This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
Linux started just as Intel’s processors were getting ready for prime time. Long before company employees were sneaking iPads and smartphones into the office, there were Linux freaks sneaking Intel machines into corporations to build prototype new programs and build cheap websites and file and print servers.
Linux began life as an underdog project. Torvalds started it while he was a student at the University of Helsinki because he wanted to improve Unix on his Intel 386 computer. But it soon became an antidote not only to the massive Unix servers built by the likes of Digital Equipment Corp and Sun Microsystems, but to Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Throughout the ’90s and on into the next decade, the fight was fierce on both fronts, but now, so many of the battles are won. DEC and Sun don’t exist anymore. And Microsoft is playing quite nicely with Linux and other open source tools. Linux isn’t the hot-button topic it was once was. It’s just plain successful. More than 8,000 developers have contributed to the Linux kernel in the past seven years, according to the Linux Foundation. And it has even become a standard operating system on custom-built consumer devices. You can find it on everything from inflight entertainment systems to streaming video players to Google’s Android phones. “It became the plumbing,” says Jeremy Allison, a Google engineer who speaks frequently on the topic of open source and is himself a lead developer with another coding project, called Samba.
Open source is actually nothing new. Sharing of source code was widespread in the early days of computing, when software was not perceived as having market value and most developers were academics. But companies soon discovered that selling proprietary software can be a very profitable business. To recreate a software commons, a group of politically motivated programmers came up with a special usage licence in the early 1980s to ring-fence “free software”, as it was then called.
This approach, known as “copyleft”, as opposed to copyright, languished in obscurity until the internet made it easier for far-flung groups of developers to collaborate—which led to an explosion of open-source activity. Today SourceForge, an online home for such projects, hosts thousands of them. More importantly, open-source software has become an integral part of information technology. In some markets, for instance, Linux is more successful than Windows.
A Forrester Research survey of the business landscape in the third quarter of last year found that 48% of respondents were using open source operating systems, and 57% were using open source code, which are the building blocks of software. A similar survey of 300 large public and private companies conducted by Accenture this August found that half are committed to open source software, with 38% saying they would begin using open-source software for “mission-critical” applications over the next 12 months
Jafari and Fassihi recruited amateur Iranian game developers from English-language game forums on the Internet. “There is a lot of talent in Tehran,” Fassihi said, “but nobody had experience.” Eshraghi, the animator, created the main characters; the others scoured the Internet to learn more about developing games. “Google was our university,” Jafari said. The team also had to deal with the growing trade sanctions against Iran. It was impossible to buy the licenses for the Western software used as the game’s engine. The Iranians had to rely on less powerful open-source software that was freely available on the Web. “We evolved into professional developers and animators,” Jafari said. “We created a whole new industry in Iran just by trying and trying and trying again.” Eventually, a foundation funded by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance provided the team with seed money to promote its game in Europe, where a German distributor now intends to sell it.
rather than building a browser of its own, Yandex has apparently opted to develop a custom iteration of Google’s Chrome browser based on the Chromium open source project