Transparency is key in enabling people to participate in the creation of wealth and well-being in society. In the past decade, free and open source software (FOSS) has become one of the major catalysts in increasing transparency by lowering the barrier to access the best software technologies. Software Freedom Day (SFD) celebrates this important role of FOSS in making this change happen globally.
The August 7th press release from Miami reads
Fifty coaches are standing by online to help innovative thinkers apply for the Knight News Challenge, a $5 million-a-year contest to move journalism into the 21st Century. The coaches-made up of past jurors and winners-will give News Challenge hopefuls a better chance of winning up to $5 million in prizes annually. They also hope to attract a more diverse range of ideas.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has funded the contest with $25 million over five years. Its goal is to discover new ways of using digital technology to meet the information needs of geographic communities. Last year's contest received 3,000 applications. It named 16 winners.
And the best news for the open source community? The rules stipulate that applications must:
License proliferation has been a topic for discussion for quite a while now in the FOSS community and many would like to see the Open Source Initiative (OSI) fix this problem for good. In a license proliferation report, the OSI lists three problems that people generally see with license proliferation:
Dave Rosenberg has picked up the story being spun by The Standish Group that says
Open Source software is raising havoc throughout the software market. It is the ultimate in disruptive technology, and while to it is only 6% of estimated trillion dollars IT budgeted annually, it represents a real loss of $60 billion in annual revenues to software companies," said Jim Johnson, Chairman, The Standish Group International, Boston, MA
I agree with Dave's take, which is that this story is very much a glass half-full/glass half-empty story.
The O'Reilly Open Source Conference is one of the premier events for hackers, executives, users, and industry analysts to share and discuss open source trends, strategies, and perspectives. It has been so successful for so long that Microsoft couldn't let it continue without becoming a top sponsor, which they have now been for a number of years. One thing that sponsorship buys is a keynote speaking slot, and Microsoft's Sam Ramji took that slot on the final day of the 2008 conference.
Sam's message to the audience, which included leading open source companies, open source project leaders, board members, venture capitalists, etc., is that Microsoft is truly, truly interested in
It means that while OSI's handling of a list of approved licenses worked very well for a community made up of FOSS programmers, who are decent folks all on the same page overall, now that enemies of FOSS are attacking, we need a new organization to vet licenses going forward a lot more carefully, one made up of experienced FOSS lawyers, none of them with a history of hostility to, or ignorance of, the GPL, with the community as advisors.