Tech Talk June 6th, 2018.

• Georg von Tiesenhausen, the last of the German rocket team that launched the US space programme, has died at his Alabama home. He was 104.

US Space & Rocket Center spokeswoman Pat Ammons confirmed to The Associated Press on yesterday that von Tiesenhausen died on Sunday.

Von Tiesenhausen started his career in 1943 at the German Rocket Center in Peenemeunde, Germany, where he held the position of section chief. It was there that his career in rocket development began.

The famed scientist worked alongside Wernher von Braun during World War II in Germany. Several years after the war, von Tiesenhausen joined von Braun in Huntsville, Alabama. While there, von Tiesenhausen proved instrumental in forming the backbone of the US space programme, ultimately aiding in the launch of the first US satellite and the first US astronauts. While at the Marshall Space Flight Center, von Tiesenhausen designed and created the famous lunar rover that accompanied the last three Apollo missions in 1971 and 1972.

Von Tiesenhausen developed the reputation as Marshall’s resident dreamer, working tirelessly to achieve his goal of establishing a permanent lunar base and then one on Mars.

The rocketry pioneer was presented a lifetime achievement award in 2011 by Neil Armstrong at the rocket center in Huntsville. Von Tiesenhausen was fondly known as “Von T” by his colleagues, including Armstrong.

• Microsoft is paying $7.5bn for the popular coder hangout GitHub as the maker of Windows further embraces the types of open-source projects it used to shun.

CEO Satya Nadella said the all-stock deal pairs Microsoft with the “world’s leading software development platform”, a destination where developers around the world go to share and review each other’s code.

As Microsoft built its business on proprietary software such as the Windows operating system, it came to be seen as an antagonist to the open-source philosophy of free software written by a collaborative community of developers. The company has been working for years to shed that reputation, especially after Nadella took over in 2014.

“Developers will be at the centre of solving the world’s most pressing challenges,” Nadella said in a blog post Monday. “However, the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code and build on each other’s work.”

This is not the first time Microsoft has bought into a community. Its biggest-ever deal was its $27bn acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016.

GitHub, a San Francisco startup, was founded in 2008 and has grown sharply since announcing its first outside investment in 2012.


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