Popular Open Source 3D Printers

Popular Open Source 3D Printers

Just a decade ago, 3D printers were a novelty. Costing upwards of US$5,000 for a desktop edition that could convert some powder into plasticky objects. But not only have the prices fallen, More »

Open Source Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

Open Source Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

It is the holiday season and a time to share and exchange presents. And what better way to share some love this holiday season than by giving your loved ones an open More »

Wekan – Open Source Alternative to Trello

Wekan – Open Source Alternative to Trello

Wekan is an open source collaborative project management tool similar to Trello like boards. It offers some of the Kanban functionalities and features as well. On Wekan one can easily create boards, More »

The Zero Terminal – Pocket Computer that works!

The Zero Terminal – Pocket Computer that works!

The real joy of tinkering with Raspberry Pi is to build something nifty and fun. To hack a really whacky and crazy idea into a working prototype. That we all love and More »

OpenAg – Open Source Food Computer

OpenAg – Open Source Food Computer

MIT Open Agriculture (OpenAg) is a wonderful execution of an open source initiative for controlled-environment agriculture platform referred to as “Food Computer”. All hardware, software and even data is open sourced so More »


Book Review – Fermat’s Enigma by Simon Singh

“I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.” Pierre de Fermat (1637 A.C.)

And so began the epic quest to solve a mathematical riddle. Famously referred to as Fermat’s Last Theorem. And in Simon Singh’s book, Fermat’s Enigma, we get to glimpse this exciting journey closely.

The somewhat innocuous statement by Fermat, kept the mathematicians around the globe hacking away at a possible solution. But none was forthcoming for the next 350 years. All attempts to solve were in futile.

Keybase Communications Software– Open Source Alternative to Slack

Keybase is Slack like communications tool for teams. But unlike Slack, Keybase communications software is totally open source and there are no premium charges for advanced features. That is, for now at least.

Keybase boasts a lot of features for free that are premium on alternative commercial offerings. And it also supports public-key cryptography making all communications private and safe.

Atari is back – with Ataribox Console

Yes, Atari is making a come back yet again. And this time through Ataribox console. For those of us who grew up playing Pac-Man and Space invaders on the classic 2600 console, this is a big announcement. Getting to relive those memories again on an eerily familiar looking console is just awesome. Some of the old classic games will be back with this new console along with dozens of new offerings.

The official website is really cryptic as no details can be ascertained from it. But blogs are humming with insider news and updates. Ataribox console is supposedly a mini computer powered by Linux Operating System.

Popular Raspberry Pi Clones

IoT revolution and popularity had its roots in Raspberry Pi. This relatively inexpensive little computer on a board, had millions of tinkerers around the globe building thousands of interesting little gadgets. Almost all are open source. From a remote controlling a buggy to Baby Monitor to Music Box. You can follow some of the more promising ones online on Raspberry Pi website. This little device has inspired many raspberry pi clones.

Today, there are literally dozens of Raspberry Pi clones. Some even aptly named after a fruit like the original. So here we list some of the most promising ones out there with comparable price brackets that are easily procured online through major online shopping sites. They all run some form of Linux or Android. However, the most popular version of Linux is based on Debian distribution.

Bakhshali Scroll is the Oldest use of Number Zero

The origin of zero is still a mystery. The Egyptians used it, and so did Babylonians. However, it was never as a numeral rather more like a place holder. Quite recently, a team of Scientists at University of Oxford Bodleian Libraries, carbon dated one of the famous ancient Bakhshali scroll. The dates come out to third and fourth century A.D. making it one of the oldest recorded use of the number zero.

The scroll has been with Bodleian library since 1902. However, it was excavated from field in 1881 in Bakhshali town (current day Pakistan). It has always been recognized as one of the oldest mathematical text with use of zero several times. But it’s exact date  had remained a mystery since its excavation.

Popular Self Driving Cars – Open Source Projects

The number of open source “self driving cars” projects are growing and all are commendable efforts but also highly ambitious. Over time, the hope is that they will mature enough for us to use them effectively on our roads without risking lives.

As of today, the majority of the commercial projects rely on simulating driving conditions of the North American market. Most importantly, California, where laws are favorable for self driving cars. However, there is a huge potential for such vehicles in Asia and Africa with completely different and at times impossible driving conditions. Those markets may not be ideal for Tesla and Google cars, but open source enthusiast can tinker around and customize it for local conditions.

E-rozgaar – Preparing Youth for Gig Economy

Innovative ideas create amazing results. Punjab IT Board’s bold initiative of investing into the future of youth through skill enhancement has brought wonders. A total of 100 students graduated in the first batch this week from Chief Minister’s e-rozgaar programme. Off those a little over 50% were females.

Saad Hamid and I were invited for a “Fireside Chat” during their graduation ceremony. The focus of our chat was “How to Monetize using Open Source”. We not only discussed open source but also shared insights on how to transition from freelancers into becoming successful entrepreneurs. The questions probed by students were really thoughtful and the session was thoroughly enjoyable. I am also part of the steering committee of the programme and therefore I do get a chance to get more deeply involved.

How-to setup a simple UFW firewall on Ubuntu

We all need to install some form of firewall to secure our systems from any malicious activity. Not just our servers and VPS machines, but also our laptops which we access on public networks. UFW (Uncomplicated FireWall) is an ideal solution for setting up a firewall on your system.

UFW firewall is completely open source and is actually built on top of the iptables making it easier for us to manage and run the firewall.

This is the third article in the series on “Systems Security”. Here we discuss UFW firewall implementation on your system. The articles in the System Security series are listed below.

  1. How to setup SSH keys based authentication
  2. How to disable password based authentication
  3. How to setup UFW Firewall (current article)

Zorin OS 12.2 Linux Released

This week, Zorin OS released the latest upgrade to its popular Linux OS. The Zorin OS 12.2 is designed specifically for Windows users in mind who can migrate to Linux without any learning curve. The look and feel and even the user experience is eerily similar to Windows XP and that has been one of its biggest appeals since its launch.

Zorin OS has been reviewed by us before and it seems to only get better with time. Since its release nearly 9 years ago, it has grown in popularity and has been downloaded well over 17 million times.

How-to Disable Password Authentication on Linux

This how-to will explain how to disable password based authentication on Linux based systems. It is in continuation of our series on System Security. With the first one published on SSH keys based authentication. We wrote this as a lot of you sent us messages, on social media, to add tutorials on how to secure the server by disabling the password based authentication.

We recommend that the administrator should not attempt to disable password based authentication unless SSH keys are correctly setup and users can easily login using that method.

This is the second article in the series on “Systems Security”. The articles in the System Security series are listed below.

  1. How to setup SSH keys based authentication
  2. How to disable password based authentication (current article)
  3. How to setup UFW Firewall