Open Source Tech

Pandemic Response, Maintainership, and Funding: Open Source Matters

Welcome to the first edition of Open Source Matters: our regular publication about the latest happenings in open source! Let’s dive into the news.

Linux Foundation Advances Public Health Effort

Last year, the Linux Foundation established a public health initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help health authorities worldwide combat existing and future epidemics. This effort has expanded with the addition of 11 new members and 3 new open source projects:

  • Cardea – A verifiable, trustworthy platform to provide unalterable proof of health tests or vaccination without risking the exposure of private information.
  • Medcreds – A service that enables medical authorities to directly issue test results as verifiable credentials stored in a digital wallet. 
  • Herald – An exposure notification protocol that uses Bluetooth proximity for digital contact tracing.

These projects are in various states of maturity. Still, they represent a noble effort to help our planet respond to the increasing likelihood of global epidemics via open source software.

Open Source Maintainer Week is Next Week

It’s no secret, maintaining open source projects can be challenging. Tidelift, a company that provides monetary support to open source maintainers, is well-familiar with their struggles. This is what inspired their annual Upstream event, which brings together open source project maintainers from around the world to share best practices, ideas, and technologies that help developers manage their open source communities. Upstream will take place on Monday, June 7. This event kicks off Open Source Maintainer Week, which brings together the global open source maintainer community to celebrate their work, share expert knowledge, and build support systems. 
To complement Tidelift’s upstream event, GitHub is hosting its own Global Maintainer Summit June 8 – 9, which aims to tackle the tough challenges open source maintainers face in their professional and personal lives. Both events are free, so if open source maintainership is something that interests you, check them out.

Other Open Source News

Here are some other open source stories that have emerged in recent weeks.

  • Libera Chat emerges from Freenode rift – A group of staff from Freenode, one of the most popular IRC networks, has launched a new competing network named Libera Chat. The split happened over differences in opinions about how the organization should run the network; you can find a detailed discussion on the topic on Hacker News
  • Open Source Spring Cleaning Tips – Spring is a great time to get your life in order, and your open source projects are no exception. This guide provides tips on how you can clean up your project’s security, documentation, and source code. 
  • Babel makes a plea for financial supportBabel is an extremely popular JavaScript compiler that thousands of individuals and companies use. The project has struggled in recent years to generate funding to support development. They’ve published a detailed history and outlook of their financial situation as they seek companies and individuals to provide monetary support to this project that so many people depend on.

Home Assistant and CodeNotary partner on home automation security – The growing list of high-profile security breaches highlights the importance of taking software security seriously. This is particularly true for software that controls something as crucial as your home. Home Assistant, a popular open source home automation platform, has partnered with Code Notary to provide improved software deployment security for home automation.

New Open Source Projects

Here are some of the more notable open source projects that recently launched.

  • Ugly Duckling – A vulnerability scanner that makes it easy for participants in the Detectify Crowdsource program to build proof-of-concept models that are easy to test and validate.
  • Launch – A mechanical keyboard from System76 running open source firmware that can be 100% customized and built from designs licensed under a CC-BY-SA-4.0 license.
  • AWS DeepRacer – The device code and software example projects for the AWS DeepRacer machine learning competition.
  • OpenSLO – An open specification that defines a common approach to Service Level Objectives (SLO) in a vendor-agnostic format.

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Ben Lloyd Pearson is the Director of Developer Marketing for Mattermost. He is a technology generalist who focuses his broad understanding to grow and engage developer audiences through digital media, open source advocacy, and events strategy and operations.