Dec 20

Open Source Revolutions

A commenter on a blog I read said the old chestnut:  “for the 1,257th time, someone name something new and revolutionary that’s come out of open source. Th incentive that drives creativity isn’t there. Real artists see no virtue in being starving artists.

So I thought I would compile a list of great software projects that were built in an open-source way – i.e. not for profit, and with source that was freely shared with others.

This is just a tentative list – I’m sure there are mistakes, and please feel free to correct in the comments.  Also, if you can think of other revolutionary software, please add it.

  1. Rails – combining the various aspects of web development into a seamless package was certainly revolutionary (to me).  And it was open source from the beginning.  Don’t like Rails?  Django was built the same way.
  2. emacs – certainly open source, and was the first text editor that I know of that incorporated a programming language as part of its core functionality.
  3. Internet News – the servers and readers were all oen source – this was the first “Internet-scale” forum
  4. DNS – created by a scientist, specced via RFC and deployed freely.
  5. Wiki – the original WikiWikiWeb from Ward Cunningham wasn’t open source, but it was shared and available, and he (as far as I can tell) took no compensation for it
  6. IRC – was it open source?
  7. Sendmail – was it revolutionary?
  8. Jabber?

I look forward to your suggestions.

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