Like many of the great games programmers from the 1980s, when open source software entrepreneur Freddy Mahhumane describes his background formal education doesn’t really play much of a part in it.
“I wasn’t good at much at school,” he says, “Except for computers and programming.”
Born in Mpumalanga, Mahhumane moved to Gauteng at the age of six and lived variously in Kempton Park and Thembisa while he was growing up. Sitting in front of a group of business hopefuls at the inaugural Startup Grind Johannesburg, he sounds almost embarrassed by the trappings of success.
Matt Asay is dead wrong to call the current era of the software industry "post open source," as he did in InfoWorld last week. We are currently in the open source age, enjoying all the practical flexibility that open sources licenses bring. What may be confusing him is that people are no longer obsessed with arguing about software freedom -- they take it as given.
Asay claims "'open source' doesn't really matter anymore." His own words and affiliations prove he's mistaken.
Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, has saved 1 million euro by migrating all its desktops to LibreOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. "Free software and open source in general is now an established part of the city’s comprehensive digital policy, and the open model promotes economic development and employment in the region", according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository today.
Though organizations that produce nonprofit software have long been granted tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service recently denied it to two applicants. One had waited more than four years for a determination—and found the reasons for denial alarming.
The report comes a few months after OpenStack Foundation was denied a nonprofit 501(c)(6) designation. (A 501(c)(3) designation is generally set aside for groups with charitable, literary, or educational goals; a 501(c)(6) generally applies to business groups.)
Europe should encourage the market for free source software solutions, using public procurement and by making open standards mandatory, recommends a French parliamentary committee. Using free software is strategic as it increases IT security, reduces economic dependencies and fights rent-seeking by closed source software vendors. To avoid straining innovation, the committee also advises against European patents on software.
The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the Open Document Format (ODF) by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant. The announcement was made today by The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.
It was such a challenge for the initial Open Source promoters to break through onto the corporate scene and later the Government. The rampant piracy of software that existed then (and still exists) made most software consumers disregard the issues that were being raised by the Open Source Software community against the blind adoption of proprietary systems.
However, as time went by, the message began sinking in as the large software firms begun claiming their own and carrying out anti-piracy drives. The very people who were initially comfortable with the use of expensive but pirated proprietary software begun scanning the landscape for alternatives. This marked a new era in the repositioning of Open Source software.
The open-source software revolution is coming to the car. Most in-vehicle infotainment systems sold today use proprietary software, with the underlying code tightly controlled by automakers and by a few major software providers, such as Microsoft Corp. and Ottawa-based QNX Software Systems. Now the auto industry is exploring open-source operating systems such as Linux more seriously than ever, hoping that sharing the work and making code available to all will lead to more rapid development cycles, lower costs and happier drivers.
All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton's 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton's school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.
Tor is an anonymizing network that’s designed to protect you by “bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.”
That’s cool, but does Tor really guarantee you what you think or assume it does? I can’t say for sure, but when facing a state-sponsored entity with time and resources on its side, you cannot be too careful. At least if pays to know what other people think about Tor, especially when what they have to say runs counter to what you know, or what you think you know.
The Kerala Legislative Assembly (Niyamsabha) has shifted to free and open software, following the expiry of support period to Windows XP.
It has also started producing all its documentation, both digital and printed materials, using the free and open source office suite LibreOffice from yesterday (July 17, 2014).
We've been watching with great interest this week as the travails of FOSS organizations with the US Internal Revenue Service have become a hot topic. When our client, Jim Nelson of Yorba, discussed blogging about the IRS rejection of Yorba's application for 501c3 status with us, we hoped but did not expect that the situation, to which we had discreetly called community and company attention for years, would finally receive some. We're very glad that's now happening. Unfortunately, it's really too late. Because of the long delays in determination imposed by the IRS in its increasingly anti-FOSS positioning, neither the full consequences of the IRS's present position nor the state of our legal technology in response can be seen from the materials currently under discussion.