Europe

The Digital Girl of the Year dreams of dancing with robots

digital girl of the year

Lune van Ewijk is ten years old and already a role model for kids and adults alike. Last year, she won the Digital Girl of the Year 2013 award from the European Commision, who had this to say about her:

Lune develops her own games and interactive movies, designs robots, and dreams of becoming an engineer. At ten years of age, she is already a true digital visionary and already has a track-record of getting girls her age excited about digital endeavour.

Her message to the world: be you and don't give up.

Lune is part of CoderDojo Belgium, where she has learned and practiced a variety of open source digital skills like programming in Scratch. In this interview find out more about CoderDojos, the work she's done, the award she's won, and what she sees in her future. » Read more

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On Europe's first Code Week with Irish Ambassador Julie Cullen

kids and teens in open source

The first Europe Code Week was held two months ago at schools and CoderDojos in 26 countries around Europe—Ireland and Croatia being the most active. The event was launched to help increase the knowledge shared with school-age children about coding, computer science, and technology by The Young Advisors (a group of young people dedicated to advancing a digital society working closely with the Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes).

During the events, kids from schools all over Europe used Scratch, Arduino boards, and other open source software and hardware to build thier projects (including robots)!  

Each country that took part in Europe Code Week appointed an Ambassador to lead their event. I reached out to Ireland’s Julie Cullen, a teacher at St. Oliver’s College, Drogheda, Co. Louth, to get her take on the event. In this interview, Julie shares just how excited the kids were to work with code and computers, what open source software they hacked on, and what projects got underway. She also tells us what’s in store for this year’s #codeEU 2014.

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German Parliament tells government to strictly limit patents on software

patent reform

On Friday June 7, the German Parliament decided upon a joint motion to limit software patents (see English translation by BIKT). The Parliament urges the German Government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs. Software should exclusively be covered by copyright, and the rights of the copyright holders should not be devalued by third parties' software patents. The only exception where patents should be allowed are computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component. In addition the Parliament made clear that governmental actions related to patents must never interfere with the legality of distributing Free Software.

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Swiss schools use Kolab, open source email suite

open education resources and tools

Over 36,000 students, teachers, and staffers at more than 20 schools in the Swiss city of Basel are using Kolab, an open source email and collaboration suite.

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Exploring open source software developed for European libraries

open source libraries

Developers and project managers involved in open source software projects for public libraries in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic took a first step to learn more about each other's work. Meeting in a Google Hangout, they introduced their open source software projects, aiming to get ideas for future developments. The Danish 'T!ng' (Ting) project came first. T!ng aims to make most of the resources at the libraries available in the form of web services. Almost 60% of all Danish municipal libraries are involved in this software and IT services project.

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Why some governments are struggling with open source implementation

Tug of war

Observing the open source public policy landscape over the past several months, one couldn’t be blamed for feeling optimistic. Government after government, it seemed, was stepping up and laying the ground work for public-sector adoption and private-sector growth of open standards and open source software (see articles on France, the UK, Portugal, and the US). Even the Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, gave a full-throated endorsement of open source in late December.

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The U.K. Cabinet Office solves the open standards policy conundrum

two countries

Governments certainly have more than enough to concern themselves with these days—financial crises, natural disasters and terrorism, to name just a few. Given that’s the case, it’s surprising that so many are finding the time to worry about what kind of standards the products and services they purchase comply with. But they are.

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How software patents are delaying the future

software patents

This fall, I went to Amsterdam to talk about "How Software Patents Are Delaying The Future", on a discussion panel organised by the European Patent Office. The other people on the panel were patent attorney Simon Davies, and Ioannis Bozas, a patent examiner at the EPO. The panel was moderated by James Nurton of Managing IP. Despite our very different views on the subject, we had very friendly and informative conversations before, during, and after the panel.

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France government is latest to fully embrace open source

open parliament

France is the latest government to move from open source-friendly to open source-active, to paraphrase the European Commission's aspirational reference to Cloud Computing.

In late September, French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, signed a guideline (in French here and a rough translation here) urging the country's public administrations to not only make a thorough and systematic review of free alternatives when building and revising ICT infrastructure and applications, but also to use the savings realized by using OSS to develop expertise and engage upstream communities.

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