Open Source gave me free access to applications that, have they been proprietary, I would need to pay good money or illegally obtain them. Open Source fueled my research when I was an undergrad computer science student and, later on, during my MSc and currently during my PhD endeavor. As a researcher it gave me the opportunity to be part of EU funded research projects and get paid to study what I love. As a freelancer it gave me the means to rapidly develop software and therefore deliver competitive, high quality and tested software to my clients. It also allowed me to do consulting work for a couple of amazing software development companies and startups.
Anyways, it was not until recently that I realized that it’s not about Open Source! I was invited as a guest speaker to an event of the Arcitecture Dept., Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. My mission was to present a short history of the free software movement / open source initiative and then present applications of open source to the arts / creative professions. I have never touched a similar area before so I tried to think as a creative professional (NOT easy, if you are a tech person!) and imagine how open source, open licenses and so forth could benefit my world.
After my experiment was over the following came in mind: Open Source helped the world get familiar with the concept of sharing the raw materials of a creation, plus know-how (if needed), allowing the community to take it to the next level. Initially, those creations were open source software and their raw materials the source code but, nowadays, we have moved past that. Books, music, video productions, hardware even games are being published under open licenses.
Supporting openness is a choice anyone can make. Following the philosophy of openness however is a whole different discussion. One that I will leave for another post 🙂
Happy birthday Linux! Happy birthday Open Source!