back to article Open source turns 20 years old, looks to attract normal people

Twenty years ago, the Open Source Definition (OSD) was published, providing a framework for the most significant trend in software development since then, and building upon Richard Stallman's prior advocacy for "free software." The Open Source Initiative, a non-profit that advocates open source development and non-proprietary …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Normal?

    Normal? Is sitting through hours upon hours of Windows 10 cumulative updates, followed by a Windows 10 Fall Creators Edition FCU K'EDition install, anyway normal regards 'software as a service'?

    In fairness to Windows 10 itself -it isn't too bad, of late (if you ignore the slurp), but Windows Update is anything but 'normal'/routine. WU is what its always been - a clunky bag of rusty nails.

    Open source has a lot going for it, if you ignore the people paid to tell you different.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Normal?

      "if you ignore the slurp"

      If...

      Spartan response.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      isn't too bad if you ignore the slurp

      You could say the same about thing about the Stasi and their modern-day counterparts.

    3. King Jack
      WTF?

      Re: Normal?

      Good point.

      In fairness to HIV itself, it isn't too bad, of late (if you ignore the symptoms).

      Getting your head chopped off isn't too bad, if you ignore the missing body.

      Talk about Stockholm syndrome. Why do fools defend their attackers.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Normal?

      "looks to attract normal people"

      Fails miserably.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open source is leading to single source

    Open source is a totalitarian dream. It means you can't have competitive advantages unless, like Google, you don't distribute your applications, but keep them internal, and just force people to use them remotely.

    This way, you keep all the power, and share very little of what really matters. You just get the breadcrumbs of the real development efforts.

    That's why, instead of a healthy competition from different product, you'll see one OS only (Linux), with only Windows still able somehow to compete, how longer, we don't know, one social, one code repository, one search engine, and so on.

    Open source leads to more concentration, not to more diversity. Why should you invest on something new instead of reusing someone else's work?

    Where's the innovation? Linux is built on an outdated model. Most software, in the past ten years, became worse, less usable, buggier, and the tools to build it too. You can't any longer make money in development tools, so why invest in them? Just get some crappy open source IDE, and hammer it into supporting some way your development.

    More and more developers just reuse some bad library, or copy shitty code. Because writing their own code is too expensive and time consuming. The larger part of open source fanatics are people who want stuff for free, and have nothing to share.

    We would really need innovation, but no one will invest the needed resources because it's just too expensive, you'll never recover your investment because people will use whatever is free - they like to be paid, but not to pay - and it will be also frowned upon.

    And what is worse, it that open source Talebans are perfectly OK with this. They dreamed for years about ONE OS to rule them all. They are utterly afraid by true competition, they dream about a world where power is utterly concentrated, hopefully in their hands, while pretending to shared.

    It won't end well - we'll enter an age of stagnation. Until someone will start to think "sharing" is not always the best option, while progress if often stimulated by competition, and that needs some degree of selfishness.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Open source is leading to single source

      Standing on the shoulders of giants hasn't caused stagnation in other areas of development.

      Why should it in software ?

      AC, You're just a dinosaur. Get with the times.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        "AC, You're just a dinosaur."

        Not necessarily. Maybe an actor paid to dress up in a dinosaur suit.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Open source is leading to single source

          If it's an all-singing, all-dancing purple dinosaur suit, he'll find his intended audience elsewhere. It's mostly grownups who hang out in this forum.

        2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

          Re: Open source is leading to single source

          Doctor Syntax» Maybe an actor paid to dress up in a dinosaur suit.

          As in, 'I love it when a plan comes together!'?

          (for those too young to remember see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MVonyVSQoM at 31s)

          1. Steve the Cynic

            Re: Open source is leading to single source

            > As in, 'I love it when a plan comes together!'?

            It's possible he meant Godzilla. (In the original 1954 Japanese film, the part of Godzilla was indeed played by a guy in a rubber suit.)

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        "AC, You're just a dinosaur"

        I was thinking 'misinformed'

    2. JLV Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Open source is leading to single source

      Wow, the mind boggles at your level of ignorance.

      first Linux != Open Source. it's a subset. GPL != Open Source, also a subset.

      Linux is built on an outdated model. Of course, you're able to do much better yourself, right? Open Source also includes the BSD family.

      There are plenty of things open source gets wrong. A lot of the stuff lacks polish and end-user friendliness. Some communities aren't friendly to noobs. It's getting better though: the days where "you suck Bill Gate's c***" was a common reply to any Linux criticism on a forum are receding.

      Some types of applications are not really very compatible with open source: narrative and plot driven games, ERP systems.

      Some users here, you probably know who you are, are so dogmatic about Open Source (typically GPL in their case) that they turn off everyone not in their little mindset.

      Despite some, contemptible, attempts in that direction, few have been the cases where something was forked from BSD to GPL in order to lock-in free software because BSD did not defend against viral absorption. Mostly GPL and freeer licenses have learned to coexist and Stallman and co are sidelined.

      There is also no reason for open source to entirely displace proprietary systems - choice is good. Open Source should be an additional choice, not the only choice.

      But overall, Open Source, is making big strides in the domains where it makes sense. You have programming languages, libraries, applications that are easily the equal of any proprietary counterparts. And you can have them for free. Many of the new stuff on Github is MIT/BSD, not GPL so about as free as you can get.

      You can still buy Windows. I've said it before: I see no benefit in Windows disappearing, it would reduce choice and go more in the direction of OS monocultures. But lot of Windows' problems are caused by their own culture and stupid habits rather than in any way blameable on Open Source. They're not even technical - telemetry and forced Win 10 upgrades for example.

      Microsoft embracing the doomed fight against the Open Source Talebans. Listen to yourself speak, you're so full of shit your eyes must be glowing brown by now.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        Open Source predates OSD publication by years. There has always been some. It even predates the row between AT&T (who claimed ownership of UNIIX) and the universities (who developed a large part of it).

      2. FIA

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        You can't any longer make money in development tools, so why invest in them?

        One word: Jetbrains

        (Seems that if you're going to charge you just have to make it good... who knew?)

        Linux is built on an outdated model. Of course, you're able to do much better yourself, right? Open Source also includes the BSD family.

        Linux (the kernel) is many things, and has done many things, but from a computer science point of view, it is based on an outdated model. BSD is a descendent of that outdated model. Whilst obviously Linux has evolved over the years, the basis is still quite old in OS terms.

        If you want *nix like but more 'modern', then minix with it's everything in user space approach is worth a look. Even OSX with it's OO driver model, and 'can I have a handle please' NT are worth a mention.

        Or you've got some of the more 'modern' but never really made it stuff like Plan 9 that came from follow up research after Unix. Or the stuff like VMS that just... faded away...

        Now there's probably a really interesting open source vs closed source debate as to why many of these failed or fizzled out, but it still doesn't make Linux 'modern'.

        modern used throughout to mean about 30-40 years old

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Open source is leading to single source

      Free BSD exists, and I think it is vastly superior to the GNU/Linux family of distributions. You may disagree, that's fine, the point is there is competition, and there is a choice.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        Ack on FreeBSD [I prefer it for doing software development, for a number of reasons, the ports collection being one, the automatic installation of headers and 'devel' stuff being another - dealing with installing all of the necessary '-devel' packages in Linux can be a royal PITA!]

        There are additional BSDs as well (OpenBSD, NetBSD, Dragonfly), and the Mach kernel [which is closed source] used by Apple [and others].

        OBSD and FBSD seem to work together a lot [at least if you read through the kernel source and stuff that's in the ports]. So you get collaboration also.

        besides, according to open source licenses, there is NOTHING stopping you from taking all of Linux (for example), CLONING it, putting your own labels on everything, and then shipping it as "your own thing", as long as you make sure that you don't violate the GPL. Why would you want to? Oh, I dunno, maybe you're Cisco and you have a "special hardened Linux" with your name all over it that you want to use on your routers... or you're Mint and want to fork off of Ubuntu. Each has its own customizations and benefits and downsides, naturally. And that's the point. Even if it _WERE_ "single source", there would be flavors and variants of it all over the place.

      2. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        "Free BSD exists, and I think it is vastly superior to the GNU/Linux family of distributions. You may disagree, that's fine, the point is there is competition, and there is a choice."

        I've never seen FreeBSD with a space in it. However, I'm a fan too via pfSense - I look after rather a lot of them. Thankfully my Linux accent when speaking to the shell doesn't get in the way too much.

        Your point about competition and choice is, in my opinion, the most important thing.

        WE HAVE CHOICE - USE IT.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Open source is leading to single source

          Open Source is more than desktop/server OS, drivers and the associated applications. Also exists on Microcontroller applications.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open source is leading to single source

      There's a lot of truth in this - despite people not liking the message.

      Still amazes me the way google / facebook etc can exist on open source but then keep their own code private.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        @tombo - If the code is never publicly released (by definition private) then there is no need to specify a license. The terms of the original license only apply when you release derivative code to the public. Also, any new code, unrelated to other code, can be released under a different license than the rest of the code.

        Software licenses such as BSD, MIT, or GPL are means to allow legal reuse of the code without the threat of lawsuit. By releasing the code under, say MIT, the copyright holder is granting the user legal rights beyond what is granted by statutory copyright law (basically not much). This is reason it is rarely litigated.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Open source is leading to single source

          @a_yank_lurker - my personal view is it's a bit distasteful the way google / facebook etc exist because of open source, make a fortune from open source, but then behave like microsoft with their own extensions and innovations. ie, they keep it all private.

          I know they release some crumbs to open source, but compared to the IP they own it's not much.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        @tombo

        If you are concerned about Google/Facebook/... keeping enhancements to open source projects to themselves then the licence you are looking for is the GNU Affero General Public License.

    5. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Open source is leading to single source

      "dreamed for years about ONE OS to rule them all"

      You could not possibly possibly possibly be more wrong.

      The entire point about OpenSource is that each person can have their own OS. With just the stuff _they_ want. Nothing less and, nowadays more revelant, nothing more than what they want.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Open source is leading to single source

        @teknopaul

        > The entire point about OpenSource is that each person can have their own OS. With just the stuff _they_ want. Nothing less and, nowadays more revelant, nothing more than what they want.

        Unfortunately it is becoming harder and harder (tho still possible depending on how technically minded you are) to do this. For example, while it is possible, it is getting quite difficult to have a Linux desktop OS without the Systemd borg collective. Many end-user software suites are becoming dependent on that component. Finding alternative applications or just "doing without" is of course still possible, but the alternative pool is shrinking. Some software packages that were cross-platform are becoming less so, as they make dependencies on Systemd, however Systemd itself is not cross-platform, not even to other *NIXes - BSD, commercial, etc.

    6. Loud Speaker

      Re: Open source is leading to single source

      Open source is a totalitarian dream. It means you can't have competitive advantages

      So there's only one Linux distribution, and the BSDs are not different operating systems?

      More and more developers just reuse some bad library, or copy shitty code.

      Would not dispute that shitty developers have shitty processes, and expose their shitty code to public view, for others to copy. But eventually, some of it gets fixed.

      I think you will find that closed source is far worse - not only is shitty open source code copied without crediting the actual authors, it is not updated when the open source version is fixed.

      Because writing their own code is too expensive and time consuming. affects closed source every bit as much as open source - probably more so - many open source contributors write the code because they want the code, and then open source it so others will help maintain it. (I speak for myself here). Closed source code is just not fixed. (Have you ever phoned in a bug report to MS and got a fix?)

    7. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: Open source is leading to single source

      There's quite a bit more than Linux out there in Open Source land. There are the BSDs that have fuck all to do with Linux but they're UNIXlike also. FreeBSD had ZFS a long time ago, so long that I forget the Linux world is still not using it in most cases.

      Darwin still exists. If you have a Raspberry Pi there's RISC OS. There's OpenIndiana, though I have no idea how well they're doing. For laughs you can try GNU/Hurd.

      You make it sound as if there's Linux and only Linux as far as Unixlike operating systems go, and its not the case. Yes, there's a lot of Linux out there, but it is by no means universal.

  3. PushF12

    "it was mostly white guys."

    Tim Burke is a racist that disparages the people that built the OSS ecosystem.

    It is okay to be white.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "it was mostly white guys."

      Are you such a delicate Snowflake that a statement of fact causes you spasm into calling another racist? We all know that facts and the truth aren't high on the Republican agenda; so, just out of curiosity, what your politics?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "it was mostly white guys."

      We're bringing skin color a talk on coding now????? FFS....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "it was mostly white guys."

        I'm not a racist, I have friends that write code for open source.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: "it was mostly white guys."

      "It is okay to be white."

      yeah, 'diversity' is highly overrated. It's an SJW's excuse to show favoritism to "group of the week".

      I like THIS kind of diversity: a diverse group of highly qualified engineers, each with an expertise in a different niche. nevermind race/sex/whatever-else-the-SJWs-care-about

      and you pay people based on their WORK QUALITY! [and ONLY that]

      What's so wrong with THAT kind of 'diversity'? tell me, please, SJW's, because I'm obviously so CLUELESS in YOUR eyes!!!

      troll icon because, obvious

      [yeah I was searching for an existing thread on this sub-topic, because it really *irked* me to see the 'D' word in the article and the obvious 'affirmative action' nonsense being hailed as "a good thing" somehow - bit it was a quote, not the author, as far as I could tell, so no blame for El Reg - you're just telling like it is]

      1. Loud Speaker

        Re: "it was mostly white guys."

        and you pay people based on their WORK QUALITY

        Then how do you explain Windows?

  4. Daniel von Asmuth
    WTF?

    Open Source versus Free Software

    When the *BSD community meets the Linux community, focus turns to the ideological difference between Open Source (like MIT license) and Free Software (like the GNU GPL).

    Open Source favours proprietary software and is championed by Microsoft, whose Windows contains a lot of Open Source code. Their customers do not profit from this is any way, and the original developers barely get their name on a list that the public doesn't get to see.

    Free Software uses the Copyleft principle to protect the rights of its developers and end-users. Yes, some strange deal between Canonical and Microsoft made it possible for Redmond to include Linux in Windows without making its entire kernel GPL code.

    Free Software promotes innovation: you are free to use an existing code base, rename the product, add any killer features you can, and sell it at a premium as long as you share the source code. Major hardware vendors support Linux which is a lot cheaper than having to develop an Operating System of their own, thus computing becomes commoditised.

    The existence of Free Software preserves your right to keep the source of your own software closed, as long as you don't mix free and proprietary code.

    1. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Open Source versus Free Software

      >Open Source favours proprietary software

      See, that quip I was talking about dogmatics turning people off. Yup, talking about folk just like you.

      "War is peace", "Freedom is slavery", "Ignorance is strength"

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Open Source versus Free Software

      "When the *BSD community meets the Linux community, focus turns to the ideological difference between Open Source (like MIT license) and Free Software (like the GNU GPL)."

      This is why I like to put my open source stuff up on the web as "dual license" - either [L]GPL _or_ a BSD-like license, YOUR choice. In this way it maximizes freedom. And it still helps _me_ out for being able to demonstrate my abilities for coding gigs, which is one of the main reasons I've contributed a bunch of different projects [some of which are abandonware anyway]. Another reason, of course, is BRAGGING RIGHTS. And I'm easy enough to find on well-known open source repositories if anybody cares...

      The point is that if you want people to recognize your work, the 2 different licenses have their benefits. So why not use both?

      But yeah, the religious battle between MIT/BSD and GPL and a few of the other licenses are kinda pointless. 'Dual License' (or multi-license if need be) helps to solve that. MAXIMUM freedom.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Open Source versus Free Software

        "But yeah, the religious battle between MIT/BSD and GPL and a few of the other licenses are kinda pointless. "

        There are a lot of DVRs out there which are using Linux OSes, and GPL-derived sources for the actual DVR functionality, which are full of holes due to shitty security prcatices by the people who put it together and whose manufacturers and distributors _refuse_ to comply with GPL requirements.

        Yes, they're made in China, Yes they're the primary pool of Mirai infections and YES those who sell them in the EU/USA are exposing themselves to litigation by an unfriendly author of iptables/busybox/fatfs tools.

        The primary culprit is Huawai's Hisilicon chipmaking subsidiary as primary distributors of the SDK for their SoC chipsets, aided and abetted by Hangzhou Xioangmai Technology(*) - who created the SDK and have the chuntzpah to accuse 3rd parties of stealing their intellectual property.

        (*) Anything listed as XMeye and related code is XiaongMai. Their code is used in Hikvision, Dahua and most other chinese DVRs. The primary binary containing the DVR functionality and vulnerable xc-httpd webserver is stripped but still riddled with GPL symbols.

        Perhaps forcing these things to be open might enhance security by allowing the things to be fixed.

        This is a good example of the failure of opensource: The market for these devices runs into hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions), they're full of stupid security holes and yet no GPL enforcement action has been taken.

        The standard response I get from chinese entities when bringing up free software is that "GPL is public domain" and they can do what they want with it. We've seen this notion disabused in courts on this side of the bamboo firewall. It needs to happen on the other side (Registering a copyright is required to enforce in China. That costs about $50. Until that happens, chinese entities are pretty much correct about what they're doing. Why isn't the FSF empowering its chinese version?)

  5. gfx

    Amiga

    The Amiga had open source software back in 1988 look at aminet

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Amiga

      Freely-distributable software predates even that. Ask any DECUS member from the 1970s.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Amiga

        Even a lot of software for IBM mainframes was developed by customers and freely exchanged - this was formalised in SHARE in 1955. There were also a stash of free software (free as in "beer" but provided in source code) for customers to install and hack as they pleased.

        Manufacturers didn't bother about copyright in computer software to the same extent in those days: the value was in the extremely expensive hardware and the software was "merely" necessary to get the customers to buy the machines - and it wasn't as if you could run it on anyone else's hardware.

        The history of what we would probably think of as "open source" operating systems is older than you might imagine.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Amiga

          It's not that they didn't bother about copyright, it's that the concept of copyright didn't even exist with regards to computer source code until 1974 ... and binaries only caught up in 1983! (See: Apple vs Franklin).

          For a while there, you HAD to ship source code with your binaries if you wanted to be able to claim a copyright on your software. Strange but true.

      2. Loud Speaker

        Re: Amiga

        Free distribution was normal before Bill Gates. Its a simple as that.

        He wrote a famous letter saying "the programmer deserves to be paid" a few months after he ripped off the author of what he renamed to DOS.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Amiga

          It wasn't Gates. We didn't even bother laughing at his 1976 "letter to hobbyists", we completely ignored it. It was Apple that got the copyright law changed to include binaries. See: 1983's Apple v. Franklin.

          Gates also didn't do the deal with SCP for the use of 86-DOS, that was Paul Allen. 86-DOS probably infringed on Kildall's CP/M, but MS had nothing to do with that.

          Gates also never said "640K should be enough" ... But Steve Jobs once said "256K should be more than enough for home users" (at the Homebrew Computer Club, when introducing the Mac for the first time, a few weeks before it was unveiled for the general public. I was there.)

          "Apple, Inc., stifling innovation since 1983"

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Amiga

            Woops. Not 256K, Jobs said "128K should be enough for the home user" ... Mea Culpa. Strangely enough, Jobs had a point ... Back then, 64K was enough to run a flight simulator. The graphics were shit compared to modern standards, but the basics were there. Would probably take a couple gigs for today's kids to produce the same thing ...

          2. conscience

            Re: Amiga

            "[Gates] wrote a famous letter saying "the programmer deserves to be paid" a few months after he ripped off the author of what he renamed to DOS."

            Indeed he did. And the first thing Gates and Allen did when they wanted to write their own version of BASIC was to go and get the DEC manuals to rip off Digital's own version of BASIC - then they had the cheek to talk about deserving to be paid for 'their' work.

            "86-DOS probably infringed on Kildall's CP/M, but MS had nothing to do with that."

            Probably? The software Microsoft renamed to MS-DOS then offered to IBM and sold to the public was just an unauthorised port of Kildall's CP/M that ran on Intel processors, there is no way that was that legal. Just because SCP copied it and not Microsoft directly, it doesn't change the fact it was copied without permission or stop Microsoft being guilty of selling something that they had no right to sell. It is the definition of hypocrisy when they then talk about piracy... a bit like the Hollywood story and how they got started by moving to California so they could ignore Edison's patents.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Amiga

              86-DOS wasn't a port of CP/M. It was a re-write that used the same API. Gary told me several years later that he didn't think it was a direct rip-off, just an unauthorized use of the published API. Back then, such use wasn't codified into law, wasn't illegal, and in fact it was completely normal. SCP was legally allowed to do what they did, and MS was legally allowed to purchase it and re-license it to a third party. Just as MS did later with AT&T Version 7 UNIX, which MS distributed as Xenix.

              Back then, everybody everywhere was porting BASIC. It's what it was for.

              Trying to vilify somebody for actions back then based on today's law just makes you look silly. Stop it.

            2. Mage Silver badge

              Re: Edison's patents

              Bad example as they were invalid (French and other prior art) and enforced by violence. Eventually the US Government had to step in. Very many Edison patents, as well as other 19th & 20th C USA patents should never have been approved.

              The USPTO is still broken.

              The rest is very true. The MS empire was founded on copyright theft. In most of the world, by Berne convention, both CP/M and BASIC was covered by copyright.

        2. Mage Silver badge

          Re: "the programmer deserves to be paid"

          MS first success was BASIC, ripped off, Sorry, based on Dartmouth BASIC.

          It was the company that MS bought the basis of MS-DOS/PC-DOS from that had ripped off CP/M 86 / CP/M. The CP/M 86 was mostly created by using an Intel 8080 to 8086/8088 Assembler translation tool by Digital Research on their CP/M 80. That's why MS DOS had no subdirectories and it was so easy to port Supercalc, Wordstar and other programs to MS DOS, as well as the fact the 8088/8086 was nearly a fake 16 bit cpu. The linear address space was only 64K, additional RAM was addressed using the overlapping segment register, up to the 1M RAM. It was a terrible choice, deliberately made by IBM as they didn't want the PC to impact sales of their other products. Real 16 bit CPUs existed, including ones used in IBM products.

          MS and IBM acted as a dead weight on PC innovation for 10 years. Most 286 and 386 CPUs ran entirely as 86 mode unless running UNIX family OSes. Even Win95 & Office 95 code was mostly 16 bit not 386 / 486 32bit.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Amiga

      Freely distributable software != Open Source.

      The first systematic approach to open sourcing large software ecosystem is BSD which will be 40 years old in March.

      That predates amiga, usenet, etc which were more about software being free as in beer than software being free as in "you can take it, modify it and build on top of it".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Amiga

        I was using BSD in 1977, might want to check your math ;-)

        1. Loud Speaker

          Re: Amiga

          I was using BSD in 1977 so was I, but it was not free in those days. You paid quite a lot for the licence (or some else did - in my case GEC).

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Amiga

            In 1977, BSD was free for the cost of tape and return shipping. I sent out half a dozen or so copies myself. (1BSD wasn't what we now think of when we say "BSD", rather it was a bunch of utilities & tweaks for AT&T Unix version 6. The AT&T license cost money for non-educational users.)

            I paid rather a lot more than most ... My tuition at Berkeley.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Amiga

          Jake,

          According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), the 1BSD add-on tape for Bell Labs UNIX version 6 was released in 1978. I'm sure that some of the utilities would have been used internally within UCB before this, so I'm assuming that's where you were.

          At this time, it was a series of add on tools plus one or two kernel modifications and fixes/patches shipped as source to be applied on top of an existing Bell Labs V6 UNIX installation, not an OS in it's own right.

          I, too, have personal experience. I used Ingres, which was shipped on with 2BSD in 1979. Later, I looked after a Bell Labs UNIX V7 installation with a BSD 2.6 tape (which I wish I had taken a copy of), again for Ingres.

          It was a lot of fun investigating the other software that was on the tape, although most of it required the separate I&D address space extension to compile and run, which my PDP-11/34 did not have. There was, however an overlay loader included that I had a play with, and managed to get ex running, although vi would not run. I did not pursue it, because Newcastle University produced a multi-platform simple screen editor for student use, which we were given a copy of (how's that for Open Source).

          I think that 3BSD which shipped in 1979 was the first distribution that contained a complete OS, although you still needed to be a Bell Labs/AT&T source code licensee, because it still contained base UNIX code.

          I also ran RSX-11M on my PDP/11, and we were a member of DECUS, and we used the DECUS C compiler, RUNOFF, and a number of other utilities which were available for free (well, at the cost of the media) to members.

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Amiga

        Look, software that would now be described as open source pre-existed the creation of the term "open source", which is what TFA is about...

  6. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    Whatever happened to...

    Brown bag software?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Whatever happened to...

      I don't think they recovered after the Symantec lawsuit.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Humpty Dumpty

    Does anyone else, however committed to FOSS, have an uncomfortable feeling this narrow redefining of words to suit some agenda?

    At the same time as Open Source was being defined in this way I was taking on a gig where the vendor provided most of their code to us (just not quite enough to be able to edit it and recompile).

    In appropriate open source manner we were able to find some of their bugs. And explain to them how to fix them. After all, somebody had to.

    Nevertheless it was still proprietary code and we couldn't just disseminate it how we wanted.

  8. jake Silver badge

    Funny thing about so-called "software".

    When first I got into computers, there was (almost) no such thing as "closed source" or "proprietary" or whatever you want to call it. It's rather difficult to retain tight control of "source code" when you're loading machine instructions via front panel switches ... or later, via punched tape or cards. Even IBM distributed source code for it's equipment into the 1990s ... In fact, before 1974 programs and their source were ALWAYS public domain (at least in the USA).

    Just thought I'd muddy the waters a trifle.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Funny thing about so-called "software".

      By way of reference, IBM's "object code only" memo from 1983. After this, getting actual source out of IBM involved pulling hen's teeth, but it was still available until 1999ish if you knew who to talk to, and how to wave the chicken.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funny thing about so-called "software".

      I'd agree with much of what you're saying, but "public domain" was a phase much misused in those days. It was often used to mean "you can do what you want with this", but technically it has a very narrow legal definition where the original owner expressly gifts all rights (including all possibility of copyright) to the general public. It's a complete surrendering of all ownership, and was very rarely actually the case. Most code was handed out for free (in both senses) use, but that's not "public domain".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Funny thing about so-called "software".

        No, the phrase "public domain" was NOT misused in those days. Rather, the legal definition has changed over time. Here's an interesting web page for you to parse.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Open Source diversity ..

    'Burke expressed optimism about the open source community because it is becoming more diverse. "In the early days," he said, "it was mostly white guys."'

    That's because most of the population of the US is white and despite what the gender-non-binary crowd would have us believe, there are gender differences in interests and most of the people who want to go into technology are male. Yes you will find female tunnel diggers and welders but I'm talking about the middle of the bell curve. I wonder, will it become as diverse as Google or Mozilla where a Caucasian can get fired for expressing an opinion?

    'Efforts, he said, to involve women and other underrepresented groups and to make the style of interaction less confrontational have been paying off.'

    I can imagine how Linus Torvalds would respond to that. How about try and be less sensitive snowflake :]

    ps: .. OpenOffice based on StarOffice , not Microsoft Office ..

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Open Source diversity ..

      And Microsoft Office was based on and on........

      The only "original" part I can think of is Visicalc.

      What you copy is basically a demand for something.

  10. analyzer
    Coat

    Free or Open?

    I think it should be called "Liberty software" then we could refer to MS as

    "Taking the Liberty software"

    That one over there, no the anorak

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Free or Open?

      'Open Source' works for me. it reflects the intent of exposing the soft underbelly for anyone to see/use. The doors are open, come on in, you're welcome.

      Also it's being used in electronics hardware (open source design and board layouts being a big one, like Arduino), and elsewhere too as far as I know...

      And even with all of the clones out there, Arduino is still doing pretty well last I checked.

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    Theres only

    one reason I can think of that people run linux.

    To avoid the clusterf**k that is microsoft 'software'

    Sadly for everyone else, the old saying of "No one got fired for buying microsoft" still applies....

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Theres only

      I run Linux and BSD because they work the way I want to use my computers. It's really that simple.

      For the record, I have fired people for purchasing Microsoft products. I fully expect to have to do that again, eventually.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Theres only

      "one reason I can think of that people run linux."

      You should think some more. Some of us have been using Unix-based stuff since before MS got bought into OSs and Linux still fits that bill providing nobody potters about with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Theres only

        providing nobody potters about with it.

        Shouldn't that be "Poetterings" about?

      2. Wensleydale Cheese
        Happy

        Re: Theres only

        "Linux still fits that bill providing nobody potters about with it."

        I see what you did there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Boris - Re: There's only

      No, Linux was never meant to be a free (as in 0$) version of Windows.

      With all its rough edges, to me Linux was and still is an OS that offers a full, two-way trust between a user and his PC.

      For those who still do not understand this, just try to uninstall the app store from Windows or to decline forced upgrade to the next version of Windows. Hell, I can't even disable notifications from weather application on my mobile phone, just because a developer decided so.

  12. John Deeb

    "all happy and excited"

    "And just look at the people around you in the Apple Store. They're all happy and excited"

    That's because they are surrounded by expensive status-related gadgets loaded with protected IP and top notch materials? That excitement will simply not happen with any quality open source clones besides some irrelevant minority. And would aiming for the "Apple emotion" not be another form of cloning? Perens seems quite divorced from the reality of markets and constructed feelings around bands & products. And he never was exposes too much to that side I suppose, not while carrying the burden, so it can be forgiven. But perhaps please do not become a spokesperson for anything?

  13. steelpillow Silver badge

    Business benefits

    Whatever you call it, it's embodied in the license. Free/libre/open licensing is steadily making its way out of the coding room and into other areas of human life. For example I have published a fair amount of words and images under Creative Commons licenses and I there are a fair few open hardware specifications around. But they are still nice areas in the "normal" world. I don't think we will get that "normal" feelgood factor that Bruce was talking about until such licensing rises to prominence in these other walks of life. IMHO open/libre/free advocates should really be talking up the wider business benefits for the licensee - control of your own business model, etc - and ignoring where the idea came from.

  14. Vanir
    Childcatcher

    The law is technically

    open 'open source' but a certain group of people who 'practice' law seem to have a hegemony over the creators of law - and it seems over the creators of software.

    Engineers say they try to engineer themselves out of a job: lawyers seem to attempt to 'engineer' themselves more lucrative jobs wherever and whenever they can. They do this more easily in big companies.

  15. zorko

    ill informed and ignorant of history

    Sorry, but this article while appropriately respectful and thankful for GPL based software, is woefully ignorant of the the far longer history that "Open Software" has. It goes back to the beginnings of modern computers in the 1950s- even in the sense that Open == Free == Unencumbered. All computer vendors had some form of shareware from user groups from the beginning.

  16. spacedive

    Scope creep

    Criticism of the Linux Foundation, and concern about the direction it appears to be heading, is further evidenced in a comment by a representative in a recent issue of Linux Format magazine (UK, Feb 2018, #233), entitled "Make events inclusive". In it the Foundation rep claims their initiative is about being inclusive, which of course is eminently laudable. So why does one of the rep's bullet points state the Foundation's initiative includes "Prohibiting all-male panels or keynote line-ups"? Is the Linux Foundation really promoting such sexist mantras? And if so, can it be said the Foundation represents the FOSS community? Along with the concerns raised in Claburn's article, does this display of gender-based exclusion mean it is correct to suggest that the Linux Foundation has lost its way and is now only serving its own political agenda?

    1. Mark 110

      Re: Scope creep

      Oh don't be an arse. Why do you want to be in an all male environment?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Scope creep

        It's not a matter of "wanting to be in an all male environment". What happens if there are quite literally only four people in the entire world who can speak eloquently on a subject, and they are all male? Why, exactly, should we not allow them to form a panel (or keynote lineup) and speak?

        Is there a similar rule against an all female panel or keynote lineup?

        Admiral Hopper is probably spinning in her grave over this crap. The Linux Foundation should be ashamed of itself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: four people ... and they are all male?

          There are more sources of non-diversity than just gender.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Scope creep

      The sad fact of life is that if anything has a political aspect it becomes a magnet for people more interested in politics than whatever the original thing was. From the start the very choice of the word "Free" introduced such an aspect.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Source AI Programming

    AI Programming is going to produce code which outperforms every human effort, open source needs to embrace it or be utterly reduced to dust.

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Open Source AI Programming

      AI that advanced will make up its own mind about its licensing model among other AIs. It won't care diddly squat about what we wetware are whingeing on about.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everybody and his dog here

    is blissfully unaware that Open Source software can not exist on proprietary, closed hardware.

  19. bobajob12

    I think this comment section is a good example of why we still have a long way to go

    - Folks still arguing about what it means to be X or Y ("open" or "closed" or whatever). If we can't even agree terms, we are doomed to have ineffective conversations.

    - Folks making attacks on one another that substitute strawmen for positions ("you're against diversity, therefore you hate women" "you're for diversity, therefore you embrace quotas and mediocrity")

    - Folks still re-litigating battles from over 30 years ago ("X stole Y!" "No, it was all BillG's fault!")

    Perhaps I'll try and say something uncontroversial. Puppies are cute, aren't they?

    1. whatevs...

      Re: I think this comment section is a good example of why we still have a long way to go

      Puppies are rubbish! Kittens are so much better than puppies it's laughable.

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