Sex, Love & Software: History of Free Software, Linux and Open Source

A few weeks back, when we featured Brian Lunduke’s interview with Richard Stallman, we lamented the fact that most users who come to GNU/Linux these days seem to have little knowledge of the history of free software, Linux and open source. This is not good, for without a community of supporters, free tech cannot survive.This is much different than it was 10 or 15 years ago, when the main reason for adopting Linux was because of its connection with the free software movement, which began in the 1980s under Richard Stallman, and spurred on by the GNU Project which he founded.If you had gone online around the turn of the century looking for information on Linux, your search would have led you to hundreds of blogs published by “citizen journalists,” people enthused about the ideas behind free software and the GPL, and expounding on them. Linux wasn’t so much about being an operating system as it was about putting power in people’s hands. This isn’t so true anymore. Most of the few websites that remain are commercial endeavors that often confuse “software freedom” with the mere availability of source code and a free price tag.The movement that Stallman and others inspired was to the home computer revolution of the 1990s through the first decade of this century, what the consciousness movment had been to the 1960s. And just as supporters of the status quo have reduced the history of 60s hippiedom to “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll,” — a slogan that was meant to be a slap in the face of straight establishment types, which is now used to define and defame an entire generation — the ideas behind the free software movement are now in danger of being reduced to merely a business model for managing software in the corporate world.

Source: Sex, Love & Software: History of Free Software, Linux and Open Source | FOSS Force

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