Pick a Free OS

Book: Open Sources - Voices from the Open Source Revolution

mixing with non-free software, private rendering of

modifications, and special privileges for original creators.

Legendary MIT hacker Richard Stallman advocates the sharing of

software the way recipes are shared. "The idea that the

proprietary software social system - the system that says you are

not allowed to share or change software - is antisocial, that it

is unethical, that it is simply wrong, may come as a surprise to

some readers," says the controversial founder of the Free

Software Movement, who created the GNU operating system and GNU

Emacs editor.

Open Source, which traces some of its roots to the Free Software

Movement, has built an image focusing more on features like

reliability of the new software model, and has also broadened its

discourse to include strategies of business viability.

"Created from open source software, the Internet has become a

fantastic enabler for the development of new open-source

software," says Michael Tiemann, founder of Cygnus Solutions, a

leading provider of open-source embedded compilers and debuggers.

The Internet's spectacular growth is a testament to the power of

this open standards model.

Addressing the software engineering impact of this new paradigm

of open, collaborative, internationally distributed model of

software development, Paul Vixie - head architect of the most

popular DNS implementation BIND - says that open-source software

enjoys the "best system-level testing in the industry," driven by

"real-world experiences of real users."

"An additional advantage enjoyed by open-source projects is the

peer review of dozens or hundreds of other programmers looking

for bugs by reading the source code rather than just by executing

packaged executables," according to Vixie.

"Software is not software without source code," according to

NASA, which needs the perfect reliability possible with the Linux


Larry Wall, author of the rn news reader for Unix as well as a

the Perl programming language (sometimes called the "duct tape of

the Internet"), identifies some of the seemingly contradictory

traits of open source developers: diligence, patience, and

humility as well as laziness, impatience and hubris.

Linux began as an operating system for only one architecture -

the Intel 386 - but today has millions of users, thousands of

developers and a growing market, according to Linux creator Linus