Open source news this week: July 15 - 19, 2013

Weekly wrap-up: Try your hand at hyperloop, demystifying OSS licensing, and more

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Open source news this week: July 15 - 19, 2013


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  • It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s hyperloop. Elon Musk, head of the Tesla electric car company and the SpaceX rocket firm, made headlines with just a couple of tweets this week. He tweeted that the alpha design for his revolutionary form of transport called "hyperloop" will be available August 12. Then, after one of his followers suggested he patent the design, Musk replied: "I really hate patents unless critical to company survival. Will publish Hyperloop as open source." So if you’re looking for a new open source project to work on, perhaps you can offer feedback to help advance this "fifth mode of transportation"—whatever it is.
  • I’d like to add a license to that. GitHub unveiled ChooseALicense.com this week to help simplify open source software licensing and encourage its users to actually select a license when they publish their code. Wired has a brief analysis of the move, which one analyst calls "a huge reversal for GitHub." What do you think? Will adding this new step on GitHub get more developers to add an OSS license to their code?
  • Just for kids. An affordably-priced tablet for children designed by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) debuted this week, making it a little easier to get tablets in the hands of children from low-income families. The family-friendly XO Tablet for children debuted on Walmart.com this week for $149.99. Loaded with free educational games, apps, videos, e-books, and more, the Google-certified tablet and its on-board XO Learning System were designed by OLPC to give children a way to learn through the use of a touchscreen device. You can read all about the tablet’s features and specs on the OPLC website.
  • Data.gov Sneak Preview. The White House unveiled a preview of its Data.gov redesign this week and is seeking user feedback on the new look. The site is the hub for most of the data collected by the federal government, and under the new design, it will offer more examples of what users are doing with the data and feature more robust searching capabilites, reports Wired. Want to compare the look of the new site (built in WordPress) to the old one? Open Next.Data.gov in one tab and Data.gov in the other. What do you think?
  • Speaking of open data and the feds. The Library of Congress launched a set of data challenges this week that will make one winner $5,000 richer. The library is inviting competitors to "apply the Akoma Ntoso schema to U.S. federal legislative information so it can be more broadly accessed and analyzed alongside legislative documents created elsewhere." Complete details on the contest, including the judging criteria, is available on challenge.gov
  • A new way to fund open source code. The members of the Khan Academy are taking money out of their own pockets to give a weekly bonus to open source developers, reports Gigaom. The $5 weekly contribution from members amounts to about $125/week. Members of the Khan Academy, an online learning platform, plan to choose which developer will get the bonus each week. What would you do with an extra $125?

Want more news?

Check out the headlines from last week's roundup.


About the author

Ginny Hamilton - Ginny Hamilton is community manager for EnterprisersProject.com, an online publication and community focused on how CIOs and IT leaders create business value through information technology. A former journalist, Ginny is passionate about local politics, journalism, technology, and social media. Follow her on Twitter for coverage of all those topics along with a healthy mix of cat photos.