Over the last year, as part of the new enterprise services that IBM has been pushing om its reinvention, Watson has become less of a "Jeopardy"-winning gimmick and more of a tool. It also remains IBM's proprietary creation.
What are the chances, then, of creating a natural-language machine learning system on the order of Watson, albeit with open source components? To some degree, this has already happened -- in part because Watson itself was built in top of existing open source work, and others have been developing similar systems in parallel to Watson. Here's a look at four such projects.
Few advancements in modern technology have taken the world by storm as much as open-source software (OSS). Once the domain of geeks, idealists, computer scientists and activists, OSS has become a mainstream fact of life and given rise to a plethora of operating systems, technologies and applications that are often taken for granted.
However, becoming mainstream can sometimes mean a death sentence to a cause. All too often, “mainstream” becomes synonymous with “mundane.” And when something reaches that point, it often loses its appeal along with the very support that drove it to mainstream status.
The Justice Department's first foray into the open data world with the launch of two APIs is noteworthy. But the underlying reason why DoJ could release the software code is really the story here.
First, the APIs, or application programming interfaces, that Justice released are codes for Web developers to build mobile apps and other software more easily to find press releases and job openings.
Nothing ground breaking in terms of APIs.
Skip Bailey, a former chief information officer at the DoJ's Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the APIs are part of how Justice is moving to open source platform, Drupal. And that, he said, is the big accomplishment.
Linux is an ideal platform for professional audio production. It is an extremely stable operating system that has good support for audio hardware. Using a Linux machine as the focus of your recording setup opens a world of possibilities for an affordable price.
Ubuntu Studo is an officially recognised version of Ubuntu that is aimed at professional musicians, and audio, video and graphic enthusiasts. The distribution includes an excellent range of open source multimedia software, and has a tweaked Linux kernel which offers good operation for audio applications at lower latencies, lower than the human perception threshold. The time that elapses between a hardware device issuing a hardware interrupt, and the time the process that deals with it is run is known as latency. Linux can be set up well to handle realtime, low-latency audio.
This is the question that OSS Watch, in partnership with Pia Waugh, developed the Openness Rating to help you find out.
Using a series of questions covering legal issues, governance, standards, knowledge sharing and market access, the tool helps you to identify potential problem areas for users, contributors and partners.
Unlike earlier models designed to evaluate open source projects, this model can also be applied to both open and closed source software products.
We’ve used the Openness Rating internally at OSS Watch for several years as a key part of our consultancy work, but this is the first time we’ve made the app itself open for anyone to use. It requires a fair bit of knowledge to get the most out of it, but even at a basic level its useful for highlighting questions that a project needs to be able to answer.
Mono is an open source, programmable platform designed to test ideas out on. The tiny device comes equipped with a 2.2″ TFT touch display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, and a temperature sensor. Mono is a gadget as much as it is a development platform. As such, it can act as an interface for other custom ideas, or act on its own. By downloading tailored apps from the MonoKiosk app store, Mono can act as a one-touch light for Phillips Hue connected bulbs, or can display weather forecasts, for example.
So, what is the big deal with open source software? Besides the fact that it’s free, and it gives you all of the freedoms without all of the licensing restrictions. The business agility open source offers is quickly eroding the main stream. In a 2013 survey with over 800 participants from both vendor and non-vendor communities it was reported that open source software has matured to such an extent that it now influences everything from innovation to collaboration among competitors to hiring practices.
This week with the release of Phoronix Test Suite 5.4 we also announced LinuxBenchmarking.com, a collection of 32 systems running various upstream benchmarks on a daily basis in a fully automated manner. The daily upstream benchmarking ranges from the Linux kernel Git to Mesa to Arch/Antergos Linux to LLVM/Clang. Here's a walkthrough of the new lab housing this test farm where hundreds of benchmarks are run daily in looking for performance regressions and other changes with the upstream open-source code.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the European Commission's stunning incompetence in procuring desktop software: it actually admitted that it was in a state of "effective captivity with Microsoft", and that it wasn't really going to try to do anything about it. Fortunately, a recent article on the Commission's "Joinup" site, by Gijs Hillenius, paints a rather brighter picture as far as the server side is concerned:
The European Commission wants to make it easier for its software developers to submit patches and add new functionalities to open source projects. Contributing to open source communities will be made central to the EC’s new open source policy, expects Pierre Damas, Head of Sector at the Directorate General for IT (DIGIT). “We use a lot of open source components that we adapt and integrate, and it is time that we contribute back.”
Deliver the software users want and need (not just what management thinks is required), look for deployment flexibility, and beware of API charges. They are the messages from SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin.
The proliferation of BYOA - bring your own applications - is putting pressure on IT departments to provide better tools, and to regard users as "constituents" rather than simply listening to management.