The new Raspberry Pi 2, boost for Cyanogen, US budget data on GitHub, and more

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open source news and highlights

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Microsoft's investment in Cyanogen, U.S. government budget data on GitHub, the debut of the Raspberry Pi 2, and more!

Open source news for your reading pleasure.

January 31 - February 6, 2015

A boost for Cyanogen, open source mobile

It was just over a week ago when Kirk McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen (a free and open source smartphone operating system based on Android), proclaimed his company wants to take Android away from Google. It seems McMaster might be getting some help from an unlikely source. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is taking a minority position in a private funding round for Cyanogen. That funding, reportedly worth $70 million, will value Cyanogen at several hundred million.

While neither party has commented on this, it could be a game changer for Cyanogen. This round of funding, in addition to the reported $100 million the company has already raised, could position the company as a larger player in the mobile space. Consequently, that could make Cyanogen's operating system more attractive, and viable, to a wider range of handset manufacturers.

Raspberry Pi 2 breaks cover

One piece of hardware that's constantly evolving is the Raspberry Pi. The celebrated, hackable, credit card-sized computer board has gone through a handful of iterations already. And now, there's a new Raspberry Pi on the block.

Released last week, the Raspberry Pi 2 is several steps ahead of its predecessors. Not only does it pack a processor that's six time faster than earlier models 1 GB of memory, the Raspberry Pi 2 also has more connector pins and will run Windows 10 in addition to Linux. All for the price of $35 (USD). recently published an article introducing the Raspberry P1 2, with videos to boot. It's worth a read.

The White House puts 2016 budget data on GitHub

Last week, the Obama administration released the US budget for fiscal year 2016. While some may not get too excited about the budget anymore, this time there's a twist: the data is in machine-readable form.

The data is in the form of three .csv files that, according to VentureBeat, "comprise 'an extract' of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) budget database." The White House states that anyone can use this data "to reproduce many of the totals published in the Budget and examine unpublished details below the levels of aggregation published in the Budget." They can also "create their own visualizations or products from the data." If you're curious, check out the GitHub repository.

Open source gains a stronger foothold in the classroom

According to an article at Linux Insider, Jack M. Germain spoke with technology administrators at several schools around the U.S. and learned that "flexibility gives open source technology an advantage over proprietary solutions with its no-license and no-fee lesson plan."

The article quotes Todd Ross Nienkerk, managing partner of Four Kitchens Web Design (a firm that designs systems for education), who states that "the reduced cost of using open source goes hand in hand with the flexibility. The starting cost for open source is zero." But it's more than flexibility and cost that makes open source attractive to educators. According to Tierre Messa, dean at Oakland Unified School District, "open source software is ideal for meeting our goal of differentiating instruction for each student." On top of that, open source lets students get hands on with their hardware and software. "The students are able to learn in a broader community than they would experience just within the classroom," said Messa.

Open source cameras coming to the film industry

While you can record using your smartphone or a small digital recorder, to create a professional-quality production requires a professional-level digital camera. You can be sure that you won't be able to modify, or even touch, the firmware running those cameras.

Enter the AXIOM Gamma camera from the APERTUS project. According to this article, AXION Gamma "will become a full-featured shoulder camera that 'does it all' and will be ready for directors who just want to turn it on and start shooting." The project kicks off in March 2015 and spans 15 months. The goal is to "democratise camera technology and put the power back into the hands of the users." The project will do that by releasing its code under the GPLv3, its documentation under a Creative Commons license, and the camera hardware itself under the CERN Open Hardware License.

In other news

A big thanks, as always, to the moderators and staff for their help this week.

That idiot 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.

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