Each new technology brings new possibilities. We are grateful for those that believe in putting everything forward and ignoring all limits, setbacks and negativity. The internet is what is it today based on people at the very beginning believing it could be something great for everyone. Today this continues with people out there constantly releasing free and open source software.
The anniversary last month of John Perry Barlow’s 2018 death reminded many of us of the early days of the internet. 20 years after the initial publication of Barlows Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace he stated in an interview with WIRED
magazine that he stood by his words. “The main thing I was declaring was that cyberspace is naturally immune to sovereignty and always would be,” Barlow, then 68, said. “I believed that was true then, and I believe it’s true now.” His company also retains this essence at the forefront of their work today with the Electronic Frontier Foundation
describing themselves as, “The leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation”. The EFF was designed to mediate the “inevitable conflicts that have begun to occur on the border between Cyberspace and the physical world”.
It is not only Barlow who is sticking by his ideas. Many of the internets founding fathers ideas are still strongly present in the internet we use today. Let’s look at Tim Berners Lee for example, in 1989 at CERN he invented the concept of sharing information between institutions around the globe and the ‘website’ was born. To distribute websites, we need web servers and we must therefore mention The Apache License. The Apache Group 8 Developers of the Apache HTTP Server who later became the Apache Software Foundation - the ASF, are a nonprofit corporation supporting open source software projects. The Apache License, a permissive free software license allows users to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software under the terms of the license, without concern for royalties.
Another great mind from the Internet Hall of Fame so to speak is Richard Stallman, a key figure fighter for the freedom to use, study, distribute, and modify of software. Software that ensures these freedoms is termed free software. Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and GNU project also wrote the GNU General Public License. These principles are just as essential today as at the start.
If history tells us anything, it is we should have faith in the future. The initial key principles will often prevail, and human nature in coming together to create more is infinite. What will the open source community be working on next?