The Standards Blog

Open Source/Open Standards

Seven Concerns Open Source Should Worry About, Part 3: Distributed Ownership

Open Source/Open Standards

Network%20Diagram%20140.jpgThe vast majority of free and open source (FOSS) projects today operate on a license in/license out basis. In other words, each contributor to a code base continues to own her code while committing to provide a license to anyone that wants to download that code. Of course, no developer ever actually signs a downstream license. Instead, all contributors to a given project agree on the OSI (Open Source Initiative) approved license they want to use, and those terms stand as an open promise to all downstream users.

But is that really the best way to operate? What about the minority of projects that require contributors to assign ownership of their code to the project? They clearly think assignment is a better way to go. Are they right?

Seven Concerns Open Source Should Worry About, Part 2: Antitrust

Open Source/Open Standards

US Dept. of Justice LogoFree and open source software (FOSS) development has for many years enjoyed an increasingly positive public image. Particularly in the last several years, it’s become recognized as the foundation upon which most of the modern computing world rests. FOSS proponents include many governments, too, including many in Europe and the European Commission itself.

That’s all good and quite appropriate, but it’s worth keeping in mind that FOSS involves the conscious agreement of head to head competitors to work towards a common result – something that would otherwise normally be a red flag to antitrust regulators in the US, competition authorities in Europe, and to many of their peers throughout the world. To date, those regulators do not seem to have expressed any concerns over FOSS development generally. But that can change.

OSI Board Pledges Allegiance to Open Source Definition, Now and Forever

Open Source/Open Standards

Illustration of the Cnut and the Waves episode by Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville, courtesy of the Wikimedia CommonsEverything changes over time, from the constitutions of nations to political theories. Should the Open Source Software Definition be any different?

Earlier this week the Board of Directors of the Open Source Initiative issued an Affirmation of the Open Source Definition, inviting others to endorse the same position. The stated purpose of the release was to underline the importance of maintaining the open source software (OSS) definition in response to what the directors see as efforts to “undermine the integrity of open source.” Certainly, that definition has stood the test of time, and OSI has ably served as the faithful custodian of the definition of what can and cannot be referred to as OSS.

That said, while well-intentioned, the statement goes too far. It also suggests that the directors would do well to reflect on what their true role as custodians of the OSS definition should be.

Guest Post: An Intro For Beginners - What is Kubernetes & How to Get Started With It

Open Source/Open Standards

By Ashley Lipman

Kubernetes%20130.pngMany people have heard of Kubernetes, but don’t know when or where to use it or even what it’s functionality is. Docker users may be more familiar with the program, but still unsure how to make that transition into using Kubernetes.

In this article, we’ll take a beginner’s approach to what Kubernetes is and how to start using it. This information will give you a high-level overview of the program and highlight some key considerations.

Major Vendors Commit to Healthcare Data Interoperability (So?)

Open Source/Open Standards

Courtesy Allan MacKinnon/Wikimedia Commons - Public DomainThe wire services lit up yesterday with news that six of the largest tech companies in the world had issued a statement in support of interoperability in healthcare at a developer conference. It’s a righteous goal, to be sure. In an interoperable healthcare world, anyone’s entire, life-long health record could be accessed anywhere, anytime, by anyone who was giving you care, from your primary physician to an emergency responder. Such a virtuous goal, in fact, that everyone, including the US government, has been trying to achieve it – without success – for over a decade. Will yesterday’s news bring us any closer to that goal?

The Data Transfer Project and the Hammer

Open Source/Open Standards

Hammer%20and%20Nail%20128.pngFirst, the good news: last week, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook announced the Data Transfer Project, inviting other data custodians to join as well. DTP is an initiative that will create the open source software necessary to allow your personal information, pictures, email, etc. to be transferred directly from one vendor’s platform to another, and in encrypted form at that. This would be a dramatic improvement from the current situation where, at best, a user can download data from one platform and then try and figure out how to upload it to another, assuming that’s possible at all.

 

So what’s the bad news, and what does a hammer have to do with it?

Open Source and Standards Must Mesh for Blockchains to Succeed

Open Source/Open Standards

128px-Blockchain_workflow.pngThere’s a belief in some open source circles that standards can be consigned to the ash heap of history now that OSS development has become so central to information technology. While it’s true that today many use cases can be addressed with OSS where open standards would have been used in the past, that approach can’t solve all problems. Most obviously, while resolving interoperation issues through real-time collaboration among up and downstream projects may meet the need within the same stack, it doesn’t help that stack communicate with other software.

Blockchain technology is an architecture where collaboration on software alone will often not suffice to meet the challenge at hand.

Open Source Stacks: Jumping the Shark or Poised for Dominance?

Open Source/Open Standards

shark.jpgBy any measure, the rise of open source software as an alternative to the old proprietary ways has been remarkable. Today, there are tens of millions of libraries hosted at GitHub alone, and the number of major projects is growing rapidly. As of this writing the Apache Software Foundationhosts over 300 projects, while the Linux Foundation supports over 60.  Meanwhile, the more narrowly-focused OpenStack Foundation boasts 60,000 members living in more than 180 countries.

Open Standards, Move Over

Open Source/Open Standards

Sisyphus, public domain, courtesy of Wikipedia/Wolfd59Well, that's a blog title I never expected to use here.

Back in 2003, over 800 blog posts ago, I decided to launch something I called the Standards Blog. Not surprisingly, it focused mostly on the development, implementation and importance of open standards. But I also wrote about other areas of open collaboration, such as open data, open research, and of course, open source software. Over time, there were more and more stories about open source worth writing, as well as pieces on the sometimes tricky intersection of open standards and open source.

An Open Source Project for Drones (now how cool is that?)

Open Source/Open Standards

It was only two weeks ago that I wrote here about the launch of a new Linux Foundation consortium, called the Open Platform for NFV Project. That's an extremely important development on the telecommunications front, with a mission "to develop and maintain a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform for the telecom industry." But if you're not of the technical persuasion, where does that rate on the register of cool? Well, maybe not so high.

Today's announcement, on the other hand, should be enough to catch the eye of anyone. This time, the effort being launched is called the Dronecode Project, and the code it supports controls a much hotter platfrom than a telecom backbone: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more popularly known simply as "drones." So just how cool is that?  (Disclosure: my firm and I represent the Linux Foundation and the Drone Project).

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