"...In the early computer lab at MIT where "computer hacking" first began, all software was free. There was a drawer next to the console where all computer programs were deposited. Anyone working on the computer could take those programs out of the drawer, copy them, run them, modify them and put their version back in the drawer so that anyone else could do the same things. That system of free sharing and collaboration worked extremely well in an academic environment and was the default model for early computer science..."

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can.axis's picture
Created by can.axis 11 years 46 weeks ago
Category: Philosophy   Tags:
aboutblank's picture


11 years 45 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago


Becoming a slave to Software Proprietors

> So when people like Bill Gates started computer companies like Microsoft who only distributed their software in a form that could not be modified - and demanded that no one else be allowed to redistribute their work - this disturbed some people. It was felt that such practices were "stealing from the drawer" (my own paraphrase) that which belonged in the "Free Software" drawer.

Stealing from the free software drawer is a nice metaphor. I prefer to use RMS's metaphor which states that you become a slave when you choose to accept the terms dictated by the owner of the proprietary program. You become a slave because you must either give up your right to control your own computer (if you are deprived the right to tinker with the code) or the community (the people that are interested in sharing and improving the program) must remain divided as they are not allowed to help each other through sharing software - a tool that has an essentially limitless supply.

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