Open source news roundup for March 19-April 1, 2017

Google's new open source hub, an example IP agreement from GitHub, and more news

Open source news roundup for March 19-April 1, 2017
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In this edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Google's new home for its open source projects, GitHub's sample employee intellectual property agreement, and more.

Open source news roundup for March 19-April 1, 2017

Google's new directory for all its open source projects

Google has published a directory of all its open source projects on the new Google Open Source Projects site. The site is not a code hosting site like GitHub or GitLab. Instead, it serves as a directory of Google's many open source projects. By placing all of its projects in one directory, Google has increased the find-ability and search-ability of its numerous open source offerings. In addition, Google has published its internal documentation for how Google does open source. For more details, read Google's blog post introducing the new site.

One of the many projects listed in Google's directory is Guetzli, a new JPEG compression algorithm. Guetzli produces files that are one-third smaller than current methods without sacrificing image quality. In fact, users preferred images compressed using Guetzli when compared to images using traditional methods. Guetzli is not without its drawbacks; it takes significantly longer to compress an image. However, since the end result is smaller files, pages can load more quickly for users, which might be worth the extra time involved.

GitHub's Balanced Employee Intellectual Property Agreement

Contributing to open source projects outside of work can be problematic for employees who work at companies that try to lay claim to any and all work done by the employee, even work undertaken during the employee's personal time. To help counteract this, GitHub has released its Balanced Employee Intellectual Property Agreement. This example agreement provides a framework for employees and employers to set boundaries for projects undertaken outside of work. Under the agreement, the intellectual property rights for contributions and projects undertaken on an employee's own time remain with the employee. The agreement is hosted in a GitHub repo, so it can be commented on, forked, and contributed to by anyone interested in doing so.

Why diversity is important for open source projects

On Linux.com, Ian Murphy summarized Mozilla Chief Innovation Officer Katharina Borchert's conference talk from the Open Source Leadership Summit. Borchert's talk covered why diversity is important for open source projects. Citing several studies, Borchert's talk explained how gender, racial, and skill diversity are key to growing open source projects and the communities that surround the projects. Attracting and retaining contributors with various backgrounds and experiences provides projects with a wider range of perspectives and skills. For example, Borchert mentioned the tendency of open source projects to focus heavily on coders, which limits project effectiveness. Ideally, open source projects should be trying to attract researchers, marketers, and others to provide skills that could help a project grow and reach more users. For more details, read Ian Murphy's write-up or watch Katharina Borchert's talk below.


In other news

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Joshua Allen Holm
Joshua Allen Holm -