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07.21.10

Links: Free Software/Open Source Miscellany, Open Data, HTML5 Tidbits, and WordPress Suing

Posted in Free/Libre Software, News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Computer abbreviations

Summary: Grouping of recent news on Free software, including the hotly-debated WordPress controversy

  • Visual Effects For Project London Made With Blender!

    Project London movie is the triumph of community spirit, togetherness or whatever you call it over money. A team of online volunteers using free software, created the movie, Project London, with as many as 650 VFX shots! Isn’t that awesome?

  • Open sound series: Part 3 – Ampache

    While thinking of the next article for the Open Sound Series, I was listening to some music via Ampache. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ampache, it is simply a piece of software that allows you to upload, download, and stream music (and now videos) from a collection of media residing on a server. It features the ability to have multiple catalogs, ratings of songs and videos, playlist creation (including “democratic playlists” that users vote for), tag editing, album art and streaming various formats of music. While most software designed to listen to music does many of the same things, Ampache is then able to take it a step further by adding the idea of concurrent users of a single instance of the software.

  • Is open source ready for business prime time?

    Canonical has gathered open source enthusiasts to help Ubuntu make its mark on the business landscape in the UK.

  • Mozilla

    • new role at mozilla – director of web platform

      For the last couple of years I’ve been responsible for our wonderful Evangelism group at Mozilla. We’ve been responsible for a combination of developer relations, standards work and outbound developer-focused communications. If you’ve followed our work on hacks and devmo, especially around the release of 3.5 and 3.6 then you’ve familiar with the pretty amazing work of this team.

  • Licensing

    • GPL and WordPress: Failure?

      If there is any failing on the part of the GPL here, it is not in the eyes of the second party – that person doesn’t want to share his code anyway. If there is a failing it is that the GPL has failed to enforce the terms that the first party expected – which I think are in line with the expectations of Free Software.

    • Inevitable: WordPress To Sue Thesis Founder
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Fortune cookie says: To succeed, you must share.
    • Open Data

      • Economic benefits of data release

        The new coalition government’s commitment to transparency heralds an exciting time for the possibilities of open data. The data release movement is relatively new and it’s difficult to predict its full economic impact in advance.

        The US leads the way in encouraging and financially incentivising the software community to develop new apps based on publicly available data. The first round of the Apps for Democracy competition in Washington DC saw 50 new apps created in 30 days. The city gained $2.5m in development work outlaying just $50,000 in prize money for the winner. The Californian government introduced a transparency website costing $21k with $40k annual operational costs. As a result of citizens reporting on unnecessary spending the state saved a whopping $20m in a few short months. A similar website in Texas saw $5m savings, again within a few months of operation according to an EU e-gov survey.

      • Transparency Through Open Notes

        Technology has placed vast amounts of medical information literally a mouse click away. Yet what often may be central – a doctor’s notes about a patient visit – has traditionally not been part of the discussion. In effect, such records have long been out of bounds.

      • When does information not want to be free?

        Apparently, when it’s been released under a freedom of information (FOI) request!

        This is not, I imagine, the answer you, gentle reader, expected:)

        Pangloss was recently asked by an acquantance, X, if he ran any legal risk by publishing on a website some emails he had obtained from the local council, as part of a local campaign against certain alleged illicit acts by that council. According to X, the emails could destroy the reputation of certain local councillors involved, and that they had had great difficulty extracting the emails, but finally succeeded. Obviously the value to the public in terms of access to the facts – surely the whole point of FOI legislation – would be massively enhanced if the obtained emails could be put on the campaign website.

      • Some progress on the Local Spending/Spikes Cavell issue

        Yesterday I was invited to a meeting at the Department for Communities and Local Government with the key players in the local spending/Spikes Cavell issue that I’ve written about previous (see The open data that isn’t and Update on the local spending data scandal… the empire strikes back).

      • One Information Policy for Freedom of Information and Re-use

        The following guest post is from Katleen Janssen, researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Groups on EU Open Data and Open Government Data.

    • Open Access/Content

      • MIX: Gary Hamel’s experiment in reinventing management the open source way

        The MIX website has been up for a few months now, and it looks like there are 2-3 new hacks being put up each day. What’s more, all of the work on the site is licensed under a Creative Commons license, which is awesome (although they chose the “no derivatives” version, which is less awesome, and perhaps a bit misaligned with the vision of the project to me).

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Get ready for a whole new forge

      Today SourceForge is announcing an open beta period for a new set of tools for developers. Specifically, our engineers have begun work on new and better tools for project members who want to use our tracker, wiki, and source code management. We also have a new open source project management environment. And there’s more to come.

    • Find the Python shell of your dreams in DreamPie

      Python developers have their choice of shells – command-line interpreters that let you write Python code and execute it immediately. Israeli developer Noam Yorav-Raphael used IDLE, the graphical shell shipped with Python, for many years, and even contributed to its code. But IDLE was originally created to run as a single process, so the client-server model was “quite hacky,” he says, and it was written using the outdated TkInter GUI toolkit. Yorav-Raphael decided that writing a new shell was the way to go.

      “I started to gather ideas for a new shell in the summer of 2007, started writing it in the summer of 2008 (so I had a working but not really usable shell), worked on it again in the summer of 2009 (which made it actually usable), and added some cool features in the end of 2009. I released the first public version of DreamPie in February 2010.” Today he released the latest version.

    • FLOSS Weekly 127: Guillermo Amaral

      Open source software development in Mexico.

      Guest: Guillermo Amaral

  • HTML5

    • Crash course: HTML 5 video

      If you want to watch Internet-delivered video on your PC, the vast majority of Web sites have settled on a single, consistent way to do that. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this single, consistent delivery system is Adobe Flash, with all its security and stability issues.

    • HTML5 in W3C Cheatsheet
    • Aloha: The HTML5 Editor

      Aloha Editor is an easy to use WYSIWYG HTML editor, featuring fast editing, floating menu, and support for HTML5 ContentEditable. It provides WYSIWYG editor to any website content instantaneously, enabling content editors to see the changes the moment they type.

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