Open source news this week: September 30 - October 4, 2013

Weekly wrap-up: Happy Birthday to GNU, French agency to switch 72,000 PCs to Linux, and more

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Open source news this week:

September 30 - October 4, 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.

  • Happy Birthday to GNU. It was 30 years ago last week that Richard Stallman announced the GNU project. GNU celebrated the anniversary with GNU-a-Day, 30 software freedom actions you can take, ranging from simply watching Stephen Fry's "Happy birthday to GNU" video to volunteering as a GNU webmaster. Stallman’s original announcement of the GNU project was posted Sept. 27, 1983. GNU birthday posts started flooding my news stream last weekend, and since it was too late to include it in my weekly news wrap-up, I had to be sure to share it this week. Step back in time and read Stallman’s original announcement.
  • You have the right to use Linux. France's national law enforcement agency is in the process of moving all of its 72,000 desktop PCs to a custom version of the Linux operating system, reports So far 37,000 have already been been converted. The move is expected to save the agency big bucks, reducing the total cost of ownership by 40%, savings that comes from ditching proprietary software licenses and reducing IT management, reports Gijs Hillenius on the European Union’s Interoperability Solutions for Public Administrations website. Hillenius speculates that this could be the largest deployment of open source on public administration workstations in the world. Can any of our readers confirm that?

(Hat tip to community ambassador Robin Muilwijk for putting this on my radar)

  • This website is not available. We've lauded the U.S. government's open data site,, many times on So I had to take a moment to note that was among the sites taken down this week as part of the federal government shutdown. Other open government databases went dark as well, including the Census site, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and more. The Star-Ledger reporter Stephen Stirling explains: "Because of a lack of staffing or because they were deemed non-essential services, much of the statistical information kept by the federal government will remain dormant as long as the shut down continues, if it hasn’t disappeared entirely." If you've tried to use any federal government websites this week but were greeted with an out-of-order message, tell us about it. What were you trying to look up? And what was your reaction when you found out the information was temporarily unavailable?
  • We need a psychic. ReadWrite aptly notes that "...ten years ago, a new open source company or project was news. Not anymore." These days, the rise of open source is no longer limited to software. In this article, ReadWrite takes a look at open source's outsized impact and the challenges of predicting the future of open source. The article balances out the thrill of open source's mightiness by raising some questions about its potential uncertain future. What do you think the future holds for open source software?
  • Get your make on. The open source hardware community received a boost this week when Intel and Arduino announced a new collaboration and the creation of Galileo, a new development board that’s compatible with Arduino. Students will be among the first to get their hands on the new board, as Intel is donating 50,000 Galileos to more than 1,000 universities around the world, reports Venture Beat. Makers can use the new board for projects ranging from light displays to robots. If you're interested in Galileo's specs, check out its data sheet from Intel.



About the author

Ginny Hamilton - Ginny Hamilton is community manager for, 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. Follow her on Twitter for coverage of all those topics along with a healthy mix of cat photos.