Why Congress should invest in open-source software

In response to past crises, investments in physical infrastructure have helped the United States recover and thrive after significant challenges. After both the Great Depression and the Great Recession, for example, increased investment in transportation infrastructure was a key part of bringing the American economy back from disaster.  

The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant economic crisis requires a similarly significant response, but it also asks of lawmakers to consider what is next. We can’t just invest in highways—we also need to invest in the technology underpinning the information superhighway. To rebuild from one of the greatest challenges of our time, the United States must invest both in physical and digital infrastructure to secure its recovery.

For the last few years, both Democrats and Republicans have called for major infrastructure investments, only for them not to materialize. These efforts to fund infrastructure investment have focused on the physical world—highways, railroads, bridges. While those are important areas for investment, we must not forget the equal importance of digital infrastructure, especially the free and open-source software (FOSS) that is built mostly by volunteer labor and underpins the digital world. FOSS is even working its way into the physical world, as it is built into our phones, cars, and refrigerators.

FOSS began in the 1980s as an effort to give developers the ability to tinker with and alter software, which was prevented by most software vendors at the time. This led to the “free” in FOSS being defined as “Free as in Free Speech, not as in Free Beer,” although frequently the software was also free of costs. For years, FOSS was primarily the domain of hobbyists, but as computing and the internet became a larger part of daily life, so too did FOSS. The untiring efforts of countless volunteers collaborating remotely eventually led

Why Enterprises Should Invest in Cloud Learning for Staff

With the rise in remote work, the cloud industry has experienced extraordinary growth, largely due to enterprise businesses transitioning their physical IT infrastructure to the cloud. Along with this rapid expansion into cloud technology comes the need for a workforce with cloud expertise.

At the moment, the IT needs are changing faster than the employees in charge of these programs can handle. In fact, only 56% of cloud leaders report having an actionable plan to upskill their workforce in cloud environments.

The lack of planning surrounding employee training is only one of the pain points that comes with navigating the complexity of the cloud. Other barriers to success include a lack of internal skills and knowledge, balancing competing priorities with day-to-day work, and providing enough time for employees to study the ins and outs of the major cloud providers, while also doing their existing full-time jobs. 

A Cloud Guru, which specializes in modern tech skills development, recently analyzed more than 3 million hours of its user data and surveyed 26,000 cloud learners—including IT leaders, engineers and developers— to compile its State of Cloud Learning Report. The report sheds light on the reality of the industry, uncovering details about the most popular cloud learning platforms, the barriers to growth in cloud expertise, and the future of cloud skills development.

While the report highlights some of the biggest roadblocks to cloud learning, it also lays out a clear path for the integration of cloud learning into everyday business operations. In this eWEEK Data Pints article, ACG explains four actionable ways to support cloud learning and which cloud environments enterprise leaders should be prioritizing.  

Data Point No. 1: Cloud technology education accelerates companywide innovation. 

It’s clear that cloud expertise, measured via certifications and hands-on experience, is growing in value for both companies

Reliance says GIC, TPG to invest about $1 billion in retail arm

(Reuters) – Indian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd said on Saturday Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and global private equity firm TPG Capital invested a combined 73.50 billion rupees (about $1 billion) in its retail unit.

Reliance, controlled by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, has secured more than $2 billion in investments from global investors, including KKR & Co, Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala and Silver Lake Partners, in Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd over the past few months.

GIC will invest 55.12 billion rupees for a 1.22% stake, while TPG Capital Management will invest 18.38 billion rupees to own a 0.41% equity stake in the retail arm, the company said.

The investments in Reliance Retail values the company at a pre-money equity value of 4.285 trillion rupees ($58.47 billion), Reliance said.

This is TPG Capital’s second investment in Reliance. In June, the firm invested $598 million in Reliance’s digital unit Jio Platforms.

Mumbai-headquartered Reliance has approached investors in Jio Platforms about buying stakes in its retail arm, Reuters had reported in September.

Reliance, already India’s biggest retailer with roughly 12,000 stores, forged a $3.38 billion deal in August to acquire rival Future Group’s retail business.

The conglomerate is also expanding its so-called new commerce venture, which ties neighborhood stores to Reliance for online deliveries of groceries, apparel and electronics in a space currently dominated by Walmart Inc’s Flipkart and Amazon.com Inc’s Indian arm.

($1 = 73.2900 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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Google to invest $1bn in deals with news partners: CEO

Google plans to invest $1 billion on partnerships with news publishers worldwide to develop a “Showcase” app to highlight their reporting packages, CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement Thursday.

“This financial commitment — our biggest to date — will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience,” Pichai said.

Google has locked horns with publishers repeatedly in recent years over its reluctance to pay for displaying articles, videos and other content in its search results, which has become a vital path for reaching viewers as print subscriptions fade.

It is currently in a standoff with several European media groups, including Agence France-Presse, over its refusal to comply with a new EU law governing digital copyrights.

The US giant says it should not have to pay to display pictures, videos or text snippets alongside search results, saying it drives hundreds of millions of visits to publishers’ websites each month.

It also points to millions of euros invested to support media groups in other ways, including emergency funding during the Covid-19 crisis.

Pichai said Google had already signed up almost 200 publications in several countries, including Der Spiegel in Germany and Brazil’s Folha de S. Paulo, but the list lacked any from the United States or France.

Google News Showcase, he said, will highlight “the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences.”

The new product would be available first on Google News via its Android platform and later on Apple’s iOS, and eventually be added to search results and Google’s Discover feed of tailored content for users.

“It will start rolling out today to readers in Brazil and Germany, and will expand to