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GSA Follows Corporate IT Procurement Playbook
May 13, 2014
A major federal agency has launched a program designed to acquire information technology and other essential goods and services for the government the same way that major corporations handle procurement. The General Services Administration, which acquires a wide range of products and services on behalf of federal agencies, has initiated a category management acquisition process.
Linux Pros' Top Command Line Secrets
May 12, 2014
It was a relatively quiet week here in the Linux blogosphere, giving residents a long-overdue opportunity to enjoy a few Tequila Tux cocktails and take stock of all the FOSS-related happenings that have taken place over the past few weeks. Among the highlights were the awarding of the IEEE Computer Society's 2014 Computer Pioneer Award to none other than Linus Torvalds.
Making Linux Feel at Home
May 07, 2014
Migrating to a different OS is never easy. Keeping the Windows opened or not chewing on a MacIntosh can be a frustrating and costly experience. Buying new upgraded hardware to keep up with costly new software releases is often an exercise in futility. Running a Linux distribution at home or in a small office can be a productive endeavor that brings cost savings and increased efficiency.
GitHub Unleashes Atom Into Open Source Realm
May 06, 2014
After launching its Atom text editor into beta back in February, GitHub on Tuesday announced that the software is now fully open source under the MIT License. "Much of Atom's functionality is provided by packages, and every Atom package has been open source since the day we launched the beta," explained GitHub developer Nathan Sobo. "Today, we're open sourcing the rest of Atom."
EMC World 2014: Building a Company to Last
May 05, 2014
EMC World -- the company's annual customer, user and partner conference -- kicks off this week in Las Vegas. So it seems like a good time to compare and contrast EMC's current position in the marketplace to its competitors' positions -- and even to its own history. In fact, those points were clarified in its recent Q1 2014 earnings call.
Sexism in FOSS Rears Its Ugly Head Again... and Again
May 05, 2014
It seems there's always some kind of conflict at work in the FOSS community lately, whether it's based on race, on gender or something else. Most recently, it's the gender issue that has been felt most keenly. Not only have we seen the whole GitHub debacle unfold and explode, but then a certain post appeared online that got the Linux community upset all over again.
Security Pros Struggle With Cyberthreat Angst
May 05, 2014
As the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks increase, system defenders in the trenches are losing confidence in their ability to protect their organizations' information assets, suggests a survey released last week. The survey of almost 5,000 global IT security pros found that 57 percent felt their organizations were unprotected from sophisticated cyberattacks.
Snowden's Beloved Tails OS Reaches v1.0 Milestone
May 01, 2014
The volunteers who developed Tails, the open source operating system used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, this week released v1.0. This is the 36th stable release of the OS since the first public version, then called "Amnesia," was released in June 2009. Various security and bug fixes have been incorporated into v1.0. They include a Web browser upgrade and a Tor upgrade.
Federal Initiative Aims to Spur Software Development
April 24, 2014
The allure of Big Data stems from the ability to use advanced technology to manage and manipulate huge amounts of information. Not only that, Big Data offers the opportunity for unlocking information not previously available, and even not previously knowable. However, the software required to underpin Big Data and related IT advances may not be up to the task.
Going Gold - IBM's Mainframe Turns 50
April 22, 2014
Longevity doesn't get much respect in the tech industry, partly due to new technologies regularly entering and dominating industries and commercial markets. However, cultural factors play a part, too. Much of IT's vibrancy results from the startup mindset and youthful employees who willingly embrace crushing 80-hour work weeks for a chance to become millionaires -- or billionaires.
Google Mounts $100K Project Ara Dev Challenge
April 16, 2014
Google announced a $100,000 developers' challenge prize on Wednesday, the second day of its Project Ara modular phone developers' conference. The top two runners-up will get all-expenses paid trips for two or three people to the next Ara devcon -- there will be a few more held this year -- and guaranteed hardware for the project, said Project Ara lead Paul Eremenko.
Fun and Angst With Google Glass
April 15, 2014
Google Glass, which has been the focus of considerable controversy, went on sale Tuesday -- for one day only -- at $1,500, with Android KitKat and new features that include improved battery life, photo bundles, photo replies and voice command sorting. However, one feature -- video calling -- has been eliminated because fewer than 10 percent of Explorer beta users employed it.
Internet Leeches Drawn to Heartbleed
April 14, 2014
It's been more than a week since news of the Heartbleed flaw launched a frantic scramble on the Web, but security professionals' palpitations haven't subsided. The OpenSSL Software Foundation has issued a fix, and Google, Cisco, and hordes of other companies have begun patching their products. Predictably, scammers and spammers have climbed onto the Heartbleed solution bandwagon.
Why Is It So Hard to Think Different?
April 14, 2014
I've been having an interesting week -- first, with AMD, which has returned to profitability and stopped chasing Intel's butt to do some rather interesting different things, like merging x86 and ARM technologies. Then, with IBM, which also realized that chasing Intel wasn't doing it any good. It chose an even more unusual path for its processors, making them "open."
The Pace of Federal IT Innovation Requires Vendor Patience
April 11, 2014
Federal information technology managers are as intrigued as any other IT community by the potential benefits from IT innovations. However, many federal managers continue to face challenges in adopting innovative technologies. Lack of funding, employee skill gaps, and lack of organizational buy-in are the top three constraints that inhibit the use of new technologies.
XP Users Have a Bad Headache Coming On
April 07, 2014
Money will be the biggest problem users of Windows XP will face when Microsoft officially stops supporting it on Tuesday. As a last resort, Microsoft is offering custom support for Windows XP as a temporary stopgap. That could cost as much as $200 per PC per year, Gartner estimated. The UK government reportedly has paid Microsoft about $9 million to extend Windows XP support for one year.
Calligra 2.8 Is Too Sweet for Words Alone
April 03, 2014
If you spend any amount of time creating documents, graphics or organizing data into reports or visual presentations, drop whatever collection of tools you use and put the Calligra Suite to the test. The Calligra Suite is a forked set of office tools for the KDE desktop that branched off the stalled KOffice suite. However, you do not have to run the KDE environment to get it.
Clock Counting Down on Windows XP Support
April 01, 2014
As Microsoft prepares to cut off support for Windows XP, hackers are sharpening their knives in anticipation of carving up the operating system's carcass. Web predators will pounce on XP 10 minutes after Microsoft pulls the support plug on the software, predicted one former military computer specialist and network engineer. Indeed, it appears that information highwaymen are stockpiling ammunition.
Microsoft's Merry-Making MS-DOS Code Caper
March 31, 2014
Well it's the end of another March here in the Linux blogosphere, and that can mean only one thing: the arrival of another April Fools' Day. As if on cue, Microsoft recently made an eminently Fools' Day-worthy move. "On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows," wrote Roy Levin, managing director for Microsoft Research Silicon Valley.
Service-Based IT Switches Up Feds' Vendor Relationships
March 28, 2014
Cloud computing has ushered in an emphasis on service-oriented, on-demand information technology in the federal market. The shift from acquiring hard assets, such as computers, servers and even mobile devices, as well as software packages installed on those assets, has been gradual. However, the process has reached a point that it requires more attention from the vendor community.
Is Google Thwarting Android-x86 Development?
March 26, 2014
Has Google been spreading FUD to discourage computer makers from using an Android OS retooled to run on legacy computers? The maintainer of the Android-x86 Project has suggested that the Justice Department should investigate whether Google has been interfering with adoption of the open source code his community is developing. The FOSS development world is hardly free of rivalry and power plays.
Getting Mobile App Devs to Jump on Your Bandwagon
March 24, 2014
Earlier this year, during the Mobile World Congress, Jon Matonis, executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, made a compelling argument for the use of bitcoin in mobile payment applications. Mobile payments have not made the traction many expected they would -- but bitcoin could neatly circumvents all of the obstacles that have held them back, Matonis explained.
Horvath Hurls Harassment Charges in Fiery GitHub Exit
March 17, 2014
Adding fuel to the debate over the treatment of women in tech, Julie Ann Horvath, a developer at GitHub, has stormed out of her job, accusing the company of ignoring harassment in the workplace. One of the company's three cofounders and his wife had persistently intimidated her, and an engineer had repeatedly ripped out her code after she turned down his advances, Horvath claimed.
Windows Phone: New Friends, New Markets, New Lease on Life?
March 14, 2014
Following months of speculation that Microsoft may be rethinking its approach to getting its beleaguered Windows Phone into the hands of more consumers, two reports came to light on Thursday suggesting that indeed may be the case. First, Huawei CMO Shao Yang reportedly said that his company was planning a similar dual-booting device for release in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year.

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