News

Obliterate the Cost of Consumer Products with Open Hardware

If you're looking for free and open source designs to replicate on your desktop 3D printer, you have about two million choices. Because the open source ethic is rooted so deeply in the 3D printing community, many of the consumer products you would normally buy are already among those millions of predesigned products. You can download the designs and save a lot of money. My group has shown in studies in both 2013 (on a self-built 3D printer) and 2017 (on an out-of-the box 3D printer) that peer-to-peer sharing prosumers (producing consumers) gain an incredible return on investment: > 100% at minimum and more likely ~1000% by 3D printing products to offset purchases only once a week...

7 Ways to Discuss Legal Matters with an Open Community

Having watched a fair number of people attempt to engage both the Open Source Initiative's licensing evaluation community and the Apache Software Foundation's legal affairs committee, I'd like to offer some hints and tips for succeeding when it's your turn to conduct a legal discussion with an open community. First and foremost, make sure the person conducting the conversation is both qualified and empowered. Don't send proxies; they simply frustrate the community, who quickly work out that your representative is always playing the second-hand car salesman and going to the back room to ask for a deal...

Open Source Project Management Can Be Risky Business

Our digital lives are powered by programming philosophers who choose to develop their code out in the open. All programs begin with lines of instruction. When ready for execution these lines of instruction are converted to a binary format that the computer can execute. Open source programs are programs where the human readable code is accessible to anyone. This philosophy of openness and freedom has allowed these projects to impact the lives of everyone. The Linux kernel is the core of all Android devices, and nearly a third of all Internet traffic rides on just one openly developed project, Netflix...

Open Project Collaboration from Elementary to University Classrooms

The practice of teaching should be built upon collaboration and remixing content. When a friend asks us to explain something, we don't trademark our answer or deliver a monologue without asking for input. This is a simple example, but it gets to the heart of the dysfunctional design inherent in our existing education system...19th-century state of education is dangerously out of step with our 21st-century world. Worse, it leaches away our students' passion for academic and lifelong learning. We must infuse the vital, human element of collaboration into our vision for education transformation.

Unleashed: Open Source Tech Goes to the Dogs...and Cats...and...

I was discussing open source technology with my cat this morning and he brought up a good point: "Why don't you do an article on open source tech for animals?" You know, Donald's right. Animal open source tech deserves a spotlight. Afterall, animals appear in many open source brands, and pets, like mine at least, lend lots of support while I'm trying out new software, building gadgets, or just writing about this stuff. I did a little research, and perhaps you won't be surprised to learn there is a gaggle (the name for a group of geese) of open source projects that help us keep, love, and improve the lives of animals. Let's take a gander (also another word for a goose), shall we?

Is Use of the Open Source GPL License Declining?

A little while ago I saw an interesting tweet from Stephen O'Grady at RedMonk on the state of open source licensing, including this graph. This graph shows how license usage has changed from 2010 to 2017. In reading it, it is clear that usage of the GPL 2.0 license, one of the purest copyleft licenses around, has more than halved in usage. According to the chart it would appear that the popularity of open source licensing has subsequently shifted to the MIT and Apache licenses. There has also been a small increase in GPL 3.0 usage. So, what does all this mean?

Health Care in a Post-Privacy World

Someone knows you are reading this. They know what device you are using.  They know if you make it all the way to the end (which I hope you do!).  They may be watching you read it, and listening to you.  They know exactly where you are right now, and where you've been. As FBI Director James Comey recently proclaimed, "there is no thing as absolute privacy in America." Director Comey was speaking about legal snooping, authorized by the courts and carried out by law enforcement agencies, but, in many ways, that may be the least of our privacy concerns...

Open Source in Death and Beyond

Benjamin Franklin was known to say, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." There are open source solutions for completing your taxes, such as Open Tax Solver, but what about the other side of that quote? What does open source have to do with death? It's quite a lively subject, it seems. I know you are just dying to know, so let's dig in. We all experience death and it becomes a long drawn out process of paperwork and burial rituals that we hope doesn't weigh too much on the loved ones we've left behind. The open source community has given this process some thought, not surprisingly. They've lent their mindshare towards rethinking how to deal with that final episode of life. It turns out, not only is open source great in life, but it comes in handy in death, too...

The Difference Between Open Source Development and Deployment

For many years, I was a Smalltalk programmer, and that experience gives me a different viewpoint from which to observe ideas in the programming world. For example, the idea that source code should be stored in text files took some getting used to. We as programmers often make a distinction between "development" and "deployment," specifically the idea that we develop software in one place using tools that are different from the place and tools that we use after we deploy the software. In the Smalltalk world, there is no such difference...

Could Billion Dollar EHRs Bankrupt the Country?

Earlier this year, Monmouth University conducted a survey to determine which issues were most important as the country transitions to a new presidential administration. Among all the potential concerns Americans now face, the issue that rises to the top is healthcare costs. How acute a concern is this? It’s significant enough that, when asked the open-ended question, “turning to issues closer to home, what is the biggest concern facing your family right now?”, 25 percent of respondents made it their number one issue...