Summary on Open Source as Culture



This video provides a concise yet lighthearted explanation on Linux which was extensively mentioned in the reading.

Key differences:

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World Wide Web

  • invented by Tim Berners Lee, 1989
  • documents and other sources are interlinked by hypertext links
  • accessed via internet
  • translated and searched for by the browser

GNU operating system

  • launched by Richard Stallman, 1983
  • developed by the community
  • 100% free
  • non – profit
  • promote computer user freedom

Free Software foundation

  • founded by Richard Stallman, 1985
  • promotes universal freedom to study, distribute, create and modify computer software
  • non – profit

Here is an insightful and detailed sharing Β on TED by Richard Stallman himself. πŸ™‚

Notes taken in class

  • Free can mean freedom or free of charge
  • GPL: Gnu Public License

-foundation of software distribution

-GNU is not UNIX

-Free software allow control individually or collectively

-Proprietary software allow owner to rise to power over the users

-“free softwares” refer to those that user actually want to change instead of the embedded ones

-companies omit displaying bad reviews and media to openly discuss about the downfalls hence people do not notice the importance of security brought about by free softwares

-Linux and GNU are not the same thing

– GPL if you make changes you have to publish it, while BSD you can modify it however you want and hence great freedom and accessibility

-various versions

-huge difference between GPLv2 and GPLv3, standard GPL and the lesser GPL


"Describe the history and concept of open source as explained in the essay. Some questions to consider: how is the method of peer-to-peer social interaction as found in open source practices a departure from traditional proprietary modes of artistic creation and production?"

History and concept, take-away

  • Copyright creates monopoly
  • It accommodates proprietary softwares and their profit
  • It restricts sharing, accessing, customising and improving softwares
  • Richard Stallman could not stand openness being criminalised, and that freedom of speech and creativity is being constricted
  • He founded the Free Software foundation
  • Linus Torvalds and hackers founded Linux
  • Garnered attention of the world
  • Benefits of open source gradually integrated into the public via revolutionary softwares, experiments and productions with “some rights reserved”
  • Expands from pharmaceutical products to art creations and many more

How open source is different from tradition in terms of creation / production, take-away

“Final summary”

Open Source, a novel concept in the modern world, where presumed monetary gains from the proprietary products such as Microsoft, is prioritised over creativity. Creativity is constrained and protected through the means of copyright because it is commercialised into aΒ club good only to bring wealth to the creator. Richard Stallman could not stand openness and freedom being criminalised, hence pioneered the non-profit organisation, Free Software Foundation in 1985 and triggered a cascade of innovative open source applications such as Linux and the GNU operating system.

The primary reason for open source to be effective is that it mirrors the ways in which human creates, learns and communicates. Also, it promotes user freedom and pushes for rapid software improvements since communal strength is almost always more powerful and effective.

Open source has developed from a collective need, the need to disseminate, exchange information and to innovate, independent of extrinsic incentives. As opposed to traditional production where creativity comes with a price tag, open source maximises societal benefits by being free for everyone. Hence, creativity becomes a “social act” rather than individual effort, giving rise to products that stretch across industries, no longer limited to patented pharmaceutical products and mainframe softwares. Music, Arts, information and publications have never been as accessible before absolute copyrights developed into “some rights reserved“.

When individual ownership revolutionised to peer production, a ripple effect spreads throughout industries. Attracting media attention, governmental support such as renewed copyrights law, public interests and ultimately, greater welfare for society as a whole.

(252 words :’))


One Reply to “Summary on Open Source as Culture”

  1. Hi, I’m commenting because it’s a course requirement :’)

    I really like the breadth of research you’ve done and the keyword-filled summary. However, I feel that the bold text competes for your attention and makes the summary harder to read. The formatting of your notes is also scattershot. Maybe you can move the summary up to the beginning and put the notes below?

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