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  • FDA open-sourced application for collecting patient data

    08 November 2018

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new app Wednesday to gather data for clinical trials and other research directly from patients. The FDA released the MyStudies app source code to the public, allowing developers and researchers to tailor the app to suit their research needs. The agency designed the app to facilitate the use of real-world data in research. Patients can submit real-world data to the app via their mobile devices. Researchers can then link those data to other electronic health information. The goal is to improve drug development. Researchers ran a pilot study of the app at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Network. They used the app to study medication use and outcomes among pregnant women. They concluded that MyStudies has the technical, scientific and governance procedures necessary for broader use in clinical research. Open source code of My studies App is being released for two versions of the app. One is built on Apple’s ResearchKit (iOS) framework, and the other is built on the open source ResearchStack framework, which runs on Google’s Android. Devolpers can find the source code on GitHub using the following link:

  • Using FOSS in the Egyptian Universities to reducing total cost of software ownership

    07 November 2018

    One of the major problems the universities in Egypt try to adapt-with every single year is the tight budget they have to run the whole facility. Dr Gaber Nasar, the former president of Cairo University, said in an article published on Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper “The second major problem faced the universities in Egypt is the lack of funding and weak spending on the development of the education process, as 90% of Egyptian universities budgets spent on salaries and bonuses”. How FOSS can help with cost savings? The potential of using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has been widely investigated. The major benefits are related to cost, reliability, extendibility, and security. Among the benefits, the cost is one of the major driving forces behind the FOSS projects. Studies have shown that FOSS integration in Universities reduces costs, and this is the main motivation of the deployment of FOSS. As the software and code freely available. FOSS also plays an important role in bridging the digital divide by providing low-cost applications that have the ability to localize content particularly in developing countries like Egypt. Also, Open Source solutions are scalable in both directions, upwards and downwards, with a reduction in the risk of longer-term financial implications. Besides, there’s no need to spend on big upgrades on hardware. Usually, Open Source Software does not require a high-end hardware specification. This means that even by using older devices it is possible to work without loss of performance. Cases of using FOSS in universities: - Cairo University Cairo University is one of the first FOSS adopters among the Egyptian universities, in 2012, they relied on a free and open source software to provide an easy way to create professional pages for the faculty members they can use to publish academic resources, share their papers, provide information about the classes and write the latest announcements. Mohammed Hamid, a lecturer at the faculty of computers and information at Cairo University, said that the faculty members of the Cairo university began to use a locally customized website built on top of "Open Scholar" software to create millions of pages without problems since 2012. Cairo University's "Open Scholar" portal, which available via the link, includes personal pages and blogs for about 8030 faculty members. Hamid added that the use of a free and open source software solutions reducing the costs needed from Cairo University to provide such a service for their faculty members. It also reduced the development and support problems. OpenScholar is open source software built on top of Drupal that allows end users to easily create dynamic and customizable academic websites. Each site comes with a suite of apps, widgets and themes, enabling users to build and manage feature-rich websites. -University Paris 8 University Paris 8 in France also used an open source software to overcome the high spending on software problem, as The ATI (Art and Technology of Image) department at French university decided in 2015 to switch to use the open source graphic software, Krita, as a replacement for Adobe Photoshop, because of inadequate support from Adobe. The software company refused to help the French department by lower the price of their product, so the ATI decided to use an open source replacement, and created a three-week intensive training project, called the “Master 1” to train teachers and students to use the new OSS. After the “Master 1” project, students work with not only Krita software but also with others open sources graphics software, like Blender (3D graphics and animation software) and Natron (compositing software). Krita, Blender and Natron are available for free, otherwise, Adobe Photoshop license cost for teachers and students is about $111 per year for one user includes Lightroom app too. For the Universities, it cost about $167 per year for a single user. - University of Washington In 2014, The University of Washington (UW) announced that it is successfully deployed Kuali Student as the main student information system on the whole university. Kuali student is a student information system built on Kuali open source platform, which created as part of a collaborative effort by seven institutions, including the University of Maryland, Indiana University, University of Toronto, Boston College, University of Washington and North-West University. The American university said in a paper, published before the deployment of the final phase of the project, that the Kuali Student project will deliver a flexible, scalable, cost‐effective system that can be configured to meet the business requirements of many institutions. UW also said that its decision to develop Kuali student was taken based on many points, like: It is an open source solution, has a better potential for integration, the agility in development, Avoiding the high cost of software license fees, third party implementers, and annual vendor maintenance fees. The software distributed to be used on many American universities, like the University of Southern California, University of Maryland and the University of British Columbia, due to the low cost of implementation and the ability to customize the software to meet the needs of every University. See the article on our FOSSwiki: Using_FOSS_in_the_Egyptian_Universities_to_reducing_total_cost_of_software_ownership For more information about the advantages of using Free and Open Source Software in the Egyptian universities and to a list of the best Free and Open Source Software to use in the Egyptian universities, please download the following guide:

  • Google open-sources its BERT system for NLP researchers

    06 November 2018

    Google has made its natural language processing (NLP) pre-training model, bidirectional encoder representations from transformers (BERT), available as open source for NLP researchers. The BERT model can be used for various tasks such as "question answering and language inference, without substantial task-specific architecture modifications", a research document outlined. According to Google AI research scientists Jacob Devlin and Ming-Wei Chang, the shortage of training data is one of the main challenges in NLP, which is a diverse and extensive field with distinct tasks, with most datasets containing only a few hundred or a thousand human-labeled training examples. However, with modern deep learning-based NLP models, researchers can gain benefits from much larger amounts of data, the scientists said. A pre-trained model, according to the scientists, will aim to close the gap in training general purpose language representation models using the vast amount of unannotated text on the web. According to the scientists, the BERT models, available on Github, are currently only offered in English, but the aim will be to release models pre-trained on a variety of languages in the future. The open source TensorFlow implementation and pointers to pre-trained BERT models can be found at Alternatively, you can get started using BERT through Colab with the notebook “BERT FineTuning with Cloud TPUs.”

  • Mozilla makes a partnership with ExpressVPN

    05 November 2018

    Mozilla has revealed that more Firefox users will be able to benefit from increased privacy and security online thanks to a new partnership with ExpressVPN.   The browser firm has launched a new partnership with ExpressVPN to provide the latter's VPN services to Firefox Lite customers for the first time.   Customers using the newly-rebranded Firefox Lite browser will now be offered a free seven-day trial of ExpressVPN to try out the service, marking the first such partnership of its kind.   “ExpressVPN is delighted to be partnering with Mozilla, as we share their dedication to advancing the open web and online privacy and security,” said Harold Li, vice president, ExpressVPN. “Through our partnership, we’ll be able to help Firefox Lite users secure their connections and ensure their data is not exposed to prying eyes or malicious actors.”   Formerly known as Firefox Rocket, Firefox Lite is a low-power and bandwidth version of Mozilla's popular browser, allowing users to use less mobile data and allow speedy browsing even on poor connection networks.   "Through our partnership with Mozilla, we hope to be able to educate users about these risks and equip them with tools to protect themselves," ExpressVPN said in a blog post announcing the news.   “We are proud to provide a more secure browsing experience together with ExpressVPN,” said Charles P.C. Chen, head of business development, Mozilla Asia. “We see VPNs as a critical tool for internet security and privacy. ExpressVPN stood out for its pioneering work in leak proofing. We are happy to have established such a strong collaboration to bring a whole new level of secure mobile Web experience for our users.”   The offer will initially be available across limited countries before the tow companies take a decision to roll out the service worldwide.

  • Fedora 29 Linux distribution now available

    04 November 2018

    The Fedora Project, a Red Hat sponsored and community-driven open source collaboration, announced the general availability of Fedora 29, the latest version of the fully open source Fedora operating system. Fedora 29 delivers three distinct editions each designed to provide a free, Linux-based system tailored to meet specific use cases - Fedora 29 Server, Fedora 29 Workstation and Fedora 29 Atomic Host. All editions of Fedora 29 are built from a common set of base packages and, as with all new Fedora releases, the packages feature numerous bug fixes and performance tweaks as well as new and enhanced additions. The Fedora 29 base package includes updated compilers and languages including Python 3.7, Perl 5.28. glibc 2.28, Gloang 1.11, and MySQL 8.   Modularity for all Editions, Spins and Labs First introduced in Fedora 28, the modular repository previously only available in Fedora 28 Server is now available for all editions. Modularity helps make it easier to include alternative versions of software and updates than those shipped with the default release, designed to enable some users to use tried-and-true versions of software while enabling others to work with just-released innovation without impacting the overall stability of the Fedora operating system.   ARM, the Internet of Things, and Fedora Also, Fedora 29 aims to make the Fedora operating system a home for both ARM and IoT. These features start with enhanced ZRAM support for swap on ARMv7 and aarch64, which can improve the performance and reliability of Fedora 29 on ARM Single Board Computers, like the Raspberry Pi. These devices are used by “makers” and in IoT solutions projects.   Fedora 29 Workstation The latest version of Fedora’s desktop-focused edition provides new tools and features for general users as well as developers with the inclusion of GNOME 3.30. GNOME 3.30 helps better streamline performance by using fewer system resources, enabling users to run more apps at once without encountering performance issues. The latest version also adds a new Podcasts app and automatically updates Flatpaks in Software Center. Users can download Fedora 29 from

  • EgyptFOSS' guide to use free and open source software in the Egyptian Schools

    31 October 2018

    EgyptFOSS platform announced the release of its own guide to using free and open source software in the Egyptian Schools.   The main purpose of this document is to introduce the schools' managers and decision makers to the topic of using the free and open source software (FOSS) and to offer some guidance for the use of free and open source software in Schools.   To Download please use the following link EgyptFOSS GUIDE TO USE FREE AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE IN THE EGYPTIAN Schools_1st Edition_October 2018

  • The most 10 programming languages used in Open Source projects

    30 October 2018

    Twenty years after the open source movement began, developers are increasingly contributing to these projects, but employers are expecting even more participation, according to a report from DigitalOcean. Just over half (55%) of the 4,300 developers surveyed for the report said they are contributing to open source projects. However, 71% said their companies expect them to use open source software as part of their day-to-day development work, the report found. For the developers who do participate in open source projects, the majority (60%) contribute on the software side, the report found, followed by software maintenance (16%) and filing issues (14%). The top motivation for this participation is improving coding skills, along with being part of a community and learning new technologies, the report found. Developers reported that, over the past three years, they have been most excited about open source projects in React.js (468 mentions), Kubernetes (335 mentions), Docker (252 mentions), Linux (240 mentions), and Tensorflow (226 mentions), the report found. The vast majority of developers (97%) said they used GitHub to discover new open source projects to contribute to. The biggest barriers to developers contributing more to open source projects are not knowing where to get started (45%), feeling like they don't have the right skills to contribute (44%), and not having time at work to do so (30%), according to the report. Here are the 10 programming languages developers said they use most for open source projects, according to DigitalOcean: JavaScript (62%) Python (52%) PHP (29%) Java (28%) CSS (25%) C++ (18%) Go (16%) C (14%) C# (10%) Ruby (9%)

  • IBM: We are committed to retaining Red Hat’s open source culture

    30 October 2018

    Red hat considered as one of the biggest successful models of relying on open source software to create a big business, so when IBM announced it has reached a deal to acquire Red Hat for US$34 that make an impact inside the free and open source community.   IBM released a statement to answer many of the community questions, mainly to answer how the company assure retaining Red Hat’s open source culture.   IBM said "We are committed to retaining Red Hat’s culture, leadership and practices. It’s important to remember that IBM has long been a champion of the open source community, starting with our $1 billion investment in Linux 20 years ago".   the company added, "With every crank of the technology cycle over the last two decades, the open source community has played a crucial development role, and that has never been more apparent than today, as companies work to shift their business applications to the cloud".   "Within that open source community, IBM and Red Hat have had a long and successful relationship. Between us, IBM and Red Hat have contributed more to the open source community than any other organization" said Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President, IBM Hybrid Cloud.   Also, IBM clarifies that the company and OSS community share many common beliefs – starting with the fact that the IT world is, and will continue to be, hybrid.   Notable, The deal remains subject to Red Hat shareholder approval as well as regulatory approvals. It is expected to close in the latter half of 2019.

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