2018 was one of the biggest years for the Free and Open Source Software community. The community enjoyed plenty of highs and suffered its share of lows.
This is a list of the biggest FOSS milestones in 2018
1. IBM acquired Red Hat
IBM has purchased open source, cloud software business Red Hat for $34 billion in cash and debt. The deal sees IBM betting big on the cloud, specifically cloud services, that blend on-premises and cloud-based architectures. Red Hat will be a distinct unit within IBM’s Hybrid Cloud team, and it will continue to focus on open-source software. The acquisition is expected to close in the latter half of 2019.
2. SUSE acquired
Before IBM bought Red Hat, SUSE was acquired from Micro Focus by EQT. This purchase didn't shake the foundation of the open source world nearly as much as Red Hat purchase, primarily because SUSE doesn't have nearly the foothold in the market as Red Hat does.
First, it was acquired by Novell in 2004. Then, Attachmate, with some Microsoft funding, bought Novell and SUSE in 2010. This was followed in 2014, when Micro Focus purchased Attachmate and SUSE was spun off as an independent division. Eventually, EQT bought it from Micro Focus for $2.5 billion.
3. Microsoft purchases GitHub
Microsoft purchased GitHub for $7.5 billion. The acquisition of GitHub would not herald the end of the open source. In fact, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft said of the deal, "Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness, and innovation".
4. A New set of rules for Linux Kernel developers
A new set of rules were placed for the Linux kernel developers to achieve a new Code of Conduct that replaced the previous Code of Conflict. The Code looked to foster a positive environment by adhering to the following tenets:
• Using welcoming and inclusive language
• Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences
• Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
• Focusing on what is best for the community
• Showing empathy towards other community members
5. Microsoft opens patents
In a surprising move, Microsoft opened 60,000 patents to Open Invention Network. When this happened, the company who was open source enemy number one for years was no longer just using and contributing to open source software, but allowing others to make use of those now-open patents. That was huge news.
To put this into perspective, Microsoft has more than 90,000 patents and 60,000 of them are now open. The other 30,000 started making their way through the Patent and Trademark Office.
A new software service for hosting and managing open source projects, Sr.ht, aims to be an entirely open source alternative to existing services like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket, recreating many of their features.
Created by Drew DeVault and written in a mixture of Python and Go, Sr.ht is now available for public alpha testing by developers. Users can create an account with the hosted version provided by DeVault, or set up the exact same code on cloud or on-prem hardware.
In a blog post announcing public access to the project’s alpha release, DeVault described how Sr.ht is intended to stand apart: “Unlike GitHub, which is almost entirely closed source, and GitLab, which is mostly open source but with a proprietary premium offering, all of Sr.ht is completely open source, with a copyleft license.”
Projects hosted with Sr.ht get their own Git repositories, wikis, bug tracking, continuous integration and build services, mailing lists, and credential management.
Google has announced the release of the Flutter toolkit, Flutter 1.0, the first stable release of Google's UI toolkit for creating native experiences for iOS and Android from a single codebase.
Google said in a blog post "Flutter doesn't replace the traditional Apple and Android app models for building mobile apps; instead, it's an app engine that you can either embed into an existing app or use for an entirely new app".
Flutter is an open source project with a BSD-style license, and includes the contributions of hundreds of developers from around the world. In addition, there's a vibrant ecosystem of thousands of plug-ins. And because every Flutter app is a native app that uses the standard Android and iOS build tools, you can access everything from the underlying operating system, including code and UI written in Kotlin or Java on Android, and Swift or Objective-C on iOS.
Google said "we think of the characteristics of Flutter along four dimensions". Beside it is an open source project, Google wants devolper to use flutter for building beautiful apps, fast devolpment, and producativity.
Flutter tool kit available on Flutter official website and the source code available on the GitHub project board.
Visual Studio was the top of the list of open source projects that received the highest number of unique contributors on GitHub during 2018. Two of 10 projects on this list was Microsoft projects, the other project was Azure Docs which ranked 5 on the top 10 projects list.
The top 10 list, which published by GitHub and showed the projects with highest number of unique contributors between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018, also includes projects from Facebook and Google.
Visual Studio ranked first with over 19K unique contributors. On the other hand, Facebook’s framework for building native apps with React secured the second position on the list with over 10k unique contributors.
Top Open Source Projects On GitHub In 2018
Microsoft/vscode - 19K
Facebook/react-native - 10K
Tensorflow/tensorflow - 9.3K
Angular/angular-cli - 8.8K
MicrosoftDocs/azure-docs - 7.8K
Angular/angular - 7.6K
Ansible/ansible - 7.5K
Kubernetes/kubernetes - 6.5K
npm/npm - 6.1K
DefinitelyTyped/DefinitelyTyped - 6.0K
Microsoft said it intends to use the open-source Chromium browser engine in the desktop version of its Edge browser, promising the two per cent of global internet users who favor Edge an improved web experience.
Edge browser, Despite being the built-in browser on Windows 10, which is installed on around 700 million active devices, the browsers owns just a tiny fraction of the desktop browsing market.
Microsoft is going to abandon its EdgeHTML and Chakra scripting engines, and move to Chromium for their first-party web browser, to improve Edge, hoping more share in the web browsing market.
The move to Chromium as the underpinnings of Edge should improve the situation quite a bit. As well, Microsoft will be releasing versions of Edge based on Chromium for Windows 7, Windows 8, and even macOS, in addition to Windows 10. This should help developers who use those platforms test Edge if they need to.
Edge, which will be developed using chromium, will support chrome web extensions, also well has updates as soon as released to Chrome by Google.
For more information find the Edge page on github: github.com/MicrosoftEdge
Facebook has released the source code of PyText, which is a framework that helps developers conduct natural language processing experiments and roll out the results for deployment.
It includes pre-built models in PyTorch to carry out a range of NLP tasks such as “document classification, sequence tagging, semantic parsing, multitask modeling, and other tasks”.
Facebook uses the framework for Portal, a virtual assistant-like device powered by Amazon’s Alexa but with a camera, and for M, the bot that suggests features in its Messenger platform.
PyText source code published on Github: github.com/facebookresearch/pytext
The newest version of Firefox for desktop and Android, version 64, is out today and it comes with a few nifty features for more intensive tab and extension use.
Mozilla says users will now “see suggestions in regular browsing mode for new and relevant Firefox features, services, and extensions based on how you use the web” a feature that won’t work while in private browsing mode and is not based on your browser history. One such example is Firefox recommending To Google Translate if it sees you’re constantly using Google’s natural language tool.
Another new feature in version 64 is something Mozilla is calling “enhanced tab management.” That means you’ll now be able to select multiple tabs in your tab bar and group them together to move, close, bookmark, or pin them. Firefox’s updated Task Manager will also now tell you the energy impact of individual tabs, in the event you’re using a laptop or Android phone and you are concerned about intensive browser tasks that might be power hogs.
On Android, Mozilla says it’s improved scrolling speed and improved a few other performance-related metrics, but nothing really groundbreaking on the mobile end. All of these features are available now, and you can also download the developer version of Firefox here.
Nvidia has announced that PhysX, which it describes as the most popular physics simulation engine on the planet, is going open source.
Making the GPU-accelerated physics simulation engine open source means anyone can integrate into their games, as well as projects involving AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicle systems.
Nvidia said on blog post "We’re doing this because physics simulation — long key to immersive games and entertainment — turns out to be more important than we ever thought".
PhysX will now be the only free, open-source physics solution that takes advantage of GPU acceleration and can handle large virtual environments.
It’s available as open source under the simple BSD-3 license.
PhysX was previously available to use in commercial projects for free, but the new BSD-3 license also allows people to modify the engine to suit their needs at no cost.
The engine essentially allows for simulating real-world physical behavior in objects in 3D simulations. For example, it allows for more realistic depictions of damage to buildings in games, as well as natural movements for characters and things like paper and cloth.
Nvidia publish the full source code on GitHub: github.com/NVIDIAGameWorks/PhysX-3.4
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