Today in open source: November 17, 2016

Security-hardened Android, bounties for Tcl coders, and more open source news

A look at what's happening right now across the globe in open source.

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The world of open source software is a busy place. Sometimes keeping up with all of the news, announcements, and cool things to be discovered can be difficult. Here's a look at some of what we're reading today.

Tor hardens Android security

In a blog post yesterday, the Tor project announced a refresh of a prototype of a Tor-enabled Android phone aimed at reducing vulnerability to security and privacy issues. Combining several existing software packages together, the effort has created an installation tool for hardening your phone. While designed for a Nexus 6P reference device, the project hopes to expand to provide greater hardware choice.

Bounties for open source Tcl contributions

FlightAware, the aviation software and data provider, continues to have an interest in Tcl. For those not familiar, Tcl is a general purpose scripting language which, while not as widespread as it has been in years past, continues to be popular for a number of applications. In an update via a GitHub repo, the company presented several "challenges" in Tcl for which they are willing to pay to see integrated into Tcl's open source code base.

ReactOS out with new release

ReactOS, the open source operating system designed for binary compatibility with Windows, is out with a new release. Bringing in 342 changes and fixes since the previous version, the 0.4.3 release brings a revamped networking stack, better compatibility with classic games, and better memory management. ReactOS targets compatibility with a decade-plus old version of the Windows OS, so while it's not an ideal replacement for a modern operating system, it might help users of legacy software and classic games keep their programs running as the operating system continues to evolve.

Foundational changes and .NET

Following our report yesterday of Microsoft's move to join the Linux Foundation, soon after search giant Google announced its joining of the .NET Foundation. The .NET Foundation is an independent organization supporting .NET's growth and adoption as an open source project. In related news, Samsung has added plans to support .NET in their open source Tizen platform, an operating system aimed at embedded hardware, wearables, and other small-footprint computing devices.

New eBook on license compliance best practices

New to open source, or want to make sure your organization is making the right choices when it comes to open source licensing? While there's no alternative to speaking to a qualified legal expert before you make important decisions, a new eBook released yesterday from the Linux Foundation might point you in the right direction. Designed for companies trying to develop internal open source programs, the book covers a number of topics around best practice in everything from structure to policies

Open source in government, beyond cost

In the United States, about six billion dollars of the federal budget every year goes to software licensing, and while cutting costs is often heralded as one of the reasons to make a switch to open source, the real benefits go beyond saving money. In this article on ZDNet, Tina Amirtha lays out other reasons governments around the world are making the switch, from speeding the pace of innovation to increasing transparency to citizens, and even avoiding lock-in to a single vendor.

Cloud spend continues to grow

A new report from 451 research says that in all likelihood, 2017 will continue to be a year in which enterprises continue to up their spend on infrastructure and related cloud services. While this year the average number of corporate IT spend going to cloud was just 28%, by next year it may grow to 34%. Not all of that IT spend goes to major providers, though, as enterprises continue to diversify their spend to include purchases from a variety of vendors as they seek to reduce lock-in to a single vendor.

Open mobile tech for global health

In an announcement today, nonprofit Praekelt.org shared a number of successful data points that their efforts to use open source technologies to provide health care information and connections in low and middle-income countries are paying off. Having just registered the one millionth pregnant women to MomConnect, a South African program designed to improve health outcomes, the nonprofit is expanding their efforts with new mobile applications and the use of chatbot and interactive voice recognition technologies.


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About the author

Jason Baker - I use technology to make the world more open. Linux desktop enthusiast. Map/geospatial nerd. Raspberry Pi tinkerer. Data analysis and visualization geek. Occasional coder. Cloud nativist. Civic tech and open government booster.