Weekly wrap-up: Pay for news with Bitcoin, open source jobs, and more

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open source news and highlights


Open source news this week: Sept. 1 - 6, 2013

What other open source-related news stories did you read about this week? Share them with us in the comments section. Follow us on Twitter where we share these stories in real time.

  • Virtual currency for news. A San Francisco software engineer is merging his desire to raise awareness about Bitcoin with news publishers’ interest in making money from their content. Ankur Nandwani is a co-founder of BitMonet, an open source tool that allows publishers to accept micropayments for articles in the virtual currency Bitcoin, reports PCWorld. BitMonet serves as a payment processor uses BitPay as a payment processor, and there are already plans to create a WordPress plugin that will allow for Bitcoin micropayment transactions.
  • Open source textbook pilot program. Students at the University of Maryland will be guinea pigs for open source textbooks, and if the experiment goes well, it could result in a state-supported open source textbook initiative, reports The Diamondback, the University’s student newspaper. The pilot program will allow teachers in lecture-sized entry-level classes to assemble textbook content from a pool of online materials. The Diamondback has the details on how much this could save students and what professors think of the movement. 
  • New lab is open source. An Open Source Geospatial Laboratory is opening its doors this month at Kent State University. The software used to support many of the lab’s activities is open source, according to the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. The new lab will serve as a resource for computational social science research and is expected to be a draw for spatial scientists, economic/urban geographers, regional scientists, and policy-makers who want to learn about comparative space-time analysis of regional and urban dynamics. The lab will also actively share new comparative metrics with the broader research community.
  • Wanted: Open source developers. Australia isn’t the only place where open source jobs are hot. The president of Dice.com, a tech job search site, reports that the number of available jobs for Python programmers grew 22% from August 2012 to August 2013, according to cio.com. And, that’s not all. There has also been an increase in jobs posted for Ruby on Rails positions. In this article, writer Sharon Florentine explores what’s driving the demand for open source jobs.


Ginny Hamilton was a community manager for EnterprisersProject.com, an online publication and community focused on how CIOs and IT leaders create business value through information technology. A former journalist, Ginny is passionate about local politics, journalism, technology, and social media.


I look forward to seeing how the University of Maryland's pilot program for open source textbooks turns out. As a student, I've had mixed experiences with 'textbooks' compiled from online sources. Some classes have been very good, while others were terrible. The good classes were good because the instructor made sure to check to make sure all the online material was still available. I've, unfortunately, taken classes where the 'textbook' was nothing more than a collection of broken hyperlinks. One poorly thought out class had the instructor tell us that we didn't need to buy the print versions of the textbook because the texts were all available online for free. Then test time came and we needed the paper versions of the books to take the test! It was a language class, so the texts in question were a grammar and dictionary, and electronic versions couldn't be used to take the test. Fair enough, but don't tell the students they can save money by using the online stuff only to end up requiring the printed textbooks.

BTW, your link to the open textbook article is broken. It is linking to opensource.com instead of diamondbackonline.com because there is no domain name in the link. Here is a <a href="http://www.diamondbackonline.com/article_220ab632-1415-11e3-8930-0019bb30f31a.html">working link</a> for anyone interested.

You rock, thank you so much for pointing out the broken link. I fixed it. I'm really eager to hear how the University of Maryland pilot project goes.

Hi Ginny, Thanks for writing about BitMonet.
I wanted to clarify that BitMonet does not server as the payment processor. We use BitPay as a payment processor. With BitMonet we just provide tools for publishers to start monetizing digital content with Bitcoins.

Thank you for clarifying that, I've corrected it in the article above. Good luck with your efforts, it's a really interesting way to approach paying for news.

Thanks Ginny. Any feedback that you have to improve the product would be greatly appreciated.

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