Open source news roundup for August 21-27, 2016

Facebook's computer vision tool, Linux at 25, and more news

Open source news roundup for August 21-27, 2016
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In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Facebook releasing more open source code, examining the success of Linux on its 25th birthday, Uganda's government moving to embrace open source, and more.

Open source news roundup for August 21-27, 2016

Facebook open sources its computer vision tools

Facebook has continued its trend of open sourcing many of its key technologies by releasing the code for several computer vision tools under a BSD license. The tools include DeepMask, SharpMask, and MultiPathNet.

The tools, according to Silicon Angle, help teach "computers to intelligently breakdown images and recognize objects, locations, and people." DeepMask breaks down an image "into a grid-like series of patches" then determine the number of objects in the image. SharpMask then "brings objects into focus and perfecting their shapes." MultiPathNet then takes those objects and determines what they actually are.

ZDNet reports that Facebook going beyond the usual code dump by "launching code, research papers, and demos for the technology." You can find the code for DeepMask and SharpMask and for MultiPathNet on GitHub.

Linux at 25: why it succeeded

It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since Linus Torvalds announced Linux in a posting to Usenet. Since then, Linux has grown from something that Torvalds described as "just a hobby, won't be big and professional" to an operating system that pervades almost all aspects of our lives (whether we realize it or not).

Amidst the birthday celebrations, Christopher Tozzi, writing at The VAR Guy, asks why Linux succeeded despite the odds that were stacked against it. His conclusion? Linux succeeded for four reasons: It adopted a decentralized approach to development, was pragmatic rather than ideological, the kernel was designed to be practical, and Linux managed to rally a community around itself.

Uganda's government moves to embrace open source

Governments around the world have learned that embracing open source can help reduce costs and spending. One country that's started to recognize that is Uganda, which recently developed a FOSS (free and open source software) policy to regulate the deployment of open source software and use of open standards."

Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda's Minister of ICT and National Guidance, told attendees at this year's IDLELO Summit that "FOSS presents fresh opportunities for the country." Those opportunities, Tumwebaze said, better delivering government services to Ugandans while cutting costs.

Tumwebaze mentioned that Uganda's government spends $400 million on commercial software annually, and that using FOSS "will result into enormous savings that can be re-injected into other underfunded areas."

High costs of proprietary licenses fuels shift to PostgreSQL

As a number of European public agencies are learning, proprietary licenses "are very complex, impossible to comply with, and abused to squeeze customers." This is especially true with licenses for commercial databases.

To counter this, the Swedish National Heritage Board, the Danish municipality of Aarhus, and the Dutch city of Ede are turning to PostgreSQL for their database needs. According to an article published at Joinup, they're doing this not only to cut costs but also escape proprietary vendor lock-in. Camille Taake, a project manager for the municipality of Aarhus, stated her employer is moving to the open source database because "we prefer solutions that do not result in recurring payments for license fees"

In other news

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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: Mastodon, GitLab, The Plain Text...