For all intents and purposes, Richard Stallman created the modern open source movement that is revolutionizing technology in ways most couldn’t imagine just a few years ago when open source was still a niche.
MindTouch’s Mark Fidelman begins his brief history of free and open source software series with Richard Stallman’s frustration with proprietary software in the early 1980s.
“Richard Stallman had asked a Carnegie Mellon Professor (and former Xerox Parc researcher) for the source code to a Xerox laser printer that was causing the MIT AI lab problems. Problems that caused a jammed printer to back up print jobs. Stallman wanted to fix the issue and give the solution back to Xerox.
The Professor refused citing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) he had signed. ’I was so angry I couldn’t think of a way to express it. So I just turned away and walked out without another word,’ Stallman recalls. ‘I might have slammed the door. Who knows? All I remember is wanting to get out of there.'”