From the Board

Live Free or Die in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has passed a new law that is summarized as follows:

This bill requires state agencies to consider open source software when acquiring software and promotes the use of open data formats by state agencies. This bill also directs the commissioner of information technology to develop a statewide information policy based on principles of open government data.

They are living up to the high standards of their state motto!

FLOSS Body of Knowledge

As courses, certificates, and curricula are created, it's valuable to bring together people who are working to develop and deliver this material into a community where we can jointly define a central body of knowledge related to free, libre, and open source software. That goal has led me to take the first step toward creating this body of knowledge, termed FLOSSBOK. The initial outline, intentionally very brief, can be found on our FLOSS Competency Center site.

Open Source receives official support in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

On November 11, 2011, the government of the State of Rio de Janeiro - the second largest state in Brazil in terms of population and GDP - published a new law, which mandates public entities and companies in Rio de Janeiro to give preference to open document formats, in particular ODF. The publication of Law #5978/2011 was celebrated in an official event with representatives from the government, several state companies, and the FLOSS community.

Cape Verde's Big Win

Last week it was announced that former Cape Verde president Pedro Pires won the $5 million Mo Ibrahim prize for exceptional African leadership. As the citation explains, Cape Verde is among the smallest countries in Africa, poorest in natural resources, and yet managed to move its population of 500,000 forward much faster and much further than many other countries that shared similar (or presumably stronger) attributes. The key to their success? Openness.

Shout out to Zoneminder Project

For the first ten years of my open source life, I spent tens of thousands of hours pouring over hundreds of thousands of lines of source code across perhaps a dozen or fewer projects, mostly GCC, G++, GDB, and various other parts of the GNU toolchain. If there were a PhD in open source software, I was definitely specialist enough to have earned one. I was vaguely aware of the mountains of source code in the BSD distribution, and obviously Linux, but didn't really pay much attention to that until I joined Red Hat.

For the ten plus years after that, I have barely succeeded in scratching the surface of the 10,000+ packages that can be easily installed without the need to study the source code. It is both a luxury to have available the resources that are represented by the 200+ million lines of source code packaged for a typical Linux distribution, but it is also can one possibly know all there is to know? And yet, I find that when I need to look for something, it's there. When I needed to control and monitor some PTZ network cameras, I looked for an open source solution and discovered a really wonderful package called Zoneminder.

Board Meeting Report

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) Board meet this weekend in San Francisco for its annual face-to-face meeting (generously hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation). There were two significant topics on the agenda. First, we had to review the substantial number of nominations for the two Board seats that become vacant on March 31st when Danese Cooper and Russ Nelson leave the Board due to term limits after a decade each of service.

Microsoft Loves Open Source

Somehow I missed that Microsoft loves Open Source. There is a reason I missed it. When Microsoft is not threatening to sue people for using/distributing open source they are setting up semi-secret consortiums to hamper the use of Open Source. Microsoft loves "embracing" open source. This "mixed IT" and (uni-directional) "interoperability" is frankly a silly ploy. I WISH Microsoft was sincere but actions speak louder than words.


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