FOSS - Page number 2

Are freeloaders helpful or hurtful to open source communities?

FOSS contributors

Concerns are raised every once in a while in the broader free and open source software community about freeloaders. The attitude expressed is that if you're getting the benefit of FOSS, you should contribute. Building a business on a FOSS project you don't own, whether you're providing a service or product around a FOSS project should in return garner some sort of quid pro quo. In reality, freeloaders are desirable.

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Make it easy to contribute by making the software easy to test

testing software

Question: How do you get more developers to contribute to a free and open source software project? Contribution is the lifeblood of a FOSS community  Without contributions the community can’t grow beyond the initial project founders. People don’t just show up ready to work. They very likely start as users, even of the fledgling software before it really starts to take shape as the robust solution it could become.

Let’s approach the question of getting more developers involved as "software engineers" instead of as "community organizers" by asking a different question: Why do we use software versioning a.k.a. software configuration management tools?

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Behind the scenes with Bugzilla Project Leader Dave Miller

bug-tracking system

Bugzilla is an open source bug-tracking system that prides itself on offering server software that is free but skillfully designed to help developers manage their work. Their installation list is long and robust. So, how do they manage to not charge expensive licensing fees like most other commercial vendors?

I emailed Dave Miller to find out. He's the Project Leader at Bugzilla and an IT Infrastructure Engineer at Mozilla, where Bugzilla is constantly being put to the test. » Read more

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Open source hardware trademark application rejected

open source hardware trademark

On April 19th the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally rejected an application for the trademark open source hardware. The grounds for the rejection were that the term was "merely descriptive."

Trademarks are intended to identify a specific source of goods or services, protecting that source from confusion in the minds of consumers with other sources. Naturally then, if you try to obtain a trademark which is just a description of a type of product or service, it is proper that you should be refused; it would not be distinctive and it would distort the market by allowing one source to control the generic term. If I market a car for a hamster, I should not be able to get a trademark for the name hamster car, as that would improperly restrain competitors from bringing their own hamster cars to market. So, should we be pleased that the application was rejected?

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Open source beginnings, from classroom to career

What I've learned the open source way

During my second year at Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNDT) Women's University, the first of its kind in India as well as in South-East Asia, I attended a workshop on Python and Orca by Krishnakant Mane. My classmates and I were novices to free and open source software (FOSS) and astonished when we saw a visually impaired person using a computer with the same ease as we did.

I was aware of Linux and had learned the basics of Unix as a freshman, but I had never used Ubuntu, which I thought might be command driven. It had a great interface and there was a lot of new technology for us to learn. That day not only was our class introduced to a new world of open source, but so was the university as a whole.  » Read more

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Increasing participation of women in Free and Open Source Software

participation in foss

Few women have been historically applying for Google Summer of Code, a program in which Google provides stipends for students to work for three months on FOSS projects. Last year, after many efforts by both the Google team and the community to increase the diversity in the program, about 100 of 1200 participants or 8.3% were women, which was a highest level of participation by women yet. » Read more

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Event report: FOSDEM introduces science-focused devroom

on the scene

FOSDEM, held annually in Brussels, Belgium, is a free event for open source communities to meet, share ideas, and collaborate. It offers a mix of focused devrooms and themed main track talks, with no requirement for registration. It has a reputation of being highly developer-focused, this year brought together over 5,000 geeks from around the world.

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Software Wars: A film about FOSS, collaboration, and software freedom

open film production

The impact of software has changed our lives. But the average technology consumer doesn't realize how important having access to source code and an open development process is to our overall freedom. Keith Curtis, a University of Michigan dropout turned decade-long programmer at Microsoft turned open source advocate, wants to change that. 

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Top 10 FOSS issues of 2012

foss lawyers

The year 2012 had many important FOSS legal developments which reflects the continued increase in FOSS use. FOSS projects have increased from 600,000 in 2010 to 900,000 by December 2012. In addition, a Dr. Dobbs' survey in the third quarter of 2012 stated that more than 90% of developers are using FOSS in two of the most rapidly growing areas, cloud computing and mobile computing.

Continuing the tradition of looking back over the top ten legal developments in FOSS, my selection of the top ten issues for 2012 are as follows.

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Want to understand open source? Live with its developers

Open source beliefs

Let's say you want to understand what makes free and open source software (FOSS) so vital today—and what makes those who write it so committed to their difficult work. How would you do this? » Read more

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