Scientists create open source plant seeds to battle corporate shop of horrors

In today's open source roundup: Open source plant seeds for farmers, gardeners and plant breeders. Plus: The Linux Foundation launches the Core Infrastructure Initiative, and why Linux is a great replacement for Windows XP

The open source software development model has proven itself time and time again over the years. Now scientists at the Open Source Seed Initiative have actually taken that model and used it to create seeds for crops for the benefit of everyone. Yes, they have created the first open source seeds to be used in providing plants for food.

According to NPR:

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They're releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that's intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.

It's inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone's proprietary product.

These days, seeds are intellectual property. Some are patented as inventions. You need permission from the patent holder to use them, and you're not supposed to harvest seeds for replanting the next year.

More at NPR
Open Source Plant Seeds

What a fantastic idea! I was aware of the issues of seed control and the creation of "franken-seeds" by large companies, and how that can negatively affect farmers and consumers. But it never occurred to me that someone would basically open source seeds to promote sharing and to protect everyone from narrow-minded and profit-driven corporations. Kudos to the folks that thought this one up.

Linux Foundation and companies announce Core Infrastructure Initiative

The Linux Foundation and companies such as Amazon, Google, VMWare and others have joined together to provide funding for core open source projects in the wake of the Heartbleed bug.

According to The Linux Foundation:

The Core Infrastructure Initiative is a multi-million dollar project to fund and support critical elements of the global information infrastructure. It is organized by The Linux Foundation and supported by Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, RackSpace, and VMware. CII enables technology companies to collaboratively identify and fund open source projects that are in need of assistance, while allowing the developers to continue their work under the community norms that have made open source so successful.

The first project under consideration to recieve funds from the Initiative will be OpenSSL, which could receive fellowship funding for key developers as well as other resources to assist the project in improving its security, enabling outside reviews, and improving responsiveness to patch requests. CII was formed as a response to the Heartbleed security crisis; however, the Initiative’s efforts will not be restricted to security-related issues.

More at The Linux Foundation
Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative
Image credit: The Linux Foundation

This is a great move by the Linux Foundation and the associated companies to support important open source projects like OpenSSL. It will help insure that adequate funding and staffing are available, and it will help make sure that situations like the Heartbleed bug don't happen again. Well done, Linux Foundation.

If you want to support the Linux Foundation, you can make a donation or become an individual member, or your organization can join as a corporate member.

Linux is a great replacement for Windows XP

After mostly trying to ignore the end of Windows XP, I was finally forced to write a response to an article that was quite negative about replacing XP with Linux.

According to Eye On Linux:

I ran across an article today that I just had to cover here on EOL. Infoworld has a meandering column that expresses serious doubts about replacing Windows XP with Linux. It comes complete with a graphic of a hideous looking penguin with yellow and red eyes that looks like something out of somebody’s nightmare. Yes, the media has been reduced to using scary looking penguins to dissuade people from using Linux.

I think what we’re seeing in articles like this is the last gasp of those still loyal to Microsoft’s operating system hegemony. Folks like this are really and truly stuck in the past. A lot of us are already way past that mind-set, and more and more people are joining us each day. I feel sorry for those who’s computing world view still revolves almost completely around Microsoft and Windows, it’s a very dismal place to be with so many exciting things going on in open source.

More at Eye On Linux
Replace Windows XP With Linux
Image credit: InfoWorld

It's unfortunate that there are some folks out there who still aren't aware of the great value that Linux offers to Windows XP users. Hopefully the vast majority of XP users will eventually make the jump to Linux, it's one of the best options they have right now.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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