Free software: history, perspectives, and implications



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FREE SOFTWARE: HISTORY, PERSPECTIVES, AND IMPLICATIONS

By Greg Michalec

July, 2002

FREE SOFTWARE: HISTORY,

PERSPECTIVES, AND IMPLICATIONS

Submitted to the

School of Interdisciplinary Studies

(Western College Program)

in partial fulfillment of

the requirements for the degree of

Bachelor Philosophy

Interdisciplinary Studies

by

Greg Michalec



Miami University

Oxford, Ohio

2002
APPROVED

Advisor

William H. Newell

ABSTRACT

FREE SOFTWARE: HISTORY, PERSPECTIVES, AND IMPLICATIONS


by Greg Michalec
Free software development, also known as 'open source,' is a unique phenomenon in which volunteer programmers collaboratively develop software on the Internet, and then make it available, along with its source code, for no cost. This process is particularly interesting in that many free software projects are successfully competing against traditional, proprietary products in the marketplace. This paper discusses the history and origins of free software, then considers various studies of the phenomenon from economic, sociological, and economic perspectives. Finally, I propose several possible social, political, and economic implications of free software.

Copyright (c) 2002 Greg Michalec.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


This project, like any other human endeavor, has been a social process, and without the help of the following people, it would not exist:

Nancy, Beth, Brian, Mikey, the Denizens of the Green Machine, ATP, Maggie, Kelly, Maxwell, Mom & Pop, Dmitri, Bill, the WCP Classes of 2000 & 2002, and everyone else who supported me, or at least tolerated me, through this three year endeavor.

Thanks for all your help and support.


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