Archive for the ‘open source’ Category

The Tech Community’s Diversity Problem

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Take gender diversity, for one thing. By most counts, the average open source project has 49 male participants for every female participant. Women at conferences - rare enough already! - are assumed to be significant others, designers or visitors from planet marketing, with disastrous consequences for all involved.

This is a problem, for lots of reasons. The worst is that it’s self-perpetuating - women will (wisely!) avoid hostile environments, and through some broken-window-like mechanism, environments without women will quickly become environments that are hostile to women. (The same holds for other visible minorities.)

In discussions about "how to fix this", community leaders often appear to be at a loss, unsure how to progress. Their early efforts are often met by criticism on both sides - techies have a strong libertarian streak that tilts at all sorts of windmills, and the women who do "blaze trails" aren’t always much better than the men. (In fields like physics, chemistry and finance - fields dominated by men for ages - which are, these days, however, beating our numbers by a wide margin - the first generation of women to brave the hostilities and pierce the glass ceiling are often later generations’ harshest critics. "What? You want to have a career and a family? I didn’t have that option. Why should you? You’ll need to learn to drink scotch and smoke cigars like I did, or you’re through.")

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Making Open Source More Respectful

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What worries me instead are the folks who engage in angry discourse that is often based on mis-information, or worse, an immediate assumption that there is malice or ill-will driving the person they disagree with. When did we become so argumentative and mis-trusting? One of the things that attracted me to Open Source when I got involved was the addictive feeling of being surrounded by a community of people with the best intentions in the world. I would meet people who would open their homes up to strangers for Linux User Group meetings, those who would contribute to projects because they like the idea of their work helping others, and within this ecosystem there was an assumption that the organizations who thrive in it have good intentions too. No-one ever questioned Red Hat’s ambitions, or Caldera’s, or Mandrake’s, no-one batted an eye-lid at VA, the humble Linux Emporium, or Loki games.

Today it seems our community is more suspicious than it was, and while there have always been folks on the fringes who assume mal-intent first and engage in rowdy arguments, it worries me that we are seeing more folks like this. What worries me is that this behavior (a) makes the Open Source community look like a group of petulant teenagers, and (b) more worryingly, discourages others from joining our community to help us bring freedom to others because frankly, they don’t want to wake up to a fight every day online.

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Posted: May 1st, 2011
at 7:42am by mnp


Categories: mnp is for the children,open source

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My Ninja, Please! 4.22.11 : Open Source Hardware

Starting off as a Wiki, Marcin Jakubowski is transforming maker culture….for the better! My NINJA, Please! Oh, and happy Earth Day 2011!

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Tim O’Reilly on the Happiness Bus

Talking about the future of healthcare and how he got started.

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Posted: March 16th, 2011
at 11:42pm by mnp


Categories: business,development,entrepreneurship,et cetera,health,open source,weaponry,web

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Open Source is Not About

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Some interesting guidelines for those working in open source, the author then goes into setting good priorities:

Open source is about the opposite of pride. You should never be in the position of treating feedback like unsolicited advice, because the act of publishing IS the solicitation. If you find yourself getting pissed off because someone took time to contact you with a suggestion, ask yourself whether your motivation is really correct.

Never publish source because deep down you want to be congratulated for your cleverness, revered for your impeccable taste and mimicked in your personal style. That’s the path to disappointment, and to being seen (by the people you peevishly and childishly reject) as being a total Grade-A asshole.

The path to peace in open source is to publish because you want to give people an opportunity to express their need to contribute. And in particular, to contribute to a group or cause of their choosing. Many of us are trapped in jobs with mediocre leadership or limited alignment to our own values. Open source is a chance to be part of something in our own time and to contribute to a group that understands what volunteering is really about.

Open source is not about products (read that 10 more times). And it should never be about fame, or adoration, or free bug fixes. It should be about you facilitating others to contribute successfully. No matter how many times you have to request that I slightly alter my course, this is a world without deadlines, without the need to hamper creativity or assert the one true path. Open source is about creating a culture of contributor service, of reorienting your thinking to put contributors first and get the hell out if you’re still dragging around the baggage of "customers" and "brand image" and anything that doesn’t allow people to finally, meaningfully, help. via

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Posted: March 7th, 2011
at 9:25am by mnp


Categories: open source

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Ideas Matter : Internet Freedom and American Power


.:bostonreview.net->

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Posted: March 3rd, 2011
at 4:50pm by mnp


Categories: open source,web

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Montreal as the Next Open Source Hub?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the distinction between innovation and intellectual property- through thought leadership, accelerators and a host of other implementations, will Montreal rise as being the leader in open source in the 21st Century?

Big companies in a tech sector help startups in a lot of ways. First, they're great opportunities for partnerships. Second, they make excellent acquirers. Finally, as executives in a big company hit a "glass ceiling", they tend to peel off and join or start new ventures.

We don't have one in Montreal. I don't think that's going to change soon, except if some of the current Open Source startups grow bigger.A(Source)

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Posted: February 25th, 2011
at 11:27am by mnp


Categories: business,development,entrepreneurship,open source,trademark & copyright

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DIY : Homebrew Microtouch

Sure, the latest "iTouchy" gadgets are pretty cool. But who wants a locked down device?AWhy not build your own touch-screen device, with your own apps, all on open source hardware and using open source tools? OK, it can’t play MP3s, but it does have a 320×240 TFT color display with resistive touch screen, an Atmega32u4 8-bit microcontroller, lithium polymer battery charger, backlight control, micro-SD slot, and a triple-axis accelerometer. Yeah, this is the next big thing and for those of us who like to DIY, you can do a lot of cool stuff with this dev board.

This product is just the Microtouch dev board (preloaded with some demo Apps), and does not include a lithium polymer battery or a microSD card. You will need a lipoly battery with 2-pin JST connector for best performance. It can run straight from USB but due to the charger design, the backlight will be dimmed so it will not appear as bright as with a battery installed.AWe strongly suggest our medium lipoly but you can substitute another 3.7V cell.AA microSD card will be handy if you want to display images, slideshows or animations.

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.:adafruit.com->

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Posted: February 2nd, 2011
at 7:07am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: cell phones,computers,design,development,diy,gear,open source

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Abandoning Free Software

The idea behind the freemium model is great: let everyone use the service or app for free, hope it goes viral, and consequently spend far less on marketing, instead putting it into building a fantastic product. And for a few businesses, this works. The entire free software movement, in my opinion, stems from just a few successful companies who utilized the freemium model: Evernote, Dropbox, Pandora, Automattic, Zynga, and Skype. Perhaps even Facebook and Twitter. The idea of behind the all too frequently heard line: 'we'll get millions of users first, and then worry about revenue' stems from these businesses. The problem is, just about every startup is following this mantra, Aand that's exactly the reason why a lot of them fail.

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Posted: January 1st, 2011
at 9:07pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: development,open source

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