Wikimedia press releases/Facts & Figures/OpenSource

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Information, is perhaps the oldest part of this movement. Gutenberg can be considered one of its earliest advocates, since he invented the printing press, allowing the public at large to read and become educated. Today, Open Information has grown phenomenally with the internet, which allows anybody online to access an immense wealth of knowledge.

More recently there have been more or less successful attempts to centralize open knowledge. Wikipedia, for example, is an online encyclopedia where anyone can contribute, correct, or complete articles. In April 2005 it had some 538,000 articles in English (and more than 940 articles added per day), making it larger than any other encyclopedia, printed or online.

Technology, the most visible part of the Open Culture movement, is about Open Source software and hardware. People from around the world contribute to create a piece of software, so it is in consequence not a company that creates software for the customers but customers that create for themselves.

The best examples are Linux and Mozilla, both are now taking a significant share in their respective markets and are a real threat to the traditional competitors.

describes the principles and methodologies to promote open access to the production and design process for various goods, products, resources and technical conclusions or advice. The term is most commonly applied to the source code of software that is made available to the general public with either relaxed or non-existent intellectual property restrictions. This allows users to create user-generated software content through either incremental individual effort, or collaboration.

The "open source" label came out of a strategy session[3] held at Palo Alto, California, in reaction to Netscape's January 1998 announcement of a source code release for Navigator. The group of individuals at the session included Christine Peterson who suggested "open source" and also included Todd Anderson, Larry Augustin, Jon Hall, Sam Ockman, and Eric S. Raymond. They used the opportunity before the release of Navigator's source code to free themselves of the ideological and confrontational connotations of the term free software. Netscape licensed and released their code as open source under the name of Mozilla.

The term was given a big boost at an event organized in April 1998 by technology publisher Tim O'Reilly. Originally titled the "Freeware Summit" and later known as the "Open Source Summit"[4], the event brought together the leaders of many of the most important free and open source projects, including Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Brian Behlendorf, Eric Allman, Guido van Rossum, Michael Tiemann, Paul Vixie, Jamie Zawinski of Netscape, and Eric Raymond. At that meeting, the confusion caused by the name "free software" was brought up. Tiemann argued for "sourceware" as a new term, while Raymond argued for "open source." The assembled developers took a vote, and the winner was announced at a press conference that evening.

This milestone may be commonly seen as the birth of the open source movement. However, earlier researchers with access to the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) used a process called Request for Comments, which is similar to open standards, to develop telecommunication network protocols. Characterized by contemporary open source work, this collaborative process led to the birth of the Internet in 1969. An early use of open source was in the 1950s, when IBM distributed operating systems in source format and the SHARE user group was formed to facilitate the exchange of source code.

The Open Source Initiative formed in February 1998 by Eric S. Raymond and Bruce Perens. With about 20 years of evidence from case histories of closed development versus open development already provided by the Internet, the OSI continued to present the 'open source' case to commercial businesses. They sought to bring a higher profile to the practical benefits of freely available source code, and they wanted to bring major software businesses and other high-tech industries into open source. Bruce Perens adapted Debian's Free Software Guidelines to make the Open Source Definition. [5]

Critics have said that the term "open source" fosters an ambiguity of a different kind, in that it confuses the mere availability of the source with the freedom to use, modify, and redistribute it. Developers have used the term Free/Open-Source Software (FOSS), or Free/Libre/Open-Source Software (FLOSS), consequently, to describe open-source software that is freely available and free of charge.

The free culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works, using the Internet as well as other media, and objects to overly restrictive copyright laws, which many members of the movement also argue hinder creativity. Closely associated with the free culture movement are organizations in the free software movement, such as the Free Software Foundation.