Linked by David Adams on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 03:53 UTC, submitted by fsmag
GNU, GPL, Open Source We are heading towards a world where we no longer own the hardware we buy -- and there is no point in having free software if you can't own your hardware.
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RE[4]: Is it good or bad?
by vivainio on Mon 2nd Aug 2010 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Is it good or bad?"
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26


Normal people were writing - and publishing - software for the eight bit micro in the late-seventies and early eighties.


Yes, using exactly the stuff the machine came with. There were no free libraries or development tools - just the BASIC interpreter, and possibly an assembler.

I'm not talking about software development in general, I'm talking about getting free stuff from others (which is where open source is relevant).

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RE[5]: Is it good or bad?
by gnufreex on Wed 4th Aug 2010 17:26 in reply to "RE[4]: Is it good or bad?"
gnufreex Member since:
2010-05-06

Being able to freely experiment with software development is a new phenomenon, that mostly started in the 90`s (for normal people).

I had to pirate my Turbo Pascal, you insensitive clod ;-).


That is inaccurate. In the beginning of computer industry, all software was free under MIT like license, under public domain or with no license at all, which again meant public domain at the time. Not distributing source code would be a deal breaker. Just look to testimonials of DEC employees and PDP users. Watch Jon Maddog Hall speeches sometimes. DEC was praised for collaborating with their users on software and even hardware designs. IBM mainframes also shipped with free software until 1978. Just look at this list http://www.ibiblio.org/jmaynard/

The dark era started in second half of 1970s and event that marked start of proprietary software is Bill Gates letter to hobbyists http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Bill_Gates_Lette...
Other event could be AT&T's commercialization of UNIX.

Before that, something distributed in object code only form, was not even called software.

Most programmers found this new world order despicable but they got prisoner dilemma when the got offered jobs at newly founded proprietary companies. So they stopped complaining 'couse they at least got access to source code. Nevermind that others didn't.

But big number of programmers didn't want to remove fun from computing just to make money (because money can also be made without removing fun), and one guy particularly got frustrated when he didn't get printer driver he needed just because nasty EULA which his friend choose to obey. He did some thinking about situation and made his move. He quited MIT, started working on his own OS and then he wrote GNU manifesto in 1983 asking people to join him. We know who that is.

We call that system Linux today because some dude felt he can get all the credit just because he wrote the kernel and slotted it into nearly complete system which he didn't wrote.

Edited 2010-08-04 17:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Is it good or bad?
by vivainio on Wed 4th Aug 2010 17:32 in reply to "RE[5]: Is it good or bad?"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

That is inaccurate. In the beginning of computer industry, all software was free under MIT like license, under public domain or with no license at all, which again meant public domain at the time.


Only a very small elite group even had access to the hardware that ran this "free" software.

The rest of us were storing our monolithic BASIC programs on audio tapes. The only free software you got were the printed program listings in hobbyist magazines (and I don't even know what kind of copyright they were under).

Reply Parent Score: 2