Category Archives: News

Open Source Darwin Available for Download for Mac OS

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Darwin Mac OS

Apple is one of the most profitable and successful companies in the world today, and what most people don’t realize is that the Mac operating system is being driven by free software. These components are referred to as Darwin and comprise major parts of the operating system kernel, portions of the BSD Unix and also numerous drivers.

Apple has made these pieces of software available since their OS X 10.0 version and now they are making it available for Darwin. What’s also interesting is that Darwin isn’t the only Apple software that is open source for the company. Java for Mac is open source via a partnership with Oracle as well as the company’s newest program language, Swift. These factors show that Apple is definitely aware of the technological landscape surrounding them and they are embracing it as much as possible.*

Apple also has an open source webpage which they update routinely with source code from past releases of its OS. There is an open source reference library available, along with links to tools for developers to use when coding.

The open source code for Darwin is packed with several files including a reference library, tools, and server resources. The tradition of Apple releasing its OS code has been around for many years, and that tradition is carried on with the release of Darwin.

Apple has pushing iOS developers towards its own technologies that are created in house, versus third party technologies such as Adobe Flash; which it deems inefficient. Swift, Apples newest programming language has been made open source as well, and many other companies have adopted the same coding philosophy. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Mozilla have all released their programming languages to the public much like Apple.

Apple may also be trying to get ahead of their arch rival Microsoft by making Swift available on other operating systems. This means that Apples own open source code could be used to develop apps for competing companies like Android.

A large benefit of Apple or any other company doing this is it makes the company less susceptible to lawsuits based around programming. For example, Oracle and Google are currently in a lawsuit due to the fact that Oracle is claiming Google violated its intellectual property by creating its own Java-type programming. If the code was open source, Oracle could never make that claim.

This greatly decreases the possibility of lawsuits and developers can rest assured that the project they are working on won’t cause them to be served with legal documents in the future. Developers can instead focus on writing the best code possible and pushing the limits of the programming language beyond its ceiling.

Apple is sending a large message to the technology field by making its operating systems open source and the industry is taking notice. As previously mentioned, many other companies are beginning to do the same and a trend appears to be growing towards open source code. The benefits it presents are being realized as more and more companies adopt this mentality making the future for technology a bright one.

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How Open Source Companies Make Money

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Opensource Revenue

Ever wonder how an open source company makes money? Even if a software company offers a “free” product, they still have to generate revenue to pay their employees, keep their lights on, and stay in business, right? So how do they do it?

Many of these companies earn revenue by offering add-ons. They allow you to download and use the basic software package for free, but if you need an app for a specific task, or would like to add a widget or tool to your software package, you will have to pay for it. Many of these open source software packages limit the amount of functions available, so you are almost forced to buy these “upgrades” when you start using the software.

Another way open source companies make their money is by offering “community editions.” Essentially this is an open source software platform with no support or resources available. Support is provided by other users in the community and everyone is basically on their own. If the community is unable to resolve an issue you can get paid support from the actual software manufacturer in conjunction with other resources. This business model doesn’t necessarily gain income from upgrades, but rather from paid customer service and troubleshooting.

Companies can also release an open source product with a full suite of customer service options available in conjunction with software tools as a marketing method for their other software products. For example, if you download and use free software, and end up liking and using it a lot, there is a chance you may look to see what other software programs are available from that company. Those packages may all come with a cost, but by releasing the free program, they’ve effectively promoted their brand and stimulated sales of their other product offerings.

Open source companies may also release free software in an effort to disrupt their competition’s market. It can not only help with customer retention, but also steal customers away from other software companies that are charging users for similar software platforms.

Ultimately there are many direct and indirect ways open source companies earn money, from traditional up selling on top of their free product to increased market exposure resulting in increased sales of other products. WordPress is a perfect example of how a free service can be scalable. WordPress has an estimated website value of 4 billion, yet its platform is free. It earns revenues by offering gadgets, widgets and tools within their software platform for various prices. They also offer templates and upgradable web development packages all for different prices.

Just because a company is open source does not be it isn’t making money. It’s merely making money in a different kind of way. Traditional software companies spend time and money on development, and then release their product for a cost. Then enough people need to buy it in order to turn a profit. With open source, the actual software is just the medium in which you are selling the customer through. It’s your portal for direct access to a user who is already using your product making them more likely to buy from you when the time comes to up sell them.

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Microsoft Joins the Open Source Movement

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Linux

Microsoft has finally realized the importance of providing an open source option to an operating system. They’ve just recently announced that they will be joining the Linux Foundation as a platinum member and that developers will eventually have the same abilities in Windows 10 as in Linux. The software giant has built a closed source software empire and it may have seemed unimaginable that Microsoft would embrace the open source movement. The company’s philosophies are continuing to evolve and change, and joining the Linux foundation is a perfect example of that.

Much of this change in mindset can be accredited to Satya Nadella’s corporate culture influence. The CEO of Microsoft has been a big proponent of open source and intends to take the company in a new direction.

Developers are being encouraged to run code and do whatever they normally do in Linux and report bugs to Microsoft so they can continue to develop their platform. It seems as though Microsoft has finally acknowledged the significance of open source operation systems and is beginning to understand the importance of developers and their role in software evolution and design.

For Apple, Alphabet (formerly Google), and now Microsoft, the magnitude of cloud services is being stressed in the modern era. These companies believe that the future of software is as a service. Apps need to be cross platform compatible and able to access cloud services.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that in becoming a member, “Microsoft is better able to collaborate with the open source community to deliver transformative mobile and cloud experiences to more people.” Microsoft is committed to making SQL Server for Linux work and act like a native Linux application to as great of an extent as possible.

Due to Microsoft’s new strategy of cloud-first and mobile-first, open source makes perfect sense. In 2014 Microsoft made a public display of their affection for Linux and since then has been working on increasing their open source presence. Joining Linux is merely a culmination of these steps over the past several years.

Microsoft’s collaboration with Linux goes beyond code contribution; the company is now creating a level playing field for Linux. The message is now clear, it does not matter what machine you run locally, whether it’s Linux or Windows, you will have the same tools to do the job.

In conclusion it’s vital to understand the significance of this collaboration. The underlying meaning behind it is far greater than two software companies merely choosing to work together. Making software open source allows for true freedom of knowledge transfer and quicker product evolution. When developers and programmers can see the interworking of how specific software operates, it allows them offer insight on changes that may better the software. It also gives them the ability to gain ideas they may have never had in the past when doing their own development. Open source relationships like this will increase technological evolution significantly and aid in the advancement of the human race.

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U.S Government Launches Code.gov

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code.gov

Code.gov is a website launched by The White House that shares open-source projects being used and developed by the U.S. Government. The White House is hoping to improve access to government software and is promoting the sharing and use of its open source software across various government agencies.

The launch comes several months after The White House’s new Federal Source Code policy. This policy states that the government agencies must “make custom-developed code available for Government-wide reuse and make their code inventories discoverable,” with certain exceptions. The website already has code from more than ten departments such as agriculture, energy, labor, NASA, and so on.

The Code.gov website has a simple streamlined look and all of the code is searchable by department. You are able to navigate the site without difficulty and the code is easily accessible. The website is user friendly and easy to use.

The purpose of this is to aid in the U.S. Government’s efficiency and help identify if any duplicated effort is taking place. The departmental cooperation will also lower the government’s spending on specialized code which the government currently spends over $6 billion a year on.

Since the source code is available, regular developers can also look at the code and make changes or use it however they see fit. In this scenario, you are essentially getting collaboration between the U.S. Government and the public in an effort to make the code as proficient as possible. There are also opportunities for major breakthroughs to take place given the combined contribution from the people.

This is unquestionably a more modern move for The White House and a decision that will most definitely affect our futures, whether people recognize it or not. With the advancement in technology and speed in which it develops, the use of code is becoming more prevalent in every aspect of our lives. From the cars we drive, to the phones we use, to the homes we live in. As more code becomes open source we are creating greater opportunity for our society to flourish in the 21st century.

The U.S. Government is obviously trying to set an example with the implementation of this policy. Freedom of Speech is the first amendment the government was built upon and now that mindset is being applied to code. The outcome from this can be speculated in a number of ways; however the potential positives could be huge. As long as the government is mindful about the types of codes they chose to release and make open-source, there should be no harm in the sharing of this information. It will only aid to the development and progression of the U.S. Government.

More projects like code.gov need to continue to take place in order for the United States to continue thriving. Technology is in the driver’s seat right now and the government needs to show that it’s embracing that progression and adapting to it. Hopefully this policy will spark similar policies and projects, putting the United States at the forefront of modern day government and culture.

 

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