Open source news this week: January 20-24, 2014

Tracking NYC rats with open data, keeping the Internet of Things open, and more

Weekly news with teal radio beacon on the top of a mountatin
Image by :

Subscribe now

Get the highlights in your inbox every week.

Open source news for your reading pleasure.

January 20-24, 2014

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we'll show you the power of open data, a cool new tool for programmers, and more.

Track the rats

Open data is being used in many creative ways in cities and communities around the world, but it's possible the New York City Rat Information Portal takes the cheese. IT World has more details on the city-wide rat reports made possible through the city's Health Department, which shares raw data on where the rats are located based on department inspections. The portal is designed to educate residents about rats, including what attracts them and how to spot an infestation. While the portal has been around for some time, it's news to me and this IT World reporter. Do you know of any other open data apps that are this unique?

Keeping the Internet of Things open

The Eclipse Foundation firmly believes the Internet of Things (IoT) should be open source, and to that end it has become a major initiative within the organization. Developers are creating more Java-based IoT projects, reports Tech Week Europe. The foundation will also prominently feature IoT topics at its upcoming EclipseCon 2014 conference. "We are certain that the Internet of Things will only be successful if it is built on open technologies. Our goal at Eclipse is to ensure that there is a vendor-neutral open source community to provide those technologies," said Eclipse Foundation Executive Director Mike Milinkovich. For more on what the foundation has planned, read the Tech Week Europe post.

For more on standards for the Internet of Things, read our post about the AllSeen Alliance.

It's getting hot in here

Open source smart thermostats are starting to come out of the woodwork in the wake of Google's acquisition of smart thermostat maker Nest. Ars Technica reports that Spark has created an open source version with its own Spark Core, an Arduino-compatible Wi-Fi development board. The files for it are available on GitHub. Meanwhile, Adafruit is also soliciting feedback from its community about the potential for its own open source smart thermostat. Ars has the details.

I see what you're doing there

Some programmers who want to be able to see the results of their code sooner are turning to Light Table, an open source programming tool that allows programmers to see if their code is working and how it relates to other elements of your software. takes a closer look at Light Table and its two founders following their successful $316,720 Kickstarter campaign. Learn about the program, and how its two founders made it happen.

Hat tips to editor Jen Wike and community moderator Robin Muilwijk for sending a few of these links my way.

About the author

Ginny Hamilton - Ginny Hamilton was a community manager for, 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...