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Free Software Foundation (FSF) -Edit

In 1985 Free Software Foundation was established by Richard Stallman. The idea that led to the establishment was strong as it was based on Stallman's belief that software should be free.

" Free refers to freedom, defined by the four fundamentals of freedom:-

  •   The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  •   The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
  •   The freedom to redistribute copies to help their neighbor.
  •   The freedom to improve the program, and release improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits. "

(OpenSUSE, 2014)[1]


After resigning from MIT, Stallman focused his attention to develop a suite of free software which is known as the GNU family. Stallman coined the term “Free Software” in the GNU manifesto. The term is a formalized process that has been occurring previously in the past. Unfortunately due to the ambiguous meaning, it has later been known as “Open Source”. FSF was responsible for many variety of utilities used that would be OSS products. For example, the GNU C compiler (GCC) and also Emacs editor which were commonly used.


" The strong ideological nature of the FSF - evident in the terms of licenses associated with it - is typified by the recasting of the common copyright phrase, copyright - all rights reserved, to be ‘copyleft - all rights reversed’. "

(J. Feller & B. Fitzgerald, 2002)[2]

The copyleft concept promotes that everyone would be able to use software, copy and modify it, and also to the extent of redistributing it. However, they could not include any personal restrictions.

The World Wide Web (WWW) - The Internet Application ProjectEdit

“Web servers and Web browsers are the heart of the Internet and free software has been prominent on both the server and browser ends” (Deek & Mc Hugh, 2008)[3], thus the first open source project that is mentioned by the writers is a project conducted by National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where a web server is developed by Rob McCool in the mid-1990s. In turn lead development by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN laboratory, for basic concept for the well known and highly appreciated tool used today known as the World Wide Web (WWW) including the invention of the first web server and web browser Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). With these foundation of software was founded at this time, and since its open sourced, development had bloom ever since without any proprietary influence getting in the way.

That is such web browsers that is open source is Mozilla Firefox and web server is Apache Web Server. Where any particular user whom wishes to create a website and allowing users to access them to use this as a backbone to allow such services possible. Thus making the Internet that we known today are public and free to everyone. Meanwhile today, the WWW service has reach across the globe, which is able to connect every citizen from different nook and cranny, and enabling them to collaborate borderless and faster than ever before. For an example would be social sites such as forums, blogs and many more that is used to discuss a certain matter.

Operating Systems - Open Source Platform ProjectEdit

At the time where the computing era had started, most computers are designed specific purposes, especially for researching fields and military purposes. That is personal computers weren’t not famous as at the time it was generally expensive and huge. In addition, during the 1970s at AT&T’s Bell Telephone Laboratory the Unix operating system (OS) was conceived. The Unix OS was designed as fore mentioned earlier, for researching fields and military purposes. Furthermore, Unix OS is proprietary system software that does not allow regular users to use personal uses. Thus which caused a need for an operating system for the public uses.

As computing advances throughout the years, by the year 1991, an undergraduate student at University of Helsinki named Linus Trovalds had an idea to create an open source kernel that allowed users to build upon an operating system from it. Numerous companies had supported the very idea, as it would enable them to use software that does not cost proprietary fees. Linux OS was conceived after the name of the kernel inventor (Linus Trovalds). As stated in the World Wide Web - Internet Application Project, several web servers too uses Linux as an operating system to host the websites which allowed the WWW to progress even faster as it doesn’t cause a heavy burden to dwarf companies to operate.

Today operating systems such as Ubuntu, Fedora & Debian uses Linux kernel as a base for their Operating System. On recent news, based on the recent study of market share of operating systems for web servers, had shown that Linux is dominating the market approximately of 35.9% as a majority shareholder (Q-Success, 2015)[4] . This has implicated that due to the nature of the operating system’s kernel to be open source, the adaptation rate of OS by users is higher as the source code of the kernel is transparent and free to its users.

Programming LanguageEdit

The programming language is an important factor in determining Open Source Software(OSS) project success because the participants have to be familiar with the programming language in order to understand the source code and make any changes. The C programming language has played a vital role in early OSS development for several reasons, the main being that it was the system implementation language for the UNIX operating system (Sen, Singh & Borle, 2012)[5]. The availability of the library and resources has made it easy for OSS developers to use C programming language. Therefore, it is the preferred language of OSSdevelopers for codes that are tightly coupled to the UNIX/Linux kernel (Sen, Singh & Borle, 2012)[5].

Furthermore, several software development tools are available for generating C code resulting in reduced effort to program using C language. As a result, C and its later derivatives such as C++, Visual C++, and C# are still the preferred languages of open source software developers (Sen, Singh & Borle, 2012)[5]. OSS projects has spur the growth of the C programming language derivatives like C++ and C#. This was evident in a survey in 2005 by Computerworld that found C# and C++ in the top five programming languages used by software developers (Sen, Singh & Borle, 2012)[5].

The Mozilla Project: Web Revolution - The Internet BrowserEdit

The Mozilla Project was created by Netscape Communications Corporation on March 31, 1998 to create next generation Internet suite. The development of this open source project is guided by Mozilla Corporation created by Netscape Communications Corporation leaded by few Netscape employees. The Mozilla Project has evolve into what we now know as the owner of Mozilla Firefox browser and Mozilla Thunderbird email client.


The first struggle Mozilla Corporation face is the several generation old framework of the Internet suite derived from Netscape Communication's own Internet suite, Netscape Communicator. Netscape Communicator is basically a product which handles everything that goes through the Internet from web browser to even news client. In the late 1998, The Mozilla Corporation made a decision to rewrite the source code from scratch.


During the development process, experts has proclaimed that the project is a failure but they preserved and believe in their works. During this period, the Mozilla Corporation has created a set of technologies to push the idea of cross-platform development a reality.


"The power of these technologies has been demonstrated through our new products: Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird, in which we were able to build award-winning cross-platform applications quickly on top of mature, pre existing infrastructure." (DiBona, Cooper & Stone, 2006)[6]


While development of these technologies (eg. Cross-platform component model, XPCOM) is a long process but it has proved to be fruitful. "As of April, 2015, Mozilla Firefox remains the second most used browser in the world following Google Chrome." (Browser Statistic, n.d)[7]


"I expect the Mozilla project will continue to be a trendsetter in a number of arenas:

  •    Development of open source end-user products
  •    Combining volunteer and commercial activity in an open source project
  •    Maintaining a critical mass of people as employees of the Mozilla Foundation
  •    Funding that set of employees plus community marketing and adoption programs"

(DiBona, Cooper & Stone, 2006)[6]


The struggles of the Mozilla Corporation have proof that even open sources software can be as great as paid software. The creation of the Mozilla Firefox browser have been proven to create a benchmark for other organisation and developer to follow. This will and has created a spark in the upcoming generation of open source projects.

ReferencesEdit

  1. OpenSUSE. (2014). Appendix E: History and Background. from http://opensuse-guide.org/history.php
  2. J. Feller & B. Fitzgerald (2002). Understanding Open Source Software Development
  3. Deek, F. P., & Mc Hugh, J. A. (2008). Open Source: Technology and Policy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  4. Q-Success. (2015, March 7). Usage of operating systems for websites. From Web Technology Surveys: http://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/operating_system/all
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Sen, R., Singh, S., & Borle, S. (2012). Open source software success: Measures and analysis. Decision Support Systems, 52(2), 364-372. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2011.09.003
  6. 6.0 6.1 DiBona, C., Cooper, D., & Stone, M. (2006). Open sources 2.0: The continuing evolution (Second ed.). O'Reilly.
  7. Browser Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2015, from http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp