The free and open source revolution started at Carnegie Mellon. Richard Stallman had asked a Carnegie Mellon Professor (and former Xerox Parc researcher) for the source code to a Xerox laser printer that was causing the MIT AI lab problems. Problems that caused a jammed printer to back up print jobs. Stallman wanted to fix the issue and give the solution back to Xerox.
The Professor refused citing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) he had signed. “I was so angry I couldn’t think of a way to express it. So I just turned away and walked out without another word,” Stallman recalls. “I might have slammed the door. Who knows? All I remember is wanting to get out of there.”
And as they say, the rest is history.
The FOSS Revolution
On our Research and FOSS History
We noticed how often early FOSS pioneers used revolutionary themes and language to describe the battle with proprietary software vendors and IT departments. Therefore we thought the revolutionary theme appropriate.
We know and understand that there are huge bodies of FOSS history that we have missed. But we tried to cover the primary highlights and educate our readers at the same time. It’s a great story and one we enjoyed putting together.
The Rise of Open Source
Free and Open Source (FOSS) software used to be the domain of hackers and fringe IT. They were an eclectic group focused on ideals rather than a business profit. To them, not sharing software was morally wrong.
Yet during the last 10 – 15 years, a hybrid model has emerged. Perhaps unknowingly, those early FOSS pioneers started a movement and new forms of business models that are threatening the old proprietary guard within today’s largest businesses.
On Part II – The New Age of Achievement
We’re going to take a closer look at the last 10 years and explain why the new FOSS companies are going to usher in a new age of economic achievement.
P.S. Who do you believe is the Benedict Arnold of Free and Open Source? Please give us your comments below.