The Generation Gap
The Internet has gone from being tiny to small to huge to gigantic. The use of open-source software has gone from being tiny to small to huge. The parallels between open source and the Internet are particularly interesting, because the cultures overlap—the infrastructure of the Internet was developed by and is maintained by hackers.
The Internet and its culture can be viewed as having passed through four generations:
The U.S. Defense Department connects the ARPA-net with other defense networks to support military research. This proves to be a great way for researchers to communicate and share information. Demand for networking grows, but access is limited to a small community of computer science researchers, government employees and government contractors. A culture based on sharing is established.
The National Science Foundation commissions the NSF-NET to connect colleges with five supercomputer centers. The NSF pays for campus connections if access will be generally available to students. Anyone at a four-year college can get on the network. Everything still revolves around sharing; commercial use is forbidden by the people providing the funding.
Demand for networking increases, and commercial Internet Service Providers appear. Commercial use of the Internet is still frowned upon (and sometimes flamed upon), but for people and businesses paying for their own access, there is no one to forbid it. The emphasis shifts from sharing to using—surfing, chatting, e-mailing, browsing, finding cool stuff and being entertained. Commercial use increases. The idea of a business having a web site goes from being flaky to being obvious. The original culture, with its strict mores enforcing an ethic of sharing, is apparently losing its dominance.
Millions and millions of people are on the Internet. You can do just about anything you want. Strict mores have given way to true freedom. It's changing the world. More people are sharing on the Internet than ever before. It's the hacker spirit on a gigantic scale.
Linux began as an operating system used primarily by programmers. Now it is used by all kinds of people, and the proportion of Linux users who are programmers is steadily decreasing. Most of these non-programmers know very little about the traditions of the hacker culture. Many of them use Linux simply to make money, and it's just about the best thing that could have happened to the Open Source movement.
Open-source software isn't going to replace closed-source software any time soon. People write closed-source applications because they believe they can make money renting them, and they will continue to believe this. Companies write software for their own use, and want to guard their trade secrets.
Closed-source development is a wonderful market for open-source components. The more companies use open-source components, the more they will contribute to open-source development.
It's great that programmers can create something like Linux in their spare time, but they also spend a lot of time at their paying jobs. Component development may be where the Open Source movement invades company time.
- The Tiny Internet Project, Part I
- Machine Learning with Python
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- Free Today: September Issue of Linux Journal (Retail value: $5.99)
- Bitcoin on Amazon! Sort of...
- Securing the Programmer
- Epiq Solutions' Sidekiq M.2
- Android Browser Security--What You Haven't Been Told
- The Many Paths to a Solution
Pick up any e-commerce web or mobile app today, and you’ll be holding a mashup of interconnected applications and services from a variety of different providers. For instance, when you connect to Amazon’s e-commerce app, cookies, tags and pixels that are monitored by solutions like Exact Target, BazaarVoice, Bing, Shopzilla, Liveramp and Google Tag Manager track every action you take. You’re presented with special offers and coupons based on your viewing and buying patterns. If you find something you want for your birthday, a third party manages your wish list, which you can share through multiple social- media outlets or email to a friend. When you select something to buy, you find yourself presented with similar items as kind suggestions. And when you finally check out, you’re offered the ability to pay with promo codes, gifts cards, PayPal or a variety of credit cards.Get the Guide