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.
The Kerala Legislative Assembly has made a significant transition to the free software platform for recording its voluminous business.
The Speaker’s announcement to this effect a couple of days ago represented a milestone not just for the IT Department of the Niyama Sabha, but also for the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (Icfoss) based here, the larger free software community, and free software enterprises in Kerala.
Microsoft is a commercial venture so it is reasonable for them to sell their products, which they do via licensing per unit. The NHS has about 100,000 computers, so it pays a considerable amount and also has a lot of work to do each time there’s a required update for any of their server technologies or desktop computers. While it needs some technical tweaking, Windows is sold as something that comes out of the box and should work. Designed to work with a wide range of different types of systems, the one size that fits (almost) all computers is a bonus for many technical managers.
But it hasn’t been problem-free. Most hospitals still have thousands of PCs running Windows XP which stopped being supported earlier this year.
Spencer Hunley is an autistic professional, former Vice Chair of the Kansas City Mayor's Committee for People with Disabilities, and current board member of the Autism Society of the Heartland & ASAN's Kansas City chapter. In August, Spencer will be giving a talk, Universal Tux: Accessibility For Our Future Selves, at LinuxCon in Chicago. He also gave a talk, Maximizing Accessibility: Engaging People with Disabilities In The Linux Community, at LinuxCon North America 2013.
In this interview, Spencer provides an update on the state of accessibility in Linux and open source software.
Public administrations across Europe continue to discriminate in their IT calls for tender by asking for specific brands and products, concludes OpenForum Europe, and organisation advocating for an open, competitive ICT market. "Thousands of small IT firms are excluded from competing in the public procurement process by restrictions such as the naming of trademarks in calls for tender", said Graham Taylor, OFE's CEO, in a press statement.
It's not easy to wade through the Google Play store to find open source apps, so we put together a quick guide to some nifty productivity, Internet, and game apps. Some are free, some cost a few bucks, and it's always a good practice to slip a few dollars into the tip jars, because nothing says "thank you" better than cash money.
Silicon Valley may think itself the center of the universe, but when it comes to open source, it can only muster a third-place finish. According to an analysis of top GitHub contributors, both Europe and the rest of the United States develop more open-source software than Silicon Valley. While this may not be surprising given Europe's long-standing affection for open source, it is a reminder that much of the best development talent doesn't live along Highway 101 and probably never will.
Nowadays when people say “crowdfunding,” most people know exactly it is, but just a few short years ago, the term was not commonly used. Bountysource is easy to explain now: it is a crowdfunding site aimed at open source software developers, but a decade ago, people just were not sure what it was or how it worked. Even the founders said the project died quickly because people were unsure of its intentions.
It was an aging bespoke application that drove TransLink to seek a new content management system, but it was the strength of the community surrounding the open source project that helped the Queensland public transport agency choose Drupal.
Prior to the switch to Drupal, which began last year, the former TransLink site was partly based on static files and partly on a "home-grown CMS that managed a lot of our custom content such as service disruption and events, so that we could do a little bit of distributed authoring within the organisation," said Natalie Gorring, manager, online products and services, at TransLink.