Tag Archives: apache

A Revolution In Software World – FOSS (Free and Open Source Software)

30 Jan

First Phase – The Dark Age/Closed Source Companies

Between 1960 – 1970’s there were no open source software program in the cyber world. Close source companies had been ruling the software world. What we aim to do in this artical is to show you  some of the important, mainframe operating systems in these years.

On April 7, 1964 IBM announced the first computer system family, the IBM System/360. Sold between 1964 and 1978, it was the first family of computers designed to cover the complete range of applications, from small to large, both commercial and scientific. The operating system used microcode to implement the instruction set, which featured 8-bit byte addressing and binary, decimal and floating-point calculations. The 360s were extremely successful in the market, allowing customers to purchase a smaller system with the knowledge they would always be able to migrate upward if their needs grew, without reprogramming of application software.

The TOPS-10 System (Timesharing / Total OPerating System) was a computer operating system from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for the PDP-10 (or DECsystem-10) mainframe computer launched in 1967.

RSTS is a multi-user time-sharing operating system, developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (“DEC”), (now part of Hewlett Packard) for the PDP-11 series of 16-bit minicomputers. The first version of RSTS (RSTS-11, Version 1) was implemented in 1970 by DEC software engineers that developed the TSS-8 time-sharing operating system for the PDP-8. The last version of RSTS (RSTS/E, Version 10.1) was released in September 1992. RSTS-11 and RSTS/E are usually referred to just as “RSTS” and this article will generally use the shorter form.

General Comprehensive Operating System (GCOS) is a family of operating systems oriented toward mainframe computers. The original version of GCOS was developed by General Electric from 1962; originally called GECOS (the General Electric Comprehensive Operating Supervisor). The operating system is still used today in its most recent version (GCOS on servers and mainframes produced by Honeywell and Groupe Bull, primarily through emulation, to provide continuity with legacy mainframe environments.
Between 1960-1970’s Early operating systems were very diverse, with each vendor or customer producing one or more operating systems specific to their particular mainframe computer. Every operating system, even from the same vendor, could have radically different models of commands, operating procedures, and such facilities as debugging aids. Typically, each time the manufacturer brought out a new machine, there would be a new operating system, and most applications would have to be manually adjusted, recompiled, and retested.

The Second Phase – The Unix Act

A revolutionary alteration occured in software history in 1970. Peter Neumann coined the project name Unics (Uniplexed Information and Computing Service) as a wordplay on Multics, (Multiplexing Information and Computer Services).Unics could eventually support multiple simultaneous users.
In 1974, an American multinational telecommunications corporation (AT&T) released Unix,a multitasking, multiuser computer operating system, free of charge.

The Open Group, an industry standards union owns the UNIX trademark. Only systems fully compliant with and certified according to the Single UNIX Specification are qualified to use the trademark. However, the term Unix is often used informally to denote any operating system that closely resembles the trademarked system.

The Third Phase- Bill Gates’ Open Letter To Hobbyists

The Open Letter to Hobbyists was an open letter written by Bill Gates, to early personal computer hobbyists. In his letter, Gates expresses dismay at the rampant copyright infringement taking place in the hobbyist community, particularly with regard to his company’s software. In his letter Gates asserted that “software piracy” was a crime and would contribute to the downfall of quality software.

Bill Gates,  co-founder of Microsoft , complaints in his letter about computer hobbyists “stealing software” by copying and distributing Microsoft’s version of BASIC. His accusation is quite direct. He says: ” As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software”

In the same letter he adds; “Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?” 

The answers is quite obvious:

THE OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY!

Through the open source logic and its communities, professional and hobbyist developers spend countless hours jointly programming, finding all bugs, documenting products which belong to everyone and are distributed for free.

Even back then in 1976, there was a growing community of programmers eager to share their code with each other for free and benefit from the work of others as others benefit from theirs.

You can read the whole letter in here.

The Fourth Phase-  A milestone / The Xerox and  R. Stallman

It all started with a paper jam. It was 1980 and the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT had received an elegant new printer from Xerox. The printer, however, had an unfortunate tendency to jam, causing print jobs to pile up and nothing to get printed until someone happened to notice and fix the jam. For Richard Stallman, one of the programmers at the AI Lab, this wasn’t such a big deal. With their previous printer, Stallman had simply changed the printer driver to detect whether the printer was jammed and, if it was, to notify anyone who had sent it a print job. “If you got that message, you couldn’t assume somebody else would fix it,” Stallman later recalled. “You had to go to the printer. A minute or two after the printer got in trouble, the two or three people who got messages arrive to fix the machine. Of those two or three people, one of them, at least, would usually know how to fix the problem.” But the Xerox printer was different: Xerox hadn’t provided the lab with the source code to their printer drivers.

There was no way for Stallman to add this new functionality to the driver. When Stallman asked Xerox for the code, they refused to provide it, insisting that it was an important trade secret for their business. And when Stallman found a student at Carnegie Mellon who had been given access to the software, that student also refused to provide a copy, saying he’d signed a contract with Xerox not to share it. Stallman was outraged. Computer software was supposed to be a tool to serve people; that’s why he and his labmates spent their time writing software. And yet, through a combination of greed and legal restrictions, people were forced to suffer because they were prevented from improving these tools.Stallman wanted to ensure no one else would be forced to suffer in this way; he wanted to build a computer system based around principles of freedom. In 1984 he quit his job and announced the GNU project.

The Fifth Phase- The GNU Manifesto

The GNU Manifesto was written by Richard Stallman and published in March 1985 in Dr. Dobb’s Journal of Software Tools as an explanation and definition of the goals of the GNU Project, and to call for participation and support. It is held in high regard within the free software movement as a fundamental philosophical source. The full text is included with GNU software such as Emacs, and is available on the web.

The GNU Manifesto begins by outlining the goal of the project GNU, which stands for GNU’s Not Unix. The current contents of GNU at the time of writing are then described and detailed. Richard Stallman then goes into an explanation of why it is important that they complete this project. The reason he explains is based on Unix becoming a proprietary software. It then explains how people can contribute to the project, and also why computer users will benefit from the project. A large part of the GNU Manifesto is also focused on rebutting possible objections to GNU’s goals. Objections described here include the programmer’s need to make a living, the issue of advertising/distributing free software, and the perceived need for monetary incentive. Most of this text explains how the free software philosophy works, and why it would be a good choice for the technology industry to follow.

You can read the whole manifesto in here

The Sixth Phase- Free Software Foundation (FSF)

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software.

The free software movement was started in 1983 by computer scientist Richard M. Stallman, when he launched a project called GNU, which stands for “GNU is Not UNIX” There are now many variants or ‘distributions’ of this GNU operating system using the kernel Linux. GNU/Linux distributions that are 100% free software; in other words, entirely freedom-respecting., to provide a replacement for the UNIX operating system—a replacement that would respect the freedoms of those using it. Then in 1985, Stallman started the Free Software Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission of advocating and educating on behalf of computer users around the world.The FSF is incorporated in Massachusetts, USA.

The Seventh Phase-The Linux Act 

In the year 1991 Linus Tornvalds released Linux Kernel as freel modifiale code.The Linux kernel is released under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2), and is developed by contributors worldwide.  Linux rapidly accumulated developers and users who adapted code from other free software projects for use with the new operating system.  The Linux kernel has received contributions from thousands of programmers. Many Linux distributions have been released based upon the Linux kernel.

The Eight Base- Liberty or Death
By 1990, it was becoming apparent that a less restrictive license would be strategically useful for the C library and for software libraries that essentially did the job of existing proprietary ones; when version 2 of the GPL (GPLv2) was released in June 1991, therefore, a second license — the Library General Public License — was introduced at the same time and numbered with version 2 to show that both were complementary. The version numbers diverged in 1999 when version 2.1 of the LGPL was released, which renamed it the GNU Lesser General Public License to reflect its place in the philosophy.
According to Richard Stallman, the major change in GPLv2 was the “Liberty or Death” clause. By this he means that, if somebody has restrictions imposed that prevent him or her from distributing GPL-covered software in a way that respects other users’  freedom (for example, if a legal ruling states that he or she can only distribute the software in binary form), he or she cannot distribute it at all. The hope is, that this will make it less tempting for companies to use patent threats to require a fee from the free software developers.
The Ninth Base-VA Linux Founded
VA Research was founded in November 1993 by Stanford graduate student Larry Augustin and James Vera. Augustin was a Stanford colleague of Jerry Yang and David Filo, the founders of Yahoo. VA Research built and sold personal computer systems with the Linux operating system installed, as an alternative to more expensive Unix workstations available at the time. Atthe time they started operations,  they were one of the first computer vendors to offer Linux as a pre-installed operating system. VA began porting Linux to the new IA-64 processor architecture in earnest. VA had also begun to make plans to change its name to VA Linux Systems and conduct an initial public offering of its stock.
The Tenth Base-The Apache Plan
The Apache Software Foundation is a decentralized community of developers. The software they produce is distributed under the terms of theApache License and is therefore free and open source software (FOSS)Apache is developed and maintained by an open community of developers under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation. The application is available for a wide variety of operating systems, including Unix, FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Novell NetWare, AmigaOS, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, TPF, and eComStation. Released under the Apache License, Apache is open-source software. Apache was originally based on NCSA HTTPd code. The NCSA code has since been removed from Apache, due to a rewrite. Since April 1996 Apache has been the most popular HTTP server software in use. As of May 2011 Apache was estimated to serve 63% of allwebsites and 66% of the million busiest.
The Eleventh Phase-The Shot Heard Round The World
In 1997, Eric Raymond released the book, The Cathedral and The Bazaar on why the Linux model works.  The essay’s central thesis is Raymond’s proposition that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” (which he terms Linus’ Law): the more widely available the source code is for public testing, scrutiny, and experimentation, the more rapidly all forms of bugs will be discovered. In contrast, Raymond claims that an inordinate amount of time and energy must be spent hunting for bugs in the Cathedral model, since the working version of the code is available only to a few developers.
You can find a Pdf  version of the book at the “Pdf” category in this blog.

The Twelfth Phase- Open Source Revolution

In 1998, Christine Peterson and a group of individuals advocated that the term free software should be replaced by open source software (OSS) as an expression which is less ambiguous and more comfortable for the corporate world. Software developers may want to publish their software with an open source license, so that anybody may also develop the same software or understand its internal functioning.

The Thirteenth Phase-The Hallowen Papers

The first Halloween document, requested by senior vice-president James Allchin for the attention of senior vice-president Paul Maritz and written by Microsoft program manager Vinod Valloppillil, was leaked to Eric Raymond in October 1998, who immediately published an annotated version on his web site. The document contained references to a second memorandum specifically dealing with Linux, and that document, authored by Vinod Valloppillil and Josh Cohen at Microsoft, was also obtained, annotated and published by Raymond. Microsoft has since admitted the documents’ authenticity.

The Fourteenth Phase-The Open Source Revolution

This could be one war that will maybe never end. One that always looks at providing software solutions to business enterprises at the lowest costs possible or at no cost at all — Open Source Software; and there is another which promises the provision of the best-in-the-business software solutions to large organizations and also the promise of a brand name, but at a higher cost (which is considered worth-it, by many firms) – Proprietary Software.

This trend in turn has led to a new debate, says 451 Group analyst Jay Lyman.

“Today’s open source vs. proprietary software debates typically center not on which model is better, as I think there is some general agreement that both have their place,” he says. “Instead, today’s discussion centers on what is open source or not.”

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Open Office.org

23 Jan

“OpenOffice.org is a volunteer-run project. Its aim is to build a world-class office suite, available to all. Everyone is free to redistribute this software thanks to its open source license.”

OpenOffice -generally known as OpenOffice.org, OOo (because of copy right issues)-  is an open source office productivity software suite.OpenOffice is available for a number of different computer operating system, is distributed as free software . It supports OpenDocument Format (ODF) for data interchange as its default file format, as well asMicrosoft Office formats among others. Currently, OpenOffice.org supports over 120 languages. As free software, users are free to download, modify, use and distribute OpenOffice.org.

OpenOffice.org originated asStarOffice, an office suite developed by StarDivision and acquired by Sun Microsystems in August 1999. The source code of the suite was released in July 2000 with the aim of providing a free and open alternative to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice.org was an open-source version of the StarOffice suite, with development sponsored primarily by Sun Microsystems. After acquiring Sun in 2010, Oracle Corporation stopped supporting commercial development and in June 2011 contributed the suite to the Apache Incubatorto become a project of the Apache Software Foundation.Subsequently in December 2011, the Apache Software Foundation announced that the project’s name would become Apache OpenOffice.

OpenOffice.org includes powerful applications for making text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, diagrams, and databases, as well as HTML and XML documents. Not only does it let you edit basic documents, such as letters and faxes, it also handles equations and complex and multipart documents with bibliographies, reference tables, and indexes.

Open Office is an open-source software suite that offers word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphic and databases.The functionality is along the lines of Microsoft’s popular Office Suite, but the software is completely free and completely open.


OpenOffice can be downloaded from the OpenOffice website (www.openoffice.org) and can be used free of charge and for any purpose. It offers compatibility with many of the most popular software productivity packages.

While the product is not quite as comprehensive and does not offer all of the features as Microsoft Office, the product offers most of the most common uses. It is also incredibly easy to learn especially for anyone who has used other office productivity software in the past.

Source:

http://www.openofficequestions.com

http://presentationsoft.about.com

http://www.openoffice.org

http://www.cnet.com

Android by Google Inc.

23 Jan

Information and History

 

Android Robot

The Android Mascot

Android is a Linux-based open-source software stack (mainly an operating system) created for mobile phones and other devices. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP), led by Google and developed by the Open Handset Alliance (OHA); is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.

The primary purpose of this project is to build an excellent software platform for everyday users and to make sure that there is no central point of failure, where one industry player can restrict or control the innovations of any other. The chosen solution is an open and open-source platform.

Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc. (which was founded in 2003 in PA, California by Andy Rubin), in 2005. The unveiling of the Android distribution in 2007 was announced with the founding of the OHA, a consortium of 86 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google releases the Android code as open-source, under the Apache License.

“Why under the Apache License?” one might ask. For userspace software,  ASL2.0 (and similar licenses like BSD, MIT, etc.) is preferred by Google over other licenses such as LGPL. The main reason behind this decision (as described in Android’s Source web site) is as follows:

Here are some of our specific concerns:

  • LGPL (in simplified terms) requires either: shipping of source to the application; a written offer for source; or linking the LGPL-ed library dynamically and allowing users to manually upgrade or replace the library. Since Android software is typically shipped in the form of a static system image, complying with these requirements ends up restricting OEMs’ designs. (For instance, it’s difficult for a user to replace a library on read-only flash storage.)
  • LGPL requires allowance of customer modification and reverse engineering for debugging those modifications. Most device makers do not want to have to be bound by these terms, so to minimize the burden on these companies we minimize usage of LGPL software in userspace.
  • Historically, LGPL libraries have been the source of a large number of compliance problems for downstream device makers and application developers. Educating engineers on these issues is difficult and slow-going, unfortunately. It’s critical to Android’s success that it be as easy as possible for device makers to comply with the licenses. Given the difficulties with complying with LGPL in the past, it is most prudent to simply not use LGPL libraries if we can avoid it.

The issues discussed above are our reasons for preferring ASL2.0 for our own code. They aren’t criticisms of LGPL or other licenses. We do feel strongly on this topic, even to the point where we’ve gone out of our way to make sure as much code as possible is ASL2.0. However, we love all free and open source licenses, and respect others’ opinions and preferences. We’ve simply decided that ASL2.0 is the right license for our goals.

(More on Apache License will be explained on this blog later)

Software Design

Android Logo Text

Android Logo Text

Android consists of a kernel based on the Linux kernel (and further architecture changes by Google outside the typical Linux kernel development cycle), with middleware, libraries and Application Programming Interfaces (API) written in C and application software running on an application framework which includes Java-compatible libraries based on Apache Harmony (A free Java implementation project). Android uses the Dalvik Virtual Machine (the software which runs Android applications) with just-in-time compilation to run Dalvik dex-code (Dalvik Executable), which is usually translated from Java bytecode.

Usage

The Android 1.5 UI

The Android 1.5 UI

The open and customizable nature of the Android operating system allows it to be used on most electronics, including but not limited to: smartphones, fixed phones, laptops, netbooks, smartbooks, tablet computers, e-book readers, TVs, wristwatches, headphones, car CD and DVD players, digital cameras, portable media players and other devices. For more information and comparison (which are hard to fit here) about devices benefiting from Android, click here. The operating system itself is installed on 130 million total devices.

The main hardware platform for Android is the ARM Architecture. There is support for x86 from the Android x86 project, and Google TV uses a special x86 version of Android.

The Main Application Elements

Android Market Logo

Android Market Logo

The Market and application security is the most emphasized components of Android for both its end-users and developers. Android Market’s gateway is an application program called “Market”, comes preinstalled on most Android devices, which allows users to browse and download mobile apps published by third-party developers. The Android Market application is not open source. Only Android devices that comply with Google’s compatibility requirements may install and access Google’s closed-source Android Market app, subject to entering into a free-of-charge licensing agreement with Google. Application developers receive 70% of the application price, with the remaining 30% distributed among carriers and payment processors. Google itself does not take a percentage.

As of January 2012 there were more than 400,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from the Android Market as of December 2011 exceeded 10 billion. Android Market features 67% of free of charge apps, the highest percentage of any major app store, closely rivaled by Windows Phone Marketplace at 61%. By comparison, the Apple App Store offers only 37% of their apps free of charge. As of May 2011, users in 131 countries can purchase paid applications from Android Market. Some carriers offer direct carrier billing for Android Market app purchases. Purchases of unwanted applications can be refunded within 15 minutes of the time of download. There is no requirement that Android applications be acquired from Android Market. Users may download Android applications from a developer’s website or through a third party alternative to Android Market.

Android applications run in a sandbox (a security mechanism for separating running programs), unless access permissions are granted by the user when the application is installed. Before installing an application, Android Market displays all required permissions. A game may need to enable vibration, for example, but should not need to read messages or access the phonebook. After reviewing these permissions, the user can decide whether to install the application or not.

Pirate Mascot

Pirate Mascot

Some Android malware incidents have been reported involving rogue applications on Android Market. In August 2010, Kaspersky Lab reported detection of the first malicious program for Android, named Trojan-SMS. AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, an SMS trojan which had already infected a number of devices. In some cases applications which contained Trojans were hidden in pirated versions of legitimate apps. Google has responded by removing malicious apps from the Android Market, and remotely disabling them on infected devices. Several security firms have released antivirus software for Android devices, in particular, AVG Technologies, Avast!, F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee and Symantec.

Licensing

Apache Software Foundation Logo

Apache Software Foundation Logo

The source code for Android is available under free and open source software (FOSS) licenses. Google published their Linux kernel changes under the GNU General Public License version 2, and the rest of the code (including network and telephony stacks) under the Apache License version 2.0. Google also keeps the reviewed issues list publicly open for anyone to see and comment.

The OHA develops the GPL-licensed part of Android, that is their changes to the Linux kernel, in public, with source code publicly available at all times. The rest of Android is developed in private, with source code released publicly when a major new version is released. Typically Google collaborates with a hardware manufacturer to produce a flagship device (part of the Google Nexus series) featuring the new version of Android, then makes the source code available after that device has been released.

In early 2011, Google chose to temporarily withhold the Android source code to the tablet-only Honeycomb release, creating doubts over Google’s commitment to open source with Android. The reason, according to Andy Rubin in an official Android blog post, was because Honeycomb was rushed for production of the Motorola Xoom, and they did not want third parties creating a “really bad user experience” by attempting to put onto smartphones a version of Android intended for tablets. The source code was once again made available in November 2011 with the release of Android 4.0.

Source(s):

http://www.techcrunch.com/
https://market.android.com/
http://developer.android.com/
http://source.android.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/