At HSD, we have provided services and solutions based on Open Source technologies over a number of years. It’s fair to say that both our BitBouncer and GTIS products would not have seen the light of day were it not for Open Source.
Being keen observers of the Open Source world, when we recently stumbled upon a collection of photos titled, “Faces of Open Source”, we wanted to help spread the word.
First, we’ll take a brief pause for a cursory introduction to Open Source combined with a segue into the world of architecture…
The events leading up to the birth of Open Source in the late 90s and its subsequent widespread adoption are well chronicled. Open Source the “brand” was devised as a business-friendly moniker for what had previously gone by other names. In devising the name, its proponents sought to distinguish Open Source from the broader free software movement from which it had sprung.
The new name encapsulated the essence of the philosophy – the source code to software should be open with as few restrictions as possible, and thereby encourage adoption and participation by business.
By this measure, Open Source has been hugely successful, so much so that today in 2020 Microsoft calls itself an “Open Source” company.
In most professions, to develop an appreciation of what’s gone before is seen as valuable. For example, I doubt there are many working architects who know nothing of the history of 20th-century architecture and leading figures, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, or closer to home, Glenn Murcutt.
So, why isn’t the same true in the world of ICT?
It could be argued that as the ICT professions are relatively young, there hasn’t been time enough to look behind and value what’s gone before. Maybe it’s the seemingly relentless pace of change and the tendency to believe that everything was created five minutes ago and came out of nowhere…
Whatever the case, in the world of Open Source, this can’t be said.
As Open Source is by definition practised in the open we know the names of many of its leading lights, people such as Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux.
This brings me to the many faces of Open Source, a project started by technologist and photographer, Peter Adams. Peter set out to create a photographic collection of the many faces of Open Source, for reasons he explains in an interview featured on a website dedicated to Free/Open Source photography. The interview features a selection of photos from the collection.
My favourite is a photo of David Korn, the creator of the KornShell; he’s photographed wearing a t-shirt that reads, “Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell script”.
For someone who’s spent too much time in front of the shell, it seems an appropriate place to end this instalment.