A few months from now, it will have been 25 years since Richard Stallman issued his “Gnu Project Manifesto.” Just as assuredly as Marx and Engel launched a revolution in the political world with their Communist Manifesto, so also did Stallman in the world of information technology — and much more quickly. Today, the communist experiment has largely run its course. To read the business press, you might be inclined to think that the free and open-source software (FOSS) movement may have lost some of its vitality as well. Where, after all, are the new VC-backed startups based on FOSS development, or the new Red Hats preparing for IPOs?
The answer, of course, is that free and open-source software is doing just fine, and that venture capital and IPOs were never what FOSS was about to begin with.
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