Sunday, 21 February 2016

Linux Foundation announces The Zephyr Project: Real-time OS for Internet of Things devices

    Zephyr Project - Overview video

Last week Linux Foundation announced a project to build a real-time OS for Internet of Things devices, called the Zephyr Project.

This announcement can actually be the first signs of something huge where a scalable and customizable open source OS, can be used across multiple architectures.

The Zephyr Project could help solve many of the current issues that hindered the IoT (Internet of Things) from becoming extremely mainstream.

The Zephyr Project could mean that our IoT devices, which is so far confined to their own proprietary systems, will at last be able to talk to one another. No more digital borders between your wearable device and your thermostat as they able to communicate using the similar protocols.

Linux has already proven to be excellent at running with constrained resources, while similarly being capable of powering the real-time data acquisition systems of manufacturing plants and other time-sensitive instruments and machines. Zephyr is expected to take the best of these 2 worlds, speed and low-consumption.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Changing the Traditional Work Model with Open Source

Open Source Communities
Much research has demonstrated that current traditional work models (eg the typical 9-to-5 work week), are not only unhealthy to workers' physical and mental health, but does not reap the best level of productivity.

On the other hand, working in open source technologies provides for a completely different employment model. Instead of being pigeonholed into a single, assigned task, open source contributors are given more autonomy for their responsibilities, allowing them to use their time and skills with more resilience.

Further, many studies imply that the traditional and societal reproach that is associated with not having a job in the traditional sense have significant negative impacts on individuals' mental health.

Communities and projects that adopt Open Source philosophy are examples of non-traditional work structures that are very productive while existing outside typical understanding of "work."

An example are the authors of the software OpenSSL ( a vital software library that serves a large majority of websites across the web). Outside of traditional business models, the software authors range from one time collaborators to continuous contributors who have collectively made the most important networking encryption library to date. This is the result of effort of diverse communities of volunteers working on "their own time," rather than on the through a rigid proprietary software development firm.

In the book "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", the difference between proprietary software and open source development is compared and the primary difference noted is the hierarchical structure of the proprietary software development and the flat organizational structure of the open source development model.
Open source work tends to lean more towards the non-hierarchical (or heterarchical) management system in which leadership is decentralized. This leads to contributors experiencing more freedom in their roles in certain projects. Another benefit of flat structures is a certain flexibility to adapt to change, which is vital in the realm of open source software development.

Open source trumps traditional models in the area of Accessibility. Many of today's neoliberal economic practices prioritize productivity—which often leads to disability discrimination. A core principle of open source is to allow anyone who wishes to contribute to the ecosystem to be able to do so. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Open Source Initiative celebrates anniversary this month

OSI is 18 years old

As a result of companies releasing their code to the public, the importance of having a solid community—one that understands how developers, contributors, businesses and governments interact and communicate—increases. One group has recognized this importance since the beginning, and yesterday it celebrated its 18th anniversary, along with a history of support for open source.

The Open Source Initiative (OSI), a California-based non-profit, has been raising awareness and promoting adoption of open-source software since it was founded in 1998 as an educational, advocacy and stewardship organization.

“A big focus in the early days [for OSI] was around licensing,” said Allison Randal, president of OSI and open-source strategist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “There was a broad variety of licenses going around—some of them claimed to be open source—and there was disagreement around what the core of open source should be.”

In 1998, the OSI put together the Open Source Definition, an objective standard for what kinds of licenses can or cannot be called “open source.” This definition is still used by OSI today. This standard demonstrates that open source isn’t just access to source code. The distribution terms of open source software must comply with several criteria, and Randal said that this helps eliminate everyone being able to “slap” the open-source label onto their license when it might be, in fact, anything but open source.

One of the main activities of the OSI board is to review licenses that individuals submit to get the “open-source” blessing. The board reviews it according to the Open Source Definition, approving any license that meets it. OSI has a list of open-source licenses by category, including those that have been superseded or retired.