Open source news this week: May 24 - May 30, 2014

Linus Torvalds on the cult of personality, the best open source school in America, and more

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May 24 - May 30, 2014

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we look at the open voting data from the European Parliament, the best open source college in the U.S., and more.

European Parliament provides open government data for recent elections

The European Parliament, an elected institution within the European Union and "one of the most powerful legislatures in the world," released its election data in an open format this past week. They also provided end users with tools to explore and interpret the data. The raw XML files contain data from EU-wide and national elections from 2009 and 2014. The legislature also created an embeddable widget to host the data on websites, and the data is available via a REST interface. (via FutureGov)

Roll your own Pong clone on Raspberry Pi

Rob Zwetsloot has a primer over at Linux User & Developer that teaches the basics of programming logic through game development. Sure, the game is Pong, and the development is in Scratch, but it contains everything you need for understanding the basic logic that makes up all computer programs: system comparison, loops, and decision-making. By getting rid of pesky terminology, Zwetsloot says, a beginner can jump right into the logic and learn a lot about code.

Tufts University is "best open source school in America"

Expecting a school like MIT, Stanford, or Georgia Tech to make the top spot? According to Spanish download site PortalProgramas, Tufts University is working harder than any other school in the U.S. to promote and feature open source software for virtual learning environments and web servers. The average Open-Source Divulgation Index score was a measly 10.31, but Tufts got a perfect 100 out of 100. Well done!

Linus Torvalds on the "cult of personality" and pushing the envelope

In an interview at the Huffington Post, the creator of Linux talks about why he thinks "the technology actually flows from all those random anonymous great engineers" and that "trying too hard to be sane and boring and not doing stupid things is actually counter-productive." As always, Torvalds is down-to-earth and has a lot of creative and interesting things to say about tech and innovation.

Inside the open source Novena laptop

TechRepublic reporter Nick Heath delves into the inner workings of the open source Novena laptop project, exploring hardware engineer Andrew Huang's childhood fascination with Apple II schematics and how it inspired him to crowdfund the project. "That's one of the great messages about open hardware and openness," Huang says. "People can master the hardware, as opposed to being mastered by their hardware."

As always, I want to thank moderators Robin Muilwijk and Scott Nesbitt, as well as summer intern Bryan Behrenshausen, for their help this week.


About the author

Michael Harrison - Michael an unrepentant geek with a love for games, the social web, and open source projects to share with his kids. He writes about raising geek children at GeekDad and records a podcast about games called The Dice Section. You can follow him on Twitter at @oldbie.