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Open Source: Narrowing the Divide between Education, Business, and Community

From an essay by Jim Whitehurst for Educause.

Open source is now recognized in institutions of higher education as a viable technology solution that provides superior value at a fraction of the cost of proprietary applications. That’s a good thing—but that’s not all it can do. Open source can be a transformative force in education. In particular, it can transform computer science curricula. Academic institutions that are consumers of open source need to reverse roles and shift gears to “preach what they practice” and place higher emphasis on integrating open source into the classroom.

Open source is an increasingly important skill set that many of today’s computer science graduates are lacking. This is not because students aren’t interested in open source, but because very few colleges and universities currently offer open-source classes. In addition to eager students, there are many professors who are very interested in teaching open source in their classrooms and labs.

via Open Source: Narrowing the Divide between Education, Business, and Community | EDUCAUSE CONNECT.


How much money can open source save the US govt?

From Meritalk, an online community for government/tech workers.  You can download the pdf here.

The new administration is redefining IT’s role in developing a 21st-century government – from agency investments and management agendas to healthcare, public safety, and energy policy initiatives. While the promise for IT to drive change is exciting, the budget reality is brutal. With no new funds, IT needs to generate its own funding by changing the economics of existing programs.

Against this backdrop, The DIY Federal IT Bailout Report examines the real savings that three computing paradigms can offer – Open Source, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing/SaaS implementations. The report highlights the hard “dollar, nickel, and cent” potential savings that agencies and the entire Federal government can realize by utilizing these models.

via MeriTalk.


Open source ideals

From:
State of the Union at Red Hat
by Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO

7. Keep on fighting the good fight. There is a Mohandas Gandhi quote that covers the full length of the lobby at Red Hat’s Raleigh headquarters: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” As I walk through the doors each day, this is a constant reminder of the open source ideals that are the foundation of everything we do at Red Hat. While Red Hat may be small in comparison to the proprietary giants we challenge, our open source culture promotes the free exchange of ideas and enables us to deliver better software, faster. With an endless abundance of creative thinking and collaboration, I’m proud to say that Red Hat is well equipped to continue to fight the good fight.

via Red Hat News | State of the Union at Red Hat.


How sharing works: The Amen Break

Note:  I pulled this up from the archives today when I read this.

Can I Get An Amen?, 2004
recording on acetate, turntable, PA system, paper documents
dimensions variable
total run time 17 minutes, 46 seconds

By Nate Harrison

Can I Get An Amen? is an audio installation that unfolds a critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drum beat in the history of recorded music, the Amen Break. It begins with the pop track Amen Brother by 60′s soul band The Winstons, and traces the transformation of their drum solo from its original context as part of a ‘B’ side vinyl single into its use as a key aural ingredient in contemporary cultural expression. The work attempts to bring into scrutiny the techno-utopian notion that ‘information wants to be free’- it questions its effectiveness as a democratizing agent. This as well as other issues are foregrounded through a history of the Amen Break and its peculiar relationship to current copyright law.

This is why this blog talks about music, DRM and copyright control. If you have 20 minutes, check it out. Especially the Judge Alex Kozinski quote at the end.

“Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Culture is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it’s supposed to nurture.”

* Dissenting in the White v. Samsung Elec. Am., Inc., 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993) ruling.


Red Hat helps DoD participate in open source

From ITExaminer.com

DoD starts site for open source

Saving money is the goal

By John Oram in California @ Monday, February 02, 2009 6:16 AM

David Mihelcic, the chief technology officer for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), says Defense Department officials have launched a new website where developers can work on open-source software projects specifically for the DoD. Red Hat, a Linux developer, stepped forward to assist with an initial open-source application.

Mihelcic said that the new site, Forge.mil, is based on the public site SourceForge.net ,which hosts thousands of open-source projects. “Forge.mil is really SourceForge.net upgraded to meet DOD security requirements,” Mihelcic said.

DISA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and provides real-time information technology and communications support to the president, vice president, secretary of defense, the military services, and the combatant commands. From its Arlington, Virginia, headquarters and through worldwide field activities, DISA offers IT services, capabilities and acquisition expertise so the US military can accomplish its missions.

via DoD starts site for open source.


Linux Defenders

On the front lines in the battle against patent trolls, is Linux Defenders.

Architected to eliminate poor quality patents and ensure that only high quality patents issue, the Linux Defenders program enables individuals and organizations to efficiently contribute to:

1. “Defensive Publications” that codify ‘known’ inventions that have not previously been patented so that they can be brought to the attention of the patent office to ensure that later developed patent applications claiming such inventions do not issue. In general, defensive publications are a vehicle which allows the Linux and broader open source community to create valuable prior art that enables Linux and freedom of action/freedom to operate for those active in utilizing Linux to drive innovation in products, services, and applications;

2. “Peer to Patent” which solicits prior art contributions from the Linux and broader open source community to ensure patent examiners are aware of prior art relevant to published applications that are currently under review. In this way, the patent office is alerted to relevant prior art and only the most innovative and novel ideas are actually patented.

3. “Post-Issue Peer to Patent” which solicits prior art contribution from Linux and the broader open source community to permit the invalidation of previously issued patents that were issued in error because of the patent office’s lack of awareness of relevant prior art.

Use of Linux Defenders is free of charge to contributors and the hosting of Defensive Publications on databases accessible by patent and trademark office examiners around the world is borne by the program’s sponsors.

via Linux Defenders.


Care and feeding of an open source project

A nice how-to-think-through the creation of a good open source project.

Bottom line conclusion: strive to be Open in everything you do, every LOC, every process, not just having available source — if you’re not doing that you are not getting all of the great benefits of Open Source which is the REAL reason why you do it, to achieve vibrant communities that feed off each other and get stronger because of it. If you’re mainly just talking to yourself (in stage 1), figure out how to maximize the stage 2.

If you have an open source project, think about how to grow a community of users and a community of developers. The latter is pretty darn hard, but a pretty rewarding thing to achieve.

I could have written this more simply — open source code is great, open everything is better. Hopefully this is useful to some new software companies out there, as well as some developers. The main idea here is, think community, not code. It’s everything — and when you do that, THAT is when you actually reap the benefits of open source. Otherwise the only real benefit you are getting is freedom to debug/fork, which is only a very small part of the equation.

via michaeldehaan.net | How Open Source Is Your Open Source?.


A Shared Culture

A Creative Commons video directed by Jesse Dylan.

more about "A Shared Culture ", posted with vodpod


Mozilla’s Chris Blizzard on open video

Mozilla’s Director of Evangelism, Chris Blizzard writes about why open video is important.

The result of that has been an explosion of creativity and investment from single individuals all the way up to the largest companies. Anyone can have an impact and anyone can affect the technology direction of the web. Because anyone can build tools without permission that speak the lingua franca of the web, you can find tools to do just about anything. It’s a truly vibrant marketplace.

There’s one exception to this: video on the web. Although videos are available on the web via sites like Youtube, they don’t share the same democratized characteristics that have made the web vibrant and distributed. And it shows. That centralization has created some interesting problems that have symptoms like censorship via abuse of the DMCA and an overly-concentrated audience on a few sites that have the resources and technology to host video. I believe that problems like the ones we see with youtube are a symptom of the larger problem of the lack of decentralization and competition in video technology – very different than where the rest of the web is today.

Read more.

via Christopher Blizzard · why open video?.


Go Ogg, go!

Mozilla contributes $100,000 to fund Ogg development – Ars Technica

Mozilla has given the Wikimedia Foundation a $100,000 grant intended to fund development of the Ogg container format and the Theora and Vorbis media codecs. These open media codecs are thought to be unencumbered by software patents, which means that they can be freely implemented and used without having to pay royalties or licensing fees to patent holders. This differentiates Ogg Theora from many other formats that are widely used today.

via Mozilla contributes $100,000 to fund Ogg development – Ars Technica.


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