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Open Source Software: A History

Open Source Software: A History

David Bretthauer

The Open Source Definition allows greater liberties with licensing than the GPL does. In particular, the Open Source Definition allows greater promiscuity when mixing proprietary and open-source software.”38 This is Richard Stallman’s objection to OSS – that it allows the inclusion of proprietary software and ignores the philosophical issue of software freedom. Without these freedoms, there is no philosophical imperative to improve one’s community. Nevertheless, “[w]e disagree on the basic principles, but agree more or less on the practical recommendations. So we can and do work together on many specific projects. We don’t think of the Open Source movement as the enemy.39

This is a point reiterated by many who are active in various competing open source and free software packages. While this article has focused on a number of differences between operating systems, approaches to collaboration, and the evolution of various license agreements, this focus is at the micro level. At the macro level, nearly everyone mentioned in this article would prefer a competing open source or free package to a proprietary software package. In the future those who have blazed new trails will continue to argue the finer distinctions between their respective works. However, the various groups involved are willing to work with and support one another’s right to choose a different approach to solving a problem. And it is clear these individuals look forward to another generation building upon the successes of the past thirty years.

A useful history – with a valuable conclusion which I have quoted above. Another item from the Information Technology and Libraries site. This link is to a special issue of the magazine: Volume 21, Number 1, March 2002 – SPECIAL ISSUE: Open Source Software – JEREMY FRUMKIN, Guest Editor.

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Psyber Resources Tech

GNU Free Documentation License

GNU Free Documentation License

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Philosophy Science Tech World

Jim Kent & the Genome Data

O’Reilly Network: Keeping Genome Data Open [Apr. 05, 2002]

“Jim Kent was a graduate student in biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), when he wrote the program that allowed the public human genome team to assemble its fragments just before Celera’s private, commercial effort. His program ensured that the human genome data would remain in the public domain. Kent wrote the 10,000-line program in a month, because he didn’t want to see the genome data locked up by commercial patents.”

A hero indeed! One of the spin-offs from now using GNU/Linux is that it is easier to see how locking away human knowledge for the benefit of the rich is just evil!