Special Edition: Top news in open source in 2015

Special edition: Top news of 2015 in open source

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In this Special Edition of our weekly open source news roundup, we look back at the top news stories in 2015!

I looked most closely at news in the areas of business, government, and hardware. There has also been remarkable news about how open source continues to help make a difference and the world a better place.

Open source is no longer optional

This year saw continued growth for both use and adoption of open source software in the enterprise software market. Many companies made some of their software open source, like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and others. Also, Microsoft acquired Revolution Analytics, an open source data analytics company. Fun fact: IBM made ~50 applications open source this year.

The 2015 Linux Jobs Report compiled by the Linux Foundation and technology recruiter Dice told us companies wanted more Linux-savvy employees.

And, machine learning has been in the spotlight this year, with companies like Google, H2O.ai, and Microsoft releasing software and getting funded.

Has the golden age of open source arrived? Marius Moscovici, founder and CEO of Metric Insights, says "no company can afford to ignore open source software. Just the fact that Apple is open sourcing its Swift programming language indicates that the advantages of open source are no longer optional."

Open hardware is everywhere

Open source hardware has been a hot topic in the news throughout the year. We saw the release of the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi Zero, the Ubuntu smartphone Aquaris E4.5, and a nine dollar computer.

Richard Stallman spoke about open hardware's potential to be one of the next big things and gave some advice on licensing.

And, the Open Source Hardware Association announced a certification process for Open Source Hardware. And, much to our delight, the phenomenom of 3D printed prosthetic hands won the UK James Dyson Award.

New projects and organizations

The Linux Foundation initiated the Node.js Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the Open Mainframe Project, the Kinetic Open Storage Project, the R Consortium, and the security-focused badge program.

The container coalition sought a common standard, Mozilla launched the Open Source Support Program, and Creative Commons created an Open Business Models Initiative.

Anniversaries in open source

It's difficult to cover all of the awesome anniversaries in open source out there, but we managed to highlight the GNU Manifesto turning 30, 10 years of Git, and GNOME's 18th birthday.

Governments around the world commit to openness

The World Wide Web Foundation confirms that many governments made a commitment to openness this year in their second open data barometer report. The most transparent governments for 2015 are: The United Kingdom, followed by the United States, Sweden, France, and New Zealand.

In the news this past year, the The White House hired a few new people with a commitment to openness and released its third Open Government National Action Plan, which includes 40 new or expanded initiatives for open access, education, and data. The UK took another step this year away from proprietary software, France adopted even more open source, and the European Commission funded an international project called ExaHyPE for supercomputers.

Open data propelled by creativity

Creativity to propel open data forward can be seen in government, business, and a participatory society this year. Good example of this are projects like Professor Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner's $100 million project called Breakthrough and a new pan-European open data portal launched by the European Commission. The portal is designed to make open data sets more accessible and to encourage the wider use of the data. Open Knowledge supported these efforts by releasing an update of their Open Data Handbook this year.

Open education ready for the future

This year, Open edX added Creative Commons licensing to their content, and Creative Commons sent an open letter to the Obama administration calling for administrative action to ensure that federally funded educational materials are made available as Open Educational Resources for the public.

A better place

Open source continues to better our world and our lives.

NASA sent open designs to the international space station, Arduino was used for scientists living in Antarctica, and Docker supports whale and marine wildlife conservation. Earthquake victims in Nepal where helped by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and OpenMRS joining the fight against Ebola. Plus, read up on this FedEx-style system for humanitarian aid.

These highlights of amazing open source in the news this year was barely the tip of the iceberg! What news was important to you this year? Share with us in the comments.

About the author

Robin Muilwijk - Former Opensource.com and Open Organization moderator/ambassador.