Most-read open source news stories of 2019

Here are some of the big news items from the year and a look at the future of open source.
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A great deal happened in the world of open source in 2019. Once upon a time, you would have been hard-pressed to find news about Linux, free software, and open source software outside of a small handful of specialist publications. Today, though, news about open source is everywhere; the online edition of Forbes even has its own Linux columnist.

We regularly round up many of the most interesting and topical news articles in fortnightly articles. Of those, we’ve compiled the top 10 most read (by you, our readers) stories we curated during 2019.

Google's trusted hardware project

Many of us take the security of our software seriously but, at the same time, take the security of our hardware for granted. How do we know if the hardware we’re using is secure and trusted? To help ensure that it is, Google announced OpenTitan, a secure, open source chip design project. The project builds upon a chip that Google developed called Titan, and the search giant has recruited several hardware manufacturers to join this initiative.

Database makers embrace open source licenses

Over the last 18 months or so, several open source database firms moved to less open licenses for the software they develop in an attempt to stay competitive in a tough market. Cloudera and YugaByte, however, went in the opposite direction in 2019. Cloudera put the proprietary portions of its products under the umbrella of the AGPL and Apache 2.0 licenses, while YugaByte announced it was adopting the Apache 2.0 license for its wares.

GNOME and KDE agree to work together

It’s always great when two rivals put aside their differences to work for a greater good; especially when that greater good is the further advancement of the Linux desktop. That’s what happened when the GNOME Foundation and KDE announced they were going to work together. The goal is to bring the GNOME and KDE communities together "to build an application ecosystem that transcends individual distros and broadens the market for everyone."

System76 announces Linux laptops with Coreboot firmware

While there are several small companies selling Linux-powered computers, not all components of those computers are open source. That’s especially true for their firmware. Computer maker System76 is trying to change that. The company announced that it will ship two of its most popular laptops with the lightweight Coreboot open source firmware. According to Forbes Online, by adopting Coreboot (which helps computers start faster) System76 is taking another step in "the company’s steady march toward offering open source software and hardware."

Open source platform spans the globe to help local communities

Open source knows no borders. Proof of that is at the St. Francis Neighborhood Center in West Baltimore, which adopted the Lutèce platform to help deliver its programs and services. While Lutèce was developed in France and runs services in French cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille, the implementation in West Baltimore is the first time the platform has been used outside of its country of origin.

Australian government uses open source to build notification platform

When Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) need to quickly deploy an email and text message notification system, it turned to software developed by the Government Digital Service in the UK. The result was a platform called Notify. Using existing software enabled the DTA to get the platform up and running in eight weeks. Notify is now being used by over 100 government departments across the country.

Dutch city to further embrace open source

Like many cities in Europe, Nijmegen in the eastern part of the Netherlands has long been an advocate of using open source in government. Unfortunately, the city’s procurement processes still favored proprietary solutions. That’s starting to change, thanks to a resolution passed in 2019 which requires the city to "deploy both the mandatory and the recommended open standards listed by the Dutch Standardisation Forum." The municipal government hopes that the resolution will spur wider use of open source software to avoid vendor lock-in.

Acquia buys Mautic

Acquia, the company behind the popular open source content management system Drupal, took a big step in its ambition to create the first "open digital experience platform" by acquiring open source marketing automation firm Mautic. The idea behind the acquisition is to give companies that use Acquia’s offerings "the freedom they need to own their digital destiny without the constraint of vendor lock-in."

Mozilla Labs makes a return

A few years ago, Mozilla had seemed to abandoned Mozilla Labs. Labs, you might remember, was the home of various beta features for Firefox that users could test drive. In early 2019, Mozilla brought Labs back with more experimental goodness. The new edition of Mozilla Labs is aimed at sharing ways to expand the capabilities of Firefox. It also showcases technologies that make it easier for anyone interact with virtual reality and the Internet of Things.

Making it easier to announce software's end of life

Like many things, older versions of software have a use-by date - a date after which it won’t be supported or be compatible with its supporting software or operating systems. That information often gets buried on a project’s website. That’s where comes in. It’s a repository of information that "aims to overcome the complexity of end of life (EOL) announcements for software."

Predictions for 2020

What Linux and open source projects and news do you predict being big stories in 2020? Let us know about them in the comments, or send a story proposal to

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That idiot Scott Nesbitt ...
I'm a long-time user of free/open source software, and write various things for both fun and profit. I don't take myself all that seriously and I do all of my own stunts.

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