Giant robots and open source

Gibbs wants a giant Japanese robot for Christmas and finds a great FOSS repository.

I know why you're excited this week ... you've seen the "Kuratas", a 13 foot tall, 9,900-pound robot you can ride in at speeds of up to 6 miles per hour and which is equipped with a water bottle cannon and Gatling guns that can fire 6,000 BBs per minute (the operator can fire the armaments just by smiling ... no, really, watch the video).

Click to see: 13 foot tall Kuratas robot from Suidobashi Heavy Industry

The Kuratas robot, built by Japanese artist Kogoro Kurata and marketed by Suidobashi Heavy Industry, can be controlled by the onboard operator, a remote control device, or a smartphone and runs V-Sido, a "next generation robot OS".

A Kuratas complete with custom paint job can be yours (according to Gizmag) for only $1,523,500. Order early for your next trade show to avoid disappointment. (Kuratas, of course, gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5. How could I not rate it like that when I want to find one under my Christmas tree ... of course, that's going to be a Christmas tree of epic proportions.)

So, on to more prosaic topics ...

Do you use Open Source Software (OSS)? If you do you are probably aware of the various types of OSS licenses and terms in those licenses that your organization needs to be able to square away with organizational policies and industry regulations.

But which OSS packages do you use?

That's actually not a simple question because many commercial software products use OSS in subsystems you may not be aware of. So, to ensure your organization is in compliance with legal requirements you first need to know which OSS packages you are really using and that is not an easy thing to do

I should say that wasn't an easy thing to do because OpenLogic, a company that provides open source support, scanning, provisioning and governance solutions for enterprises, provides a free, open source tool called OSS Discovery Audit Edition you can use to scan for embedded open source software packages.

OSS Discovery Audit Edition can recognize over 330,000 open source packages and is available for Linux, Solaris, Windows, OS X and FreeBSD.

And in case you're not completely up to date on issues of using OSS and/or distributing software that uses OSS, OpenLogic has a useful e-book to help you understand the issues: "Guide to Adopting and Distributing Open Source Software".

OpenLogic' OSS Discovery Audit Edition gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.

If you're researching open source software another useful resource is ohloh, "a free, public directory of Free and Open Source Software and the contributors who create and maintain it" run by Black Duck Software.

The Ohloh index "is editable by everyone, like a wiki" but it is "not a forge — it does not host projects and code. Ohloh is a directory, a community, and analytics and search services. By connecting to project source code repositories, analyzing both the code's history and ongoing updates, and attributing those updates to specific contributors, Ohloh can provide reports about the composition and activity of project code bases, and aggregate this data to track the changing demographics of the FOSS world."

Ohloh also offers Ohloh Code, a free, publicly available code search services that indexes "most of the projects in Ohloh." This service allows you to search for any text within files and file names or for strings specifically included in classes, functions, interfaces, methods, structures, or files.

Ohloh recently announced that the data derived from its huge code repository (FOSS project activity metrics) is now licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License and is accessible via an API.

Ohloh and Ohloh Code get a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.

Gibbs is sourced from Ventura, Calif. Explain your provenance to and follow him on Twitter (@quistuipater) and on Facebook (quistuipater).

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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