Open Source Software- an opportunity for change

It is only recently in my studies of cybercultures that I have come across this term open source software. Not only did I realise how instrumental it is to on-lone society but also learned that I had been using it in the form of my blogs! For those like me, who having been ‘living under a rock’ so to speak, I will briefly explain it to you. It all began back in 1982, when a computer operating system called UNIX struck a deal with the mobile company AT&T which allowed them to capitalise on the software.

unixpc.taronga.com
unixpc.taronga.com

Not only did it now cost money but the freedom to change the source code was not forbidden. This caused outrage among many and it sparked an idea to change the way computer operating systems were run. And so began the launch of the GNU project where Richard M. Stallman planned to build a free version of UNIX from scratch. The project’s aims were to allow free access and the ability to change software to suits ones uses and needs as well as avoiding the usage costs that UNIX came with. After over 14 years of Stallman and his team hacking and producing new systems, LINUX was eventually born and is now one of the main 3 OS’s in the world.

With IBM eventually taking a financial interest in the movement, open source is certainly here to stay.We use it every day in the form of wordpress or open office and we just take it for granted. Digital content and specific publications are now beginning to be created via open source as well as the plan to have open source pharmaceutical production and development. We regularly use something today that one team of experts spent of a decade creating, we need to open our minds more to the opportunities that movements like this can bring us.

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