Early Computing Perspective
In the early days of computing ( I am talking about the mid-60's here) there were 2 kinds of software, binary and source code. Binary software was commercial and licensed. The binary software was the Operating system, compilers or libraries for the compilers. Source code was available from any number of sources and was shared amongst enthusiasts as examples to further programming skills. This source code was generally in the public domain, unless it was the source for the aforementioned binary software. Software developers did not worry about copyrights or licensing for what was known as utility software.
The text editor and application programming environment, EMACS was one of the most famous of these utility programs [ 1 ]. The first EMACS was created by Richard Stallman in 1975. James Gosling created the C version of EMACS in 1982 for BSD Unix and allowed Stallman to use the source code for GNU EMACS. However Gosling also sold the rights to his EMACS to UniPress, who then enforced their purchased rights and prevented Stallman from using and distributing portions of now their source code. Stallman had to re-write significant portions of GNU EMACS. Another early programmer of note was Eric S Raymond who worked on these same versions of EMACS at the time. We will see more about Raymond later. The early years of computing were filled with much niavete, but that was coming to an end by mid 1980's.
Open Source Families
Public domain software was the primary means of advancing computer knowledge in the early days, especially outside of universities. The University of California created a version of UNIX and began distributing it for a $99 fee[ 2 ]. This Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) was the first time an operating system itself was being distributed at a cost affordable for anyone. Hardware was an entirely different matter though, in terms of cost, and as such was still generally beyond the consumer. The BSD license, in the early years was generally free, requiring only a notice of attribution.
GPL-based Open Source
Non-GPL-based Open Source
Development Environment Support
Why Open Source?
Commercialization of Open Source
- The History of GPL - http://www.free-soft.org/gpl_history/
- Low cost Operating System - http://coe.berkeley.edu/about/history-and-traditions/1977-berkeley-unix.html
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