Open source news roundup for October 27 - 31, 2014

Ubuntu turns 10, patent-free cancer drugs, and more

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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Ubuntu at 10 years, open source for patent-free cancer drugs, Berlin backsliding on open source, and more!

Open source news for your reading pleasure.

October 25 - 31, 2014

The difference a decade had made for Ubuntu

What a difference a decade makes. As Scott Gilbertson writes at Ars Technica, Ubuntu arrived on the scene with little fanfare. Now, there are "25 million Ubuntu users worldwide. That makes Ubuntu the world's third most popular PC operating system," according to Gilbertson. But with the wide-spread adoption and acclaim has come quite a bit criticism from a number of corners. As Gilbertson points out, "violating unwritten Linux taboos became something of an Ubuntu sport over the years. And the critics were there at every turn." That hasn't slowed Ubuntu and Canonical down. The distribution is widely considered to be the public face of Linux, and now it's moving into mobile. It should be interesting to see where Ubuntu is heading in the next 10 years.

Open source techniques help a scientist create patent-free drugs

Chemist Isaac Yonemoto is on a mission: to create patent-free cancer drugs. To that end, he's started a crowdfunding campaigned called Project Marilyn. Yonemoto believes that the "software industry and the open source movement have shown that patenting is not necessary for innovation. Releasing without a patent means the drugs will be cheaper and it will be easier to build on the work to make improved drugs or drug combinations." What do you think?

The City of Berlin moves back to Microsoft Office

In a move that might be seen as a setback for open source in government, the city of Berlin has decided to move away from OpenOffice.org and go back to Microsoft Office. Berlin was grappling with an older version of OpenOffice.org, which is said to have caused compatibility problems for city employees. While many other governments throughout Europe have migrated to LibreOffice, Berlin's move is puzzling. Whether or not other European goverments will follow suit remains to be seen.

Is HTML5 ready for prime time?

While it's been around for years, and a large number of sites are built with it, it's only this week that the World Wide Web Consortium announced that proclaimed that HTML5 is now ready for wider use. Specifically, the parts of the language that enable you to play media in a browser without the need for proprietary technologies like Flash, Quicktime, or Silverlight. It's good news for supporters of open standards. Now, it's up to web developers and browser makers to make it a reality.

Open source as a tool for recruiting devleopers

Open source is becoming more than a competitive advantage for many companies. According to Matt Asay, writing at ReadWrite, it's becoming "a powerful weapon for recruiting and retaining top engineering talent." Asay looks at the open source work being done at companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix and concludes that the "best developers—those people that will make or break your business—are focused on open source."

In other news

A big thanks, as always, to staff members Jen Wike Huger and Jason Hibbets, and moderators Robin Muilwijk and Joshua Holm for their help this week.

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About the author

That idiot Scott Nesbitt ...
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. You can find me at these fine establishments on the web: GitLab, The Plain Text Project, The Monday...