In 1980, when Xerox donated a laser printer to MIT, Richard M. Stallman, a 27-year-old programmer at the university, was appalled by its inaccessible proprietary software. This sparked the birth of the free-software movement with Stallman’s GNU — an open-source alternative to the dominant Unix operating system. Forty years on, tech companies are still making billions on proprietary software and much of the technology remains mysterious. But the free and open-source software movement is thriving and is now a corner-stone of the tech industry. This revolution was ignited by Stallman’s simple principle: that for the benefit of the world, all code should be open and free of restrictions or commercial interference.
‘Open Source’s Uncertain Future Leaves Questions Unanswered’