Open Source Software

  1. The Eclipse Foundation, the new keeper of enterprise Java, has moved forward with nine project proposals for Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J), which the organization describes as the first step toward the migration of Java EE (Enterprise Edition) to the open source tools organization.

    The proposals, published for community review, cover aspects of Java ranging from JSON and REST to messaging. They emerge in response to Oracle’s decision in August to turn over enterprise Java to an open source tools foundation, which resulted in Eclipse taking over the project. This followed a tumultuous year for enterprise Java, with Oracle deciding on a plan to upgrade Java EE after being criticized for neglect, only to shed stewardship of Java EE this year.  

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  2. “26,000 new blockchain projects last year!” screamed the headline. “But only 8 percent remain active!” The implication is that blockchain’s future is at risk, given the high mortality rate among its offspring. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, we need many more blockchain projects to fail to clear out some of the noise, leaving room for “Linux of blockchain”-type projects to remain.

    And yet there is cause for concern, though not in blockchain specifically. Instead, the greater concern should be for open source, which has never been more popular with software users even as the developer population feeding it has remained flat. Unless we can find ways to encourage more contributions, open source efforts like blockchain threaten to crumble under the weight of user expectations unmet by developer productivity.

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  3. TensorFlow, Google’s contribution to the world of machine learning and data science, is a general framework for quickly developing neural networks. Despite being relatively new, TensorFlow has already found wide adoption as a common platform for such work, thanks to its powerful abstractions and ease of use.

    TensorFlow 1.4 API additions

    TensorFlow Keras API

    The biggest changes in TensorFlow 1.4 involve two key additions to the core TensorFlow API. The tf.keras API allows users to employ the Keras API, a neural network library that predates TensorFlow but is quickly being displaced by it. The tf.keras API allows software using Keras to be transitioned to TensorFlow, either by using the Keras interface permanently, or as a prelude to the software being reworked to use TensorFlow natively.

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  4. From its humble beginnings in the AMPLab at U.C. Berkeley in 2009, Apache Spark has become one of the key big data distributed processing frameworks in the world. Spark can be deployed in a variety of ways, provides native bindings for the Java, Scala, Python, and R programming languages, and supports SQL, streaming data, machine learning, and graph processing. You’ll find it used by banks, telecommunications companies, games companies, governments, and all of the major tech giants such as Apple, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft.

    Out of the box, Spark can run in a standalone cluster mode that simply requires the Apache Spark framework and a JVM on each machine in your cluster. However, it’s more likely you’ll want to take advantage of a resource or cluster management system to take care of allocating workers on demand for you. In the enterprise, this will normally mean running on Hadoop YARN(this is how the Cloudera and Hortonworks distributions run Spark jobs), but Apache Spark can also run on Apache Mesos, while work is progressing on adding native support for Kubernetes.

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  5. Microsoft’s open source development tool is an important piece of the developer’s toolkit. Built using GitHub’s cross-platform Electron framework, Visual Studio Code is a full-featured development editor that supports a wide selection of languages and platforms, from the familiar C and C# to modern environments and languages like Go and Node.js, with parity between Windows, MacOS, and Linux releases.

    Microsoft regularly updates Visual Studio Code. Keep track of the updates’ key features in this changelog.

    Where to download Visual Studio Code

    To download the editor for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, go to Microsoft’s Visual Code Studio website

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