open source communities

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11 Ways To Get Involved With Humanitarian FOSS

Lending a digital hand for humanitarian projects is just a click away. Whether you have five minutes or a few hours, you can make a difference with a variety of Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) projects. The level of skills required vary from web search, verification, mapping, translation, training, and open source software development. Along the journey of changing the world, you can meet like minds and hone your skills. The key is to ask yourself: What do I want to do? How can I get started? How can I find the right project and community?

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5 Reasons Professors Should Encourage Students to Get Involved in Open Source Projects

I've been supporting student participation in humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS) projects for over a decade. I've seen students get motivated and excited by working in a professional community while they learn and mature professionally. Out of the many reasons for supporting student participation in open source, here are five of the most compelling reasons...

6 Growing Pains of Open Source Organizations That You Can Avoid

Everything has a season, and as organizations age—communities, charities, companies, churches and more—they face similar diseases of time. These are emergent patterns of failure that arise not from mistakes but from the consequences of earlier success. In open source, we are seeing the same patterns emerge; this should not be a surprise. Some of them are unavoidable. Understanding them helps leaders reduce the risk that will arise and helps identify them when they do. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but we have encountered all of these modes of systemic failure, some of them often...

A Free, Open Resource to Solve Our Third World Problems

Corruption, poverty, war, hunger, healthcare, education, safety. These are only a few of the problems faced by people in developing countries. Many of these problems are caused by exclusion, fear, intimidation, broken infrastructure, and lack of money, resources, access to information, and tools. These are hard problems to solve but, as Theodore Roosevelt said: "Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty." At the core of open source are communities. Communities of like-minded individuals, working together, openly and freely sharing ideas and solutions for the benefit of others...

A Primer on the Open Source Movement from a Health Care Perspective

Open source, in myriad forms, has emerged as a significant development model that drives both innovation and technological dispersion. Ignore it at your peril, as did the major computer companies destroyed or totally remade by Linux and free software, or encyclopedia publishers by Wikipedia, or journalists and marketers by social media. The term "open source" was associated first with free software, but it goes far beyond software now. People around the world use open hardware, demand open government, share open data, and--yes--pursue open health. The field of health, in particular, will be transformed by open source principles in software, in research, in consultations and telemedicine, and in the various forms of data sharing all these processes call for.

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Addressing Open Source's Free Rider Problem

Nadia Eghbal, in her major report on the state of our digital infrastructure, and Jonathan Lister, in his response describing our digital ecosystem, both point to a tragedy of the commons in open source software. While some projects are sustainable, many still struggle with "a free rider problem." As Nadia puts it: "Resources are offered for free, and everybody (whether individual developer or large software company) uses them, so nobody is incentivized to contribute back, figuring that somebody else will step in"...

DoD Announces the Launch of “Code.mil,” an Experiment in Open Source

Press Release | U.S. Department of Defense | February 23, 2017

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the launch of Code.mil, an open source initiative that allows software developers around the world to collaborate on unclassified code written by federal employees in support of DoD projects. DoD is working with GitHub, an open source platform, to experiment with fostering more collaboration between private sector software developers and federal employees on software projects built within the DoD. The Code.mil URL redirects users to an online repository that will house code written for a range of projects across DoD for individuals to review and make suggested changes...

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Get Emotional: Tips for Open Source Communities

Humans are driven quite a bit by emotions. You may be a rational human being, but your emotions will still drive many of your choices. You can be excited, angry, interested, or sad about things—it doesn't matter—you'll react to those emotions and you'll very often leak that into your communications. You'll likely leak your emotions, and so will other members of the community. If you think humans should suck it up and act like nothing is happening, I'm afraid you are living in a bubble. That is not how humans operate. That's not how humans interact...

How Telecoms Can Escape Vendor Lock-In With Open Source NFV

Today, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) takes software applications that run on proprietary hardware and allows them to run on standard x86 servers. This allows  core network infrastructure to dynamically allocate network, compute and storage to satisfy workloads on-demand. It also allows you to  move these workloads to different servers, or even different data centers as needed, and to scale up or scale down without changing the underlying hardware. NFV provides you with a modern agile environment to respond to customers needs, get to market quickly with new services, and reduce both capital and operational expenditures...

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How to Care for the Community Over the Code

At All Things Open 2016, Joe Brockmeier answers the question: How can companies can work effectively with open source communities? In his talk, Joe reminded us of the #1 open source myth: Open source is comprised of mostly volunteers. The truth is, these days, pretty much any major open source project has people who are paid to work on it. There are always people who do it because they love it, but these days most of us are paid (and still love it). Over the years we have learned that if you want patches in a timely manner, you need people who are paid to do it...

How to Care for the Community Over the Code

At All Things Open 2016, Joe Brockmeier answers the question: How can companies can work effectively with open source communities? In his talk, Joe reminded us of the #1 open source myth: Open source is comprised of mostly volunteers. The truth is, these days, pretty much any major open source project has people who are paid to work on it. There are always people who do it because they love it, but these days most of us are paid (and still love it). Over the years we have learned that if you want patches in a timely manner, you need people who are paid to do it...

It's the Ecosystem, Stupid

I've been writing for a while on topics related to product and supply chain management in the context of open source communities, and I've noticed a few consistent themes in my articles and blog posts. Most notable is the call for companies to move from the "not invented here" syndrome to a more externally focused view. After all, if so much innovation is taking place in open source projects, why not take advantage of it to the fullest extent possible? You can see this theme manifested in the following ways:

Legal Issues in Open Source Today from Annual Symposium

On January 23 this year, the Santa Clara High Tech Law Journal had their annual symposium on open source in the legal field at Santa Clara University. Prominent practitioners in the open source community spoke on topics ranging from licensing and compliance to healthcare and entertainment law. For anyone newly learning about open source licensing, this is a great look at some of the issues today... Read More »

Making Computers Accessible to Millions of Individuals with Disabilities

According to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization, over a billion people in the world live with some sort of disability. Addressing the various accommodations, abilities, and disabilities of the world's largest minority may seem like a daunting task for developers of all stripes, but Colin Fulton is up for it. He wants to change the way accessibility is viewed and perceived in the Linux and open source communities. I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview Colin and find out more about his upcoming LinuxCon talk, what he hopes his audience will gain from attending, and his fresh, diverse viewpoint on disability—as well as why accessibility is actually an integral part of the open source community.

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Deploys an Open Source Innovative and Personalized Digital Landscape

Press Release | Memorial Sloan Kettering | May 5, 2015

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) introduced a new, consumer-friendly web presence for www.mskcc.org (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) and www.sloankettering.edu (Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), featuring an innovative platform and on-demand navigation for patients, caregivers, researchers, healthcare professionals, and graduate students, among other core audiences. Memorial Sloan Kettering is the first organization in the United States to build an enterprise-grade platform with Drupal 8, a leading open-source web-content-management system, and MSK is also one of the first tristate-area healthcare providers to create and host a fully responsive mobile-enabled site.

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