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News about open source software and sometimes open source hardware too...


Danie van der Merwe

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South Africa's Parliament has an open source Parliamentary Monitoring Group website

Yes that means the website's source code can be used by anyone else for free. What is also nice is that there is an API for 3rd party sites or mobile apps to use this data. The system itself did not cost any money for government (the taxpayer) to develop as it is funded through donors such as the Black Sash, Open Democracy Advice Centre, Media Monitoring Africa, and many others.

This is the type of system that we really need governments to provide: Open source for re-use by others, public APIs to use the data, and information that helps provide transparency and accountability from governments to their people.

What is the Parliamentary Monitoring Group?
The Parliamentary Monitoring Group, an information service, was established in 1995 as a partnership between Black Sash, Human Rights Committee and Idasa with the aim of providing a type of Hansard for the proceedings of the more than fifty South African Parliamentary Committees for these three advocacy organisations. This was because there is no official record publicly available of the committee proceedings - the engine room of Parliament - and this type of information is needed by social justice organisations to lobby the Parliament of South Africa on pieces of legislation, matters of democratic processes and parliamentary oversight of the executive.

This website was set up at the beginning of 1998 to make the information generated available to a wider audience. Presently this is the only source for this type of information. We hope that the PMG committee reports and other documents will provide the public with an insight into the Parliament of South Africa and its daily activity. Importantly it provides a window into the performance of each government department and public entity over which each parliamentary committee has oversight.

PMG became a fully fledged independent NGO in July 2009.

See the site at
Danie van der Merwe's profile photoDavid Botsheleng's profile photo
I will b happy if government can improve private security industry working more hours payed less dont have access in many things
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Danie van der Merwe

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Vote in the 2016 Members Choice Awards

If you're an open source user (OS, server, graphics app, music app, network manager, etc) you can vote in that category for your favourite software. You can vote in all or just one category depending on what you use so don't feel intimidated by the long list of categories. The outcome will give you good feel for which are the most popular apps of 2016 (maybe its time to consider switching to such an app).

Vote at
Doony Cram's profile photoDanie van der Merwe's profile photo
+Doony Cram it's not software, it's a voting poll.
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Danie van der Merwe

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Why China is the next proving ground for open source software

Western entrepreneurs still haven't figured out China. For most, the problem is getting China to pay for software. The harder problem, however, is building software that can handle China's tremendous scale.

China is not merely consuming the West's best software: It's open sourcing its own. Baidu, for example, has just announced the open sourcing of its machine learning platform, PaddlePaddle, under an Apache license. According to Li, "This is as significant as when Google open sourced its machine learning platform, Tensorflow."

Baidu's action suggests a shift in how China thinks about software. In December 2014, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) declared its support for OpenStack for state-owned enterprises. Not long after, Tencent embraced the Open Daylight Foundation's SDN instead of developing its own proprietary distributed cluster SDN controller, as Neela Jacques uncovered. Across China, similar efforts to use, and increasingly contribute, open source code have flourished.

Because, if you can meet China's scale demands, everything else is easy.

China is starting to adopt and contribute to open source projects, especially around big data infrastructure, and tech companies should pay attention.
zaki mawel's profile photoDanie van der Merwe's profile photo
+zaki mawel that may be a bit too generalised. Just this morning two watchstraps arrived from China which I ordered in December - one is a nice thick stainless steel one and the other is an aged brown leather. Absolutely nothing wrong with them. Stitching and finish looks fine on the leather one and it has a good strong leather smell.
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Danie van der Merwe

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How To Find Installed Applications With Installed Size In Linux

The longer your OS is in use the more you fill up the storage space with installed applications (and their related dependencies). The first two solutions are fairly well known although not everyone may be using them in this way. The last mentioned one, using Pacgraph, is especially interesting as it gives a graphical depiction of the space used by the files as well as all their dependencies (and inverse dependencies) that are installed with them (or even dependencies that have been left behind are are not supporting any installed application).

This brief tutorial describes how to find installed applications with installed size from command line in Linux operating systems.
Steven Chilufya's profile photoRogério Pereira's profile photo
Super useful! Thanks for sharing.
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Danie van der Merwe

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How to Run Windows Apps & Games with Linux Wine
Wine provides Linux users with the ability to run Windows software outside of the domain of Microsoft. As such, it can aid your transition away from Windows, less bound by platform exclusive software.
Usually Wine just works out of the box but if you re-install distros and restore backups etc there is a good chance that you have rendered some of your installed apps inoperable.
The article at may well help iron out any wrinkles that you experience with Wine.
Is there any way to get Windows software working on Linux? One answer is to use Wine, but while it can be very useful, it probably should only be your last resort. Here's why.
Pedro Baggio's profile photoJaispislimu IGSC's profile photo
The only reason I was ever hesitant with Linux is the whole items that are only available for PC. BUT THANK GOD. Linux has become my second favourite desktop OS (next to Remix OS) because of this
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Danie van der Merwe

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Configuring Linux to maximise the life of a SSD drive

I was just looking at a post that an online publication did today, and of course they only covered Windows. So here is the list I put together for Linux users, based on some research I did when I recently bought an SSD to be my new new boot disc:

1. Separation of partitions - I created separate partitions for Home and Swap on a hard drive. The latter is more important so that memory swap activity is directed to the hard drive instead of the SSD drive. The Home partition was just convenience for future upgrading. But of course if you have games such as Steam which create their own temp files, this separate Home partition makes a lot of sense.

2. Check your browser is syncing to RAM instead of the SSD - see Just note their advice too about the daemon that can help save the browser state at intervals in case you lose power and lose all unsaved settings.

3. Change swappiness to 1 - see The default of about 60 still does quite a lot of hard drive swapping. Swappiness of 1 really forces it to try always use RAM as much as possible.

4. Use FSTRIM for SSDs instead of TRIM because TRIM is not as efficient for the Linux kernel - see

Hope this helps others and if anyone has any additional advice please add it in the comments.

Image credit:
Danie van der Merwe's profile photoNathan Bohman's profile photo
Ah! So I'm not as crazy (potentially) as I appear! Naw, this article had people using tmpfs in fstab along with commands in rc.local to set up swap on a ram disk
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Danie van der Merwe

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Telegram & Skype Update Their Desktop Linux Apps

One main reason (there are more) that I like Telegram over WhatsApp, is that it has a proper desktop and web app that does not require your phone to be used (ie. it does not use your mobile phone data).

See details of the updates at
Two popular messaging services have rolled out updates to their desktop apps today, and we figured we'd combine news of both in one post.
SUNIL S's profile photoDanie van der Merwe's profile photo
+SUNIL S initially yes as it is a phone instant messenger.
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Danie van der Merwe

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Dell's latest laptop is $100 cheaper if you buy it with Ubuntu

Dell love Linux. That’s not a bit of marketing fluff designed to look good writ large on a conference banner, but actual, tangible fact.

Today the company announced the immediate availability of the Dell Precision 3520 mobile workstation (that’s “professional laptop” to you and I).

Better yet buyers can save over $100 by choosing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS pre-loaded instead of Windows 10 — now that’s what you call a deal!


Dell love Linux. That's not a bit of marketing fluff designed to look good writ large on a conference banner, but actual, tangible fact. Today the company announced the immediate availability of the Dell Precision 3520 mobile workstation (that's
Danie van der Merwe's profile photo
+Alan Levin no on the government contract, government can order without Windows installed. They can order it as preinstalled Linux, or can supply their own image and the Dell's get bulk installed with it at no cost. It was negotiated by government for government purchases so not available to consumers.

Sad to say, while government still has healthy budgets there does not seem to have been much demand for this and they still buy with Windows 7 installed. There is a slightly higher uptake of servers bought with Linux on.
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Danie van der Merwe

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These Linux myths need to die - the top voted myths on Reddit
A Reddit user recently started a thread in which they asked which myths and misconceptions about Linux annoy users the most. The post spawned a lively discussion with points being raised for and against Linux. The prominent myths raised in the Reddit thread, along with several which have been doing the rounds for a while, are listed at the link below.
Misconceptions about Linux never seem to go away – here are the most prevalent ones.
Durvesh Bhairav's profile photoAJUU Behera's profile photo
nyc job..
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Danie van der Merwe

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HandBrake (open source video transcoder) Finally Leaves Beta, Improves Presets, Gets a Little Easier to Use

HandBrake is the best tool for burning DVDs and converting video files on both Windows and Mac, and after 13 years in development, it has finally hit version 1.0.

Even if you’re not burning DVDs, Handbrake has always been a useful tool for converting between two video formats. To that end, HandBrake is a lot easier to use, with a new set of presets that that make it easy to convert to a number of popular video formats for specific devices.

HandBrake is the best tool for burning DVDs and converting video files on both Windows and Mac, and after 13 years in development, it has finally hit version 1.0.
Tanner Blomster's profile photo
+Don Felipe I've used Clonezilla on a live image. Using all the default settings worked really well. Acronis true image I think worked for me a long time ago
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