MIT Media Lab defaults to free & open source software

MIT lab that has brought us everything from LEGO MindStorms to Scratch to E Ink shows leadership on open source

MIT Media Lab, that 30-year-old tech innovation factory that has had a huge hand in churning out everything from LEGO MindStorms to the Guitar Hero video game, has now wowed the open source and free software crowd.

Lab Director Joi Ito over the weekend revealed on the Medium blogging platform that MIT Media Lab has changed its approach to software releases to FLOSS (free/libre/open-source software) by default. 

MORE: MIT Media Lab's greatest hits

This effort does away with developers having to get such licenses approved first by an internal committee, which Ito says "always allowed our developers to open-source their work" anyway. 


Conceptual map of FLOSS

What's this? An organization actually trusting its community members to do the right thing?

Apparently so. "As an academic institution, we believe that in many cases we can achieve greater impact by sharing our work," Ito writes.

MIT Media Lab's move has been met with praise online from supporters of Linux and other free or open source software. For example, BrickVest founder Adalbert Wysocki, , tweeted: "Bravo! Protectionism in academics slows down progress." Eric Mill exclaimed on Twitter: "Hell yes -- MIT Media Lab is making open source their default, no bureaucratic approval required... As it should be!"

MIT alum and venture capitalis/entrepreneur Brad Feld, wrote on his blog that "As someone who disdains software patents and is appalled by universities, especially publicly funded ones, acting as patent trolls, I applaud the MIT Media Lab’s move."

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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