News

Clones Welcome in Scientific Hardware

In the inaugural issue of the Journal of Open Hardware I review emerging business models for open source hardware. Many of these models are borrowed from the free and open source software industry and will no doubt be familiar to you. However, traditional companies should also take a close look at adding open source hardware to their strategy. One way a company can start the transition to the open source way is to open source a single product to drive sales of its other products. A firm can open source the hardware they sell in order to expand the market of other parts of their product line...

Health Datapalooza 2017 – The Data Revolution Rolls On

The 8th annual Health Datapalooza returns on April 26 – 28 and offers a re-imagined vision of health and health care through the lens of data. In years past, Health Datapalooza has set its sights on health-care startups, apps, big data, electronic health records – you name it – but the main thrust was always more about the business of health care and how tech and data are used to innovate. The annual conference for data geeks, developers, health tech venture capitalists, and start-up wannabes, among others, will this year triangulate around the idea that the patient should be at the center of health care.

Developer Opportunities to Code for Good

As I was searching for open source projects that help learners with disabilities, such as blindness or dyslexia, I came across Bookshare. That led me to Bookshare's parent company, Benetech, a technology nonprofit based in Palo Alto, CA which focuses on empowering communities in need. Read more about Benetech in our interview with CEO Jim Fruchterman: Open source product development most effective when social. I reached out and spoke with Anh Bui, Vice President of Benetech Labs, Benetech's new product development arm that explores areas of social need by engaging with communities in the United States and beyond...

Upbeat, Collaborative, and Focused: Educators at SXSWedu Reflect on the Value and Future of Citizen Science in Education

Do I Need to Provide Access to Source Code Under the AGPLv3 License?

The GNU Affero General Public License version 3 (AGPLv3) is a copyleft license nearly identical to the GPLv3. Both licenses have the same copyleft scope, but materially differ in one important way. The AGPLv3's Section 13 states an additional condition not present in GPLv2 or GPLv3: "Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, if you modify the Program, your modified version must prominently offer all users interacting with it remotely through a computer network (if your version supports such interaction) an opportunity to receive the Corresponding Source of your version by providing access to the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge, through some standard or customary means of facilitating copying of software"...

Healthy Soil Is the Real Key to Feeding the World

One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals. When I embarked on a six-month trip to visit farms around the world to research my forthcoming book, “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” the innovative farmers I met showed me that regenerative farming practices can restore the world’s agricultural soils.

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How the Trump Budget Undercuts Security Risks Posed by Pandemics

President Trump proposed a US$54 billion military budget increase to solidify the security of our nation. However, the government also recognizes pandemic threats as an issue of national security – one that knows no borders. In the last four years, we have faced the Ebola epidemic – contained after significant loss of life – and Zika, which is still not contained. Collectively, we will feel these effects for a generation, while children born with Zika-related defects and their families will feel the effects every day of their lives...

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How Disaster Relief Efforts Could Be Improved with Game Theory

The number of disasters has doubled globally since the 1980s, with the damage and losses estimated at an average US$100 billion a year since the new millennium, and the number of people affected also growing. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the costliest natural disaster in the U.S., with estimates between $100 billion and $125 billion. The death toll of Katrina is still being debated, but we know that at least 2,000 were killed, and thousands were left homeless. Worldwide, the toll is staggering. The triple disaster of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown that started March 11, 2011 in Fukushima, Japan killed thousands, as did the 2010 Haiti earthquake...

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Alangi Derick: Wikimedia’s First African Contributor to Google Summer of Code

Alangi Derick comes from Buea, Cameroon. He joined the Wikimedia movement to develop his skills in coding, and was quickly hooked by the movement’s values and its community culture, eventually becoming a staunch advocate for it in his university. As a computer science student at the time, he joined the movement a year and a half ago, and his work booked him a place at the 2016 Google Summer of Code as one of the Wikimedia Foundation’s students. Derick passed the program, helped mentor teenage participants in Google Code-in for two consecutive years, and has helped fix bugs in the MediaWiki software...

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Open Source Product Development Most Effective When Social

Benetech started out in the 90s without even understanding the meaning of the term open source. They just "needed an easy way to interface with different voice synthesizers" to develop readers for people who are blind and "shared the code to be helpful." Sound familiar? Opensource.com started covering stories like in 2010 and they recur more often than you might think. Stories of people sharing the code to help others—but sharing code to get help developing better code. When code is open, a community has the opportunity to form around it...