Eric Harrison Multnomah Education Service District Free Software:Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
1st, a few definitions • GNU: Gnu's Not Unix. A project to create a free version of Unix. Also spawned the GNU Public License (often refered to as copyleft). • Free: free as in free speech, not free beer. (libre vs gratis) • Linux: the “kernel” that finished off the goal of the GNU project. • BSD: Berkely Software Distribution. A derivative from the original version of UNIX that was given away by the University of California, Berkely. • Open Source: software who's source code is available, but not necessarily free.
Yesterday • Until the early 80's, all software was free • Internet core was dominated by free software. • In the 80's several companies pushed software as a proprietary product. • As a reaction to this the GNU project was formed in 1985 to promote free software (free as in free speech, not free as in free beer) • Early 90's: • a Finnish programmer makes the GNU project whole by writing the Linux kernel. • BSD (an original UNIX derivative) is set free • Late 90's, GNU/Linux gains public attention
Today • Linux and Open Source take Wall Street by storm, setting all-time-high IPO records. • Internet core is dominated by free software. • Stock Market tanks, Linux/Open Source based companies hit hard. Most go out of business, or are about to. • Red Hat, a Linux/Free software company makes huge inroads into running Wall Street. • Apple bases its new operating system on BSD. • IBM, HP, Intel, AMD, and other huge companies make huge commitments on Linux, on the server side. Desktop ruled by Microsoft.
Tomorrow • Only two major systems left standing: free software and Microsoft. All others reduced to tiny niches or obliterated completely. • Microsoft looses a HUGE percentage of the desktop market, but continues to grow in absolute numbers. (90% of the world has yet to “choose” an operating system. Only a small percentage will choose Microsoft). Profits crash hard (doomed to repeat IBM?). • Internet core will be dominated by free software. • All key infrastructure is based on free software. • The desktop, as we know it, is gone.
Subversion, Disruption, Domination Like IBM's mainframe monopoly of yore, the current proprietary monopolies will be torn apart in three stages: • The oppressive conditions of and unnatural monopoly will force subversive behavior. This is economics 101. • Once the subversive activities gain enough momentum, and the oppression grows unbearable, the combination will force huge disruptions in the market. • After the subversives have proven themselves, they will become the status-quo. “First they laugh at you, then they fear you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Ghandi
Linux as a Server In the last ten years, Linux has gone from an academic toy to heir to the server throne: • 1991: version 0.1 released, it didn't even work. Academics only. Laughable. • 1995/1996: versions 1.2/2.0 released: usable for light-weight “production” servers. Early adopters such as Cisco base their global printer infrastructure on Linux. Fear, uncertainly, and doubt. • 2001: version 2.4, “data-center” class (after a long shaking-out period). Backed by the heavy weights such as IBM, HP, Intel, etc, etc. Gloves-off, down-and-dirty fighting. • 2002-????: world domination. Wall Street, Google, Hollywood, Supercomputers, department stores, IBM mainframes, appliances, wrist watches. Linux showing up everywhere.
What about the desktop? Microsoft has a 90% share of the desktop, that ain't going away soon. Right? • Novell used to have 90% of the LAN server market, Netscape used to have 90% share of the browser market, etc, etc. • It was only about five years between DOS and Windows 95, and about five years between Windows 95 and Windows 2000/XP. Ten years to domination. • We're in year five for the Linux desktop, what will happen in the next five years? Five more to domination? • What about free applications running on Windows and MacOS? • What about MacOS-X? The core of it is free. Will this hybrid approach work for the desktop? • “Linux compatibility” is driving the server market, will this happen to Microsoft and Apple on the desktop?
Links • This presentation: • http://k12linux.mesd.k12.or.us/nwrel/nwrel.ppt (powerpoint) • http://k12linux.mesd.k12.or.us/nwrel/ (html) • Brief history of Linux from CNN:http://www.cnn.com/2000/TECH/computing/02/11/mini.linux.history.idg/ • My lousy webpage: http://k12linux.mesd.k12.or.us • The K12Linux project page:http://www.k12linux.org • MESD's webfiltering site: http://squidguard.mesd.k12.or.us • A great speech on technology and schools by Red Hat's CEO:http://www.technetcast.com/tnc_play_stream.html?stream_id=612 • The Open Source NOW project:http://www.redhat.com/opensourcenow/ • Red Hat success stories: http://www.redhat.com/solutions/migration/ • The GPL: http://www.fsf.org/licenses/gpl.html • http://www.linux.org, http://www.gnu.org, http://www.freebsd.org, http://www.darwin.org, http://www.opensource.org