My main job on the Utopian.io Open Source Radio Show on MSP Waves (aired live weekly on Wednesdays at 6PM UTC)
is causing mayhem is bringing in the freshest and most interesting news from the open source world, and (when possible) adding some commentary to each new item.
Unfortunately, I usually find myself rushing through the news items on my list and leaving many of them out in the chaos that is live radio. To ensure you still get your weekly dose of what's moving and shaking in the open source ecosystem, I am posting a weekly digest of open source news included or (unfortunately) left out in my news segment on the show on Thursdays.
This week, due to some unforeseen circumstances (thanks, migraine from hell), this post is published on Saturday. This does, however, mean I can offer you a link to the full show as published by our wonderful producer @buckydurddle.
This week we had:
- AndroidX now open source
- Apache received $600m worth of open source contributions in 12 months
- Data transfer project
- Open source wood structures
- Unknown developer tries to sell free software
- IAB is looking into the role of blockchain in advertising
The AndroidX is designed to help developers maintain backward compatibility with old versions of Android, and this past week it's gone open source. Like many other technologies from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and even Apple, this project is destined to benefit from the contributions of the open source community.
In case you're wondering just how much value these corporations get from making their source available to the developer community, you can probably guess from looking at the financial reports of Apache, who reportedly received contributions worth 600 million dollars in just 12 months.
Open source software and hardware are familiar concepts, but what about wood? Apparently, there's an initiative out there collecting and awarding open source designs for wood structures, like the recent winner of their contest, the Kokoon housing design.
(Kokoon Wood Building System. Source: opensourcewood.com)
One of the most interesting projects to be uploaded to Github this past week was Google's Data Transfer Project. The current version of the system supports data transfer for various types of content, drawing from publicly available APIs from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and others. Much of the codebase consists of “adapters” that can translate proprietary APIs into an interoperable transfer, but are used mostly for one-time transfers rather than continuous interoperability. The majority of this code was written by Google and Microsoft engineers, but now that it is open to the public, everyone and anyone can make it easier for people to move their data between services.
LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite used by many on Linux, but less on Windows. Which is why many were surprised to see it in the Windows 10 applications store a PAID version of the software. Not only would Microsoft hesitate to allow such a direct competitor onto the store, but since when does it cost money?
Well, turns out it still doesn't, but some enterprising developer decided to check if submitting it to the store and selling it would work, while ignoring the license of the software and behind the backs of its developers. It worked. It is unclear if anyone actually bought the free software, but Microsoft quickly removed it and now searching for LibreOffice will show you a purchase link for Microsoft Office instead.
When I initially discovered blockchain technology, I was writing content for a company providing services to publishers looking to monetize their content. One of the most interesting technologies in the ad-tech world are the ad exchanges - public, private, local and international. Most of these exchanges are owned by companies that don't only charge a percentage from both publishers and advertisers, but also tend to collect and resell user information behind the users' and clients backs. So obviously, the idea of a decentralized ledger for the buying and selling of ad views or clicks sounded pretty interesting to me.
A few years passed, and a number of ICOs and initiatives have made attempts at creating such decentralized ad exchanges. Now, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) tech lab announces that its Blockchain working group is launching a pilot program with a number of participants, each with their own group of publishers and advertisers participating.
One of the companies mentioned in the press release is Lucidity, that is looking to verify impressions and track the programmatic supply chain through a blockchain-based decentralised shared ledger. The company is also planning other blockchain projects to tackle fee transparency, digital publisher signature and audience verification.