and other interlinked projects to have security and vulnerabilities related stuff, because if any community use this platform for their own, like for on their self… So the very first priority would be to have that security, right? So security and privacy play the most important part of any community. So this is something we are really trying to build on, and really trying to make it more secure, so that this could be reached to the major production level, and this could be used by many other communities and projects.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Can you talk about what does your roadmap for the year look like?

Jaskirat Singh: Basically, the very first priority for us would be to seek some funding from the communities and from the projects, because funding plays a vital role for us because we have to… Because basically, for any open-source community or project, they usually depend upon the contributions they receive from the external users. So this is something which would help us to enable and get into the markets, and organize some meetups, organize some of the development sprints, online hackathons, where we could introduce the project, and we could have the better improvements inside the platforms we are working on.

I think, adding AI to projects would even enable us to seek some more growth. So this is something we really plan to do this in particular, this year.

Swapnil Bhartiya: That was great. Thank you, Jaskirat Singh, for taking time out and talking to me today. Good luck with your project, and I look forward to talking to you again, once you hit some of those milestones on your roadmap. Thank you.

Jaskirat Singh: Sure. Thank you. Thanks a lot.


Best Linux Foundation classes: Introduction to Linux, Cloud Engineer Bootcamp, and more (ZDNet)

Steven J. Vaughn Nichols writes:

“The Linux Foundation is an IT certification pioneer, offering its first certification exams back in 2014 in a remote format. Before this, it was virtually unheard of to take an IT certification exam outside of a testing center. The Linux Foundation established verifiable, secure remote proctoring processes, which remain in place. This makes it much easier, especially in the days of the coronavirus pandemic for qualified individuals to obtain certifications without traveling.

Here are some of the best of the best of their class programs. I’ve focused on the ones leading to certifications because having a certification can always help. Many techies don’t respect certifications, but to get a job in IT, you must first get by the human resources gatekeepers. And, if they don’t see the certifications they’re looking for, you’ll never get a chance to show your prospective boss your technical chops.”

Read more on ZDNet

Linux Training Helps Network Analyst Transition to Open Source Solutions

Rachael Nelson has a love for sharing, freedom and technology. While her goal was to major in computer science or electrical engineering, Rachael decided to study Management Information Systems at Texas Tech as it was a less demanding major enabling her to stay home and take care of her sick mother. Over the course of her career, Rachael worked her way up from QA to network analyst. In 2018, she applied for and was awarded a Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship in the category of Developer Do-Gooders.Learn more at Linux Foundation Training

humanID Project: Restoring Civil Discussion Through Better Online Identity

Every day, billions of people use social sign-ons, such as “Login with Facebook”, to access applications over the Internet. A major drawback of this system is the inability to distinguish a real human user from a bot.

Nonprofit organization humanID, a recipient of Harvard University’s Social Impact Fund, came up with an innovative idea: develop a one-click anonymous sign-on that serves as an alternative to social sign-on.

“With humanID, everyone can use services without giving up privacy or having their data sold. Bot networks are automatically excluded, while applications can easily block abusive users and trolls, creating more civil digital communities,” says Bastian Purrer, Co-Founder of humanID.

humanID was born during Purrer’s stint in Indonesia. He was helping out a political party’s campaign and was aghast to discover how much of the political conversation during the election was controlled by bots and trolls.

When he realized that political parties routinely deploy bots to promote propaganda and false facts, it became clear that the key to restoring civil discussion, and the vision of an internet for everyone, was better online identity.

The mission
Besides Purrer, humanID’s other co-founders are Sidiq Permana and Shuyao Kong. Together, they lead a 20-person organization, with the tech team based in Indonesia while the business team is in Boston.

“Fixing the Internet is the core mission that unites all three co-founders. Having witnessed how public opinions and sentiments are swayed by fake accounts, we believe that restoring online identity is the first step to restoring authenticity and accountability on the Internet,” says Kong. “We target consumer use cases that are currently serviced by email-and- password, or social sign-ons. This includes the majority of apps on our phones.”

Purrer says the goal of the project is to have one humanID per person.  “We want people to have control over their own identity from a privacy perspective. We want humanID to be so intuitive and prevalent that it becomes the default identity layer for applications.”

An identity is a permanent representation within a certain context. On the Internet, just like in real life, our identity differs from community to community. humanID enables this, by giving users a different, unique identity in every community.

“It is, if the user chooses so, also a different identity than their offline identity. This is where anonymity comes in. Anonymity means that your offline identity, your physical self, cannot be revealed based on your digital identity,” says Kong, who has worked previously in the blockchain and privacy space.

Permana, who’s leading humanID’s technical development, says, “We achieve this by hashing users’ phone numbers, with a unique, different hash for each user and each application — making cross-referencing between communities impossible. The irreversibility of the hashes ensures secure anonymity. The fact that we do not permanently save any unhashed information makes it impossible, not just for our partner applications but even for ourselves, to reveal a user’s offline identity in the form of his phone number.”

The humanID team believes a persistent, safe identity will be better than any of the existing online identities that are not safe from surveillance and cannot be held accountable for their online behavior.

The underlying tech
humanID reached out to the Linux Foundation because it saw “tremendous value to be part of the force that’s driving the industry standard.”

“The Internet is built on layers of open-source, free-to-use protocols. humanID is created in this tradition. The solution hashes users’ phone numbers and email addresses, securing them safely away from hackers and media giants. Each user will have a unique hash for each application he or she signs on so there’s no cross-referencing,” explains Purrer.

“Our database stores users’ country codes, but relinquishes access to the rest of the information we hash. We are using OAuth at the moment, but actively exploring tech that enhances the security of humanID. Developers can implement the social login within a few hours of work,” he says.

The use cases
One use case they are deploying for their first client GreenZone is tracking COVID without sacrificing users’ privacy. Permana explains, “GreenZone is a tracking application that doesn’t track users’ location. Instead, it shows ‘green zones’ of low-risk areas where no symptoms are reported, therefore, alleviating anxiety by showing users whether they are in a safe zone or not. All data is entirely peer-to-peer and there is no government, police or regulators involved.”

According to him, humanID’s first set of customers will be those that are privacy-conscious because their customers demand native privacy when using their product. These businesses include COVID-tracking, health and self-tracking apps, self-help forums, and VPNs.

“We also target social networks, petition sites, and any site with a forum or comment section. All of these businesses suffer heavily from spam abuse and automated accounts. With humanID, everyone can use services without giving away privacy or having their data sold. Bot networks are automatically excluded, while applications can easily block abusive users and trolls,” he says.

Purrer clarifies that humanID does not intend to replace government-issued IDs or business-internal identity management.

“We don’t intend to compete with these existing businesses or standards, but to add a new and fresh idea in the struggle to bring back privacy, safety and accountability on the web,” he says.

The project has been driven by open source and volunteer work for 1.5 years. “We’re actively seeking support and grants to accelerate our work to bring humanID to market and sign up clients. Beyond this, we aim to cover our cost from our client base and not be dependent on charitable donations beyond 2022,” Purrer adds.

Check out the demo below, if you have any questions feel free to contact the team on github.

New, Free Training Course Teaches Use of Jenkins for CI/CD Workflows

The Linux Foundation and Continuous Delivery Foundation have announced the immediate availability of a new free training course on the edX platform, LFS167x – Introduction to Jenkins. Jenkins is the leading open source automation server, providing hundreds of plugins to support building, deploying and automating any project.

Learn more at Linux Foundation Training

Why now is the time for “Open Innovation” (Harvard Business Review)

“Open innovation has the potential to widen the space for value creation: It allows for many more ways to create value, be it through new partners with complementary skills or by unlocking hidden potential in long-lasting relationships. In a crisis, open innovation can help organizations find new ways to solve pressing problems and at the same time build a positive reputation. Most importantly it can serve as a foundation for future collaboration — in line with sociological research demonstrating that trust develops when partners voluntarily go the extra mile, providing unexpected favors to each other.”

Read More at Harvard Business Review