Open source news roundup for April  17 - 22, 2016

How to build a Linux router, Internet of Things devices, and more news

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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at how to build a Linux router, why Internet of Things devices should be completely open source, and more!

Open source news roundup for April  17 - 22, 2016

The Ars guide to building a Linux router from scratch

I recently wrote an article describing how to use a Raspberry Pi to create a firewall, and then I cover a few more steps to create a simple but fully functioning router. It seems others have had a similar idea,but using a mini-PC.

Jim Salter built a router that outclasses the performance of most other routers available today using a dual-gigabit-NIC mini-PC and a low-cost SSD. After installing an Ubuntu server,which is notoriously lacking in frou-frou features, Salter walks us through network interface confguration and working with IPTables and the /proc filesystem to convert the box into a router. He also describes the configuration of DHCP and DNS for providing configuration services for devices connecting to the router's internal network.

Why the Internet of Things needs open source

The Internet of Things (IoT) is making life easier by connecting many of the things we use in our daily lives. It makes them easy to access and control from anywhere an internet connection is available. It also makes them vulnerable.

Many of the IoT devices we use are based, at least in part, on proprietary hardware and software. So, what happens when the companies that support those devices go out of business or are consumed by larger competitors? This article argues that ensuring the IoT devices we depend on are completely open devices is the best way to provide for the eventuality that many of those devices will be orphaned and bricked. It must be possible for the community to pick up support for open IoT devices and enable them to continue functioning long after their supporting organizations have disappeared.

US Department of Homeland Security on open code

After having previously stated that "releasing at least 20 percent of the agency's software code would be akin to the FBI handing over their source code to the Mafia," the US DHS has mostly reversed its position. A new comment from DHS CIO Luke McCormack was posted Monday, reversing much of that, stating that last week's comments "do not represent DHS policy or views."

McCormack also refutes the notion advanced in the first set of comments that releasing code to the public would be like opening the government's systems to attackers. "Security through obscurity is not true security: we cannot depend on vulnerabilities not being exploited just because they have not been discovered yet," he said. "There are many examples of widely-used pieces of software that benefit greatly from constant and vigorous community reviews and contributions to find bugs, and thus making them more secure. We look forward to government systems joining them."

In other news

Thanks, as always, to staff members and moderators for their help this week. Make sure to check out our event calendar, to see what's happening next week in open source.


About the author

David Both - David Both is an Open Source Software and GNU/Linux advocate, trainer, writer, and speaker who lives in Raleigh North Carolina. He is a strong proponent of and evangelist for the "Linux Philosophy." David has been in the IT industry for nearly 50 years. He has taught RHCE classes for Red Hat and has worked at MCI Worldcom, Cisco, and the State of North Carolina. He has been working with Linux and Open Source Software for over 20 years. David prefers to purchase the components and build his...