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With a focus on open source and digital rights, Simon is a director of the UK's Open Rights Group and president of the Open Source Initiative. He is also managing director of UK consulting firm Meshed Insights Ltd.

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Open Source News

A news roundup for the start of November.

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Several items of open source news this week that are worth looking at:

  • Cabinet Office issues guidance on open source
    Glynn's comments are worth reading, but the background here is that the lip-service that both Labour and Conservative governments have given to open source over the years, while making the UK one of the safest places for proprietary software vendors to do business with the government.

    These are sane documents, but unless they actually connect all the way through to departmental buying decisions they will be as inconsequential as all the previous attempts. Connecting all the way through means tracking purchasing and challenging the results that are discovered. Nothing here gives me confidence that connection will happen.

  • Microsoft contributes to Samba
    For many of us who have been watching open source for years, this is one of those "pigs might fly" moments. Microsoft is both contributing to the key open source project that made GNU/Linux such a serious competitor for them in the enterprise, and submitting its contributions under the terms of the GPLv3. Both are remarkable.

    While the development is welcome, it is not yet a sign of maturing to the next stage of the path. As Jeremy Allison (key Samba leader) said, "Now if they’d only stop threatening OSS over patents, and just tried to make money with it the same way everyone else does by building it into products". That cultural change can't happen until open source is wired into the corporation rather than just the open source office at Microsoft. Let's hope it happens soon.

  • The Document Foundation elects board
    The project responsible for the excellent cross-platform free and libre office productivity suite LibreOffice has taken another step on their path to maturity, with the election of a Board via a transparent and democratic process (disclosure: I was the "returning officer" in the election). This posting is interesting on several levels and worth reading as you download LibreOffice!

  • IBM open sources MQTT
    I worked at IBM back in the 90s whenits enterprise messaging queuing software MQ Series was introduced. One of the engineers I worked with, Andy Stanford-Clark, went on to define a minimalist messaging queuing protocol for use in device telemetry. He now uses it to instrument his home on the Isle of Wight, which is thus enabled to tweet status reports the whole time. That protocol, MQTT, has been released as an open specification and implementations of it offered to Eclipse as open source projects. Warm congratulations to Andy on this step on his path to becoming TBL's younger brother!


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