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May 25 2011

Four short links: 25 May 2011

  1. OTD Lessons Learned v1 (PDF) -- Dept of Defense report on use of open technologies. Advocates against forking open source projects, and provides specific guidance for groups looking to use OSS so they can navigate the military's producement policies and procedures in a way that'll deliver the best chance of success for the project. Imagine if only the manufacturer of a rifle were allowed to clean, fix, modify or upgrade that rifle. The military often finds itself in this position with taxpayer funded, contractor developed software: one contractor with a monopoly on the knowledge of a military software system and control of the software source code. (via John Scott)
  2. depth.js -- Javascript for Chrome and Safari that lets the Kinect interact with web pages. (via Javascript Weekly)
  3. A Liberating Betrayal (Simon Phipps) -- Microsoft have told Digium (makers of Asterisk) that they can't sell their Asterisk-Skype interaction module after July 26. Simon notes that this reveals the fundamental problem with "open core" approaches to open source business. The proprietary interests hold all the cards here. The community can't just "rehost and carry on" because the crucial add-on is proprietary. Even if wasn't, the protocol it's implementing is proprietary and subject to arbitrary change - very likely to happen if anyone attempts to reverse-engineer the interface and protocol. Asterisk may be open source, but if you're dependent on this interface to connect with your customers on Skype you've no freedoms - that's the way "open core" works.
  4. Zero Install -- Zero Install is a decentralised cross-distribution software installation system. Just hit 1.0. (via James Williams)

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