Tags: open source*

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  1. The department also reported difficulties in getting aspects of the proprietary systems still used by the council—the likes of Oracle and SAP—to work with LiMux, citing incompatibilities with the council's SAP security system, and errors in how PDFs were displayed by the open-source viewing software.

    However, the council continued to work to resolve compatibility issues, and earlier this year the city's IT chief said there was 'no compelling technical reason to return to Windows', pointing out the authority had "solved compatibility and interoperability problems" related to running software on LiMux.

    A Munich source familiar with IT at the council said the technical problems with LiMux had been massively overstated by critics—saying there were well-established solutions for running incompatible applications.

    "From our point of view, this talk is more or less nonsense. We are aware there are special applications made for Windows, but we can integrate them using WINE or the applications should run in a terminal server," they said.

    That said, Munich has always kept a minority of Windows machines to run line-of-business software incompatible with LiMux, and where using virtualization isn't an option. In 2016 there were about 20,000 Linux-based PCs used by staff alongside about 4,163 Windows-based PCs. The numbers of both Windows and LiMux machines has risen since, with some LiMux critics claiming the proportion of Windows machines is now as high as 40%. Continuing to run two desktop OS systems side-by-side is unsustainable in the long run, the council now claims, despite the Windows and LiMux coexisting for many years at Munich.

    However, another Munich city insider, also with knowledge of IT at the council, says the actual figure is far lower, standing at about 20%.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-25)
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  2. Not yet, anyway. Most likely, the fallout is just beginning for Facebook. Now that the license has been closely examined, there's a good chance that it will be found to be incompatible with other "permissive" open source licenses as well. Perhaps more damage will come from large corporations with considerable patent portfolios that have integrated Facebook's open source projects into their own data centers. Remember, React.js is being used practically everywhere.
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  3. fatemi capire, addirittura una software house che sviluppasse un software per una pubblica amministrazione, la quale intende metterlo in riuso, potrebbe agire tecnicamente non fornendo documentazione di sviluppo, documentando scarsamente il codice, fornendo scripts e documentazione di installazione/testing carenti con il solo scopo di mettere in difficoltà qualunque tecnico che vi ci approcciasse de-facto obbligando una PA che volesse avvantaggiarsi del software in riuso a stipulare un contratto di consulenza ?

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  4. Italian proponents of the use of free and open source software by public administrations are protesting a decision by the town of Pesaro to switch from using OpenOffice to a proprietary cloud-based office solution. They say the city has garbled the cost calculations and omitted a required software assessment study.

    The move to the proprietary cloud-based office solution was announced in a press release by the vendor, published on 23 June. The vendor argues that the use of OpenOffice had resulted in higher than anticipated support costs and loss of productivity, and says that its office solution is cheaper.

    In December, the city published a tender, directly requesting licences of a proprietary, cloud-based office solution. According to city council documents, the request failed to get any response, after which Pesaro directly awarded a contract. The documents explain that this is allowed for amounts lower than EUR 40,000.

    At the same time, the city council was informed about problems related to the 2010 transition to OpenOffice, an alternative, open source suite of office productivity tools.


    The city explains that this transition was never completed. Several users continued to use outdated versions of the proprietary office suite, resulting in a time-wasting mix of document formats. The city says OpenOffice was slow to open documents, particular documents on the Internet. Pesaro also reports document interoperability problems, including text formatting and difficulties with spreadsheets and links to a database system included in the proprietary office suite.

    These interoperability problems had caused “considerable inconvenience and loss of time”, Pesaro writes.

    Advocates of the use of free and open source software by public administrations decry the city’s decision. Pesaro has lost control over its infrastructure, and is further locking itself in to proprietary software, writes Paolo Vecchi, CEO of Omnis, a UK-based provider of IT services, in a report on Tech Economy, an Italian IT news site. A well-organised migration to LibreOffice, closely related to OpenOffice, will over time save Pesaro lots of money, he writes.

    “Pesaro invented the EUR 300,000 cost of OpenOffice” says Vecchi. “They have the courage to say OpenOffice does not suit them, while ignoring the recommendations and the plans provided by the company that supported the software.”
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  5. Published on April 23, 2017Featured in: Big Ideas & Innovation, Career Development, Editor's Picks, Recruiting & Hiring, Software Engineering, Technology

    Shelly Palmer - CEO at The Palmer Group

    Clients want us to deliver online experiences that are competitive with Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, and other top-tier tech companies because that’s what consumers demand. This has created a war for talent unlike anything I’ve seen in my career. While it must be fought, it can never be won because the rules are not what they seem.

    Our clients want web and native experiences that look, feel, and perform like they were built by Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc. (and the back ends to support them). Each of these companies build with very specific programming languages and frameworks.

    If you want to build a project for a client that looks and feels as good as Facebook, why wouldn’t you use their code?

    They have massive teams of designers and engineers with unique combinations of aesthetics, aptitude, and technical skills. So, we are on a Grail Quest for similar talent – the best of the best React/Redux specialists, Unity developers, data scientists, and data engineers (proficient with TensorFlow), technical project managers (who used to do the above, but have evolved into managers), and technical account executives.

    The problem is, if you’re good enough to work for us, you’re good enough to work for them, or anyone else for that matter. And while we have done our best to build a yellow brick road to our company, the yellow brick road that leads to top-tier tech actually has a metaphoric Emerald City at its end.

    Don’t get me wrong; we have a small but mighty team and we fight considerably above our weight. But if we could win the talent war (or even just a few more battles), our growth potential would be unlimited. The last three perfect candidates took jobs at Google and Facebook instead of coming to work for us … not a big surprise.
    The Game Is Rigged

    Over the past few years, IT old-timers have started to accept open source as an excellent way to economically test, fail, and learn. GitHub (the most popular open source community) is a haven for engineers. If you write great code, you are rewarded by popularity, as well as the accolades of your peers. It is one of the purest meritocracies in the world.

    GitHub is also the place where top-tier tech companies make would-be proprietary programming languages, frameworks, and tools available for free – a Machiavellian move that allows engineers to self-select into a pool of qualified applicants perfectly trained to work for them.

    And, here’s why the rules are not what they seem: if you build something popular on GitHub using Facebook’s or Google’s code, they will see it, and a recruiter will contact you. That’s how the “GitHub recruiting pipeline” works.
    We Run a Business, Not a School

    I am personally amazed by the number of recruiters who have sent us “vetted” professional coders who can’t actually code. This is such a serious problem that if a recruiter sends us three candidates who cannot pass our coding test, we fire the recruiter. We can’t afford to waste the time.

    Tech recruiters charge 18 to 25 percent of the first year’s salary, but even the best recruiters we’ve worked with cannot truly vet the types of engineers we need. As far as I can tell, recruiters are not under pressure to learn, because high-end tech talent is so rare, hiring managers will take practically anyone who can fog a mirror. We won’t. And you shouldn’t.

    In practice, we could train these workers, but not at market prices with added recruiter vigorish. We just can’t get enough value out of B-team players while they are in training, and by the time we help them become A-team players, their GitHub accounts and contributions will reflect their learning. At that point, they will be firmly on the radar of top-tier tech. And we would have played the role of pre-school for Facebook, Google, or Apple. Great for Zuck, Larry, or Tim, but not so great for us.
    There Must Be Somewhere to Learn This Stuff

    There is somewhere to learn this stuff. You learn it by doing it every day and communicating with the community that is doing it every day. It’s not taught in schools and it is constantly evolving. In fact, this may be top-tier tech’s secret weapon. Just like Tim Cook (Apple) owns the physical supply chain for every component you might need to make a smartphone, top-tier tech literally owns the programming languages and frameworks used to create them – even though they are free for all of us to use.
    Awesome and Insane

    None of this would be an issue if top-tier tech did not make its code available open source. We have this problem only because they need talent as much as we do.

    That said, we’re going to keep looking for amazing programmers and my offer stands. I can’t wait to pay you $500,000 per year. You just have to be an awesome and insane engineer with enough skills and work ethic to keep the work we do for our clients as good as the work at the biggest and best tech companies in the world.

    Feel free to send me a link to your GitHub account. No resumes required.

    A note from the author before you write a comment: It seems that some commenters are worried that I do not understand that there is more to talent recruiting and retention than money. I understand that very well, which is why we are blessed to work with some of the most talented people in the world. This article is about a narrow issue -- a lack of engineers with very specific, highly in-demand skill sets. It attempts to explain how top tier tech has strategically monopolized an incredibly important recruiting pipeline using open source. On that subject, I would welcome your thoughts.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-04-24)
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  6. We do our best thinking and creating behind open doors.
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  7. Corporations are adopting open source and other peer-production processes such as open data, open knowledge and open hardware like wildfire—not because they want to share, but because they want to make money. Meanwhile, cooperatives are expected to follow a set of principles, one of which is “cooperation among cooperatives,” and yet their adoption of open source and open data within the cooperative community is minimal. Evidence of the cooperative community not adopting open approaches and following principle six include:

    Research reports from cooperative support organization often have restrictive copyrights them instead of open, permissible, Creative Commons ones.
    Research data is locked away in PDFs instead of being made available in open data portals.
    Information about cooperative networks and membership organizations is often organized in proprietary data models instead of open ones, and not made openly available in bulk using open data formats.
    Cooperatives are often structured hierarchically like banks instead of horizontally like open source projects.
    There still isn’t a searchable online directory of cooperatives in the United States, much less an open data compliant one.

    All of the above problems could be resolved if the cooperative movement followed best practices emerging from the unfashionable but very useful open source, open data, free culture and open access, and peer-to-peer movements. These practices have proven track records for enabling highly productive, widespread collaborations among many different types of stakeholder groups. One thing they very rarely do is organize themselves as cooperatives. Instead, open source projects tend to use for-profit, nonprofit and unincorporated entities.

    We tend to view platform cooperativism as a vision that has yet to be realized, but it could just as easily be viewed as a potential future that never came. Cooperative organizational structures are not new. They have impacted a myriad of giant industries including food and agriculture, electricity and real estate. So why haven’t cooperatives been successful at software development? The answer to this question could be a key to moving platform cooperativism forward.
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  8. Trying to create a new line item in a budget for “open source funding” is a pipe dream. We need to find a way to fit open source funding into existing budget items, and in a way that is legitimate and ongoing. We need to make sure that our funding isn’t on the chopping block at the first sign of a downturn at a company.
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  9. I personally get regular *demands* for unpaid work…by healthy high profit companies large and small….If I don’t respond in a timely fashion, if I’m not willing to accept a crappy pull request, I/we get labeled a jerk. — @pydanny

    I do not have the time or energy to invest in open source any more….It is not fair to expect me to do even more work outside of my regular work, and then not get fairly compensated (time or money) for it. — @ryanbigg

    I’ve been trying to figure out a way of making Hypothesis development sustainable, and the answer is basically that I can’t, despite the fact that it’s clearly going to save people at the bare minimum millions of dollars over the course of its lifetime. — @drmaciver

    Just relying on people’s good will isn’t going to work, we’ll end up disproportionately appealing to independent developers or developers on a personal level and that’s not as sustainable I don’t think.

    Here’s what is true about the “open source is really well funded” myth:

    Red Hat is doing great. (But nobody believes there will ever be another Red Hat.)
    Projects that are effectively “sponsored” by a company, like Go/Google, or React/Facebook, are doing fine. (But many projects are not so lucky.)
    A lot of companies make their software open source as a “loss leader” to kill a competitor, drive an audience to paid products, or build brand and community. (But these aren’t infrastructure projects.)
    VCs have poured money into a couple of open source infrastructure companies, like Docker or Meteor. (But these are the exception, not the rule, as Sam Gerstenzang recently explained.)
    A couple of really big projects, like Linux, are well funded even without a business model. (But Linux is as much of an outlier as Red Hat.)

    There is an enormous disconnect between project owners and their stakeholders. Every open source developer I spoke to thought there was a “funding problem”, even if there was disagreement about how to fix it. But hardly any founder, VC, or big tech employee was aware of the issue, even when they used or benefitted directly from these projects.
    This is a relatively new problem. Open source has been around for 30 years. It worked well in the early days, but from 2008–2013, GitHub and Stack Overflow made it go hockey stick. Today, more people use open source, but fewer people contribute back, than ever before. And everybody assumes that somebody else is doing it. (This is also known as the “free rider problem”. Left unchecked, it leads to a tragedy of the commons.)
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  10. Dei sopra citati 75000 che lavorano in virtù dell’App Store, non ne conosco nessuno. In compenso mi imbatto spesso in spazi di co-working popolati da bande di freelance, agenzie digital, giovani startuppari, liberi professionisti alla sbaraglio e liberi professionisti navigati. E la stragrande maggioranza di questi hanno una cosa in comune: in modo più o meno diretto lavorano in virtù di software libero e opensource. Cosa che, a conti fatti, non stupisce: basta una partita IVA e si è istantaneamente abilitati all’erogazione di servizi web, dal sito WordPress/Drupal/Joomla all’e-commerce Magento/Prestashop/ZenCart all’applicazione custom (e magari al backend che fornisce i dati ad una app mobile, che da sola serve fino ad un certo punto) in Python/Ruby/Javascript, il tutto pubblicato su un web server Apache/Nginx/Node, un database MySQL/PostGreSQL/Mongo e dozzine di altre diavolerie a corredo che girano su una macchina Linux. E che non costano un euro di licenza, e sono liberamente fruibili da chiunque abbia il tempo e la voglia di mettersi a smanettare, produrre e vendere. L’unica spesa da sostenere è il server su cui hostare i prodotti dei clienti, ma certo si può iniziare con una macchina da 10 euro al mese. E questo non da ieri mattina, ma da anni.

    È difficile trovare delle stime sui numeri di professionisti ICT oggi all’opera, men che meno divisi per settore di riferimento o piattaforma d’adozione, ma confido di non spararla troppo grossa (ed anzi di assumere un atteggiamento conservativo) se affermo che i posti di lavoro oggi “attribuibili” – per dirla a la Apple – all’immediata disponibilità di tecnologie libere, aperte, personalizzabili e persino a costo zero si aggira intorno al mezzo milione.

    Evidentemente io non sono un fine economista, né tantomeno un accorto politico, in quanto mi sfugge perché, numeri (calcolati a spanne ma comunque verosimili) alla mano, si preferisca assecondare una azione a sostegno di un mercato che sinora ha prodotto 75000 posti, monca (una volta che sai fare la app iOS, al cliente che gli dici? Di andare dai cinesi per il restante 78% di utenti?) ed a diretto beneficio dell’ecosistema di una azienda statunitense, anziché prestare un occhio di riguardo per un bacino di 500000 operatori la cui totalità del fatturato ha immediata ricaduta locale.
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