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The Open Source Revolution: How It Came About (Essay Sample)


After an entire semester of considering open source as an ethos and marker of postindustrial capitalism, the time has come to analyze its value in both your life and the world at large. Using your knowledge of our readings and our class discussions, write a 6-page essay that

(1) defines open source

(2) describes how it came about

(3) discusses how it pertains to your life in terms of the jobs that interest you and

(4) in a broader sense, explains its effects on you (and/or the world) as a consumer, global citizen, and artist.

You will be graded on clarity of writing (20%), organization of your points (20%), and analysis (60%). Broken down, this means

Clarity of writing: Grammar, spelling, clear syntax, appropriate (read: academic) voice, clear MLA-style references, &c. If you are a bad (or even just mediocre) writer, I urge you to draft early and often, as well as visit the Writing Studio.

Organization of points: Transitions, a clear thesis statement, topic sentences for each body paragraph that act as subarguments for the thesis, strict use of the "one guiding idea per paragraph" rule, and a conclusion that both summarizes and responds to the rest of the essay. Warning: For your own sake, do not try to turn a 6- page paper into a 5-paragraph essay.

Analysis: Use of information and quotations from readings and films, critical frameworks discussed in class (media studies, sociology, history), and synthesis of ideas explored in class to bolster your argument


Student's Name
Institutional Affiliation
Course Title
The Open Source Revolution
What is Open Source?
Open source can be described as a system, program, or software that can be modified and shared by people since it has been designed to be accessible publicly. The origin of this term is based on the context of developing a software that can entitle a certain approach to be used in the development of computer programs. Currently, a wider set of values have been designated by open source and it is currently known as ‘the open source way' ( It is important to note that open source products, projects, and initiatives tend to promote principles of collaborative participation, mediocracy, open exchange, transparency, rapid prototyping, and community-oriented development. This paper critically analyzes the attributes of open source, how it came about, how it pertains to my personal life, and its attributes in a broader/global sense.
Authors of open source, usually allow the source code of the software to be available and accessed by other people who can view the code, learn from it, copy it, share it, or alter it. Some of the common types of open source software include the GNU Image Manipulation Program and the LibreOffice. Open source software tends to differ from other kinds of software that have source codes that can only be modified by the individuals who created the code (Schillinger). These individuals usually have an exclusive right over controlling the people who can modify the source code. These types of software are referred to as “closed source” or “proprietary”software. However, open source software can be accessed by any individual who has an interest. Just like in the case of proprietary software, open source software also has licenses that users have to agree to before using the software. Nevertheless, the licenses of open source software tend to differ greatly from the terms of proprietary licenses.
How it came about
The Open Source Initiative (OSI) created the “open source” label on 3rd February 1998 in a conference held in Palo Alto, California ( 2018 marks the 20th anniversary since the founding of the OSI. OSI became a global non-profit entity tasked with promoting and protecting open source software, communities and development. OSI has also championed the freedom of software development in the society through collaboration, education, infrastructure, and development of the Open Source Definition (OSD). It also prevents other individuals and entities from abusing the ethos and ideals that are intrinsic to the open source movement.
Maya Rotenberg argues that the open source revolution begun way back in the 1950s, when the first free software was developed, and it acts as the starting point of what is currently known as open source. Its roots date back to the academic realm in the U.S. when research scientists developed and released the code of the software. The software was commercialized in the 1960s and its cost increased significantly. The free early version of UNIX was developed by AT&T in the 1970s, but it was stopped in the early 1980s. The GNU project was started by Richard Stallman in 1984 and it started the Free Software Movement (Rotenberg). By the late 1990s, developers released LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) that offered a platform for open-source web development. However, open source software was opposed by Microsoft, with Bill Gates saying that it is unprofessional while Steve Ballmer saying that Linux is a ‘cancer' (Davis).
Eric Raymond developed the tenets of the “Linus Law” in 1997 while the “Open Source” system was adopted later that yea...

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