Celebrate 20 Years of Open Source

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5 February 2018
Eiichiro Yanagawa

Lessons to Learn from the Success of Linux

In 1997, Eric Raymond published his famous work “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” on the culture of hackers (true programmers) and open source. In 1998, Netscape released open-source Netscape Communicator 5.0. Today this source code has been used in the widely known applications of Mozilla Firefox (browser) and Thunderbird (email).

The open-sourcing of Netscape Communicator was rooted in the concept of copyleft (copyrighting materials or programs and giving individuals the right to use, redistribute, and modify them, including secondary works as long as the same terms of distribution are maintained). This marked a major turning point in the free software movement (FSM) being championed by Richard Stallman and others.

In February 1998, the term and concept of open source development emerged when FSM ideals were rebranded to emphasize the superiority of software development characterized by sharing source code and cooperation. Subsequently, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) ( was established by Bruce Perens, Tim O'Reilly, and Linus Torvalds, among others.


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