History Free Software

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  • 1. Libre software History Course: Introduction to libre software Israel Herraiz <herraiz@gsyc.es> A Coruña, October 20th 2007 Master on Free Software
  • 2. In the beginning... ● Software was born free ● Companies competed on the hardware market ● Software was included as a “gift” with hardware ● Software was distributed as source code Master on Free Software
  • 3. “ We did not call our software “free software”, because that term did not yet exist; but that is what it was. Whenever people from another university or a company wanted to port and use a program, we gladly let them. If you saw someone using an unfamiliar and interesting program, you could always ask to see the source code, so that you could read it, change it, or cannibalize parts of it to make a new program” Master on Free Software
  • 4. 1960 ● In spite of this – There were no a hardware platform which were the standard – There was no Internet ● This technical reasons made sharing quite restricted Master on Free Software
  • 5. Beginning of proprietary software ● Only a few hardware platforms survived ● Higher level languages (C) ● Appearance of legal restrictions ● 1970: IBM begins to sell its software apart from hardware Master on Free Software
  • 6. Summarizing ● Software was born free.... ● ....but sharing was quite restricted because of technical reasons ● However, those technical restrictions were being overcome... ● ...then legal restrictions appeared to keep sharing being difficult Master on Free Software
  • 7. The GNU movement ● Richard Stallman ● Artificial Intelligence Lab, MIT, 1970-80 ● Problems with a network printer ● Hackers from AI lab were hired by startups ● NDA ● Those hackers worked on the same topics, but now the topics were kept secret Master on Free Software
  • 8. Unix Evolution ● First develop on 1969 at Bell Labs ● Source code was available ● That source code was studied in universities ● 1980: AT&T restricts the access to the source code of Unix Master on Free Software
  • 9. Unix Evolution ● University of California at Berkeley ● Computer Science Research Group ● BSD ● CSRG own Unix version ● Sued by AT&T on 1991 Master on Free Software
  • 10. In the meanwhile ● 1984: rms drops his position at MIT ● Born of the GNU project ● GNU was very advanced by 1990 ● However there was the lack of a kernel ● Emacs ● GCC Master on Free Software
  • 11. 1991 ● BSD, with a kernel, but sued by AT&T ● GNU without a kernel, but with code generated independently ● Appearance of NetBSD (1991) ● Later FreeBSD (1993) ● And a little later OpenBSD (1997) ● 1994: Agreement of AT&T and the UC Berkeley. CSRG disappears. Master on Free Software
  • 12. In parallel ● Growing of Internet ● Thanks to Internet, the libre software movement grew as well ● At the same time, thanks to libre software, Internet grew as well ● Both, at the technical level (network routers, etc) and the conceptual level (free sharing of information) Master on Free Software
  • 13. This open process encouraged and led to the exchange of information. Technical development is only successful when information is allowed to flow freely and easily between the parties involved. Encouraging participation is the main principle that made the development of the Net possible. Master on Free Software
  • 14. The quest for a kernel ● All the ingredients ready ● BSD ● GNU ● Internet ● July 1991: a Finnish undergraduate student begins the Linux project ● Usable by 1994 Master on Free Software
  • 15. Late 90s ● The cathedral and the bazaar ● GNU/Linux distributions ● Business models and companies ● Explosive growth ● GNOME, KDE, Debian ● 1998: Creation of the Open Source Initiative Master on Free Software
  • 16. st 21 century ● Libre software becomes popular ● Politicians know who is Richard Stallman ● Initiatives in the Spanish public administrations: GNU/Linex, Guadalinex ● OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Ubuntu ● In Spain, top activity stage of Hispalinux Master on Free Software
  • 17. Explosive growth Master on Free Software
  • 18. Explosive growth Master on Free Software
  • 19. The future ● Threats – Software patents – Use of standards and open formats – Poor knowledge ● libre software != gratis ● You see the word open everywhere ● Now, everything is open source – “Standards” not so standard ● Libre software everywhere (from your toaster to your mobile phone) Master on Free Software
  • 20. Share your experience ● What was your first contact with libre software? ● When did you first use libre software? (even if you were not aware of it by that time) ● What distributions have you used? ● Have you ever tried a BSD? ● Do you think that libre software has progressed? Master on Free Software