Code for the Kingdom Hackathon in Silicon Valley
When: June 28-30, 2013
Where: YetiZen at 540 Howard Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA
Code for the Kingdom is a weekend hackathon for techies, designers, and entrepreneurial starters. Using prayer and technology, we tackle from a Christian perspective the challenges confronting our society, our churches, and our spiritual lives . Technology alone is insufficient.
Ever felt like you had a really good idea for an app that could change people’s lives and make the world a better place? Perhaps the only thing stopping you from taking action was you didn’t know where to start, or thought no one else would be interested? Well, hear that sound? That is opportunity knocking on your door.
We are asking people to design, implement and showcase new ideas for a mobile application that could benefit society and help to build a brighter future.
IBM has also announced a new collaboration with Red Hat and SUSE "to meet increasing demand from businesses in China for optimized and pre-integrated computing systems running enterprise applications on Linux." ...
At the OpenStack summit last month we caught up with Ubuntu and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth.
Below is a quick snippet taken from our chat with Mark where he talks about the Dell XPS 13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik. Mark dubs the system "freakin' awesome" and the "environment of choice for anyone doing web or cloud development." :)
They have posted about this release on their blog. This is an amazing example of a blog post! It has all the right stuff to interest people in their product and really raises the bar for others when it comes to making an announcement of a free/open source release.
Explanation of why they went free/open source:
We’ve had a lot of interest in the Turbulenz Engine via our SDK packages and many of the people who try it out have praised the features and performance. However, two issues that have often come up are any sort of restrictive licensing and the ease of getting things started.
By releasing the Turbulenz Engine as open source under a standard liberal MIT license we hope to ease the adoption costs and ensure that people don’t feel in any way restricted by using the Engine
How to get started:
If you want to take a look, the best place to start is the README which you can find on the Github project page and included in the source. This details how to set up a development environment and includes a short getting started guide on how to use the Turbulenz Engine APIs. From here we recommend going through the Getting Started guide and reviewing all the documentation online.
The engine is also available bundled in an easy to install SDK for Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. This might be an easier option if you’re looking for a packaged-up and fully QA’d snapshot of the engine. All future SDK releases will contain the open source engine with the associated MIT license. (Earlier versions of the SDK were released with a partially open license which has now been deprecated.) The bundled SDK is available from the Turbulenz developer service.
How to contribute:
We know there is a large and growing community interested in HTML5 game development and we hope that people will find this project an empowering contribution to game and Internet technology domains. Now that the project is fully available as open source and easily accessible via GitHub all contributions are gladly welcomed. Please send the project a pull request or post a git diff patch on the Turbulenz Engine google group.
Please help spread the word to your friends and followers by sharing this announcement online. We want to make sure that anyone thinking about making a game with HTML5 is aware of Turbulenz as a free and open source solution that comes packed with high performance features.
The impact of these blog posts on your organization’s brand are very positive. With the smallest amount of effort, your organization can be seen as making a valued contribution to the free/open source community and can be seen as raising the quality of their products and services.
Here are some other great free/open source announcements:
The Sunlight Foundation and the Media Standards Trust worked together on a project called Churnalism. It’s a web browser extension available for Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Their announcement is a good example of how to announce a project. In the 1st paragraph they’re giving credit to the teams involved in building the project and they give us a brief overview as to the purpose of the project. The 2nd paragraph tells us how to use the project with links (very important!) to the project so that you can try it out yourself. They include a video tutorial to further explain how the tool works.
Further down in the article they tell us more about how the project was developed and link to another blog post with more details:
Sunlight’s Churnalism is based on a UK site of the same name and is driven by open-source text analysis technology dubbed SuperFastMatch, both developed by the awesome Media Standards Trust. For a deeper dive into the underlying technology and process behind the project, check out this detailed post from Drew Vogel, another developer on Churnalism.
There’s also a privacy concern with the project, so they clearly state and what they’ve done to mitigate that risk:
We understand the privacy sensitivities with an extension extracting text from what you read, so we’ve designed Churnalism to be quite customizable and never retain identifiable information such as your IP address. You can easily change which sites Churnalism runs on by going into the settings for the browser extension. We’ve provided a basic whitelist of major news sites, a listing of local news affiliates and the ability to let Churnalism run on any site with news or article in url, but all these can be removed or paired down (or expanded!) to whatever sites you’re interested in.
Unlike the announcement by Airbnb for their Rendr.js library or the announcement by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid for quantitative analysis tools, the announcement for Churnalism doesn’t state why the project has been released as free/open source, and they don’t try and play up why free/open source is important to them. This shouldn’t always be done; if there’s a way to promote your organization’s brand further and to state their commitment to collaborating in a free/open source community, it should be done.
To summarize, when you announce the first public version of your project, released under a free/open source license, you should do the following things:
- clearly state the purpose of the project, this will establish the target audience and the types of users to expect to use the project
- describe how the target audience can use the software
- answer these questions:
- is there a demo?
- can anyone download the software and run it?
- can it be tried out on the web?
- which platforms are supported?
- link to other blog posts or articles or Wikipedia articles that explain how your software works behind the scenes
- link to other blog posts that are testimonials and use cases of your software
- promote any other free/open source projects that your organization is working on or contributing to
I like a few things about this article:
they define “open source” with a simple definition,
Open source software is that which, once it is received, can be used any way one wishes: it can be redistributed (for free or for a fee) and modified, if one knows how to do so.
they mention an advantage of participating in free/open source development,
The main advantage for companies when they participate in open source software projects is that, because they are participating in a development community, they are sharing costs with the other participants, so company resources can be used more efficiently. “The risks come from there as well: you are dependent, as least partially, on how well, or how poorly the development community behaves,” warns the researcher.
they also state that free/open source is much more transparent and therefore much easier to verify for correctness,
The difference that exists in the evaluation process with respect to proprietary software is that, in the majority of open source software projects the data sources are public, because these projects are very interested in transparency. This makes it possible for anyone to analyze reliable data without the need to even have agreements with the projects. In the case of proprietary software this is impossible: it is only for authorized users who have a special agreement with the program’s producer.
Airbnb has released Rendr, a library for the node.js that allows the use of Backbone.js on the server side. This is a bit too technical for my tastes and I would like to focus on what I really like about their announcement.
The blog post is a great example of one way for an organization to announce the release of a free/open source project. It describes the purpose of the software, the features that it has, the functionality that it provides, and they also give some details about their internal uses of other free/open source software.
In particular, they tell us exactly how long they’ve used this software they’re releasing which gives us confidence that the code meets LinkedIn’s high standards:
We’ve been using Rest.li for well over a year at LinkedIn. All our new services are built using it and we’ve converted many of our pre-existing services over. We think it’s so important to have a uniform set interfaces that represent our data that we’re aggressively migrating all, yes all, our services to Rest.li. And we’re already well into this transition with many core services that power our site using Rest.li, including people following, our recommendation engine systems and the network update stream on the homepage.
It also gives us confidence that they won’t abandon the project a few months after releasing it. This increases the chances of a community of developers forming around the project.
Collabora, according to their website, is a real-world open source consulting firm. They have sponsored the following projects and have also made significant code contributions to them:
- GStreamer, the free/open source multimedia kit
- PiTiVi, a video editor for GNU/Linux
- WebKit, the web browser engine used by Google Chrome and Apple Safari