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

Your Beard Doesn’t Intimidate Me Anymore!

Linux is a community environment. Whether it’s the professionals over at RedHat, Canonical, and Suse or the guys who got together and decided to create Hannah Montana Linux, behind every project there’s usually a community. My first attempt at Linux came in the desert in Iraq. We were building a router lab and I had a couple of blade servers lying around but couldn’t get the Microsoft 2003 server key from our IT guys. So the other resident nerd on site and I started downloading Linux Distros to check them out. OpenSuse was awesome, Ubuntu was in its infancy, and I had no idea what I was doing. At night I’d trudge through forum after forum trying to figure out how the OS could help solve the problems I was creating and experiencing. There were a lot of posts for post-windows users and not all of them were kind. Many of them were written with a rather mocking or haughty tone. There was almost a standard litmus tests on posts where the person would casually mention how long they’ve been running Linux. Anything less than five years was a noob and others on the forum would point it out. There were a lot of good, kind voices, but they were often drowned out by those with a chip on their shoulder. (Read the rest)

Red Hat News

  • Red Hat Data Science talks at Apache Big Data 2016
    Unfortunately, my talk is at the same time as Suneel’s, so I won’t be able to attend his, but these are all great talks and you should be sure to put as many as possible on your schedule if you’ll be in Vancouver!
  • Red Hat Platform Selected As Reference Platform For Telefonica Operators
    Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) and Telefonica Business Solutions, a provider of a wide range of integrated communication solutions for the B2B market, announced an agreement establishing Red Hat Mobile Application Platform as the global reference platform for operators within the Telefonica Group to mobilize the business processes of its customers on their path to digital transformation.
  • Telefonica and Red Hat Sign a Global Agreement to Help Companies Mobilize Business Processes
    Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, and Telefonica Business Solutions, a leading provider of a wide range of integrated communication solutions for the B2B market, today announced an agreement establishing Red Hat Mobile Application Platform as the global reference platform for operators within the Telefonica Group to mobilize the business processes of its customers on their path to digital transformation.
  • Fedora “update testing” with Bodhi
    Before and after Fedora releases, there are updates that keep coming in to fix bugs or add minor features to packages included in Fedora. To ensure that these are stable and don’t affect the performance of the existing system, we do “update testing”. Once testing is complete, we share our results and make sure that the developer is aware about the bugs and the success rate of the package. This article will explain how to participate in update testing and contribute to a high quality Fedora release!

Android Leftovers

This Is How the New Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon Theme Looks Like

Linux Mint project leader and maintainer Clement Lefebvre dropped some exciting news today about what users should expect from the upcoming Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" operating system. Read more