Ford Goes Open Source to Speed App Development

“Ford is a leader in this space and they chose a strategic decision to move like Google did with Android and be as open as possible,” Mark Boyadjis, an analyst at IHS Automotive, told Wired. “Getting these systems embedded and perfected is not something that can be leveraged by Ford or their technology partner alone. This has to be an open environment.”

Even though more automakers are offering in-dash app platforms, there’s little incentive for developers to create specific apps for cars. Developing apps for the relatively limited number of vehicle platforms available – and having to re-code for each automaker’s platform – pales in comparison to creating even a decently successful app for Apple’s App Store or Google Play. It’s the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma, and why most automakers offer only a handful of generic apps like Pandora.

Ford is establishing an open-source Genivi project that will contain the code and documentation necessary to implement AppLink software into any vehicle’s infotainment system for iOS  and Android devices. The code, known as SmartPhoneLink, will be released under a BSD open-source license.

“Developers will have access to the software code for the audio head unit and the set of APIs for the smartphone apps and can implement it in their own way,” says Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services. “This announcement is about the vehicle-side software being agnostic … and can run on Windows Embedded, QNX, Linux or other automotive OS.”  VanDagens added that the AppLink brand will only be used for Ford and Lincoln vehicles. “But when it comes to the end product,” Boyadjis notes, “there will be unique Ford elements that make it different or better.”

Autopia –

Building my Own Laptop

We are building an open laptop, with some wacky features in it for hackers like me.

This is a lengthy project. Fortunately, ARM CPUs are getting fast enough, and Moore’s Law is slowing down, so that even if it took a year or so to complete, I won’t be left with a woefully useless design. Today’s state of the art ARM CPUs — quad-core with GHz+ performance levels — is good enough for most day-to-day code development, email checking, browsing etc.

We started the design in June, and last week I got my first prototype motherboards, hot off the SMT line. It’s booting linux, and I’m currently grinding through the validation of all the sub-components. I thought I’d share the design progress with my readers.

Of course, a feature of a build-it-yourself laptop is that all the design documentation is open, so others of sufficient skill and resources can also build it. The hardware and its sub-components are picked so as to make this the most practically open hardware laptop I could create using state of the art technology. You can download, without NDA, the datasheets for all the components, and key peripheral options are available so it’s possible to build a complete firmware from source with no opaque blobs.

bunnie’s blog

Diaspora Founders Distance Themselves From Project, Give It to Users

You could see this one coming: The remaining Diaspora co-founders, who are now working on remixing community site, are pushing off from their open source social network, which initially aspired to be a privacy-conscious Facebook killer. Shark Week on They said today they “are giving control of Diaspora to the community.”


I seriously doubt it but if the governance model is done right, maybe Diaspora* can actually go somewhere.

No, that’s not “it” for Thunderbird…

“Thunderbird is not dead.

Not by a long shot.

Please don’t overreact.

We’re simply not going to pour resources into trying to ‘innovate’ on Thunderbird. Users will still be getting an email client that answers to nobody but them. Users will still benefit from stability, performance and security updates from Mozilla. And their mail will continue to land in their inbox, just as it always has.”

Mike Conley’s Blog

Mozilla to cease development on Thunderbird

“Mozilla has announced it’s ceasing development on Thunderbird; one more version will be released, and it’ll be security updates from then on. ‘Most Thunderbird users seem happy with the basic email feature set. In parallel, we have seen the rising popularity of Web-based forms of communications representing email alternatives to a desktop solution. Given this, focusing on stability for Thunderbird and driving innovation through other offerings seems a natural choice.'”


Actually, although a bit sad for this “much dear friend”, this is good news!

I’ve been realizing that the most proclaimed and loved “quality” of open-source is simultaneously it’s worst enemy and the single major reason why, unfortunately, open-source software is usually not an option. I mean this referring solely at “end-user software”, not open-source libraries or small UNIX-style programs/packages.

The driving feature of open-source is it’s community passion and desire to program something new and exciting. Something that “scratches their itch”. So, as result open-source “new programs and projects” spring everywhere and for all things.

But a mature, robust software is not that very exciting. Simple bug correcting and security updates (the kind that Mozilla says that are the only ones they will be doing for thunderbird) is probably a PITA and dull as hell. I know i would probably hate it.

So, to keep developer momentum and joy, as soon as the program is mainly stable and stuff is just chugging along the way, some need comes along so that we just have to rewrite the entire stuff, or add a revolutionary new interface or just go in another completely absurd direction.

I’ve first experienced this when i changed to linux back in 2007/2008. Switched a lot, try a dozen distros and finally decided i was really comfortable with KDE. Highly polished, highly usable Graphic environment. I assume there was some fundamental need for something different/security/touch/sound/fireworks in the sky or diamonds on strawberry hills and “they” had to change do KDE4. which was utterly unusable back those days, and a complete departure from everything i liked about KDE3.

Switched to gnome after a lot of teeth grinding and adjusting, and when i was getting comfortable using and thought that a good “enterprise class” (stable, robust, simple and clean) product could probably be built on it, “they” had to build something different for security/usability/diamonds or the fireworks or whatever, and then came Gnome3 and/or Unity. And guess what, they’re still pretty much a mess…

I’ve been realizing that of all the open-source software that i use, eventually they all either die in “abandonment” when they are in the “good-enough”/robust phase and all that’s left is some boring maintenance and some loooooong development cycles; or they all got sent back to square one for a complete, utterly unusable, refit/redraw of the whole thing. There’s some exceptions off course but on the whole that ‘s been my general experience.

So unfortunately, i’ve been unconsciously changing (i’ve realized later) to paid software (or backed by some big corporation/foundation) because it allows me my “found something that does what i want, how i want, then i don’t ever change it and just keep using it as i want” behaviour. Which is also the behaviour of most people out there.

I don’t see how this can be fixed in a voluntary driven environment, so i’m kind of pleased that mozilla decided to took this step. The truth is that Thunderbird is already good enough for most, so instead of killing it by abandonment or just dropping the whole thing and starting over, they are just slowly keeping it updated and working for us folks that just want use it and never thinking about it.

I would love that it had some new features though (as a more Mac OS integration or a slightly simpler and slightly cleaner interface) but on the whole the entire thing is pretty much everything you could expect from a multi-platform, free mail client and it’s hard to find a reason to complain strongly about it.

So thanks Mozilla! And may Thundebird keep working along, silently and efficiently for a long, long time!