Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

The Lure of Open Source Software

Filed under
OSS

If "there's no such thing as a free lunch," why is there free software? Anyone who has lived in shared accommodation as a student will understand the FOSS principle—if one person cooks more than he can eat, he can either give the excess food to someone else or throw it away. If he gives the leftovers to a housemate, he hopes that the housemate will eventually reciprocate; in this situation, both individuals get a "free lunch" because the cost of the second serving is negligible each time.

Most FOSS is written by developers "scratching an itch"—solving a problem that they personally encounter. For example, Andy Tanenbaum found the UNIX source code license too restrictive, so he wrote MINIX, a simple POSIX-compliant operating system that he could use for teaching students. To keep the system simple and elegant enough for undergraduates to understand, he didn't allow complex features to be added. Linus Torvalds found this restriction too confining; he hacked together the simpler Linux kernel, allowing anyone to submit features, which allowed Linux to grow in ability faster.

Linus' motivation was not to create something for the community; it was to create a system he could use. By distributing his code as free software, he received other people's code in return. The Linux kernel now is far more complex than it would have been if Linus had been developing it himself.

Article Contents:

  1. What Is Open Source?

  2. The Motivation for Open Source
  3. Who Gets Paid?
  4. Security, Bugs, and Features
  5. Off the Shelf?
  6. Not Sustainable?

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Gaming

Netflix in Steam OS

  • Developer brings Netflix to Steam OS: Linux Wrap
    He has posted the script on GitHub for others to try. It’s in really early stage of development but it’s surprising and at the same time disappointing to see that Valve made no efforts whatsoever to bring steaming services like Netflix to their platform that they plan to dominate the living room.
  • Developer Implements Netflix in SteamOS
    A developer has put together some tools (still under construction) that would allow users to use SteamOS to play Netflix. It's in its early stages, but the developer has made something that Valve hasn't even thought about until now.

Android Leftovers

Fedora 22 Coming Next Tuesday and Converting Users

At the Fedora release Go/No-Go meeting last night it was determined that three bugs were serious enough to violate the release readiness criteria. As a result, the Final was blocked and a second Go/No-Go was scheduled for today. The results of that meeting are in! Elsewhere, Jack Germain said, "Simplicity Linux is easy to use and runs fast" and Swapnil Bhartiya shared his secret to converting users to Linux. Read more