The Year of Crowdfunded Open Source Small Businesses

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2015 was crowded with events for Linux and open source. It was a year in which the runaway success of OpenStack continued, fuelling — among other things, rumors of a Canonical Software public offering. It was also the year of unsuccessful ventures into smartphones by Mozilla, Sailfish, and Ubuntu, and the first appearance of a Steam Machine for gamers. Yet while such big plays grabbed most of the headlines, the most significant trend went almost unnoticed: the emergence of hundreds of products and small businesses made possible by a combination of crowdfunding and open source. With very little publicity, this trend is step by step making both free hardware and the Internet of Things a reality, as well as renewing open source’s original values.

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