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13

Early on (long before personal computers) software was not seen as a product of its own, but a part of the computer. So the software was distributed without extra costs with the computer. Many of the purchasers of computers (often universities or scientific facilities) changed the distributed software and added their own programs. All this was practically ...


12

One of the most helpful analogies I've ever heard compares software development to government: Lots of people like democratic governance. Some people like democracy because it produces the best results that maximize happiness of its citizens. Other people like democracy because they believe people have a moral right to have their voices be part of their ...


11

Remember that just Linux - the kernel - is not very useful. In order to use it, you need some programs. At the very least a shell, its utilities, an editor, and probably a compiler so you can write more programs. Many of these were already written seperately by the GNU project, or available as BSD-licensed code. So a minimal Linux system already includes ...


9

The Open Source Initiative can sort of be thought of the branch of Free Software that became its own tree. The term "free software" is older, and is reflected in the name of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), an organization founded in 1985 to protect and promote free software. The term "open source" was coined in 1998 by a group of people — the founders ...


8

Distributions are older than Linux! Ever heard of BSD? The acronym stands for Berkeley Software Distribution. The original Berkeley Software Distribution was a collection of software developed at the University of California at Berkeley, which you could install on a Version 6 Unix system. The year was 1978. At the time, access to software sources was still ...


8

The problem with a concept like 'transparency' is that it is multi-layered. Being able to see the source code is an important aspect, but not all of it. When we talk about transparency in an organization's process, it means that we not only see the results of decisions (code changes in this context) but the reasoning behind the decisions. Even for large ...


8

"Stealing" code is copyright infringement, which is obviously avoided by most legitimate companies. Losing a copyright infringement suit can easily destroy most companies. On the other hand, without patents, reverse-engineering and feature-matching is perfectly legal and done all the time. Some unethical companies can very well be doing the former whilst ...


7

Nowadays, most FLOSS (free/libre/open-source software) projects have a public code repository, which everyone can browse. But historically this wasn't always the case. Part of the reason was of course that in the early days of free software, the tools for version control weren't as good as they are today (CVS, the first freely available version control ...


7

With regards to Which distributions were the first and when did these projects start? This is discussed at the beginning of Glyn Moody's book "Rebel Code", in Chapter 6, "Boot Then Root". He mentions the distribution from MCC (the Manchester Computing Center) as being a very early example, though perhaps not the first. However, the book does not mention ...


7

This of course varies from project to project, but yes: there are both businesses and freelancers who do this. But more so for large free software projects, than for small ones. As an example, look at a Drupal. Drupal is a FLOSS project (requiring all distributed components to be licensed under GPLv2+) that also sustains a large community of individual ...


5

A company would be "put in risk" if it's entire offering is compromised, and it can't adapt to a changing market. This has less to do with the existence of open source alternatives to a product and more with poor management. One could make the argument, though, that revenue loss due to open source alternatives happens all the times. Every time someone ...


5

Codified free / open source development dates back to the publications of the BSD and GPL licenses; Wikipedia dates BSD to 1988 (although the first properly free version of BSD, 4.3BSD, was released in 1989), and the GPL v1 was published in 1989. Before that, there were freely-developed packages; TeX dates back to 1978 and is known to be FLOSS since at least ...


5

Arguably, open source came first via Ada Lovelace around 1850. While translating an article on Babbage's Computation Engine, she made the leap of realizing that it could be programmed to solve more than a single dedicated problem. Her notes actually included a specification of what is considered to be the first algorithm specifically intended for ...


5

Emacs, in its incarnation as GNU Emacs, along with GCC, was one of the cornerstones of the GNU project, whose aim was to create a free Unix-like operating system. In 1985 GNU Emacs was licensed under the GNU Emacs License. The GNU Emacs License was the world's first copyleft license, and was eventually generalized to become what we know today as the GNU ...


4

I can offer a bit of history. Once upon a time, there was TECO, a supercharged relation to what you might know, today, as 'ed'. Folks built a set of macros for teco that knew how to use the necessary escape sequences to do a WYSIWYG editor on a terminal. These macros grew into the first Emacs. It was not open source. It was not closed source. No one thought ...


3

There are no court cases I ever heard of, as of this date, involving the MIT license. I am not sure there is anything on BSD either (short of the Berkeley vs. AT&T feud over Unix, last century, maybe). This BSD issue came out close but never went to court. In fact things rarely end up in courts with FLOSS licensing and are mostly resolved amicably, as ...


3

The data from blackduck isn't broken down by open/closed compilers, but it does cover the specific languages and provide historical information. Additionally, it is focused on language use solely within open source projects. Obtaining this information for closed/proprietary projects is obviously problematic. With the possible exception of the Visual Studio/...


2

Note that open hardware actually precedes open source software. In the age of analog electronics and early home computers when everyone could build a piece of hardware of equal or better quality than those available commercially, sharing schematics with the community through hobbyist groups and journals was a common practice. So if we consider modern open ...


2

Each commit in git history is a legally distinct entity, and is licensed according to the LICENSE file that existed at that point in history. As an author, you have the right to change the license of your project at any time. So, if commit X switches the project's license from no-license to MIT, then any user has the right to use the project from point X ...


2

Sometimes a software simply being open source doesn't destroy proprietary softwares. It's a matter of quality and​ getting productive. If an open source alternative software can offer more useful features, then most organizations would prefer it instead of proprietary.


1

I don't know about Open Source - but as far as I know it is a pretty new-fangled phenomenon that started to become popular around 1999, when Eric S. Raymond published "The Cathedral & the Bazaar" and the suits started to think about Open Source as a business model. I think the "Open source Definition" (by the OSI) surfaced around the same time. This ...


1

http://www.tiobe.com/tiobe_index has language use history. It does not, however, specify the compiler. Still, very interesting.


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