August 29th, 2020
Bruce Perens unveils a plan to get FOSS developers paid, Mozilla continues to disappoint, Blender and Redis Labs are in the money, containers are back in the headlines, new tooling could see desktop Android explode, and so, so much more.
Show Transcript and Links
One of the godfathers of open source is proposing a new way forward for the entire community. Bruce Perens is credited with popularizing the term open source, and in a video posted this week reflected on how the movement had been successful, but also where it had failed to live up to expectations. The big issue that Perens drew attention to was the difficulty in funding FOSS development, and making sure that those working on code were fairly compensated. Perens believes that a new approach is now needed to help support developers, and has proposed an alternate model. His plan is based around a very restricted set of licenses, and the centralised collection of usage fees. These fees would be charged to anyone commercially benefiting from Free and Open Source Software, and the money raised would be passed back to the developers creating it. Meanwhile, the organization that Perens helped co-found over twenty years ago, the Open Source Initiative, has opened registration for its upcoming State of the Source virtual summit. The OSI is looking to use the event to bring the broader community together, and to also help imagine what the future might look like for open source, and the place of the organization within it.
• Bruce Perens: What Comes After Open Source
• Join us for OSI's first State of the Source Summit!
Mozilla might have been hoping that the release of Firefox 80 this week would have drawn attention away from its recent round of layoffs, but the update hasn't been well received by all of its users. While the new desktop version brought few changes to the browser, many mobile users seem to have been taken by surprise by the major overhaul that just landed. And although some have welcomed the user interface refresh, many have taken to the Google Play Store to file one-star reviews that complain about the changes, and the fact that previously useful extensions are no longer supported by the new version. Meanwhile, the Firefox mixed reality team has become just the latest to downsize its ambitions due to Mozilla's restructuring. While it does intend to keep working with industry partners on developing standards, Firefox's own virtual reality platforms are effectively getting mothballed for now, with no major updates being planned after the end of the month.
• If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended
• Update on Mozilla Mixed Reality
Ubisoft has renewed its commitment to the Blender Foundation by continuing to fund the project as a Corporate Gold sponsor. The donation is worth thirty thousand euros to the project, and comes on top of the support that Ubisoft has been providing by organizing Blender-focused events, and open sourcing a real-time collaboration tool for users of the project's 3D edition.
• Ubisoft Renews Development Fund Membership
Google has announced the creation of a steering committee for the Istio project. Possibly stung by the criticism it received over the recent transfer of Istio to the Google-dominated Open Usage Commons, the company is setting up a committee to oversee the project's administration. The new body will offer more opportunity for community input, as well as representing the interests of the project's corporate contributors.
• Introducing the new Istio steering committee
Google also made a significant announcement in the mobile space this week, by introducing the alpha release of Jetpack Compose for Android. The new tooling aims to help developers move away from using clunky XML files to craft their user interfaces, and is designed to work with the company's Android Studio development environment.
• Announcing Jetpack Compose Alpha!
Elsewhere, the Android Generic project should make it far easier for mobile developers to get custom ROMs running on desktop computers. The project uses Android-x86 as a base, but attempts to modularize other components within the software stack. A number of custom Android ROMs have already been ported to the desktop using the new build scripts, and it looks as though others will soon follow their lead.
• The Android Generic project aims to bring popular custom ROMs to your PC
The two largest Linux podcast networks have each come up with proposals to help the community, and to boost their own profiles. The team behind Destination Linux was first out of the gate, putting forward the idea of leveraging the community to help distribution maintainers test their work on hardware that they don't usually have access to. Not to be left behind, Jupiter Broadcasting then announced that it intends to start running regular bugathons, where its listeners will help distributions squash bugs in the lead up to their final release dates.
• Linux Has A Hardware Problem And We Need To Solve It
• The Best is Yet to Come | LINUX Unplugged 368
And finally today, elementary OS has been working on getting its distro running on the Pinebook Pro. The team has blogged about the hurdles that they faced in bringing up support for the platform, and while the build is currently rather rough and ready, it is now available for financial backers of the project to download and try.
• elementary OS on Pinebook Pro