Desmond  Gerber

Desmond Gerber


Open Source is revitalizing the payphone

One of the founders of the PhilTel open source project shares why free-to-use payphones are critical to social infrastructure.

Phones used to act as the host for computer communication. Modems sent signals from computer to computer by utilizing the phone network. In today's world, though, computers have become the host for telephony apps. Phones aren't really phones any more, they're literal computers. This has enabled some amazing technology, but many people wonder whether we've lost something by giving up the concept of public phones. The PhilTel project in Philadelphia is seeking to change the trajectory of phone communication by reviving some old concepts. I was intrigued, so I spoke to Mike Dank about this exciting and unexpected development.

Klaatu: What's PhilTel?

Mike Dank: PhilTel is a telephone collective based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, focusing on making communications accessible to everyone by installing free-to-use payphones. While you'll be able to make standard telephone calls through our phones, we're also focusing on offering interesting services or experiences. We don't want to only facilitate human-to-human interaction but also human-to-machine interaction and give people an environment where they can explore the telephone network and learn from it.

Klaatu: Why are you installing free-to-use payphones? Surely everyone has a mobile phone these days.

Mike: Surprisingly, there are more people out there without mobile phones than you may think! While there are many that won't have a mobile phone due to socioeconomic disparities, others choose not to have them because of concerns about privacy, health, and the effects of being "plugged in" or reachable 24/7. My co-founder on this project does not own a mobile phone himself, so we have first-hand experience with what it is like to not have a phone on your person at all times and how important it is for there to be access to public telephones.

Philadelphia in particular has a lot of payphone use, even as payphone companies have been steadily removing phones from service year after year. Residents who rely on these phones are being increasingly marginalized and if this trend continues, many will be left without a communication platform they need to carry out their lives. At PhilTel, we are committed to increase access to telephone-mediated services through the preservation of public, free-to-use telephone infrastructure.

Klaatu: You obviously know a lot about phones. It makes me think of the phone phreaking scene in the 1950s.

Mike: Yes, "phone phreaking" is a term used to describe the culture and activities of people who explore the phone system and equipment connected to it. While people have been phreaking since the 1950s, it rose to prominence in the 1970s with the advent of the "blue box": a hobbyist-built, pocket sized device that could produce tones which would allow the user to place free long-distance calls. Later phreaking devices such as the "red box," commonly made by modifying a pocket tone dialer, would allow the user to imitate coin tones at a payphone so calls could be made for free. It's important to note that phone phreaking is still alive and well today, but the focus is on discovery and gaining an understanding of how the phone system works while communications fraud is now widely frowned upon.

In many ways, hacking and hacker culture can be seen as an offshoot of phreaking, and it is undeniable that phreaking had a direct influence on hacking as we know it today. With the advent of personal computing in the 1980s, many curious and tech-savvy people would communicate over bulletin board systems to share information about exploring the phone system and, increasingly, the computers that were connected to it.

Anyone who identifies as a hacker these days can trace the culture back to those early days of phone phreaking where the curious spent days or months or weeks doing experiments with the phone system. PhilTel is a "phreak-friendly" network, and we not only encourage exploration but also have resources to emulate aspects of the phone network of a bygone era. Do you want to use your vintage (or modern recreational) "blue box" or "red box" today? We have ways for you to do that!

Klaatu: How did you get involved with PhilTel?

Mike: Well, I'm one of the PhilTel co-founders! PhilTel draws direct inspiration from a similar project known as Futel, based out of Portland, Oregon. My co-founder and I met a few years back and bonded over our love of telephone infrastructure, including visiting old telephone buildings and finding payphones scattered throughout the city. We had discussions about how it could be beneficial to start a project where we installed and operated payphones and we realized the only thing holding us back was simply sitting down and working out the details for how to do it!

Klaatu: Do you have a background in telephony?

Mike: I don't have any background in telephony myself, but I've had an interest in it since I bought my first Raspberry Pi in 2012 and went about setting up my own PBX so I could give extensions to different phones in my house and allow them to call one another. While I have a formal background in software engineering, I identify more as a hacker who likes to tinker and learn as I go. I'm very lucky to be working with my co-founder as he became interested in telephony in high school and gradually became interested in phreaking as well as VoIP. Nowadays, he primarily does telecom-related software development, including freelance Asterisk development for businesses and development of features and capabilities for telephone hobbyists.

Klaatu: Speaking of Asterisk, what other open source technologies are you using to make this project happen?

Mike: We strive to use as much open source technology as we can with PhilTel! Each payphone site that we will set up has a router running OpenWRT and WireGuard to get a secure VPN connection to our server. Our Linux-based server runs Asterisk, an open source PBX (private branch exchange) toolkit, to connect our phones to the PSTN and other internal services or hobbyist or collector phone networks. We are very fortunate in that my co-founder has an in-depth knowledge with Asterisk as he is a regular code contributor.

Klaatu: How can people get involved with PhilTel?

Mike: There are numerous ways to get involved! If you're a hacker, artist, or engineer with an interest in payphones and things that can be done with and through them, we'd love to hear from you (especially if you're an artist working with audio.) We're always looking for new things to add or new perspectives! If you're local to the Philadelphia area and have ownership of a physical location where we may put a phone, we're always looking for installation sites! If anything about PhilTel interests you, be sure to visit our website for more information and ways to contact us!

Original article source at:

#opensource #mobile 

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Open Source is revitalizing the payphone
Tyrique  Littel

Tyrique Littel


An Open-Source Book About the Open Source World

Open source today is a word that often include a lot of things, such as open knowledge (Wikimedia projects), open hardware (Arduino, Raspberry Pi), open formats (ODT/ODS/ODP) and so on.

It is a world of opportunities that can be difficult for newcomers but also for intermediates. This article will help you discover how to approach specific roles, activities or projects/communities in the best way.

Everything Started with “Coaching for OpenSource Communities 2.0”

I decided to write a book in my personal style about my experience in the last 7 to 8 years in open source. I was surprised when I reached 100 pages about various different topics.

My idea was to write something that I would like to read, so nothing that is boring or complicated, but full of real facts.

The second goal was to include my experience but also my philosophy on contributing and how I contribute daily.

Thirdly, I wanted to give a lot of hints and resources and an overall view of this open source world.

Basically, I wanted to write something different from self-help or coaching books that includes just a list of suggestions and best practices. Instead, I take real examples from real life about the OSS world.

As a contributor and developer, I prefer to have real cases to study, because best practices are useful, but we need to learn from others and this world is full of good and bad cases to discover.

In 2019, I started writing a book after Fosdem 2019 and after 2 years inside the Mozilla Reps Council. In that Fosdem edition, I had a talk “Coaching for Open Source Communities 2.0” and after the feedback at the conference and my thoughts in various roles, activities, and projects, it was time to write something.

At the end it wasn’t a manual but a book that included my experience, learnings, best practices and so on in Localization, Development, Project Maintainer, Sysadmin, Community Management, Mentor, Speaker and so on. It contains the following sections:

  • Biography - This choice isn’t for self promotion but just to understand my point of view and my story that can be inspiring for others
  • Philosophy - Not the usual description of Open Source or the 4 freedoms, but just what Open Source means and how you can help
  • How to live inside the Open Source - A discovery about communications and tools, understanding the various kind of people and the best way to talk with your community
  • How to choose a project - Starting with some questions to yourself and how to involve more people in your project
  • The activity - Open Source is based on tasks that can be divided in 2 levels: Support, Testing, Marketing, Development etc
  • How to use your time - We are busy, we have a life, a job and a family but Open Source can be time-consuming
  • Why document is important - How writing documentation can be healthy for your community and the project’s future and brand

There are also three appendices that are manuals which I wrote throughout the years and gathered and improved for this book. They are about: community management, public speaking, and mentoring.

The book ends with my point of view about the future and what we have to do to change opinions about those topics.

I wrote this book and published in October 2019, but it was only possible with the help of reviews and localizers that improved and contributed. Yes, because this book is open source and free for everyone.

I picked the GPL license because this license changed the world and my life in the best way. Using this license is just a tribute. This decision usually is not clear because after all this is a book and there are better licenses like Creative Commons.

#open-source #contributing-to-open-source #programming #software-development #development #coding #books #open-source-software

Ray  Patel

Ray Patel


Top 8 Java Open Source Projects You Should Get Your Hands-on [2021]

Learning about Java is no easy feat. It’s a prevalent and in-demand programming language with applications in numerous sectors. We all know that if you want to learn a new skill, the best way to do so is through using it. That’s why we recommend working on projects.

So if you’re a Java student, then you’ve come to the right place as this article will help you learn about the most popular Java open source projects. This way, you’d have a firm grasp of industry trends and the programming language’s applications.

However, before we discuss its various projects, it’s crucial to examine the place where you can get those projects – GitHub. Let’s begin.

#full stack development #java open source projects #java projects #open source projects #top 8 java open source projects #java open source projects

Houston  Sipes

Houston Sipes


Did Google Open Sourcing Kubernetes Backfired?

Over the last few years, Kubernetes have become the de-facto standard for container orchestration and has also won the race against Docker for being the most loved platforms among developers. Released in 2014, Kubernetes has come a long way with currently being used across the entire cloudscape platforms. In fact, recent reports state that out of 109 tools to manage containers, 89% of them are leveraging Kubernetes versions.

Although inspired by Borg, Kubernetes, is an open-source project by Google, and has been donated to a vendor-neutral firm — The Cloud Native Computing Foundation. This could be attributed to Google’s vision of creating a platform that can be used by every firm of the world, including the large tech companies and can host multiple cloud platforms and data centres. The entire reason for handing over the control to CNCF is to develop the platform in the best interest of its users without vendor lock-in.

#opinions #google open source #google open source tools #google opening kubernetes #kubernetes #kubernetes platform #kubernetes tools #open source kubernetes backfired

Edison  Stark

Edison Stark


Hacktoberfest 2020: Let’s Get Hacking

It’s October and we’re calling all programmers, designers, content writers and open-source contributors to join Hacktoberfest 2020. This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to open-source or try your hand at something new.

For those who are new to programming or open-source, you may be wondering what is open-source or Hacktoberfest.

_Open source_refers to source code that is publicly accessible and allows anyone to inspect, modify, or learn from it. Open source projects encourage collaboration and the freedom to use the software for any purpose you wish._Hacktoberfest_is a month-long celebration of open source software run by DigitalOcean and is open to everyonein our global community.

Seven years ago, Hacktoberfest kick-started the celebration along with 676 excited participants contributing to open source projects and earning a limited-edition T-shirt. Now, hundreds of thousands of developers participate in Hacktoberfest from 150 countries.

If you want to contribute to open-source projects, but don’t know where to start, then Hacktoberfest is the perfect opportunity for you.

Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of open source software sponsored by Digital Ocean, Intel, and DEV.

The goal of the event is to encourage participation in the open-source community all across the globe. The challenge is quite simple: open four high-quality pull requests in October on any open source project to get some swag.

Swag you say?

If you complete valid 4prs, you stand to get a T-shirt, some stickers and a cup coaster (I got one last year, I’m not sure if they’ll be doing it this year also).

They also introduced the option to plant a tree instead of receiving a T-shirt as a reward to reduce the environmental impact.

#hacktoberfest #github #git #open-source #opensource #contributing-to-open-source #open-source-contribution #first-open-source-contribution

22 Interesting Python Open Source Project Ideas & Topics for Beginners [2021]

Python is among the most popular programming languages on the planet, and there are many reasons behind this fame. One of those reasons is a large number of open-source projects and libraries available for this language. From machine learning to animation, there’s a Python project for nearly everything. If you want to become a proficient Python developer, you should be familiar with some of these projects (if not all).

That’s why in this article, we’ll discuss different Python projects with source code Github. Because Python has applications in various industries, you might find many projects to help you complete your tasks. You should choose projects according to your interests and your experience. You can bookmark this article for future reference. Let’s get started.

Here are a few of the Python Open Source Project Ideas –

#data science #open source project ideas #open source projects #project ideas #python #python open source