VistA is the electronic health records system created by the Veterans Administration, which became open source because as the result of taxpayer funded work it was covered under the Freedom of Information Act and was obtained by outside companies seeking to leverage it for their own projects. The VA and the DoD flirted with using VistA as part of a common open source EHR that would cover members of the military from the first day of active duty into their lives as veterans. But whether because of organizational or technical reasons, that joint technical project broke down.
ExecutiveBiz: Where can Open Source help agencies manage some of those budget challenges?
Jonathan Moneymaker: In our National Security market Open Source is an idea whose time has come. Gone are the days of questions around quality, scalability, or security. The value is really in speed and flexibility. In many cases deploying open source solutions enable us to start at a 80-90% or higher solution then integrate or customize that framework to a specific mission set that is able to adapt as fast as the threats our customers are combatting.
In terms of scalability or security, we designed in parallel to our customer’s roadmaps building on Accumulo, the AWS infrastructure and ensuring capabilities such as our big data and visualization platform, Lumify, are fully ICITE compliant. By doing so, it gives our customers the speed to mission required and every dollar spent goes directly into mission capability delivering budgetary relief that they have been looking for from costly traditional proprietary licensing models.
Lumera Labs is aiming to Kickstarter an open source Linux camera attachment for one-click transfers to the cloud via WiFi, plus GPS tagging, HDR, and 3D.
We’ve seen a number of pricey, Internet-ready smart cameras, such as the $1,200, Android-based Samsung Galaxy NX, but what if you’re rather fond of your high-quality dumb camera, but wish it was instantly connected to the web? Montreal startup Lumera Labs aims to fill this need with an open source camera attachment called the Lumera that can “support and hold any kind of camera with any type of lens,” thereby providing one-click uploads to web services.
Xine is both an open source multimedia playback engine and a video playback application that's been around for a very long time. The number of people using this application has diminished, and there are few maintained third-party apps that are based on this engine. We'll take a closer look at the application to see why this is happening.
In my previous column, I pointed out that free software was now so successful, and in so many fields, that people might wonder whether there's anything left to do. The question was rhetorical, of course, of course: the ingenuity of the open source community means that people there will always find new and exciting projects. And not just the big one that I suggested of baking strong crypto into all our communication tools. There are countless other novel uses for open source, as these three very different examples below indicate.
According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft loves Linux. He said as much, complete with pictures -- and his team backs him up. In itself, it's a remarkable statement.
Nadella's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, described open source in the darkest terms, characterizing it (with the GNU GPL) as a commercial cancer and never retracting the slur. In many ways, that dark prophecy has come true for Microsoft, which has seen its rent-seeking business model steadily eroded by open source. Though it still has a cash cow to milk, Microsoft's monopolies no longer frighten anyone.
The main lesson I've learned since becoming Neutron PTL is the fact that running a large scale open source project involves utilizing not only engineering skills, but also project management skills and people management skills. Trying to move a large ship like Neutron in the right direction is a full time job. I love the fact I have the privilege of being elected to this job, and I work hard with all of our community members to ensure they are successful. Ultimately, a project is defined not only for the code which is produced, but also by the people and relationships built while producing that code. Having a healthy community is something which drives the long term health of a project. These are all things which are obvious when you think about them, but when leading an open source project, these become the core tenants of how you interact with everything you do.
The French capital is pushing for the use of free and open source software solutions to extend its smart city project to the city region. Making databases and applications interoperable and creating smart city grids requires tools to be as open as possible, and the use of open source provides many advantages over proprietary tools, says the city’s Deputy Mayor Jean-Louis Missika.
I wonder how many other businesses are experiencing the same problem. I'm keen to start a conversation about how others fair when selling FOSS solutions and whether its time to get together again and think again about a re-branding that will have my prospective customers asking, "OK tell us more" rather than "open sounds insecure". To that end I would like to nominate a brand new name that I have seen used in FOSS communities as a suitable candidate... Community Software.