Best open source news in 2014

Most important open source news of the year

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This is a Special Edition of our weekly open source news roundup, as we look back at the top news stories in 2014!

I looked most closely at news in the areas of business, government, and education. There has also been some remarkable news where you would not expect, on how open source is helping to make a difference and the world a better place.

Open source adoption continues in the enterprise

In 2014, we have seen continued growth for both use and adoption of open source software in the enterprise software market. Cloud takes a big part of that obviously, with project likes Docker and OpenStack who have been in the news frequently. But growth wasn't limited to increased use and adoption. We also noticed a lot of big names open sourcing their own solutions. Facebook announced a new branch of MySQL built for scalability, NASA released source code for many software projects, GitHub released the Atom text editor under a MIT license, and Google open sourced an email encryption tool and it's Chrome PDF engine. The biggest news this year when it comes to open sourcing software has been Microsoft with .Net. This list of new open source releases goes on, with companies like LinkedIn, organizations such as DARPA, and more. If this trend continues, we can expect a lot more to be released under an open source license in 2015.

Government commits with open

It wasn't just the open source software market where we saw a positive growth for open source. The public sector has seen growth too, for the use of open source, open data, and open standards. The UK started investigating open office software, made ODF their document standard, and committed to the open contracting data standard. In the United States, the White House hosted a Maker Faire, and also released the open government playbook. France joined the Open Government Partnership, and cities like Geneva and Toulouse, and also Los Angeles move to open source. And companies like GitHub are working to bring government into the 21st century?

Open data and its cultural shift

In the area of open data, we can expect a cultural shift to take place over the next 25 years, according to the founder of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Other big news in open data has included the EU committing €14.4M to support open data across Europe, CERN inspiring the next generation of scientists with open data, and the U.S. government announcing its Open Data Action Plan.

Open education ready for the future

Some interesting initiatives took places this year in open education. With a focus on kids and coding, Code.org launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring the ‘Hour of Code’ to 100 million students, and Europe Code Week excelled in organizing their second event. We saw Coursera launch in Brazil, and Saudi Arabia getting MOOC’d up. We also covered MIT's news on the revolution of higher education, and how online learning will scale on-on-one with MOOC 2.0.

Open hardware everywhere

We have seen some exciting news in the area of open hardware as well. Raspberry Pi celebrated its second birthday, with 2.5 million of the credit-card sized computers sold since the first model went on sale two years ago. Later in the year, the Raspberry Pi mobel B+ was released. We covered Kano who shipped its first 18,000 learn-to-code computer kits, and Firefox OS entering the streaming video market with Matchstick. Also, Arduino, who started selling 3D printers, a tiny robot servant and teacher called NAO, and finally the news on a new single-board computer contender HummingBoard. I'm sure we will see a lot more open hardware emerging next year, especially related to the Internet of Things.

New project and organizations

While covering the news on open source, we occasionally see new projects and organizations emerge. The first this year was the Open Automotive Alliance by Google, a new partnership of car makers and technology companies that are teaming up to bring the Android mobile operating system into cars. In the wake of this year's security concerns, the Linux Foundation developed the Core Infrastructure Initiative, and it also announced Automotive Grade Linux, "a collaborative open source project developing a common, Linux-based software stack for the connected car." We also covered the news on Facebook's TODO group, Dropbox and Google announcing Simply Secure, and finally the Linux Foundation who launched the Dronecode project.

Anniversaries in open source

In this year's open source news, we've also seen plenty of anniversaries for open source projects and organizations. OpenStreetMap celebrated its 10th birthday with events all over the world, the open source webserver NGINX turned 10, and Ubuntu turning 10 as well. Firefox celebrated their 10th anniversary with releasing a developer focused browser, Creative Commons passed their 12th, and last but surely not least, the Apache Software Foundation celebrated 15 years of open source innovation and community leadership.

Remarkable and exceptional!

Once in a while, we stumble upon news that's remarkable and exceptional, in many ways. In some cases, it's where open source truly adds to a better world. Examples from this year include the Okavango wilderness project, applying both open source and hardware, in the African wilderness. Or Tesla, a leader in innovation in the automotive industry, releasing its patents. Or what to think of your open source home design, by WikiHouse? Also this year, we looked at a quest to open source cancer research, an open source sailing ship solving the fuel consumption problem, and Stephen Hawking's speech system. All great examples of how open source can better our world, and lives!

This concludes my review for open source news in 2014. I picked some of the highlights, barely touching the tip of the iceberg of open source news. Open source really has moved from accepted to expected, stay tuned for more news in 2015!

About the author

Robin Muilwijk - Robin Muilwijk is Advisor Internet and e-Government. He also serves as a community moderator for Opensource.com, an online publication by Red Hat, and as ambassador for The Open Organization. Robin is also Chair of the eZ Community Board, and Community Manager at eZ Systems. Robin writes and is active on social media to promote and advocate for open source in our businesses and lives.Follow him on Twitter... more about Robin Muilwijk