Michael Bryzek saw open source playing a big role in his company's IT infrastructure, right from the start.
The CTO and co-founder of online retailer Gilt Groupe, Bryzek built the eight-year-old members-only shopping site using the Web framework Ruby on Rails, the Linux operating system and the object-relational database system PostgreSQL -- all open-source tools.
He says open source doesn't have the "friction" -- that is, sticking points like contractual limits -- that typically come with commercial products. He also says his engineers can be more creative and innovative with open source.
Unlike Twitter, which is controlled by a centralized authority, GNU social is a network of independent servers called nodes. Federation technology allows users to communicate between nodes, preserving the unified experience of traditional social media systems, and the free GNU social software allows anybody with an Internet connection to start their own public or private node and join the network. These administrators can even customize their nodes to suit the unique needs of their users.
After this presentation, a specific point was still under investigation: the possibility of an “opt out” clause regarding the updated list of compatible licences. This list is not only extended to the GPLv3 and AGPLv3, but also to other copyleft licences like the MPL or the LGPL that protect the covered files or the derivatives of the covered works against exclusive appropriation (prohibition of re-licensing the covered files or their derivatives under a proprietary licence) without any ambition to extend their coverage to the whole work or application in which the covered file is integrated or linked.
Technology only exists thanks to innovation. If nobody was pushing the boundaries with fresh ideas, then technology, and the people who depend on it, would have died out with the neanderthals. But while many people might believe the big tech vendors are the ones responsible for driving most of the innovation in computing today, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.
Database startup FoundationDB mysteriously vanished at the end of last month, along with both the downloads of its proprietary database and its open source projects.
As it turned out, Apple bought the company for internal use. I was interested in how this was perceived. When Ben Kepes of Forbes initially wrote about the purchase, for example, he erred in characterizing FoundationDB as all open source. It was an easy mistake; the company used the language of developer communities. Many of us assume "open" when we hear "community" because open source is so much the default these days.
Open data and going digital are subjects high on the international agenda for global development, particularly when it comes to financing improved services and infrastructure for the poorest people in the world. Young people from Laos to Lagos aspire to become software developers, and smartphones are set to put unprecedented computing power into every corner of the earth. But the paradox is that many governments still only have rudimentary information technology infrastructure and often can't find trained and skilled staff to design and run it.