Open source drone makes it to Mars, System76 unveils its new keyboard, and more

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Open source news roundup for August 4, 2018

NASA JPL. Public domain.

In this edition of our open source news roundup, learn about open source on Mars, System76's new keyboard, a 5G open source stack, and more.

Open source goes to Mars

When NASA's latest Mars rover hit the Red Planet in February, it was partially powered by open source software.

A small drone helicopter named Ingenuity is inside the rover. Given its distance from Earth, no one will fly Ingenuity manually. Instead, it was built to fly itself using Linux and NASA's open source F´ framework.

Unlike NASA's rover mission, Ingenuity's goal isn't to find signs of life or collect samples for future missions. As engineer Timothy Canham shared with ZDNet, its value lies in showing what's possible with commercial off-the-shelf hardware and open source software.

System76 shares its new Launch keyboard

In March 2020, System76 announced plans to build a new mechanical keyboard. Nearly a year later, it opened access to the Launch Configurable Keyboard repository.

Launch boasts some unusual features for a keyboard. For one, its USB hub supports full-speed 10GB USB 3.1 Gen 2 on two USB-C and two USB-A ports. Its keyboard also has an unconventional layout.

Launch is the latest product offering built to run on System76's open source Pop!_OS operating system. The keyboard layout is intentionally different from other keyboards to support custom configurations.

DARPA partners with Linux Foundation on a 5G open source stack

As 5G inches closer to the mainstream, DARPA wants open source to play a key role.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a partnership with the Linux Foundation to work on open source technologies for the US government. The first project will involve building a software stack for 5G, the network edge, and IoT.

Mike Woster, head of ecosystems at the Linux Foundation, said the partnership will provide end-to-end 5G reference architecture. The Foundation's partnership with the US GOV Open, Programmable, Secure (OPS) umbrella organization aims to offer a home for open source projects.

Organizations interested in joining US GOV OPS can apply for membership on its website. Applicants must also hold corporate membership in the Linux Foundation.

Prebid to operate Unified ID 2.0 as open source

Unified ID 2.0, an email-based alternative to third-party cookies, has a new open source operator. announced plans to operate UID 2.0's infrastructure.

Prebid will manage email encryption and decryption processes, hardware and software infrastructure, and ID functionality. The independent industry organization will house UID 2.0's open source software on its GitHub repository.

Tom Kershaw, Prebid's chairman, says this move signals that UID 2.0 is truly open source. He says he plans to keep UID 2.0 free for publishers and advertisers.

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Photograph of Lauren, a white woman with long brown hair, standing in front of a tree wearing a grey coat.
Lauren Maffeo has reported on and worked within the global technology sector. She started her career as a freelance journalist covering tech trends for The Guardian and The Next Web from London. Today, she works as a service designer for Steampunk, a human-centered design firm building civic tech solutions for government agencies.

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