I’ve been interested in Linux and FOSS in general since 1997, and employed by Red Hat since 2001. My current job is in the Open Source & Standards team in the Red Hat CTO Office. I am leading up the effort within Red Hat to promote Free and Open Source Software in education. I also do work to promote open hardware and support 3D printers on Fedora. Last, but not least, I handle Fedora’s legal issues (but am not a lawyer). I maintain around 300 packages in Fedora.
Bill Traynor first got hooked on embedded Linux development when a friend who maintained Hitachi's SH architecture helped him install Linux on his Sega Dreamcast. From there he developed a hobby of installing Linux on various gaming consoles, toys, and handheld devices. And when embedded development boards became more abundant, accessible and cheaper, Traynor moved on to more serious tinkering.
“For me, the availability of Linux on the many low-cost, ARM-based dev boards has been fun,” he said via email. “Small, powerful boards, like the BeagleBone Black have really made things fun again.”
Tails was built with two specific things in mind: sustainability and usability.
Sustainability refers to how this is a project that can be relied on by its users. The team goes on to explain the importance of usability: “We believe that the best security tool is of no use if people who really need it on the field cannot use it. Moreover, security tools must be hard to misuse, they should prevent you from doing critical mistakes, or ask you to make security decisions that you are not able to make.”
Tails has been around for a while as previously stated, however its notoriety was elevated after the Snowden revelations: “What really changed is the public awareness regarding those issues,” the team told us. “It is now hard to deny that internet security has to do with politics and not only with technology. The Snowden revelations also made it clear that online privacy is an issue for everyone, and not only for paranoid people. That point was still hard to make, even in the Linux world.”
DoodleBorg is] running off six motorcycle starter motors. It’s using mini all-terrain vehicle wheels and has a custom chassis made out of six-millimetre thick steel that has been laser cut. It has two motorcycle batteries, and six of our wonderful PicoBorg reverse control boards which are capable of five amps per channel, ten amps in total. We’ve got them connected up, one per motor so we can individually control each of the wheels. This means we can make alternate wheels go in all sorts of directions if we want them to. There are some big crazy switches on the front that serve emergency power-offs too.
Software engineer Thomas Gibbons remembers from an early age working with his father to set up mail servers in their home in Kidderminster, England. His dad, Christopher Gibbons, a BT (British Telecom) engineer, was always eager to teach him about things he expressed interested in, he said via phone this week.
“He got me into programming as well. I'm where I am today because of my father's faith in me,” Gibbons said. “Whenever I wanted to learn something, he said 'Great, we'll learn it together.”
It basically boils down to the fact that in the open source world, the majority of work is done on open source UNIX-like operating systems such as GNU/Linux, *BSD, and somewhat recently in the IllumOS space. Each of these options are solid choices for server-side use, with varying preferences on which is the best. I think the server market share in recent years is evidence of this. However, the desktop has kind of been the peak of the mountaintop that we've yet reached. In the past few years there's been an influx of people who I think have given up on the desktop, have put down their distro of choice, and picked up a Mac because it offers a UNIX-like work environment with a nice polished "out of box" experience. I don't think this is inherently wrong or evil, but I do think that we all owe it to ourselves, and to our community, to sit back and ask: "What is this $thing lacking that makes me not want to use it?" (Though most often that $thing is GNOME3, Unity, Cinnamon, MATE, KDE, or some distro that ships with the desktop by default.)