Open source news roundup for August 7-13, 2016

Linux Foundation takes on Open vSwitch, defining 'open,' and more open source news

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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at the Linux Foundation's support for virtual switches, what "open" really means, saving the Earth from asteroids, and more.

Open source news roundup for August 7-13, 2016

Linux Foundation takes in Open vSwitch virtual networking project

The Linux Foundation considers software-defined networking to be very important to its objectives—so much so that it is bringing Open vSwitch under its wing. Open vSwitch is an open source virtual networking project that is described as being a multilayer virtual switch that would allow IT departments to virtualize and provision switches as an integral part of the virtual network.

Defining the 'open' in open source

Many organizations use open source code as part of their products' software. Many wireless modems, routers, and even my Samsung phone and the Samsung Gear watch my kids gave me for my 70th birthday contain open source code. The watch even came with a booklet describing the open source licenses under which part of its software is released. It also contained information about proprietary licensing of the remainder of the software. The question is, is the open source content of this software a mere marketing tool, or does the software make life better, give something back to the community?

A recent InfoWorld opinion piece suggests that we take steps to define the "open" in open source. In fact, Khash Sajadi proposes a second name in addition to open source called "open trial." This would help to differentiate true open source projects and products from those that only use the moniker to lure users into a non-free environment when the time comes to commit to or to contribute to a piece of software.

Sajadi does say that "open trial" software is fine so long as everyone knows up front that is what it is. He says, "An open source project is about community. I'm happy to use it, fix it, contribute to it, and benefit from its openness. On the other hand, my approach toward an open trial project is going to be different. If the main IP is going to be kept closed and paid for, my contribution to the project is going to have different beneficiaries and therefore might affect my decisions."

Open source and saving the earth from asteroids

Most of us, despite being super heroes in our dreams, never get to save the world. Sravanthi Sinha, a first-year student at newly founded Holberton School, a Silicon Valley-based computer training school, was selected to work on a team at NASA to do just that. Julien Barbier, co-founder and CEO of the school says that “traditional schools are great at teaching theory, but students don't get much hands-on training. And, in the process, students spend almost fours years in college just to learn theory. When they go out to find jobs, companies that hire them first need to train them. These companies make a bet—sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.”

Sinha's team looked at the problem of hunting newly fallen meteorites, the chunks of meteors that have hit the ground. The web application built by Sinha uses PHP, Bootstrap, MySQL, and Apache to help locate the meteorites using pictures taken by drones in areas suspected of having newly fallen specimens. Presumably, analysis of the meteorites will provide data important to determining the likelihood of future threats of asteroid strikes.

In other news

Thanks, as always, to staff members and moderators for their help this week. Make sure to check out our event calendar, to see what's happening next week in open source.


About the author

David Both - David Both is an Open Source Software and GNU/Linux advocate, trainer, writer, and speaker who lives in Raleigh North Carolina. He is a strong proponent of and evangelist for the "Linux Philosophy." David has been in the IT industry for nearly 50 years. He has taught RHCE classes for Red Hat and has worked at MCI Worldcom, Cisco, and the State of North Carolina. He has been working with Linux and Open Source Software for over 20 years. David prefers to purchase the components and build his...