The Future of Open Source

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A system without a display, for example, could discourage the development of graphical applications, or if it were difficult for several people to interact with the same application this could discourage some educational uses. Moreover, Fano noted that after a system starts to develop in a particular direction, work in this direction is preferred and it accelerates the development in this direction. As a result, “the inherent characteristics of a time-sharing system may well have long-lasting effects on the character, composition, and intellectual life of a community” (cf.
Tuomi, 2002: 86).
The modern concept of proprietary software emerged in the 1970s, when the computer- equipment industry began to unbundle software from hardware, and independent software firms started to produce software for industry-standard computer platforms.
Over the decade, this development led to the realization that software was associated with important intellectual capital which could provide its owners with revenue streams. In 1983, AT&T was freed from the constraints of its earlier antitrust agreement, which had restricted its ability to commercialize software, and it started to enforce its copyrights in the popular Unix operating system. The growing restrictions on access to source code also started to make it difficult to integrate peripheral equipment, such as printers, into the developed systems. This frustrated many software developers, and led Richard Stallman to launch the GNU project in 1983 and the Free
Software Foundation in 1985. Stallman’s pioneering idea was to use copyrights in a way that guaranteed that the source code would remain available for further development and that it could not be captured by commercial interests. For that purpose,
Stallman produced a standard license, the GNU General Public License, or GPL, and set up to develop an alternative operating system that would eventually be able to replace proprietary operating systems.
Although the GNU Alix/Hurd operating-system kernel never really materialized, the
GNU project became a critical foundation for the open-source movement. The tools developed in the GNU project, including the GNU C-language compiler GCC, the C-language runtime libraries, and the extendable Emacs program editor, paved the way for the launching of other open-source projects. The most important of these became the
Linux project, partly because it was the last critical piece missing from the full GNU operating-system environment. Eventually, the core Linux operating system became
The Future of Open Source combined with a large set of open-source tools and applications, many of which relied on the GNU program libraries and used the GPL.
The first version of the Linux operating system was released on the Internet in mid-September 1991. The amount of code in the first Linux release was quite modest.
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