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History of Open

Timeline: A brief history of open

Over the centuries, the principles of openness and knowledge-sharing have shaped how we think, work, innovate, and communicate. From its roots in social activism, open-source software and open standards now play a crucial role in technology. And while we may not be able to see exactly what’s around the corner, we can be pretty confident about one thing: The future is open.

  • Open Innovation Before Computers

  • Early Efforts at Open

  • Foundations of Modern Open Standards

  • The Free Software Movement Is Born

  • Commercial enterprises embrace open

History of Open - Open Innovation Before Computers

Open Innovation Before Computers

The widespread sharing of information and ideas started long before the first electronic computer was even conceived.

1454

A goldsmith prints the first run of commercial books for the Catholic church

Invented by Johannes Gutenberg, the printing press is considered the first example of technology driving openness and innovation. 12

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1665

The Royal Society promotes open research by creating the scientific journal

A group for British scholars set out to change the covert nature of scientific research. “Philosophical Transactions” encouraged knowledge-sharing with the purpose of advancing the industry — not the individual. The journal is still in print today. 3, 4

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1728

The modern encyclopedia makes its world debut

The original printed book was designed to give anyone access to the accumulated knowledge of experts from the arts and sciences. These days, readers can learn about anything from Aak to Zywiec. 5, 6

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1911

Henry Ford helps bring autonomy to the auto industry

Until this time, all auto makers had to pay a patent fee to the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. Ford fought for the right of all car manufacturers to share technology freely. The collaborative R&D that transpired rapidly advanced the industry. 7

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History of Open - Early Efforts at Open

Early Efforts at Open

Software is created and shared by academics, corporate researchers, and user groups.

1953

Consumers get their hands on source code for the first time

The A-2 compiler — one of the first instances of translating code into machine language — was released with its source code. Because users could send code improvements to the manufacturer, this is considered the first instance of open-source software. 8  

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1955

IBM computer hobbyists decide to SHARE

The SHARE user group was formed in Santa Monica, and members exchanged source code via post. Four years later, the group released the SHARE operating system (SOS) — one of the first instances of collaborative software development. 910

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1961

Digital Equipment Computer Users' Society holds inaugural meeting

Founded by physicist and fighter pilot Edward Fredkin, DECUS brought together application and systems programmers to share code for DEC hardware via magnetic tape. DECUS was instrumental in the development of computer games in the 70s, including Zork and Hunt the Wumpus. 11, 12

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History of Open - Modern Standards

Foundations of Modern Open Standards

The foundations of modern open standards emerge, paving a path for new innovations.

1969

UNIX is conceived and later goes on to transform operating systems

This OS, created by AT&T’s Bell Labs, was unique because of its portability and multitasking capabilities. Since the system’s inception, a multitude of different UNIX versions have been collaboratively developed — to run workstations, internet servers, and mainframes. Today, UNIX-like systems are still found in almost every computer in the world. 13, 14, 15

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1969

ARPANET forms the early foundations of the Internet

Funded by the US Department of Defense, the early packet-switching network ARPANET drove the development of communications protocols which formed and remain today the technical foundations of the Internet. 16

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1973

Dr. Dobb’s Journal helps computer hobbyists code together

Dr. Dobb’s Journal was first published so programmers could easily share BASIC code. Over the years, its scope broadened to encourage sharing of different programming languages, and discussion of all things microcomputing. Content was sourced from its readers, both hobbyists and professionals, including Steve Wozniak. 17, 18

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1974

Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn share their design of the internet

In 1974, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn — the two pioneering fathers of the internet — shared their design of the Internet openly in the publication IEEE Transactions on Communications. They chose to release TCP/IP as an open protocol to encourage adoption. Today, TCP/IP is the standard way computers interoperate over the internet. 19

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History of Open - The Free Software Movement Is Born

The Free Software Movement Is Born

In response to tightening software regulations, this social movement promotes the freedom of individuals to share and modify source code.

1983

A broken printer kicks off the GNU project

When he couldn’t get the source code to fix a printer, Richard Stallman logged into Usenet and announced the GNU project. His aim was for developers to collaborate and free themselves from proprietary software constraints. The project still runs today. 20, 21

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1989

GNU introduces the public to copyleft

A copyleft license gives the initial rights of free distribution to all derivative versions of software. Although the term was initially used in a Dr. Dobb’s article in the late 70s, the GNU general public license, written by Stallman, was the first time a general-use copyleft license had been used on a large-scale software project. 22, 23

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1989

Free software gets customer support

Founded by three friends, Cygnus Support becomes one of the earliest companies to offer paid support for free software, representing a new business model based on open source. Nearly 10 years later, Cygnus was acquired for $698 million by Red Hat. 24, 25 ,26

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1991

A 22-year old invents the Linux Kernel and creates the first completely open-source OS

Linus Torvalds described his kernel project as “just a hobby.” But because the programming language scales so well between platforms, Linux has gone on to be one of the most highly successful software in history. Today, nearly 11,000 lines of new code are added every single day. Among other projects, Linux supports Android and ChromeOS, nearly all of the world’s high performance computing systems, and 90 percent of the world’s stock exchanges. 27, 2829, 30

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1993

Marc Andreessen leads a team to create the internet browser Mosaic

As an early web browser, Mosaic has been credited for popularizing the World Wide Web. Andreessen and his team founded Mosaic Communications Corporations — which later became Netscape Communications Corporation. 31

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1994

The web gets open standards

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is founded with a mission to make the web available to all people. With decisions being made collaboratively by committee, W3C shepherds the development of the Web and offers formal recommendations for best practice. In 2014, the group recommend the web’s core language should be HTML5. Today this independent body continues to set standards for the web with the intention of objectively keeping the internet open and driving continued innovation on the web. 32

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History of Open - Commercial enterprises embrace open

Commercial enterprises embrace open

Individuals and corporations realize the impact of collaborative development on innovation.

1997

Eric Raymond’s essay mobilizes the open-source community

In his essay — and, later, book — “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” Eric Raymond offered an analysis of different free software models. The work rallied the open-source community by painting a picture of how open-source technology could work in a for-profit environment. Netscape Communications considered Raymond’s thesis a key motivator to open-source their code in 1998. 33

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1998

The term “open source” enters the scene

A panel at the Freeware Summit in California discussed how to promote the commercial potential of collaborative development. The term “open source” was first publicly debated at this summit, then formalized shortly after at the Open Source Initiative. 34, 35

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1998

The Open Source Initiative is established to help promote the evolution of the movement

Co-founded by author Eric Raymond and programmer Bruce Perens, the first task of the OSI was to define an agreed-upon meaning of open source and create a list of OSI-approved licenses. 36

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1999

Apache Software Foundation is founded to provide software for the public good

The nonprofit group offers support for hundreds of open-source projects, including the world’s most popular web server, Apache HTTP Server. Membership is granted to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to collaborative development. In 2009, California’s then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger formally recognized the foundation’s contributions to open-source leadership and innovation. 37

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2001

Wikipedia launches

Relying on principles of collaboration and information-sharing, the free online encyclopedia allows anyone to edit entries. Within its first year, over 200,000 articles were published. And the pace hasn’t slowed: In May 2016, Wikipedia exceeded 40M articles across all language editions, and this number continues to grow at a rapid rate. 38

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2004

MapReduce algorithm sets a course for big data

The MapReduce model is a key part of the Apache Hadoop framework — a platform for storing and processing huge amounts of structured and unstructured data at a low cost. The open-source software is responsible for crunching numbers for some of the world’s biggest companies. 39, 40, 41

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2004

The main organizations for open standards are formed

Partly in response to what it considered the slow development of W3C, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) is formed. Promoting principles of collaboration, sharing, and openness, the group focused on pushing HTML-related technologies. Today, W3C and WHATWG are considered the two major standards bodies for the web. 42

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2005

Google purchases a wireless startup called Android

Two years after the sale, Google announced the Open Handset Alliance and released Android software as an open-source OS for phones. Today, Android continues to be a highly popular smartphone OS across the world. 43, 44

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2008

The Chromium project is born

Under the Chromium project, Google released its open-source browser project so that developers can contribute to safer, faster browsing experiences. The project was based on WebKit, Apple’s own open-source browser engine. The projects highlight the high rate of innovation afforded by popular open- source projects with passionate contributors. 45, 46, 47

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2008

San Francisco startup GitHub launches

Started as a side project to simplify the modification and sharing of code, GitHub has become the largest open-source repository in the world. 48, 49

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2012

Hardware joins the open-source movement with Raspberry Pi

The low-cost Raspberry Pi computer came complete with specs so users could program it any way they wanted. The credit card-sized machine has helped bring to life a voice-controlled microwave and HD surveillance cameras. 50, 51

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2014

Tech inspired by Google’s data centers is available to everyone

By automating Linux container operations, the open-source platform Kubernetes removed the laborious manual processes involved in deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications. Originally designed by Google for internal use, the software was donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2015. Today, it’s one of the most popular open-source projects on the internet. 52

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2015

GitHub charts top coding languages used for open source

From C# to Java, GitHub’s chart shows the most popular programming languages used to build the open source ecosystem. Significantly, it shows that programming languages associated with proprietary efforts now play a prominent role in open-source projects. 53

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2015

Deep learning open-source tools accelerate the AI revolution

For years, deep learning researchers have shared ideas to more rapidly advance this burgeoning field. Google followed in their footsteps by releasing the Machine Learning software TensorFlow as an open-source platform. 54

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Sources

1.

"The Printing Press" The History Guide

2.

"The Gutenberg Press" Oregon State University

8.

"Computers and Automation" University of Kent

11.

"DECUS" Computer History

15.

"UNIX Past" The Open Group

16.

"ARPANET and the Origins of the Internet" Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

18.

"Farewell, Dr. Dobb's" Dr. Dobbs: The World of Software Development

20.

"The GNU Project" GNU Operating System

22.

"What is Copyleft?" GNU Operating System

24.

"Cygnus Solutions" IT History Society

28.
32.
35.

"History of the OSI" Open Source Initiative

36.

"Open Source" Open Source Initiative

38.

"Wikipedia" Wikipedia

39.
40.
41.

"Hadoop Use Cases" Hadoop Illuminated

42.
44.

"Google" Twitter

47.