[ubuntu-uk] BBC Radio4 'open source' computer software

Alan Bell alan.bell at theopenlearningcentre.com
Tue Jun 2 07:51:11 BST 2009

I found that very strange. They did mention the Free software movement 
at about 7:30

"But the open source concept is not just about Mozilla, it started much 
earlier with the so called Free Software Movement in the 1980s. And it 
was a Finnish student in his early 20s who created the original 
breakthrough, the first major piece of Open Source software. In 1991 
Linus Torvalds, from the bedroom of his flat, published the complex 
computer code for his operating system, the basic software that enables 
a computer to run. By making it Free and Open he allowed anyone to use 
it without worrying about license fees, to modify it, without breaching 
copyright and to write applications that would run on it. He called it 
Linux and soon tens then hundreds then thousands of other enthusiasts 
joined him in developing it across the internet."

Describing Linux as the first major piece of Open Source software is 
revisionist and a factual error. It really wouldn't have hurt to talk 
about Stallman, the FSF, the four freedoms and the GPL. In fact it would 
make a much better story.

Found this when looking for a feedback link:

mac wrote:
> Dave Walker wrote:
>> And for those that missed it, myself included:
>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kp806/Inside_the_Virtual_Anthill_Open_Source_Means_Business/
> Just listened to it.  An implicit lesson in the difference between 'Open 
> Source' (=pragmatic - better ways to make money and advance corporate 
> interests) and Free Software (=principled - about ensuring individual 
> freedom and enabling sharing communities).
> I found it telling that the BBC programme did not once mention either 
> Stallman, GNU, or the Free Software Foundation, despite lengthy 
> discussion of Linux and Torvalds.
> A shame that it omitted half of the story.  But then, I suppose, if you 
> construe democracy as a better way to do shopping, as the programme 
> seemed to want to do, it's hardly surprising you find Stallman inconvenient.
> mac

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