History of Open Source
History, they say, has a habit of repeating itself. This is certainly true in the tale of Open Source. The saga of Open Source has its own heroes, the warriors, daring to dream, wanting to make a difference. There are vast, powerful ‘kingdoms’ which go all out trying to suppress these lone heroes. Slowly but steadily, these warriors increase in number, build their own small kingdoms, increase their power and most importantly, captured the imagination of the common people.
It is time, for the great battle of our age. It is anarchy against democracy. It is domination versus cooperation, collaboration. What course the battle takes, and the ultimate victor will go down in history as one changed the face of the world, forever. We cannot gaze into crystal balls to tell you the future, but we can certainly enlighten you on how this mother of battles started in the first place.
More on History of Open Source
The Early Years
The computer world lived in peace in the 1960’s and 70’s. The programmers readily shared their ideas and source codes with fellow programmers. Global communication was not very prominent at that time, so the flow of information was restricted to universities and research labs. The seeds of Open Source were sowed here.
He left MIT in 1984 to the start the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation, saying that id he stayed on, he “knew that at the end of my career, I would look back on years of building walls to divide people, and feel I had spent my life making the world a worse place”. RMS as he is called, was soon to become the leader of all things associated with Open Source.
During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, open source software continued to develop. The Internet helped to coordinate and compile all the efforts and build up a bigger user base. Over time, much of the work was integrated creating complete environments based on UNIX. An interesting case here is of the ‘X Windows System’ which was the first Open Source software funded by a consortium of companies.
The Current Scenerio
During the 1990s, many open source projects have produced a good quantity of useful and high-quality software which are in use the world over. Some of them are Apache (the most widely used server today), Perl (an interpreted programming language with lots of libraries), XFree86 (the most widely used X11 implementation for PC-based machines), GNOME and KDE (both providing a consistent set of libraries and applications to present the casual and non-tech savvy user with an easy to use and friendly desktop environment and interface), Mozilla (the free software project funded by Netscape to build a WWW browser), etc.
The Last Word
In this fashion, the birth of ‘Open Source’ as we know it took place, and the early protagonists of the Open Source revival were born. Over time, they acquired good proportions in their respective fields, some going on to become market leaders. All such software boasted of high functionality and a large number of user-friendly features. By this time, Microsoft had got what they desired: monopolies in a large number of markets. At one time, their flagship product, Windows, was run on 95% of the PC’s worldwide.