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Free/Libre, Open Source Software (Excerpt from BBC's

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Only middle-aged academics will remember that more than 2 decades ago when computers first reached universities, software source-code was freely passed around and programmers expected to be paid for programming and not for the programmes themselves. Then things changed as computers reached the business world and companies began to develop and license software on a commercial basis. Restricting access to the source code. In 1984 - Richard M Stallman, one of the original computer whizz-kids questioned the commercial software company's actions and started what he called the Free Software Movement. Stallman: What could I do? I had no political party behind me. I couldn't expect to convince governments or corporations to change any of their policies. But I did know how to write software. So I said "I'm going to develop another operating system with the help of whomever will join in and together we will make it Free Software" - we will respect your freedom! Richard Stallman came up with his own license for free software which incorporated what he described as the Four Freedoms. the freedom to run the programme as you wish. the freedom to study the source code and change it to do what you wish. the freedom to help your neighbour - the freedom to make copies and distribute them if you wish. the freedom to help your community - the freedom to distribute modified version when you wish. If you have all four of these essential freedoms - the programme is "Free Software"! :) The next development came in 1991. A 21 year-old Finnish computer programmer - Linus Torvalds developed what is known as the kernel - the core of the operating system and called it "Linux". It's proponents boast that it can operate as well on a mobile phone as on a supercomputer. According to the linux counter there are estimated to be up to 29 million computers running GNU/Linux. but since it is not sold, there are no sales figures on which to base data. Free / Open source software may not be known by name but indirectly anyone who sends an email or uses the web is using open source all the time as the gears of the internet; Webservers, email transports, and FTP servers are nearly all open source. Although Richard Stallman meant free as in Freedom Not free as in "no costs involved" it was misleading. Not everyone understood the concept. Especially (as we'll discover) open source can have significant costs down the line. In 1998 the Open Source Initiative - an organisation dedicated to promoting free and open source software - was founded by computer programmers Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens who thought that the word "Free" could be replaced by "open". Bruce Perens: Open Source takes Free Software and promotes it to business people. when you say Free, it doesn't mean "Freedom", it means "Cheap" ... And that didn't play too well to business people. So by re-branding free software as open source - Bruce Perens and his colleagues hoped that a new business model would emerge.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 42 seconds
Year: 2006
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: BBC
Views: 425
Posted by: metagalactic on Sep 11, 2010

This clip tracks the development of the Free Software Movement, the role of Linux in creating the GNU/Linux operating system and the subsequent development of the Open Source software definition. Features Interviews with Richard M Stallman and Bruce Perens.

This is an edited excerpt from the BBC documentary "the Codebreakers" (2006). I use this clip for educational purposes. I am releasing it for public use under the same Creative Commons license as the original. I am not claiming any rights to the creation of this work, but ask that you attribute the original BBC documentary.

The only part I did create is the original English subtitles using the "GNOME Subtitles" application for GNU/Linux. You are free to use and translate the English subtitles also.

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