Open source news this week: September 20 - 26, 2014

Better open source security, learning to code, open home design, and more

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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at more accessible open source security, a new platform for learning to code, open source home design, and more!

Open source news for your reading pleasure.

September 20 - 26, 2014

Dropbox and Google announce Simply Secure

Last week we covered the TODO group, and this week it's Google, Dropbox, and the Open Technology Fund announcing a new organization called Simply Secure. Emil Protalinski writes about this over at TheNextWeb and explains that Simply Secure is focused on making open source security tools easier to use. The organization's statement points out that "no matter how effective security technologies are, people will not use them unless they become more accessible and easier to understand. We need simpler options for stronger security, available at our fingertips."

Learn to code on Exercism.io

Klint Finley at Wired writes about the site Exercism.io where you can learn to code in real time. As the title of the article says, if you actually want to get a job in programming, it is not enough to follow a simple course on Code Academy or Treehouse. Exercism.io differs in that you can actually practice and get feedback on your coding skills in real time. Katrina Owen created Exercism.io, which is open source and hosted on the code collaboration service GitHub, and anyone can submit new exercises.

Open source home design with WikiHouse

Every week, I find at least one news item that simply amazes me; it often captures completely the open source way of thinking. This week, it's the news from Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan at Gizmodo about WikiHouse, an open source home design project. WikiHouse is a "project to publish open source building plans online for anyone to download, designed to require only the most basic knowledge of construction to create." WikiHouse 4.0 is a pre-fabricated house made primarily with SmartPly, and you can even incorporate a Linux-based computer using OpenHab, an open source home automation tool.

XPrize focuses on bringing basic literacy to children

At TechCrunch this week, author Kim-Mai Cutler reports on a story about XPrize, who is launching a $15 million educational tech challenge looking for open source and scalable software solutions that will enable children to teach themselves basic reading, writing, and arithmetic. "What might the future look like with hundreds of millions of additional young minds unleashed to tackle the world’s Grand Challenges?" A great example of tapping into the power of open source and open education. Will you join?

Redefining the public library with open source ideas

At FOSS Force, author Christine Hall writes about redefining public libraries with open source ideas, a great story featuring our own community moderator Phil Shapiro. The story is about the Takoma Park Maryland Library, which runs 28 workstations on Linux. Shapiro says, “This town is quite diverse, with 92 nationalities, so we needed to find a good multilingual solution.” The article covers some interesting views and benefits of an open source library. Next month Shapiro will be leading a discussion called, “Open Sourcing the Public Library,” at the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In other news

A big thanks, as always, to staff members Jen Wike and Michael Harrison, and moderators Scott Nesbitt and Joshua Holm for their help this week.

About the author

Robin Muilwijk - Former Opensource.com and Open Organization moderator/ambassador. Robin writes and is active on social media to promote and advocate for open source in our businesses and lives.Follow him on Twitter @i_robin or on LinkedIn.