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Monday, February 05, 2018

In the dead of winter 20 years ago, Netscape -- inspired in part by a treatise on Linux and free software development -- released the source code for its Netscape Communicator web browser. The move was unprecedented. This was a publicly traded company that had just reported some disappointing financials announcing to the world that it would make the core of its product available to thinkers, tinkerers and the insatiably curious. Over the days that followed, a cadre of software developers and advocates agonized over a crucial question: What should this kind of stuff be called? After some prolonged discussions and a few phone calls with Netscape, they had their answer. And thus, 20 years ago, the term "Open Source" was born. The Open Source Initiative formed shortly after that, and one of the working group's founders -- Bruce Perens -- adapted the Free Software Guidelines he wrote for the Debian Linux distro to serve as the official Open Source Definition.


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