Open source news roundup for September 6 - 12, 2015

Internet Bug Bounty, Munich's commitment, and more news

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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at the Internet Bug Bounty, a smart robotic spider powered by Snappy Ubuntu Core, and more open source news.

Open source news: September 6 - 12, 2015

Internet Bug Bounty aims to make open source software more secure

Over the last several months, there's been considerable criticism leveled against the security of open source software. In that area, open source has been taking it on the chin. But does that mean open source developers are wringing their hands in despair? Definitely not!

Take, for example, Alex Rice. He's the former head of product security at Facebook and founder of HackerOne. HackerOne has teamed up with Rice's old employer and with Microsoft to operate the Internet Bug Bounty. Rice says that the Internet Bug Bounty "covers approximately a dozen open source projects that are critical to the functioning of the Internet, including PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, OpenSSH and others." The program rewards security researchers who responsibly disclose vulnerabilities. Rice adds that the "vulnerabilities go directly to the project maintainers and are fixed directly by them."

The first smart robotic spider?

Over the last couple of years, a number of open source projects have managed to get funding via crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The team behind a very unique piece of hardware is following in the footsteps of those projects to try to get funding.

Ars Technica reports that an Indiegogo campaign for the Erle-Spider, a six-legged drone, has just kicked off. The Erle-Spider, from Erle Robotics, is touted as being "the first smart robotic spider powered by Snappy Ubuntu Core." According to Ars Technica, "the system is designed to be as open as possible" with "sources, components and designs will be opened under a BSD license (unless specified or enforced by others)." Coders can also write apps with the Robot Operating System (an open source platform developed by the Erle-Spider's creators) and sell them through an app store.

You can learn more on the Erle-Spider Indiegogo page.

City of Munich now a major open source contributor

For years now, the city of Munich has been at the forefront of adopting open source. The city's government, as you might recall, dumped Windows and Microsoft Office for Linux and OpenOffice.org a few years ago. That however, wasn't enough. Munich is now a major contributor to open source projects.

According to Joinup (the European Commission's official website), Munich's IT team regularly sends submits bug fixes to upstream developers. Jan-Marek Glowkowski of Munich's Linux Client development team, for example, has contributed 96 patches to LibreOffice, all of which were included in version 5.0 of the software.

Open data key to Africa's development agenda

That, according to Tanzania's president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. Speaking at the recent African Open Data Conference, Kiwete said that open data allows "the people know what is going on, they can hold their government accountable, and the government has the urge to deliver".

Since 2013, Tanzania has been a leader in open data on the continent, and other countries in the region have begun to adopt its Open Data Readiness Assessment methodology. Kiwete pointed out that all over the world "open government and open data have had a transformative impact on economic growth, job creation, and the way citizens interact with their government." And it could have the same impact in Africa.

In other news

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

About the author

That idiot Scott Nesbitt ...
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. You can find me at these fine establishments on the web: The Plain Text Project, Open Source Musings, The...