26 years ago, more or less, I was a graduate student and beginning a teaching career, but short of cash. I remember an opportunity arose for me to make some money programming. I thought, “OK, I can make some money in this computer biz, and use that to cover doing what I really want to do, research and teaching.”
[A repost: Check out the comments on last year’s post.]
Just around that time, as I remember, I saw a long haired bearded guy from MIT being interviewed on TV, talking about free software, and how coding software was his art, his love, is vocation, and that he did things like teaching to get money to cover this interest of his.
I thought…. Hmph. Interesting.
Well, that was Richard Stallman, who was on the TV because he was getting some notice in the local news for his efforts to start up the Software Freedom Foundation.
That was back in the day when Unix was the operating system for serious computers, and Linus Torvalds would eventually be busily working away at cloning Unix.
Over time, Linus had created Linux, a clone of the Unix Kernel, and Stallman and the GNU project coded the GNU utilities. Much like the ancient oft told story of the glomming of peanut butter and chocolate to create the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, Torvalds’ kernel and the GNU utilities were glommed together to form what we now think of as the Linux Operating System. (This is an oversimplification and trolls will be here soon to straighten this out for you.)
I was reminded of all this by Stephanie of Almost Diamonds who sent me the following video. Enjoy: