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OSS

For The Love Of Open Mapping Data

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Interviews
OSS

It’s been exactly ten years since the launch of OpenStreetMap, the largest crowd-sourced mapping project on the Internet. The project was founded by Steve Coast when he was still a student.

It took a few years for the idea of OpenStreetMap to catch on, but today, it’s among the most heavily used sources for mapping data and the project is still going strong, with new and improved data added to it every day by volunteers as well as businesses that see the value in an open project like this.

To celebrate the project’s birthday, I sat down with Coast, who now works at Telenav, to talk about OpenStreetMap’s earliest days and its future. Here is a (lightly edited) transcript of the interview.

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Oracle Embargoes FLOSS (Java)…

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OSS
Legal

So, Oracle is pushing the limits but apparently is legally doing so. Whether FLOSS can legally be embargoed by government is beyond me. After all, the source is out there and can’t be put back in the bottle. Further, if every country in the world had a random set of embargoes against every other country in he world, FLOSS could not be international at all. That would be a crime against humanity. If Java, why not Linux, itself? If such embargoes apply, Russia, Iran, Cuba etc. could just fork everything and go it alone. They certainly have the population to support a thriving FLOSS community behind their own walls.

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On Navigating Laws and Licenses with Open Source Projects

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OSS
Legal

A few years ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst made the prediction that open source software would soon become nearly pervasive in organizations of all sizes. That has essentially become true, and many businesses now use open source components without even knowing that they are doing so.
For these reasons and other ones, it is more important than ever to know your way around the world of laws and licenses that pertain to open source software. Leaders of new projects need to know how to navigate the complex world of licensing and the law, as do IT administrators. Here is our latest collection of resources to help you navigate in the arena of law and licenses.

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Does having open source experience on your resume really matter?

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OSS

"Code is the next resume." These words by Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation tell profoundly about how our technology industry, and the many businesses that depend on it, are transforming. The unprecedented success of open source development methodology in the recent past raises some fundamental questions about the way the businesses are designed, the structure of the teams, and the nature of work in itself.

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From bench scientist to open science software developer

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OSS

Almost immediately after moving to the US, I was flown back to the UK for a meeting about tools for computational chemistry at the Daresbury Laboratory, and it was there that I met a wider community of scientists interested in approaches to working with computational chemistry codes. During my postdoctoral work, I had the opportunity to continue some of the open source work I had done as well as work on some new software for data acquisition and some simulation code looking at the roles of defects in electronic transport. I enjoyed my postdoctoral work, but in many ways it served to solidify in my mind that I needed to find a career where I could work with scientists to enable their research, and I became more passionate about open access, open source, open data, and open standards. Above all, I wanted to be a part of the solution, to help scientific research to use software to enable reproducibility, and to get back to showing all of the working.

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What Immigration did with just $1m and open source software

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Development
OSS

The Department of Immigration has showed what a cash-strapped government agency can do with just $1 million, some open source software, and a bit of free thinking.

Speaking at the Technology in Government forum in Canberra yesterday, the Department's chief risk officer Gavin McCairns explained how his team rolled an application based on the 'R' language into production to filter through millions of incoming visitors to Australia every year.

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Salil Deshpande: Software Engineer. Venture Capitalist. Open Source Investor.

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Interviews
OSS

Midas List VC Salil Deshpande talked to TechRepublic about why he's betting on open source software and what he thinks about the future of IT.

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GSA’s open source first approach gives more software options, better savings

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OSS

The General Services Administration last week announced a new policy requiring open source software be given priority consideration for all new IT projects developed by the agency. And while some may question whether open source software will be as effective as its conventional, proprietary counterpart, Sonny Hashmi, GSA’s chief information officer, is confident this new IT model will put the agency in the best position to procure and develop software in the most cost-effective manner.

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Scale like Twitter with Apache Mesos

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Interviews
OSS

Twitter has shifted its way of thinking about how to launch a new service thanks to the Apache Mesos project, an open source technology that brings together multiple servers into a shared pool of resources. It's an operating system for the data center.

"When is the last time you've seen the fail whale on Twitter?" said Chris Aniszczyk, Head of Open Source at Twitter.

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Open Prosthetics Founder: Challenges Ahead for Open Source Medical Devices

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OSS

Before he lost his arm serving as a Marine in Iraq in 2005, Jonathan Kuniholm was pursuing a PhD in biomedical engineering. Now as a founder and president of the Open Prosthetics Project Kuniholm is working to make advanced, inexpensive prosthetics available to amputees around the globe through the creation and sharing of open source hardware designs.

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More in Tux Machines

35 Open Source Tools for the Internet of Things

In a nutshell, IoT is about using smart devices to collect data that is transmitted via the Internet to other devices. It's closely related to machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. While the concept had been around for some time, the term "Internet of Things" was first used in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, who was a Procter & Gamble employee at the time. Read more

IoT tinkerers get new Linux hub & open platforms

Cloud Media, the maker of entertainment box Popcorn Hour, launched a project on Kickstarter, Inc. that will add to the growing number of smart hubs for people to connect and control smart devices. Called the STACK Box, it features a Cavium ARM11 core processor, 256MB DDR3 RAM, 512MB flash, SD slot, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth LE 4.0, Z-Wave, standard 10/100 Ethernet port, optional X10 wired communication, 5 USB 2.0 ports, RS-232 port, 2 optocoupler I/O, Xbee Bus, Raspberry Pi-compatible 26-pin bus and runs Linus Kernel 3.10. IT also features optional wireless communications for Dust Networks and Insteon with RF433/315, EnOcean, ZigBee, XBee, DCLink, RFID, IR coming soon. Read more

Citrix and Google partner to bring native enterprise features to Chromebooks

Chromebooks are making inroads into the education sector, and a push is coming for the enterprise with new native Chrome capabilities from Citrix. Google and Citrix have announced Citrix Receiver for Chrome, a native app for the Chromebook which has direct access to the system resources, including printing, audio, and video. To provide the security needed for the enterprise, the new Citrix app assigns a unique Receiver ID to each device for monitoring, seamless Clipboard integration across remote and local applications, end user experience monitoring with HDX Insight, and direct SSL connections. Read more

Is Open Source an Open Invitation to Hack Webmail Encryption?

While the open source approach to software development has proven its value over and over again, the idea of opening up the code for security features to anyone with eyeballs still creates anxiety in some circles. Such worries are ill-founded, though. One concern about opening up security code to anyone is that anyone will include the NSA, which has a habit of discovering vulnerabilities and sitting on them so it can exploit them at a later time. Such discoveries shouldn't be a cause of concern, argued Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, the encryption scheme Yahoo and Google will be using for their webmail. Read more