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Open Source After 12 Years

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the seems-like-only-yesterday dept.

Open Source 174

GMGruman writes "12 years ago, seven people in a room coined the term "open source" and launched what initially seemed like a quixotic exercise. Today, open source is mainstream, with original believers such as Red Hat worth billions and superpowers such as Oracle buying in. But open source has changed along the way, says InfoWorld's Peter Wayner, and may change more in coming years."

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open sores? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687048)

Open sores after 12 years? Perhaps it's time we rechristened it "festering wound".

12 years? (1, Informative)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687084)

Try more than 15 years since the movement began. When the history ain't right I don't bother to RTFA.

Re:12 years? (4, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687194)

The Open Source Initiative, founded by Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond was founded in 1998, 12 years ago as of 2010. This is what the article refers to.

Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687270)

So what the hell was I using in 1996? Before Bruce and Eric started "promoting" themse... I mean, open source, other people like Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds were actually writing it.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (5, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687330)

First paragraph of TFA:

It is now just over 12 years since seven people sat down in a conference room in Silicon Valley to fix what they saw as the marketing problem with the words "free software." Most people thought that the word "free" meant only that no one had to pay. It seemed they didn't have an attention span long enough to try to grok what Richard Stallman was saying when he kept repeating, "'free,' as in speech."

So basically, this story is more about a revolution in branding than a revolution in software.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (2)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687756)

And if the prior 12 years should teach you anything, it's that branding and marketing is what sets nearly all widely-used software apart from the rest.

Maybe the question should be, with 12 years of open source branding, and with well-marketed products like Ubuntu, why have we not advanced further?

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688120)

Open Source has a huge market share - where it counts: Mobile Internet Devices (some still call them smartphones).

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689102)

Sort of. A few weeks ago, I bought a Sony/Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro android phone on the understanding from my telco that wireless tethering is perfectly acceptable. I have since discovered that this is not possible, since SE have gone to extreme lengths to block any kind of root access to the phone.

In fact, I can live without the tethering. I do like the hardware, but I really want to get rid of all the crapware the telco has loaded on it. I'm seriously considering returning the product as defective, since it doesn't meet the conditions under which I bought it.

I don't care if rooting the device voids the warranty (I'm an adult and I can live with that) but an open OS that has been locked down by the hardware manufacturer is no longer open.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689276)

The software being open doesn't help you much when the hardware has been locked down. The EU needs to create a rule that every piece of hardware should be explicit about whether it's open or closed. Even when the majority is closed, we'll be able to find the few that are open and reward them by buying them.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689010)

Maybe the question should be, with 12 years of open source branding, and with well-marketed products like Ubuntu, why have we not advanced further?

Because unlike RMS, most people who are using FOSS really do care more about free-as-in-beer. Also, most people can understand that while FOSS has its success stories, there is little evidence that it inherently produces better quality products. FOSS has been at its most successful, in terms of size of user base, when providing "good enough" and free-of-charge products. It has also found success in server rooms and software houses, where the technically knowledgeable people using it value the typical strengths of FOSS projects and can tolerate their typical weaknesses.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688312)

TFA does not support the summary. The submitter does not understand the history involved [hyperlogos.org] . Christine Peterson is one of at least three people including Bruce Perens who claim to have invented the term "Open Source", in spite of the simple fact that the term appears in the media and in press releases prior to that date. They did not invent the term; they co-opted it. TFA does not state that the term was "coined" at this meeting, although it does strongly imply it. This would be a false and revisionist view of history, but you can't saddle TFA's author with explicitly expressing it, only with failing to disambiguate. This may have been a deliberate choice on their part, since the actual origins of the term are themselves ambiguous.

Further, TFA makes no predictions, and thus can be roundfiled after being stamped "I've had all these thoughts before and they weren't particularly insightful."

GMGruman is either an ignoramus who speaks without knowing, or a follower of the OSI.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688810)

It is not even a revolution in branding. The whole free software/open source debate is only an issue in the heads of certain uber-nerds who should really be doing something more constructive with their time. Nobody else cares what we call it.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688894)

As I recall, I was using 'open source', Linux included before then.

I don't seem to remember hearing it called 'free software' until well after that, when all the little kiddies started hopping on Linux because, lets be realistic here, it was free and easy for them to get, not because it was open source.

Interestingly enough, it wasn't till after that period, closer to 2000 when 'free' started to be what it was called.

Its called what it is because thats why people use it. People use it because its FREE (0 cost) not because its open source or libre software or whatever you want to call it this week.

Their revolution failed because the people using it care about the fact that it doesn't cost them anything, not about the other benefits it offers.

The revolution failed because douche bags like Stallman are intentionally out to confuse the issue in order to trick more people into ranting for his cult. The whole reason he rants about 'free' is because it gets peoples attention by making them think there is something for nothing in order to agree with him, then of course he means no such thing.

I applaud Bruce and Eric for the attempt to fix the wrong, but lets face it, they aren't cult leaders and aren't willing to twist things around to suit their agenda. Stallman is.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (4, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687340)

Free Software.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (2)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687410)

I think there is a distinction between "open source" as a descriptive of the kind of software you are using, and "open source" as a descriptive of what group or movement the software belongs to.

Open source as a movement might have been named 12ish years ago, but open source software is much older than that.

Wasn't BSD open source way back? (sorry if I remember incorrectly)

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (2)

oscartheduck (866357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687692)

You're correct in just about everything you're saying :) The article is about the branding change that was calling "Free Software" by a different name. Software released under licenses compatible with the Open Source definition, though, is much older.

If you're ever looking for further information on this stuff, the book "Free as in Freedom" has a little on the further history of Free Software from the RMS viewpoint.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688554)

Open source as a movement might have been named 12ish years ago, but open source software is much older than that.

As much as I want to disprove this, I can't (admittedly, I'm not trying very hard, I'm at work...) I found some uses of 'open' in proximity to 'source' but not the specific popular combination of "open source," prior to 1998. E.g., "the X Window System was conceived from the start as an open system. This means that the developers maintained independence from any manufacturer-specific policy and also that the complete source code is available for free." Linux, Unleashing the Workstation in your PC (1997), p172.

It feels wrong, it seems like "open source" is a term (definitely a concept) that's been around for forever. (I'm 33, and started using Linux, compiling free software (including the NCSA http daemon) etc., at age 16, circa 1993)...

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (4, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687414)

You were using free software. According to Richard Stallman, the difference is philosophical, although in practice they achieve the same results: the production of more free software.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687516)

None of this redundancy/infighting would probably happen if English just had two nice different words meaning "costless" and "not enslaved", like "gratis" and "libre" (Sp.) or "besplatnoe" and "svobodnoe" (Rus.). Sometimes I think that going with "free" was a misstep on Stallman's part, but at the same time, I cannot think of a good alternative.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688410)

Sometimes I think that going with "free" was a misstep on Stallman's part, but at the same time, I cannot think of a good alternative.

Freedom-ware?
Unrestricted Software?
Software of Liberty?
Free-range Software?
User-Empowering Software?
Non Captive Software?

IMO, the biggest problem is that "closed software" doesn't sound as bad as it should...

Untrustable Software
Black-Box Software
Shackle-Ware
Hood-Locked Software (a car reference).
System Enslaving Software
Freedom-Hating Software

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688770)

>>>English just had two nice different words meaning "costless" and "not enslaved"

It does. Free and liberty. I would have called "free software" as "liberated software" to avoid confusion.

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687672)

So what the hell was I using in 1996?

Free Software.

Yes, Free Software != Open Source.

What, have you been living under a rock for the past 14 years? How you miss the whole OSS/FOSS/FLOSS bullshit over the last decade and a half, exactly?

Re:Yeah, 12 years since the hucksters came (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688910)

And yet BSD predates the FSF, and BSD never was "free software" since it doesn't "guarantee" the key points in the GPL (the part that makes it eternally "free")... and what leads to all the flame wars and back then it even had that advertising clause (a more technical issue I admit)... Regardless, open-source software of numerous other examples existed long before the FSF (which was 1984), so to try to argue that non-libre open-source didn't exist in 1996 is plain ignorant, the GP is not the one living under a rock.

Re:12 years? (2)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687370)

The Open Source Initiative, founded by Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond was founded in 1998, 12 years ago as of 2010. This is what the article refers to.

They may have coined the term, registered the domain, and made it all official...

But I was using open source software before 1998. And referring to it as "open source", too.

Re:12 years? (3, Informative)

cstacy (534252) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687202)

I've been hacking since 1974, and the concept and practice of open source was not new when I started. (I don't think we had a name for it, way back then. But I also think the tag "open source" is somewhat older than 15 years.)

Re:12 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687768)

I started doing my code work/security checking in 1989 and even back then there were still many things that had source available..by the time the internet started gaining in popularity in 1993 there were many things that had open sourced codebases w/ huge license disputes already under way (DIKU and subsequent muds that spawned from it w/ or w/o permission according to the license, etc)

Re:12 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687958)

I've been hacking since 1974, and the concept and practice of open source was not new when I started. (I don't think we had a name for it, way back then. But I also think the tag "open source" is somewhat older than 15 years.)

i started out in the early 80s i remember those days with fond memories i still play with old systems im trying to get my hands on a commadoore pet

Re:12 years? (1)

panda (10044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688154)

In my day, we just called it "software."

Re:12 years? (2)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688366)

"I've been hacking since 1974, and the concept and practice of open source was not new when I started."

This.

SHARE (www.share.org) was formed in 1955. It's goals were to share information among IT professionals. At least one of the subgroups, VMSHARE, had been sharing code (on tape) since 1973.

A.

Re:12 years? (3, Insightful)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687224)

Halloween was 1994 wasn't it? I mean, even if you only take into account attempts to monetize Linux the OSS movement started to become popularized at least 16 years ago. RMS wrote the Gnu manifesto 25 years ago, one could argue it all started then....

Re:12 years? (2)

mrjatsun (543322) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687654)

> RMS wrote the Gnu manifesto 25 years ago, one could argue it all started then

no. before GNU, there was "open source" code ;-) From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bsd [wikipedia.org]
      "first Berkeley Software Distribution (1BSD), which was released on March 9, 1978"

I'm sure there was open source code before that too..

Re:12 years? (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687776)

There was also "coke" (as in the colloquial term in many places for any soda) before "coca-cola", bandages before band-aids, gelatin before jell-o, tissues before kleenex, trash cans before dumpsters, the internet before the Web, and searching online before Googling.

The point being that the article refers to the -branding- of free software as Open Source (ignoring the later splits between those communities ... and the fact that 99% of us completely disregarded the socio-political arguments).

Even the term "open source" existed prior to Open Source as a brand, something that is making this /. thread even more confusing, but was FAR less common than "free software". And software that follows the common ideas of free/open has, as you point out, been around much longer. However that doesn't invalidate the article. It just points out how much better this article could have been -and- proves just how successful the Open Source nomenclature has been.

Re:12 years? (1)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688244)

There was also "coke" (as in the colloquial term in many places for any soda) before "coca-cola"

Um, citation needed. Coca-cola was originally descriptive (coca leaves and cola beans); "Coke" stems directly from Coca-Cola. http://supreme.justia.com/us/254/143/case.html [justia.com] ; http://lawschool.courtroomview.com/acf_cases/10003-coca-cola-co-v-busch [courtroomview.com] .

Re:12 years? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688756)

There was also "coke" (as in the colloquial term in many places for any soda)

Yeah, your little parenthetical doesn't mean what you think it means.

The use of the term "coke" to mean "soda" is a uniquely southern thing, and is almost certainly the locals adopting the term "coke" to mean "soda", rather than the Coca Cola company coopting the term (the explanation I've heard is that Coca Cola ran an ad campaign along the lines of "just ask for a Coke", and, well, people did... 'course, I can't find evidence for this, so it may be apocryphal).

Re:12 years? (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689104)

no. before GNU, there was "open source" code ;-) From Bsd

And even before that, it was pretty much natural state of the software due to several reasons - software wasn't as portable as it is now, software wasn't seen as a "product" (if you wanted to make money off computers, you sold fully built, ready-to-use systems to big customers - remember, people off the street weren't buying computers), and the legislation regarding software copyrightability was murky. Compared to the modern licenses, the early Unix licenses look... complicated. So did the licenses to a lot of other software at the time.

Re:12 years? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687662)

I would say it started with copyright law, as that makes a clear difference between open and closed source. That would lace it in 1709 [wikipedia.org] . No copyright, no difference between open and closed source.

Re:12 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687916)

Trade secrets don't depend on copyright. The source code for the vast majority of embedded software would be closed source with or without copyright.

Free sharing far pre-dates RMS (3, Informative)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687784)

RMS ignited the modern revolutionary era of free software with his extraordinary legal invention, the GPL - but anyone informed in this area knows that the idea of freely sharing source code, for many of the same benefits underlined in the GPL and open source licenses, dates back at least to the 1950s and IBM SHARE.

Re:12 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688146)

The first of the Halloween documents was dated August 2008. http://www.catb.org/~esr/halloween/halloween1.html [catb.org]

Re:12 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688596)

Try again shithead. From the first line of your link:
{ The body of the Halloween Document is an internal strategy memorandum on Microsoft's possible responses to the Linux/Open Source phenomenon. I received it in late October 1998 and published it at the end of that month.

Re:12 years? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687328)

Try more than 15 years since the movement began. When the history ain't right I don't bother to RTFA.

Yeah... That's what I was thinking... Maybe they're talking about the official OSI or something?

Open Source has been around for a lot longer than 12 years though...

Then don't listen to NPR (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687656)

The other day NPR stated that "Even North Carolina where the first shots of the Civil War where fired".....
It was South Carolina....
Yea when they can not get even get history at the level of a third grader right you do have to wonder.

Re:Then don't listen to NPR (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688624)

Yea when they can not get even get history at the level of a third grader right you do have to wonder.

Where's there a third grade that covers the Civil War in that level of detail?

And really, who can tell the Carolinas apart? :P

Re:Then don't listen to NPR (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688788)

Florida.
I mean really Fort Sumter? The place that Civil war started?

12 years ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687166)

12 years ago there was linux. and even before that, there was stallman. and a number of hairy guys together with him. the movement goes way back.

obligatory : get out of my lawn

Re:12 years ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687228)

Are you guys even able to read? How about using your skill and reading the _first_ fucking sentence in TFA? Maybe the _entire paragraph_ if you still don't get it.

Re:12 years ? (3, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687290)

RTFA!

Seriously, is it that important to get an early post in that no one who read even the first sentence of the article would write?

Re:12 years ? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687790)

You must be new here, good sir. We don't read the article and sometimes not even the summary, we just post words and hope it's modded up.

Re:12 years ? (2)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687934)

See, watch:

1) I, for one, welcome our Open Source dupe overlords, but do they run Linux?
2) ???
3) Natalie profits, naked and petrified and covered in hot grits.

Re:12 years ? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687322)

12 years ago there was linux

There also where Linux 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 years ago ..

Bad title (2)

cb88 (1410145) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687170)

I nearly thought this was an annoucement of some 12 year old piece of software going opensource... which might acutally have been noteworthy. Open source is a much older concept than 15 years anyway for crying out loud the Linux kernel is older than that. GNU started in '83 and Linux in '91.... way before 12 years ago.

reading over the article (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687204)

Being of the church of Stallman, this article feels like lip service to open source, with an apologists focus on oracle and an all-around marginalization of the GPL in favour of the BSD license and supposed adoration of Larry's new pay model for traditionally open source apps.

that having been said, ill be blagging this on my gopher site if anyone needs me.

Re:reading over the article (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687456)

Being of the church of Stallman, this article feels like lip service to open source, with an apologists focus on oracle and an all-around marginalization of the GPL in favour of the BSD license and supposed adoration of Larry's new pay model for traditionally open source apps.

that having been said, ill be blagging this on my gopher site if anyone needs me.

New pay model?

Wasn't SCO was charging for their open source software more than 10 years ago? I've managed to actually blot out the name of the package though.

Stop calling it "FOSS" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687220)

For the love of god, please stop calling it "FOSS" (or worse, "FLOSS"). Just use the term "open source" -- it was deliberately crafted to appeal to the masses. The term "FOSS" sounds weird at best, off-putting at worst.

Re:Stop calling it "FOSS" (2, Informative)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687716)

The term "open source" may have be deliberated crafted to appeal to the masses, but it is also undeliberately crafted in a flawed way, so that it could be interpred on two ways, and one of them is damaging to FOSS.

By the way, if you want to know what the damaging interpretation is, you just have to ask Microsoft.

Re:Stop calling it "FOSS" (1)

firewrought (36952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688730)

The term "open source" may have be deliberated crafted to appeal to the masses, but it is also undeliberately crafted in a flawed way, so that it could be interpred on two ways, and one of them is damaging to FOSS. By the way, if you want to know what the damaging interpretation is, you just have to ask Microsoft.

What is the flawed interpretation and how have you seen Microsoft use it? It seems to me that OSI was fairly successful in defining the term, marketing it, and preventing Microsoft from directly bastardizing it (e.g., as with the whole "shared source" initiative). We would be in much worse shape if they had chosen the ambiguous "free software" or the unmarketable "libre software".

Re:Stop calling it "FOSS" (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689042)

By the way, if you want to know what the damaging interpretation is, you just have to ask Microsoft.

Can you give any examples of Microsoft using the term "open source" differently from how OSI defines it?

Do you realize that it is, indeed, precisely why MS uses different terms, such as "shared source", for its source-available-but-not-really-open stuff?

Allow me... (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687246)

12 years ago, seven people in a room coined the term "open source", in an attempt to rebrand the much older "Free Software" movement, and launched what initially seemed like a quixotic exercise, to convince corporate drones who can't look past the CYA service contract, without having to admit that good work can be done by people without a profit incentive, and the whole world is not beholden to their stock market god.

Re:Allow me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687568)

Hey, convincing the corporate drones is an important part of changing the world as we know it. Can we just respect the "Open Source Initiative" guys for making progress on that particular front?

Re:Allow me... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689036)

As someone who has had many dealings with corporate drone types, yes. Yes I give them quite a bit of respect for the success that has been had. Very little is easy about explaining things to people who neither understand nor have any particular desire to understand.

They are just all so used to the model of having a salesman blow rainbows up their ass about the product, and then spending exorbitant amounts of money to get it all setup and configured and then for ongoing support. I have heard managers say, on many occasions, "we don't want to be going to forums for support".

What they miss is that we already use a lot of this stuff, some of it we do pay service contracts for, and most of those, we don't use. Why would we? We seldom have problems, and when we do, we fix them pretty easily.

Trying to explain this is like trying to talk paint into staying wet. Kudos to them for every inch of headway that they made but... to pretend like "Open Source" was just made up 12 years ago is not really true... it was a re-branding of what people had already been doing.

Re:Allow me... (1)

meatpan (931043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687594)

TFA is a reminder that the metrics we use to assess the impact of open source software are old and outdated. How does a market cap reflect the new value of commercial software, which has had to raise the bar to beat features and performance of the 'free' competitor. How do you quantify the benefit of open source to the actual open source developers? The latter is arguably intangible, but significant. Someone can simply google my name and see production-level code I've written, support messages I've posted in forums, and conference presentations I've given. There is true economic value in this output, but how do should it be quantified and aggregated?

Re:Allow me... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688272)

TFA is a reminder that the metrics we use to assess the impact of open source software are old and outdated. How does a market cap reflect the new value of commercial software, which has had to raise the bar to beat features and performance of the 'free' competitor. How do you quantify the benefit of open source to the actual open source developers? The latter is arguably intangible, but significant. Someone can simply google my name and see production-level code I've written, support messages I've posted in forums, and conference presentations I've given. There is true economic value in this output, but how do should it be quantified and aggregated?

You estimate the change in future earning value and use that as your "metric". That's how it's done now.

Re:Allow me... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688870)

Does that translate to "You pull numbers out of your ass"?

Re:Allow me... (3, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687630)

12 years ago, seven people in a room coined the term "open source", in an attempt to rebrand the much older "Free Software" movement

Huh?

To say the "open source" movement was an attempt to rebrand "free software" is to completely misunderstand history. The movement to create the OSS brand name was all about broadening the tent to include licenses and models beyond the narrow vision held by RMS.

See, prior to OSS, "Free Software" meant the GPL. That's it, that's all. As such, anything under that banner was, quite understandably, considered dangerous by commercial companies building closed-source applications (cue flamewar about the viral nature of the GPL).

OSS was an attempt to broaden that view, including the BSD and MIT licenses, among many others, and to open people's eyes to more than just the GPL orthodoxy. And it worked. We now have a wide variety of licenses to choose from... the aforementioned BSD and MIT licenses, the Perl license, ASF, MPL, CDDL, etc, etc, not to mention the good ol' GPL. All of these fall under the OSS banner, but only one of them is "Free Software" (tm).

Re:Allow me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688682)

The movement to create the OSS brand name was all about broadening the tent to include licenses and models beyond the narrow vision held by RMS.

Nonsense. Free != copyleft, and the FSF never claimed it was.
OSS really was about convincing the suits to use free software.

Re:Allow me... (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688860)

Nonsense. Free != copyleft, and the FSF never claimed it was.
OSS really was about convincing the suits to use free software.

What? RMS and the FSF have *always* pushed the view that "Free" == copyleft/libre/speech/etc. That's their entire raison d'etre, ffs.

Seriously, what alternate dimension are you from?

As an aside, that's *not bad*. In fact, it's a very good thing. After all, Stallman, the GPL, and the FSF revolutionized the way people viewed free software. But the "Open Source" definition *does* have a place and a purpose.

Re:Allow me... (1)

kobaz (107760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688984)

See, prior to OSS, "Free Software" meant the GPL. That's it, that's all.

Free software has been around since the beginning of computing. The GPL is only a recent invention. What makes you think that free software means GPL in any form whatsoever?

Re:Allow me... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689008)

See, prior to OSS, "Free Software" meant the GPL. That's it, that's all. As such, anything under that banner was, quite understandably, considered dangerous by commercial companies building closed-source applications (cue flamewar about the viral nature of the GPL).

So I'm guessing ... and I'm going to go WAY OUT on a limb here ... that you weren't doing anything computer related back during the time before Linux became popular and before GNU existed.

Prior to OSS, GPL didn't exist. I know. I was there, and so were many others who were happy to use open source software. I was copying source from magazines well before Stallman started spewing his hot air out.

Public domain was used for source starting when?

You seriously need to get an education on how all this stuff worked out before you start telling us old foggies how things happened before you had ever touched a keyboard.

Re:Allow me... (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689088)

I was copying source from magazines well before Stallman started spewing his hot air out.

Ah, so you weren't spending thousands of dollars on compilers for mainframes? You weren't using closed operating systems on closed hardware? It was all open source roses and daisies and everyone was happy and contented?

Wait, no, it wasn't like that at all.

Yes, there was software that was free. RMS and the FSF populared the capital-F capital-S term "Free Software", codified in the GPL. Later, after the FSF and the GPL had been around for a decade or more, the term Open Source, capital-O capital-S, was created as an alternative to capital-F capital-S Free Software.

I know, you old fogeys like to forget context, and prefer to remember your lovely days entering BASIC source into your trash-80. But that ignores the real context which triggered RMS to begin his work on the GPL and the FSF, and the subsequent work on OSS that followed.

Re:Allow me... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687828)

'seven people in a room coined the term "open source"...'

Still, seems like the term has been around longer than that. I remember installing my first slackware installation and that was back in '94, and I seem to recall the "slackware" was synonymous with "open source", and both terms were in use. But that's going back a bit and my feeble mind imagines pink elephants explaining how to mount fs' on Ubuntu these days so I dunno...

Red hat worth billions? (2)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687256)

The last time I checked, it had just touched the $1 billion mark [linuxtoday.com] .

The article too says just that [forbes.com] .

Re:Red hat worth billions? (1)

Juan Rey (233115) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687488)

revenue ( 1 billion ) => profit => worth (>8 billion) [nasdaq.com]

Re:Red hat worth billions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687900)

That's market cap. Share price x number of shares outstanding. It is not the value of the corporation.

Re:Red hat worth billions? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687932)

Profit > revenue? Wow, I'd love to have that kind of profit margin.

Re:Red hat worth billions? (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687596)

In terms of its market capitalization, Red Hat is indeed worth billions of dollars.

Try more like 27 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687304)

The GNU Project, started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, had the goal of creating a "complete Unix-compatible software system" composed entirely of free software.

And all that took is a basic Google search. Either call the article "Open Source Initiative after 12 years" or don't bother writing summaries anymore because this one is just flat out wrong.

Re:Try more like 27 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687420)

Stallman would eat your keyboard if he saw you describing GNU as Open Source.

Re:Try more like 27 years (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687532)

Stallman would eat your keyboard if he saw you describing GNU as Open Source.

Even more reason to do it. And don't forget to call the entire operating system Linux while you're at it.

Re:Try more like 27 years (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687560)

Stallman Eats his Keyboard, sounds like a few million hits on Youtube.

Re:Try more like 27 years (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687786)

Last time I checked YouTube used Linux servers, therefore, GNU/YouTube to be exact.

thank bill gates for OSS success (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687476)

tens of millions of devices run ^nix only because in the 1990s MS screwed up with IE and Windows 2000/2003 and tried to push everything into the kernel. as the mobile device market was just being born then, the manufacturers turned to ^nix because it was so modular and you could grab small bits and pieces for your product.

Windows is still used on desktops and laptops but look around you and everything runs ^nix

Re:thank bill gates for OSS success (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687546)

Thank Bill Gates for making crap?

I'd rather not. I would rather just be free to use something better.

It doesn't even have to be Free Software really. Although Free Software is almost the only thing that can resist a monopoly.

Re:thank bill gates for OSS success (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687606)

Windows is still used on desktops and laptops but look around you and everything runs ^nix

The thing that OSS contributed, though, was that the ^nix that was being run on all these things was freely distributed and pulling in the best ideas from every person or organization willing to contribute, rather than some devices running AIX with all the stuff IBM's engineers had thought of, while some other devices were running Solaris with all the stuff Sun's engineers had thought of, while still others were running SCO Unix with all the stuff old-school SCO had thought of, etc.

Re:thank bill gates for OSS success (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688372)

but what the last 10 years have shown us is that even free has a cost. most of Apple's products are based on OSS software and yet apple still spends a lot of money on product development. same with HTC, Moto, the old Linksys and others. unless you want to be a brand X wifi router seller making the cheapest product you have to extend the original code and that costs a lot of money.

where MS screwed up is that back in the days when the linux kernel was 8MB the Windows kernel was something like 10 times that. flash was expensive back then and this is why mobile devices went ^nix. if MS had a similar sized kernel then it would have been cheaper to just license Windows and all mobile devices would be running Windows. you'd have to pay MS but there would be no dev costs like you have with android phones and you just sell a product

Re:thank bill gates for OSS success (1)

Hammer (14284) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687640)

I was not just that they screwed up IE and Windows...
The fact that it was screwed up and expensive was the real reason that ^nix and OSS caught on. Much of the free stuff was just as screwed up in the early 90-ties...

What I wish for in the Open Source world (2)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687550)

First, I wish there were more people in organizing, coordination, mediating disputes. Like any human activity, too much time is wasted due to disputes and/or insuficcient coordination. Projects are abandoned, good people get frustrated, tired, upset, split, and end up duplicating efforts. I don't know of any group coordinating growth strategies, recommending methods to talk to new enthusiasts, how to *better* explain the ideas to new people, how to help people with common questions effectively, not just supplying a convincing answer, but actually resolving, or if not possible, taking note of the issues, and where to take them for proper addressing.
Second, I wish there were more encouraging, funding, advocacy, promoting and educating strategies. Funding, especially, seems to suffer from old models. The Humble Indie Bundle strategy, Summer of Code, and bounties seem like innovative ideas that are working.

For example, the main competition for open-source actually seems to be pirate-ware. People always consider open-source when faced with actually paying for software. What strategy should open-source take with this? None? Open standards, as well as standards in general, seem to greatly help open source. How can projects better incorporate them? I guess I'm saying more studies of strategies, and recommended guidelines for developers and users, seem like they could help a great deal.

Re:What I wish for in the Open Source world (2)

jejones (115979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687860)

Good point. I recall long ago in high school state history being told that Governor Edmonson put an end to Prohibition in Oklahoma... by enforcing it. How can we put an end to the strategy of turning a blind eye to piracy until the target population is hooked?

Re:What I wish for in the Open Source world (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688310)

I think the business model has been and still is the biggest problem. How do you earn a living doing open source software? Solve that, and all the rest of those problems are as good as solved.

Sure, we have Red Hat going with the "Software As A Service" model, and grudgingly supporting their red headed stepchild, Fedora. And the "Ad Supported" model of which Google is the current king. Sun's approach was the "Loss Leader" method, for where the real money was: hardware sales. And of course the pretend-its-a-physical-good model and sue and slander everyone who won't play along as pirates, as the music industry, MS, and many others have done. And I suppose RMS's model which really is the "Free Beer" model-- they'll just figure out the icky details of pay later. Apple's way would seem to be Rent Seeking with Style-- rebrand Free BSD, add lipstick, and sell it. Then there's Patronage, government or private, which isn't too common. Perhaps Ubuntu is the best example of that. Arranging government patronage is politically difficult in the US-- about the only way it can be done is as part of a military or security effort, and it certainly can't be called patronage, or the deficit hawks will rip it apart. Otherwise it has to be private. University supported is another messy way.

None of these models are entirely satisfying. We need more software engineering than we have, do we not? If so, then all these models together are failing to deliver enough software engineering to achieve our goals.

Re:What I wish for in the Open Source world (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689006)

To put it bluntly, it's a bazaar not a commune. For the most part people don't pool their time, take consensus on what the community wants and turn that into an overall plan and direction for the project. It's more that every individual works on what they want - or in the case of employed people, what their employers want - and where the project is going is simply the sum of where the individuals are taking it. That you often have a project leader or core group does not really mean they have much authority to speak on behalf of all the contributors, they're usually free to work on something else or not at all or to continue to voice their dissent. Every time people try talking behalf on everyone it ends up with a lot of "That is not what I want" and "That is not how I want to do it", you can't communicate consensus when there is no consensus. You just live with the disputes until they're so bad things start forking off.

For example, the main competition for open-source actually seems to be pirate-ware. People always consider open-source when faced with actually paying for software. What strategy should open-source take with this? None?

Pretty much. Pirates typically pirate top-of-the-line versions since they're not paying anyway, which makes the feature gap pretty big. It's important that free software is there if you look at the legal alternatives, but OSS isn't going to compete with a "free" Adobe CS5 Master Collection any time soon. The Humble Indie Bundle won't compete with a PC loaded with pirated AAA games. At best you can try positioning yourself to say it's free and legal to try, you can always change your mind and get something else later. That may work for say OpenOffice and maybe a few more, but I don't think you'll see many switching anyway.

12 years later... (2)

jonathancarter (745316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687558)

12 years later, and people are still confused between what Free Software, Open Source and FLOSS means. The movement seems to have had added more confusion than what they tried to solve. I wouldn't really call that much of a success. Also, the OSI haven't really done much more than set up some definitions and approve some licenses. While that in itself can be quite valuable, they seem to get a lot of credit for things they had absolutely no part of.

Closed Source is a newer thing (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687578)

Open source code wasn't originally a feature, it was taken for granted. The perverse idea of "proprietary" software only gained a foothold much, much later.

Re:Closed Source is a newer thing (1)

illumin888 (1532587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688302)

This is actually a really important distinction. The whole Free Software movement was not a new revolution... it was an attempt to recover what was being lost and corrupted by greed.

WELL WE USED TO PUBLIC DOMAIN THINGS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687612)

Now, with all the ego and bluster afull, it's 'open sores' or whatever.

Public domain is the ONLY FREE software. PERIOD !!

Go cry over your feelings elseehwere !! This is slashdot, where only real men (and some real, realy ugly chicks) are. OK, there are no ugly chicks on slashdot. There ARE NO CHCKS AT ALL on slashdot. There, fixed it before you !!

So. Very. Wrong. Must look to gcc. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34687668)

Stallman started gcc 20+ years ago. Witout that and his GPL, this "movement" wouldn't exist.

Reminds me of a story from "Soul of a New Machine" (2)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687732)

You know, the one about the Data General ad in response to the press release how IBM "legitimizes the minicomputer", that said "The bastards say welcome..."

I give Perens & Raymond a lot of credit for 'legitimizing' the term, but certainly the concepts and the execution had been going on MUCH longer than "the last 12 years."

A lot of government contracts in the '70s and early '80s (and probably before that) came with source code and you could grab lots of it over Arpanet/early Internet if you had access. What I think Richard Stallman did was promote the -economic philosophy- that you should (a) always get source code ("free beer"); (b) have the right to modify that source code and redistribute the results ("free speech").

So we need to keep a couple of things straight:
      1. 'access to source'
      2. 'free (as in beer) software'
      3. 'free (as in speech) modification and redistribution of software'
      4. 'community development/maintenance'
These are usually combined into the term "open source", but they are 4 distinct aspects of that term.

Way back when (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34687754)

I don't know how long ago open source software came to the PC , but in 1986 I was using an Amiga and there was free software with source code included on the "Fish Disks" library.

Re:Way back when (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688358)

Even on the PC, I had Nibbles with QBasic source code on MS DOS before I had ever heard of Stallman.

Re:Way back when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34688702)

Yeah but you didn't have a term for it and a little mascot. So now these new kids think they've done something revolutionary when the fact is that there has always been open source software.

I guess some people need a cause to lean on.

Actually OpenSource was coined back ... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34688718)

in the early 90s by a fella named Matt Moran in Denver (student in from Fort Collins). He along with others like Chris Miner were NeXT consultants and started an open source company called of all things OpenSource.com. This company quickly went out of business due to Matt's terrible business plan and poor leadership skills. Others came and went in the company and as we know NeXT changed its business plans monthly, as a result nobody was able to figure out if the Steve Jobs Bukkake was coming or going. So, OpenSource was 'coined' a long long long time before the seven claimed it was.

Rosen book and usage of open source term (2)

joneshenry (9497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689218)

On page 4 of Kenneth H. Rosen, Richard R. Rosinski, James M. Farber, and Douglas A. Host, UNIX System V Release 4: An Introduction, 2nd Edition, the subsection titled "Open Source Code" has the following first two sentences:

"The source code for the UNIX System, and not just the executable code, has been made available to users and programmers. Because of this, many people have been able to adapt the UNIX System in different ways. This openness has led to the introduction of a wide range of new features and versions customized to meet special needs."

The book by Rosen et al. cited above is has year of copyright 1996. There is apparently an earlier edition from 1990. This is no ordinary book by obscure authors--it was considered as one of the "bibles" for its subject at its time and would have been familiar to many. Already in the above description there are the crucial concepts of the importance of source code availability and adaptability.

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