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Free Open Source Software Month – February 2023

Free Open Source Software or FOSS is celebrated every year in February to appreciate software that is both free and open-source where any user has a license to use the software and the source code is shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve its design. It maintains the software user’s civil liberty rights, protects their privacy, and gives users more control over their own hardware. Although there are strong similarities between free-software licenses and open-source-software licenses, advocates of each often have disagreements with one another. FOSS was created on neutral ground.

History of Free Open Source Software Month

From the middle of the 20th century to the 1980s, it was common for computer users to have the source code for all programs they used, and the permission to change it for their own use. Source code was commonly shared by computer users, often as public domain software.

In 1983, Richard Stallman announced the G.N.U. project, aimed at setting a precedent in open-source software. The G.N.U. operating system launched in 1984 and was followed by the establishment of the Free Software Foundation (F.S.F.).

Eric Raymond published “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” in 1997, which examined the hacker community and principles of free software. The paper received significant attention in early 1998 and heavily influenced Netscape Communications to release their product as free software, better known in modern times as Mozilla, Firefox, and Thunderbird. This development led to Raymond leading a team of people to adapt the F.S.F’s free software to the commercial software industry. The free software movement was therefore eventually rebranded as ‘open source.’

Despite the apparent goodwill behind the commercialization of open source, software vendors became insecure with the whole idea of it. However, the success of FOSS operating systems such as Linux, B.S.D., and the companies based on FOSS such as Red Hat, have changed the software industry’s attitude and there has been a major paradigm shift in commercial thinking regarding the development of FOSS.

Free Open Source Software Month timeline

1983
G.N.U. Project is Announced

Richard Stallman announces the commencement of the G.N.U. project.

1985
Free Software Foundation is Established

Two years after the G.N.U. project is launched, Richard Stallman establishes the Free Software Foundation.

1991
Python is Commercially Released

Guido van Rossum releases Python, a general-purpose computer programming language.

May 2003
WordPress is Created

This popular open-source content management system (C.M.S.), is created in May.

Free Open Source Software Month FAQs

What is open-source software?

Open-source software is software that isn’t limited by private licensing but is rather free for all users and has publicly available source code.

Can open-source software be commercialized?

Yes. The ideal way to monetize open source is by building a commercial software extension to one’s free offering.

What is the difference between FOSS and free software?

Technically, both mean the same thing as they operate along the same lines providing software that is easily accessible and which respects user freedoms. The difference is in the philosophies of the members of each.

Free Open Source Software Month Activities

  1. Talk about it on social media

    Social media is a valuable way to get almost anything done. You can reach a wide audience online and share your thoughts and ideas with that many people. So, if you’re a fan of open source, you can join the conversation online and use hashtags such as #FOSSFeb to trend your posts.

  2. Attend an open-source event

    There is usually a lot of activity during FOSS month, on and offline. You could attend ‘OpenCon’ for example and get the opportunity to listen to expert analyses and teachings about free and open-source software.

  3. Create your own open-source project

    You read that right. In the spirit of Free and Open Source Software month, you can put yourself in Steve Job’s shoes, and get creative. These days it is so much easier to create your own projects on platforms like GitHub for example.

5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FREE AND OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE

  1. Called ‘open source’ in 1998

    Free and open-source software had been around for years, but mostly in theory, and it was usually called ‘free software’ that is, until 1998 when the term ‘open source’ was first coined.

  2. A-2 was the first open-source software

    It’s widely believed that Linux is the world’s first open-source software, however, the actual first open-source software, was the A-2.

  3. Linux is the world’s best FOSS

    Linux is the most invaluable and sought-after open-source software in the world.

  4. FOSS platforms are best for software applications

    An overwhelming majority of the software applications in circulation are built using open-source software.

  5. There are awards for FOSS

    It might sound unusual but if you consider that most IT communications tools today are developed from FOSS, you’d understand the need to award those at the forefront of such technology.

Why We Love Free Open Source Software Month

  1. It is free

    Just like it says in its name, free and open-source software is without charge. Its source code is also readily available to those who wish to make use of it.

  2. FOSS allows for inferred creations

    Due to the flexibility of free and open-source, users can get inspiration from already made creations and simply modify or improve their functionality. We love this!

  3. The internet is open source

    The internet as we know it today, with its endless possibilities and usefulness, is open-source. We can do so much on the internet because it is free and its source code is publicly available.

Free Open Source Software Month dates

YearDateDay
2023February 1Wednesday
2024February 1Thursday
2025February 1Saturday
2026February 1Sunday
2027February 1Monday
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