Open Source Comes to Campus/Curriculum/History and Ethics of Free Software/Interactive

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Questions to Ask

  • Summarize
  • Which freedoms were being impinged upon?
  • Do you agree with the actions the person took?


Incidents to Investigate

  • older stuff - ENIAC/Grace Hopper/etc
  • Stallman and the printer
  • Skype and China
  • Linus Torvalds?
  • Blake Ross and Mozilla/Firefox?
  • DeCSS: (1998) How Big Media made open source DVD players illegal
  • Adobe eBook DRM, 2001: Why a programmer found himself in jail for showing how
 enable "Read this book aloud" on a no-cost, legally-acquired copy of
 Alice in Wonderland
  • 2002-2007: Why KDE created a totally new web browser, and how its rendering
 engine (KHTML) became WebKit in Safari, and became the core of the Chrome
 web browser, and outcompeted Opera's own HTML renderer
  • 1997-2009: How one math grad student's experiences with Mathematica led him
 to create some of the world's most used (within academia) computer math software
 as proprietary software, only to wake up around 2006, realize he had swindled
 a generation of math researchers of their freedom, and flip out and build
 Sage Math, accruing a team and building best-of-class software for abstract
 math researchers <http://sagemath.blogspot.com/2009/12/mathematical-software-and-me-very.html>
  • 2004: Why the web's most self-aggrandizing development firm released Ruby on Rails,
 and how open source and partial code sharing have changed the flavor of web programming
  • 1994 on: How a programming language (PHP) emerged from one hacker's scripts to literally
 maintain his personal home page
  • 2001: How and why Sun released their newly-acquired office suite, formerly known
 as StarOffice, as free software (now known as OpenOffice and LibreOffice)
  • 1995-1998: How Microsoft incorporated NCSA Mosaic code into a new Internet Explorer,
 gave it away, and obliterated Netscape's web browser market (for good or for bad, not
 intending to pass a value judgement here).
  • 2005: How the open source code of LiveJournal helped some users leave the website's
 changing culture, but keep the user experience they were used to by forking
 the source into Dreamwidth, in which a community of bloggers learned and taught each
 other Perl, to make one of the most gender-diverse programming communities in open
 source.
  • 2001: How the first relase of Mac OS X for the desktop market was made possible by
 embedding and extending open source software, with care to choose non-GPL code,
 preventing users of Mac OS X from having the same freedoms Apple had to build and
 modify the software.
  • BSD/AT&T