Open source news roundup for August 16 - 22, 2015

Firefox goes stealthy, Linux on mainframes, new Linux Foundation projects, and more news

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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Firefox's new stealth mode, mainframes powered by Linux, new projects from the Linux Foundation, and more!

Open source news for your reading pleasure.

August 26 - 22, 2015

Mozilla testing new stealth mode for Firefox

Most modern web browsers let you surf in incognito or private mode, which ensures websites you visit aren't saved in your browser history. But that doesn't offer true anonimity—as Google Chrome warns: "Going incognito doesn’t hide your browsing from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit."

Mozilla's trying to change that with a truly private browsing mode for Firefox. According to PC World, this new feature "is designed to block outside parties like ad networks or analytics companies from tracking users through cookies and browser fingerprinting." This feature is still in the pre-beta phase. While it's available in the latest developer editions of Firefox, this feature will likely show up in a general release of the browser sometime in the near future.

IBM offers mainframes powered by Linux

The mainframe computer isn't dead. One of the companies most associated with the mainframe is bringing it into the 21st century with LinuxONE systems.

The two systems, dubbed Emperor and Rockhopper, run Ubuntu and support such open source software as Apache Spark, PostgreSQL, Node.js, Chef, and MariaDB. ZDNet reports that Emperor, the larger of the two systems, can scale "up to 8,000 virtual machines or tens of thousands of containers."

According to TechCrunch, LinuxONE "is part of a broader strategy from IBM designed to drive mainframe usage to a wider audience." IBM takes between 10 and 20 mainframe customers per month, and is "is hoping to land more customers who might have been scared away previously by the up-front cost of investing in a mainframe."

The Linux Foundation announces two new projects

LinuxCon North America 2015 was a busy one for the Linux Foundation. During the event, the organization took the covers off two new projects.

The first of those announcements was the launch of the Open Mainframe Project. According to TechCrunch, the "companies participating in this project can work together, and begin building a set of open source tools and technologies for Linux mainframes." Those companies include IBM, CA Technologies, and BMC.

The second announcement revealed the Kinetic Open Storage Project (KOSP). KOSP will deliver "technology for providing open source object storage on next generation, Ethernet-enabled storage devices." As Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes at ZDNet, KOSP "will manage the open-source libraries, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and simulators interfacing with Kinetic-based drives."

Open source alternative to Amazon Echo closes in on Kickstarter goal

Were you excited when Amazon announced Echo, its voice command device, last June? And were you just a bit wary of it being closed source? There just might be an open alternative on its way.

That alternative, called Mycroft, is more than half way to its Kickstarter funding goal. Mycroft is billed as "the world’s first open source, open hardware home A.I. platform." It's powered by Snappy Core Linux and the Raspberry Pi 2. According to its developers, Mycroft will be able to stream media, control devices in your home, post to social media, record audio, and more.

You can learn more about Mycroft, and make a pledge, on the project's Kickstarter page. As with any crowdfunding campaign, remember to read the risks and challenges before pledging your support.

In other news

A big thanks, as always, to the moderators and staff for their help this week.


About the author

That idiot Scott Nesbitt ...
Scott Nesbitt - I'm a long-time user of free/open source software, and write various things for both fun and profit. I don't take myself all that seriously and I do all of my own stunts. You can find me at these fine establishments on the web: The Plain Text Project, Open Source Musings, The Monday Kickoff...