The open source software movement began in earnest 20 years ago, when a group of technology leaders in Silicon Valley coined the term as an alternative to the repugnant “free software.” Fast forward to 2018, and the concept has been cemented in our psyches. But does open source have the staying power to drive the next 20 years’ worth of innovation?
There was, of course, open source software before 1998. Linus Torvalds created the first Linux kernel in the open back in 1991, and even IBM engaged in sharing of operating system internals going back into the 1950s. But in hindsight, the creation of the phrase itself following that meeting, and the momentum that tech leaders consciously built behind open source after Netscape decided to release the source code for Navigator as “open source,” stand out as defining moments in what would become a history-changing worldwide movement.
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