Open Source Makes Headway in Governance – Open Source Weekly Wrap Up

Open Source Wrap Up: August 1 – 7, 2015

18F Releases Style Guide for Open Source Project Documentation

18F is a US Government organization inside the General Services Administration that helps federal agencies adopt modern approaches to managing and delivering digital services. They’ve worked on initiatives with the Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, Department of Defense, and more to help them adopt modern technologies. A big part of the work 18F does is rooted in open source, and the organization has released a style guide for open source projects.

The guide includes information to improve a project’s success on places like GitHub. It covers things like naming the project, writing repo descriptions, writing good README files, and best practices for using a wiki. The guide is full of great information about how to best help potential contributors through proper documentation.

Check out the Open Source Style Guide here.

US House of Representatives Open Doors to Open Source Software

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) have announced the launch of an open source caucus to “serve as a bipartisan, informal group of Members dedicated to fostering understanding of the pivotal role open source technology plays in private sector innovation.” This comes in the wake of the collaboration between the OpenGov Foundation, Sunlight Foundation, and the Congressional Data Coalition to allow staff within the U.S House of Representatives to use official resources to procure open source software, participate in open source communities, and to contribute software code upstream under an open license. The last month has been great for open source in the US Federal Government that will hopefully result in more positive policies towards open source use and development.

FDA Launches Open Source Precision Medicine Platform

The US Food and Drug Administration has announced the launch of precisionFDA, a new open source platform that will allow community sharing of genomic information. This is a part of the White House’s Precision Medicine Initiative that seeks to build a community around best-practices and democratize the submission process to the FDA. The startup DNAnexus has been chosen to develop the platform; the key objectives listed on their blog include:

  • Exploring the use of a cloud-based portal, precisionFDA, to create a community around open-source genomic analysis pipelines, reference data, and analytical processing resources.

  • Determining appropriate and auditable levels of security, privacy, and governance control to ensure the protection of collaborators’ intellectual property and protected information, while enabling interaction within the community.

  • Providing an initial set of reference genomic data models and reference analysis pipelines.

  • Independent genomic analysis and data management work areas that can be kept private or shared with owner’s choice of collaborators, the public, or FDA for vetting or validation.

Read more at the FDA blog.

Samsung Uncovers and Repairs Bug with Linux TRIM

A worker for the search company Algolia recently uncovered a problem where data was being erased erroneously by SSD TRIM functionality on Linux, resulting in data loss. Initially, the TRIM implementation on Samsung SSDs was suspected as the culprit. However, after more than a month of investigation, a race condition bug in the Linux Kernel has been identified as the root cause, and a fix has been added to the Kernel. Individuals from multiple companies collaborated on a solution to this problem including Oracle, Samsung, and Algolia.

Author: Ben Lloyd Pearson

Ben is an open source technologist experienced in a wide array of modern IT tools. He's done a bit of everything, from web development, to systems administration, web publishing, and beyond.