CategoryFree and open source software (FOSS)

FOSS (Free and Open Source Software)

All articles related to FOSS (free and open source software) can be found in this category. Topics include my favorite software, experiences in the Fedora community, my thoughts on issues in the world of FOSS, and more.

How to set up a ListenBrainz development environment

This post is part of a series of posts where I contribute to the ListenBrainz project for my independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall 2017 semester. For more posts, find them in this tag.


One of the first rites of passage when working on a new project is creating your development environment. It always seems simple, but sometimes there are bumps along the way. The first activity I did to begin contributing to ListenBrainz was create my development environment. I wasn’t successful with the documentation in the README, so I had to play around and work with the project before I was even running it.

The first part of this post details how to set up your own development environment. Then, the second half talks about the solution I came up with and my first contribution back to the project.

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On the data refrain: Contributing to ListenBrainz

A unique opportunity of attending an open source-friendly university is when course credits and working on open source projects collide. This semester, I’m participating in an independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology where I will contribute to the ListenBrainz project.

Many students take part in independent studies where they work on their own projects. However, in the spirit of open source collaboration, I wanted to contribute to a project that already existed. That way, my work would be helpful to a real-world project where it would have a value even after the end of the semester. Additionally, I wanted  a project to help me sharpen my Python skill. And ListenBrainz was a fun, exciting candidate for this.

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Embracing open source cloud: Local government in Tirana switches to open source cloud solution

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


Open source software has come a long way since the turn of the century. Each year, more and more people are embracing open source technology and development models. Not just people, though ­– corporations and governments are exploring open source solutions too. From the White House to the Italian army, open source is appearing more frequently in the public sector. But perhaps the newest addition to the list is the municipality of Tirana, Albania.

On June 11th, the local government in the municipality of Tirana migrated their private cloud to Nextcloud, an open source cloud and office productivity suite. The decision to move to an integrated cloud / office suite came after internal discussion about security and performance. Because Nextcloud is entirely open source, it stood out as a powerful option for the municipality to consider.

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Introducing InfluxDB: Time-series database stack

Article originally published on Opensource.com.


The needs and demands of infrastructure environments changes every year. With time, systems become more complex and involved. But when infrastructure grows and becomes more complex, it’s meaningless if we don’t understand it and what’s happening in our environment. This is why monitoring tools and software are often used in these environments, so operators and administrators see problems and fix them in real-time. But what if we want to predict problems before they happen? Collecting metrics and data about our environment give us a window into how our infrastructure is performing and lets us make predictions based on data. When we know and understand what’s happening, we can prevent problems before they happen.

But how do we collect and store this data? For example, if we want to collect data on the CPU usage of 100 machines every ten seconds, we’re generating a lot of data. On top of that, what if each machine is running fifteen containers? What if you want to generate data about each of those individual containers too? What about by the process? This is where time-series data becomes helpful. Time-series databases store time-series data. But what does that mean? We’ll explain all of this and more and introduce you to InfluxDB, an open source time-series database. By the end of this article, you will understand…

  • What time-series data / databases are
  • Quick introduction to InfluxDB and the TICK stack
  • How to install InfluxDB and other tools

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IRC for the 21st century: introducing Riot

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, is one of the oldest chat protocols around and still popular in many open source communities. IRC’s best strengths are as a decentralized and open communication method, making it easy for anyone to participate by running a network of their own. There’s also a variety of clients and bots available for IRC. But on the reverse side, usability is a concern. Most common user interfaces for IRC clients or platforms aren’t always intuitive. People from parts of the world with unstable Internet connections are challenged with remaining connected to participate in conversation. Many people have tried addressing this problem before, but none have come as far as Riot.

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Ura Design crowdfunds free design for open source projects

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


Ura Design logoOpen source software is nothing new in 2017. Even now, big tech giants are exploring open source. More and more companies allow employees to contribute to open source software on company hours, if it isn’t altogether encouraged. However, design assets and work have not enjoyed the same popularity with open source licensing and use as software has. However, Albanian design agency Ura Design is helping change this.

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What I discovered in Tirana, Albania

The past few months have brought many changes for me. I traveled throughout Europe to experience some of the open source conferences and communities across the continent. Along the way, I met incredible people with powerful stories about their own communities. However, there is one community that I knew about before I came to Europe. The Open Labs Hackerspace in Tirana, Albania is a special community that I was fortunate enough to discover and meet. Together, they have helped set in motion the open source way in their own city.

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Mission to understand: Fedora Diversity FAD 2017

This article was originally published on the Fedora Community Blog.


Team picture of the Diversity Team members (left to right: Brian Exelbierd, Amita Sharma, Radka Janek, Jona Azizaj, Bhagyashree Padalkar, Justin W. Flory)

Team picture of the Diversity Team members (left to right: Brian Exelbierd, Amita Sharma, Radka Janek, Jona Azizaj, Bhagyashree Padalkar, Justin W. Flory)

The Fedora Diversity FAD (a.k.a. Fedora Activity Day, or a sprint) took place during the weekend of DevConf, 27-29 January. The original planning for this FAD started in August 2016, after the Flock 2016 conference. At Flock, the Diversity Team held a panel with open discussion about diversity and inclusion efforts in Fedora. Based on the feedback received during and after the panel, it was a priority for us to continue working on the objectives we had established before Flock. For the FAD, a majority of the Fedora Diversity Team was present along with a few others.

We made significant progress in accomplishing our larger objectives and to contribute to the Fedora Project mission and goals. The primary objectives we established for our FAD were completing plans for the demographic survey, building a campaign based on those results, and analyzing our Code of Conduct to find ways to better impact the community. This report covers each of these objectives, what we accomplished, and what we plan to do next.

Logic model used for preliminary planning and mapping out the activities and impact of the Fedora Diversity FAD 2017

Logic model used for preliminary planning and mapping out the activities and impact of the Fedora Diversity FAD

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Take the #HappinessPacketChallenge!

One of the most important lessons I was taught growing up is to say “thank you” when someone does something nice for you. Many months ago, someone first introduced me to something called Happiness Packets. The idea is simple but powerfully effective. Happiness Packets are like thank-you cards for open source users or contributors. You can send a packet to anyone for anything. Your message can be as short or as long as you like. You can put your name on your message or you can keep it totally anonymous. The choice is yours. And now, I want to challenge you to the #HappinessPacketChallenge!

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Students meet Fedora at Linux Weekend 2017

This article was originally published on the Fedora Magazine.


Open source projects are built online and a lot of their community members are placed all over the world. Even though projects have people from around the world, this doesn’t stop ambitious community members to organize open source conferences or events in their own cities. Whether they’re focused generally to open source or for a specific project, you can find a variety of conferences, hackathons, workshops, or meet-ups all over the world. Fedora benefits from having Ambassadors to attend these events to introduce Fedora and spread the word about the community. It’s not uncommon to see Fedora participating in these events, and Linux Weekend 2017 in Tirana, Albania was not an exception.

Jona Azizaj, Fedora Ambassador and Open Labs board member, kicks off Linux Weekend 2017

Jona Azizaj, Fedora Ambassador and Open Labs board member, kicks off Linux Weekend 2017

From March 25-26, 2017 in Tirana, Albania, nearly 130 people attended the first-ever Linux Weekend 2017. Linux Weekend was organized by Open Labs Hackerspace at the Universiteti Politeknik i Tiranës as an introduction to Linux for beginners. Throughout Tirana, universities have a strong focus on Windows or macOS operating systems and little focus is given to Linux. Open Labs community members wanted to organize an event that would promote Linux as an open source alternative and demonstrate some of its benefits over proprietary environments. The event collected representatives from various communities, including Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, NextCloud, MusicBrainz, and more.

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