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Links 26/7/2010: Last Catch-up With Free/Open Source Software News

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Jargon of Freedom: 60 Words and Phrases with Context
    What exactly does it mean when Richard Stallman says that the Creative Commons’ Attribution-ShareAlike license has a “Weak Copyleft”? Why exactly is it that “Freeware” and “Non-Free Software” mean the same thing, while “Free Software” is something else entirely? And what is this business with “Free Beer”, and where can I get some? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, this column is for you.

  • CASE STUDY: Revenue Commissioners
    “We have reduced their bills and given them what they needed,” says McGrattan. “We’ve also moved them from proprietary systems to open source so all they have to pay is a support bill. So they are quite happy. They have recommended us to other customers and governments and told them what we have done.”

  • Interview with Winston Damarillo, Morphlabs
    One of Southern California's successful, serial entrepreneurs is Winston Damarillo, who founded Gluecode, which he sold to IBM in 2005. Earlier this month, his latest startup, El Segundo-based Morphlabs announced it had raised a Series B funding worth $5.5M. We thought we'd catch back up with Winston to hear about the Morphlabs.


    [Winston Damarillo:] All of your startups have been centered around open source projects. What's the open source connection here?

    Winston Damarillo: Sixty to seventy percent of our ingredients are based on open source. I always mention that anything I do has an open core, which is, the core of what we do comes from open source. In our case, the workload manager comes from Eucalyptus, the configuration management from Puppet, and a third systems management tool. All three are open source building blocks.


    Winston Damarillo: One of the things I've learned, is that open source is now an accepted ingredient for any enterprise user. People are not scared anymore of using that. On what you need to know, from the business model side, is that we realized that open source support, by itself, is a declining and diminishing return on revenue generation. The more mature the open source product or project, the less the opportunity to make money. A good example of that is the Apache web server, where no one pays for support--they just download it and use it. What a successful company does, is implement what we call an open core--the idea is, you use open source, which you expect will mature over time, but later a product on top of that commercially, which allow you to make open source more scalable. That makes it more sustainable as a product, and not just as a support service.

  • Test Management for Open Source Teams
    Gurock Software announced an offer to provide free licenses of their web-based test management software TestRail to open source projects and teams.

  • SOS Open Source Goals and Customer Segments

  • Security

    • Open source security solutions: An attractive alternative
      Mention 'open source security tools' and the first words that come to mind are Nmap and Nessus. Of course, Nessus is no longer open source. Its open source offshoot OpenVAS, has failed to acquire the same levels of popularity. Apart from Nmap and Nessus, Metasploit is probably one of the more popular offerings available on the open source security block.

    • Snort and Suricata Creators Exchange Heated Words
      Unfortunately, the flame wars stirred pent up frustrations among the projects' leaders. SourceFire's Vulnerability Research Team (VRT) continued the debate through performance tests posted on its blog, contending that "Suricata's performance isn't just bad; it's hideously, unforgivably bad." The article goes on to state that Suricata's capabilities are inherently limited by its choice of the Snort rule language, and that despite a million dollars in development, the OISF has "failed, utterly, to deliver on their promises."

    • Intel accelerates open source encryption
      The latest version of Truecrypt has many new features, including partitions with larger sector sizes, a volume organiser and automatic mounting of volumes.

  • Graphics

    • Blender as an animation editor
      While working on some combat animations, I decided that the current Phoenix animation editor is too hard to use, and there are too many bottlenecks in the route to making it better. So, for now, I am looking into alternative approaches to editing animations.

    • Scribus
      As I mentioned before, here in the studio I use a Linux computer. Well, calling it a Linux computer is a bit inaccurate. I have a computer and it runs Linux. PCLinuxOS, to be specific. PCLinuxOS, like all Linux distributions, is freely available for download at many different websites. If you want to try Linux, I strongly suggest PCLinuxOS. if you want to explore a bit more, then visit There, you can download and test drive (via a Live CD) any flavor of Linux being distributed today.

  • Symbian

  • Going Free

  • Mozilla

  • SaaS

  • CMS

    • Web CMS: MODx Revolution Targets Drupal, Joomla Markets
      This past March we saw a hint of what was coming from the open source Web CMS project called MODx (news, site). Now their latest release, MODx Revolution v2.0, has officially arrived. This is the future of the MODx project. Let's take a peek.

    • Open Source Enterprise Collaboration Tool TeamLab Offers New Modules
      If open source still makes you think of feature-bare products, command lines and dense nerd-level manuals, then you need to get with the times. TeamLabs is a fine example of open source Enterprise 2.0 at work. No more complicated than shopping on Amazon, it allows users to communicate, collaborate and project manage in a clear, stress-free style.

    • Dolce&Gabbana Deploys Hippo CMS 7 for Its Blogzine Swide

    • WordPress Theme Thesis Maker Backs Down, Adopts GPL
      Chalk this one up as a victory for the free software movement: Thesis, the wildly popular proprietary WordPress theme from developer/designer Chris Pearson, is now available under a split GPL, the license that makes it possible to alter and redistribute this software as you see fit.

      Pearson’s decision marks the end of a high-drama clash between him and Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPressWordPressWordPress and of Automattic, which runs and a handful of related software. Some folks wondered if the battle of words might end in a battle of legal precedent as Mullenweg struggled to preserve free software principles and Pearson struggled to maintain control over his highly successful software.

  • Joomla!

  • Education

    • 4 Tips for Adopting Open Source Software in K-12
      IT directors interested in open source software have an ever increasing number of resources available for learning more about options, best practices, and pitfalls. Online communities, conferences, blogs, and Webinars all provide perspective.

      After a dozen interviews and review of even more online sources, THE Journal put together a list of tips for IT directors considering open source software (OSS) in their districts. The main take-away? Focus on what is needed and what will be accepted in any given situation--and the cost savings aren't so bad either.

  • Healthcare

    • How open source can improve health care
      David Riley, head of the CONNECT initiative for the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) Program. Riley is responsible for creating the product direction and overseeing product development for CONNECT.

    • Day one of the health care IT track at O'Reilly's Open Source convention
      I think the collective awe of health care aficionados at the Open Source Convention came to a focal point during our evening Birds of a Feather session, when open source advocate Fred Trotter, informally stepping in as session leader, pointed out that the leaders of key open source projects in the health care field were in the room, including two VistA implementors (Medsphere and WorldVistA), Tolven, and openEMR--and not to forget two other leading health care software initiatives from the U.S. government, CONNECT and NHIN Direct.

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Open Core Model Vulnerability Exposed?
      Clearly, individual OSI directors have been less than thrilled with the open core business model. Simon Phipps, in particular, made a pretty strong argument that open core was just plain bad for business. But, though Phipps is an OSI director, he wasn't speaking in any official capacity on behalf of the OSI with these statements.

      This weekend, Russ Nelson, another OSI director and License Approval Chair posted an entry on the OSI Board Blog sharply criticizing open core. This falls under my definition of official response.

    • The story of R: a statistical tale with a twist
      Ihaka learned about the open source movement during his time at MIT. “That is really where free software came from, that is were Richard Stallman was and the free software foundation is still based in Cambridge I think. Those ideas were sort of hanging around in the air.”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.1 Provides Evolutionary Open Source Software Upgrade
      Putting out new releases of OS software isn't always about adding major new features -- sometimes it's just about making existing features usable and stable. In the case of the open source software FreeBSD, that's certainly the case with the newly hatched 8.1 release.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

  • Standards/Consortia

    • FFmpeg's VP8 Decoder Blasts Google's Decoder
      It was just back in May that Google opened up the VP8 video format that they got their hands on through the acquisition of On2 and at the same time they created the WebM container format. VP8 has already received a lot of love by the open-source community -- both developers and end-users -- and support for it has already worked its way into FFmpeg, GStreamer, and other multimedia projects. Google released the libvpx library as their official VP8 decoder library, but now the FFmpeg developers have created their own decoder and it's shockingly faster than that of Google's own open-source library.

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