Linux Foundation new member …. Microsoft


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Microsoft has thrown its financial weight behind Linux, the operating system that rivals its own Windows.

One of the company’s former chief executives once described the platform as being “a cancer”.

It is now spending $500,000 (£400,000) to join the Linux Foundation, which promotes the open-source OS amongst businesses and developers.

Other platinum members include companies such as Google, Facebook and Samsung.

Microsoft and Linux have not always seen to eye to eye. In 2001, then Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said in a widely-reported newspaper interview: “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

However, the company’s priorities have changed over the last 15 years and under its new leader Satya Nadella. Much of its current focus is on the cloud, in particular the Azure online storage and data processing services it sells to other organisations.

As the tech blog ZDNet noted: “It’s only on the desktop that Microsoft is still omnipresent.

“Everywhere else – clouds, supercomputers, and servers – it’s a Linux world.

“Microsoft could have tried to fight it and haemorrhage red-ink, or they could embrace it and profit. They chose to make money.”



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Linux is everywhere these days



Linux is everywhere these days. It runs our phones, the web servers that underpin everything from Facebook to Google, even our cars. That means there’s a bigger demand for people who know how to work with the operating system than ever before, and those jobs often pay good money.

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit that not only helps maintain and develop core parts of the Linux operating system but also provides education and certification to information professionals who manage Linux servers. Today the organization announced The Extended Learning Linux Foundation Scholarship Program, an educational initiative aimed at helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds gain the skills they need to start careers in information technology.

Most importantly, the first course, Intro to Linux, assumes little to no computer literacy.

Eventually the Linux Foundation hopes to expand its scholarship program throughout the world, but it will start in Austin, Texas, through a partnership with job training and placement organization Goodwill Central Texas. The scholarships will be available to students at Goodwill Excel Center, a public charter school in Austin for adults seeking to complete their high school diplomas, and the Goodwill Career and Technical Academy.

Under the scholarship program, the Linux Foundation will offer eligible Goodwill students access to the organization’s Intro to Linux and Essentials of System Administration courses, as well as allow students to take its Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator exam, all free—just like the operating system itself.
Tech Within Reach

Politicians and business leaders have touted better technology education and training programs in recent years as a solution to growing inequality. After all, the tech industry is constantly complaining about a shortage of skilled workers, and tech jobs tend to pay far more than the national average.

To solve the problem, entrepreneurs have launched code bootcamps, private schools that try to prepare students for careers in fields like computer programming or web design in a matter of weeks, as well as a wide variety of internet-based courses that can be completed at home. The trouble is these programs are often expensive, assume a fundamental understanding of computers or even some previous programming experience, and/or require access to broadband internet to complete, often putting technology training out of reach for the people who need them most, including the homeless, single parents, felons, and people with disabilities.

Goodwill Central Texas hopes its training program will be different. The Linux Foundation’s courses are online and self-paced, but that doesn’t help students who lack internet access at home. This new program will provide that access on campus, where students can get career counseling and find more structure and guidance than someone trying to complete the courses on their own. For example, Williams says professional Linux server administrators will be available to help students understand the material and answer any questions they may have.
Real Life Experience

Perhaps most importantly, the first course, Intro to Linux, assumes little to no computer literacy, says Michael Cortez, a 29-year-old former restaurant manager who is part of Goodwill’s pilot program. Cortez has long been interested in a career in information technology but didn’t have much experience before starting the program and hadn’t even heard of Linux. “It’s a challenge, don’t get me wrong,” he says. “I guess it’s just learning the computer language itself.”

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Bern council demands transition to open source


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The council of the Swiss capital of Bern on 12 November ordered the IT department to end its dependence on proprietary software. The council halved the city’s request for a six-year licence contract, and insisted on an exit plan. A majority of councillors wants the city to replace proprietary software by open source solutions, such as Linux and LibreOffice.

The exit plan should be based on pilot projects that consider alternatives, the city council decided. With 53 of the total 67 votes, the council changed the city’s desktop software plans. The councillors want applications to become independent from PC operating system or office productivity tools. And in late 2018, when desktop operating and office licences expire, Bern has to publish an open call for tender, using vendor-neutral specifications.

“Basically, from now on, the IT department may only procure and implement solutions that are platform-independent”, the councillors agreed on Thursday.

Procurement checklist

The city’s request for a six year extension of the current proprietary licences was rejected. Instead, the council agreed on CHF 2.4 million (about EUR 2,2 million), allowing the software to be used until late 2018.

In a statement on 13 November, the Swiss Open Open Systems User Group /ch/open welcomed the change in IT strategy of the capital. The group offered to help the city with its exit plan, pointing to documentation such as a checklist to help public administrations to procure open source software solutions.

Matthias Stürmer, member of the Bern city council and member of the commission responsible to monitor the IT department, called change of plans a major success. “A vast majority of the city council voted to stop the dependence on Microsoft products”, he said.

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France’s citizens vote in favour of open source



Free software’s use in public sector in top three of votes for ‘Digital Republic’

France’s citizens are in favour of their public administrations’ use of free and open source software. France should also implement this type of software in education, according to the results of a public consultation on France’s Digital Republic bill (La République numérique). After twenty days of public debate and voting on proposals, the consultation ended on Sunday. La République numérique – the Digital Republic – drew 147,710 votes, received 8501 proposals and attracted 21,330 participants.

The proposals will now be considered by the French government. “In a few days we will see if they are included in the bill that will be submitted to the parliament”, writes April, France’s free software advocacy group. April’s proposal to make free software the priority for public administrations came in 3rd, in the top-ten of most-voted proposals.

Freedom of information

Another suggestion by April, to equate the source code of government software solutions to (public) administrative documents, also got a lot of support from voters. This proposal is 7th in the top-ten of votes. In the days running up to the consultation’s deadline, April had been asking its supporters to vote for its proposals.

Similarly, the Conseil National du Logiciel Libre, a trade group representing some three hundred ICT firms, had been calling on its members and supporters to participate and vote. CNLL is advocating the use of open standards, and wants public administrations to give priority to free software.

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Is Microsoft is in secret negotiations to purchase Canonical, the Ubuntu company?


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A recent rumor has sparked waves of fear and outrage throughout the Linux community. The word is that Microsoft is in secret negotiations to purchase Canonical, the Ubuntu company.

With Ubuntu and its derivatives installed on millions of home computers and Web servers, the takeover would be disruptive to say the least. After all, in a world where most people think that Windows is “just how computers work”, not using Microsoft products is a deliberate choice. If Microsoft bought Canonical, millions of users would have to jump ship or accept life under the Microsoft banner.

Of course, Canonical is no stranger to controversy. It has been involved in very public licensing disputes with the Free Software Foundation. Its decision to include Amazon ads in Ubuntu’s menu system was seen as a crass attempt to cash in on users. And, there have been concerns over the company’s treatment of private data, with users’ search information transmitted to its corporate servers.

But when all is said and done, few would deny that Canonical is a valuable member of the Linux community. Its hundreds of developers contribute to the Linux kernel, the Debian project and its own open-source projects, which are available to the entire community.

The same sentiment does not hold true for Microsoft, even though it is now one of the largest corporate contributors to the Linux kernel. Of course, most of those contributions are driven by the company’s own requirements.

So, is there any truth to these mysterious murmurings?

To begin with, where do they come from? The “news” comes from a single tech blog, which in turn credits two undisclosed “sources within the community”. Following the original publication, some readers demanded clarification. After all, if we don’t know who these sources are, how can we tell if their information is valid?

The author of the article refused to give up his sources but contacted Microsoft and Canonical for an official statement on the rumor. Within a few hours, Microsoft declined to comment, and “an employee” of Canonical (actually the CEO) categorically denied the rumor.

Now, of course, it is possible that this is just a smoke screen, and that neither side is going to make an announcement until the deal is finalized, but it seems highly unlikely, especially given the nature of Canonical.

Canonical was founded with the goal of bringing Linux to the desktop. In particular, it aims to break the Microsoft monopoly in that space. This spirit is encapsulated in bug report #1 (, which calls Microsoft’s market share a bug (Microsoft has said worse things about Linux, by the way).

In addition, Canonical is not a profitable company. It appears to be making a huge financial loss each year (more than $10 million according to its UK tax filings). The majority of its software is open source, so there’s little potential for developing an income stream from selling licenses for those products. And Canonical has around 600 employees–from a purely financial view, that’s a sizable liability.

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My suspicion is that Microsoft would steer clear of the strongly anti-Microsoft user base that Canonical possess. But …

Vocational Education in the Netherlands adopts LPI Certification


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 The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization, announced that its partner organization LPI-Netherlands has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ECABO, Netherlands’s Center of Expertise on Vocational Education, Training and Labor Market to include LPI certifications in their curriculum. ECABO works for the entire range of vocational training in the Netherlands representing lower and senior secondary vocational education and higher vocational education. For example ECABO supports nearly 90,000 students in the senior secondary vocational education sector alone.

Under this agreement ECABO will include LPI certification within its blueprint for ICT vocational training within the senior secondary education market. In offering students the opportunity of obtaining LPI certifications while pursuing their chosen field of vocational training ECABO is certain future graduates may significantly enhance their position in the labor market.

“We see an annual growth rate of Linux deployments in companies and with governments of 8-10 percent”, said Emiel Brok, chairman of LPI-Netherlands. “However, further growth may be reduced due to a shortage in well-trained and properly certified Linux professionals. This initiative on the part of ECABO should ensure that the growing popularity and adoption of Linux and Open Source Software continues in the Netherlands,” added Brok. LPI-Netherlands will work with ECABO and other organizations in the future to inform human resources departments and other employment agencies on the value of hiring LPI-certified staff. LPI-Netherlands will also extend LPI-Approved Academic Partner (LPI-AAP) status to senior secondary training organizations which participate in this new program.

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Galicia embraces open source


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The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available three open source solutions over the past year, one for PC classrooms, one for land-management, and a third for computer network enhancement. The tools are available at Galicia’s software repository, and information about the solutions is now also available at Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer (CTT).

Adding the three to CTT’s catalogue will help dissemination of the tools, Galicia explains in a statement on 8 June. Adding the tools to CTT’s catalogue is also a requirement of Spain’s national interoperability framework, the government notes.

The first software solution added by Galicia is XEA. This web application helps to manage all the resources of PC classrooms. Amtega, Galicia’s agency for technological modernisation, manages 98 such classrooms across the region. XEA allows users to find out which trainings are currently being offered and lets them register. At the same time, XEA helps local classrooms to plan activities. The PC classrooms are part of Galicia’s so-called CEMIT project, aiming to reduce the digital divide by offering free courses.

XEA is an adaptation of a solution developed for the region of Castille and Leon, called ISIS.

The second solution, Desourb, which stands for sustainable urban development, is a land-management planning tool. The software allows for combining sets of geographic data to be used for research and analysis. The tool is an outcome of a collaborative project involving administrations in Portugal and Spain, and is partly funded by the European Union.

The third tool, called Concurrent Cache Manager (CMM), is aimed at IT system administrators, and helps speed-up the exchange of data between public employment agency of the region and the state. The software, a collection of Java modules, can be used by any regional employment service that connects to Spain’s public employment agency.

All three projects are published under the Apache software license.

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170 Primary Public Schools In Geneva Switch To Ubuntu


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Primary Schools in Geneva switch to Ubuntu

Schools in Geneva, Switzerland have taken a key step in switching from standard software to open source software based on Ubuntu Linux. A key step to saving money for hard pressed school districts.

In a drive to get rid of proprietary software, all primary and secondary schools in Geneva, Switzerland will be switching to switching to GNU/Linux. PCs used by teachers and students in these schools will run Ubuntu instead of other proprietary operating system (read Windows). In fact, PCs in 170 primary public schools are already running Ubuntu while 20 secondary schools will do the switch in next school year.

Each classroom has one PC that can be used by the teachers and the students in primary schools. All of these run Ubuntu now. The switch in secondary schools has not been completed yet as one of the language tool only runs on Windows:

“Where possible, we’ll be phasing out the proprietary systems. For now, one language teaching tool will only work on a proprietary operating system, so we will not be able to get rid of them all.”

Years of effort

‘Service écoles-médias‘ (SEM), part of Geneva’s IT department, moved to Ubuntu instead of upgrading to Windows 8 after Windows XP support ended. But it was not a sudden move. SEM had been planning the switch to GNU/Linux for some years. It created the inventory of PC hardware and networking capabilities. It also searched and tested the alternative applications in Linux to replace the existing prosperity software.

In addition, it created a detailed user guide for teachers and students, organize teacher trainings and host an online forum for teachers to make them at home with GNU/Linux.
Ups and downs

The biggest thing in favor of the switch was the ease with which Ubuntu works. Roiron, head f the Open Standards and Free Software project at the Geneva State Department for Education, said “We’ve showed them how easy it is to use Ubuntu, and how we can help in several ways, including on-site and remote.”

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Also see further news on successful adoption of Ubuntu by schools:

School: Ubuntu & open source reduces PC troubleshooting


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Using open source in school greatly reduces the time needed to troubleshoot PCs, shows the case of the Colegio Agustinos de León (Augustinian College of León, Spain). In 2013, the school switched to using Ubuntu Linux for its desktop PCs in class rooms and offices. For teachers and staff, the amount of technical issues decreased by 63 per cent and in the school’s computer labs by 90 per cent, says Fernando Lanero, computer science teacher and head of the school’s IT department.

The school in total has 120 PCs used by teachers, staff and students.

“One year after we changed PC operating system, I have objective data on Ubuntu Linux”, Lanero tells Muy Linux, a Spanish Linux news site. By switching to Linux, incidents such as computer viruses, system degradation and many diverse technical issues disappeared instantly.

The change also helps the school save money, he adds. Not having to purchase licences for proprietary operating systems, office suites and anti-virus tools has already saved about EUR 35,000 in the 2014-2015 school year, Lanero says. “Obviously it is much more interesting to invest that money in education.”

Switching to a new desktop PC environment was harder for staff than for students, the computer science teacher says. “Students are eager to work with GNU/Linux, because of its association with hackers. It is adding to their motivation. You cannot imagine how well Wikileak’s Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, a former contractor at America’s National Security Agency, are helping to promote free software.”


The biggest hurdle for the IT department was the use of electronic whiteboards. The school uses 30 of such whiteboards, and their manufacturer does not support the use of Linux. Lanero got the Spanish Linux community involved, and “after their hard work, Ubuntu Linux now includes support for the whiteboards, so now everything is working as it should.”

Other problems were caused by proprietary documents, especially spreadsheets. Some of the more pernicious issues were temporarily resolved by using a cloud-based proprietary office solution, says Lanero, giving the IT department time to complete the switch to open standards-based office solutions. The school now mostly uses the LibreOffice suite of office tools.

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Great to hear another success story for Ubuntu!

James Goode

Tendron Systems

Automotive Linux Summit – Tokyo 1-2 June 2015

The Automotive Linux Summit gathers together the most innovative minds from automotive expertise and open-source excellence including automotive systems engineers, Linux experts, R&D managers, business executives, open-source licensing and compliance specialists and community developers. The event connects the developer community driving the innovation in this area together with the vendors and users providing and using the code in order to drive the future of embedded devices in the automotive arena.

Who Attends

  • Over 300 attendees will gather at ALS 2015, which will be co-located with LinuxCon + CloudOpen Japan.