When it comes to Free Software projects, there’s a profound, deep misunderstanding about who does what and how it’s being done. Using the now overused quote, developers write a code “because they have an itch to scratch”, means that there can be twenty different motivations to contribute to Free Software. No one needs to explain or justify his or her contribution. In the real world, one of the most common motivation is money, be it in the form of a salary, a fee, or a transaction involving the developers to fix whatever bug or develop a new feature. Most of the FOSS projects I know -excluding Firefox- do not pay developers directly for fixing bugs except in very specific circumstances and by definition not on a regular basis. The LibreOffice project is no different. The Document Foundation serves the LibreOffice project by financing its infrastructure, protecting its assets and improving LibreOffice in almost every way except paying for development on a regular basis. What this means, in other terms, is that the Document Foundation does not provide support; nor does it provide service to customers. In this sense, it is not a software vendor like Microsoft or Adobe. This is also one of the reasons why there is no “LTS” version of LibreOffice; because the Document Foundation will not provide a more or less mythical “bug-free version” of LibreOffice without ensuring the developers get paid for this. The healthiest way to do this is to grow an ecosystem of developers and service providers who are certified by the Document Foundation and are able to provide professionals with support, development, training and assistance.
Security is a top priority for Google. We've invested a lot in making our products secure, including strong SSL encryption by default for Search, Gmail and Drive, as well as encrypting data moving between our data centers. Beyond securing our own products, interested Googlers also spend some of their time on research that makes the Internet safer, leading to the discovery of bugs like Heartbleed.
The success of that part-time research has led us to create a new, well-staffed team called Project Zero.
By implementing ODOO, an open source solution for enterprise resource planning (ERP), the University of Coimbra in Portugal can expect to save more than 70 per cent over the next five to six years compared to the costs of a well-known proprietary ERP solution, says ThinkOpen, a Portuguese ERP consultancy. The university is using ODOO (renamed in May from OpenERP) for its five stores.
Earlier this month, I spent a day working in the throwback world of DOS. More specifically, it was FreeDOS version 1.1, the open source version of the long-defunct Microsoft MS-DOS operating system. It's a platform that in the minds of many should've died a long time ago. But after 20 years, a few dozen core developers and a broader, much larger contributor community continue furthering the FreeDOS project by gradually adding utilities, accessories, compilers, and open-source applications.
All this labor of love begs one question: why? What is it about a single-tasking command-line driven operating system—one that is barely up to the most basic of network-driven tasks—that has kept people’s talents engaged for two decades? Haven't most developers abandoned it for Windows (or, tragically, for IBM OS/2)? Who still uses DOS, and for what?
Making money from open source. To many in the corporate world, that seems like a contradiction in terms. How are you supposed to make money from something that you give away? they ask. It can be done. A number of companies, large and small, have done quite well in the open source space over the years.
Just ask Patrick McFadin. He’s the chief evangelist for Apache Cassandra at DataStax, a company that’s embraced the open source way. He’s also interviewed leaders at a number of successful open source companies to gain insights into what makes a successful open source business.
When I first started The HeliOS Project, I was using Librenet on my personal computer. Libranet had a per-user licensing agreement in order to make the effort pay and a single user license was for 69.00 If I remember correctly. Jon Danzig and I worked out a multiple licensing agreement that we could both live with. The fact is, Jon almost gave those licenses away because he believed in what we were doing. Jon's untimely death in 2005 eventually resulted in the Libranet venture striking their tents and moving on.
When it comes to surfing the web, our options are limited: the market is dominated by three or four mainstream web browsers, all of which share major similarities in design and function. Unless you want to build your own browsing program, you're stuck with their modern browsing paradigms. For San Francisco programmer Stanislas Polu, that wasn't good enough, so, he created Breach -- an open source modular web browser designed to allow anybody to tweak and modify it on a whim.
UK councils are so far failing to tap into the full money-saving potential and speed of open source web service tools, but moves are underway to address this, delegates heard at yesterday's 'Building perfect council websites' conference in Birmingham.
Although most councils still run a Microsoft-based ICT infrastructure, almost all do also now run at least some open source software, Kevin Jump, director of digital services firm Jumoo, told delegates.
Jump is former web manager at Liverpool City Council, which migrated to open source CMS Umbraco in 2011.
What do the numbers behind an open source project tell us about where it is headed? That's the subject of Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona's OSCON 2014 talk later this month, where he looks at four open source cloud computing projects—OpenStack, CloudStack, Eucalyptus, and OpenNebula—and turns those numbers into a meaningful analysis.
And Gonzalez-Barahona knows analytics. As co-founder of Bitergia, he is an expert in the quantitative aspects of open source software projects. Bitergia's goal is to analyze software development metrics and to help projects and communities put these numbers to use by managing and improving their processes.