The Internet's 25 years and future with open source | Opensource.com

The Internet's 25 years and future with open source

Posted 09 Apr 2014 by 

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What began as ARPANET back in 1969, has become the Internet as we know it today. This year on March 12 marked 25 years of the World Wide Web. It all got started when...

In March 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist working at CERN, submitted a proposal to develop a radical new way of linking and sharing information over the internet.
(Source: home.web.cern.ch)

This new way of 'linking and sharing information' speaks to the heart of what many call the open source way and is emblematic of how open source communities operate and communicate. In turn, the Internet has influenced the growth and evolution of open source technology on many levels.

Sharing information

Sharing has many meanings in an open source ecosystem. It can mean sharing skills, sharing knowledge, and modifying those processes and bits of information to innovate new ways of doing things. The Internet has helped remove barriers to production and cooperation that has made creating in the open possible on a global scale.

Open source

The term open source is directly linked to the Internet. Back in January 1998, Netscape released the code of the Internet browser, Navigator, under the Netscape Public License. In reaction to Netscape’s release, a group of people from the software freedom movement suggested and adopted the term open source. The principles behind this process and way of licensing software has grown, evolving beyond code.

Knowledge economy

We are living in a knowledge economy. Information, big data, and access are what businesses and individuals are striving for on professional and personal levels. We share information through the Internet, and it is because of the Internet that organisations like the Open Knowledge Foundation and Creative Commons have been founded and now operate globally.

Communication and information sharing has been key to the growth of the Internet. What began with just 1% of all communication flowing through two-way telecommunication networks in 1993, grew to 51% in 2000, and reached more than 97% in 2007. Commerce, entertainment, and social media are channels that put demand on the Internet and make it grow faster and farther. In recent years, eCommerce and cloud solutions have been creating new waves of growth and change. And, it was open source technology like Linux and Apache that it possible. Roughly 67% of all web servers are running on Linux, and 60% run the Apache web server application.

Open data and open access

The Internet has made it possible for public organisations, like local governments and scientific researchers, to share their data. In response to open data and open access to that data, standards have been created around sharing this information, thus we have open standards for open data. One of the first standards was the TCP/IP protocol, part of the backbone of the Internet. TCP/IP, being a common internetworking protocol, made it possible to connect different network methods thus creating the Internet (which is short for internetworking).

The future of the Internet

As the Internet continues to expand in new ways, so do innovations and revolutions. Anyone can contribute to open source projects. And, today we're seeing open hardware, the Internet of Things, and the Maker movement take hold and change the way we are solving problems and shaping the world.

The Internet also provides access to new innovations and ideas for people around the world. Groups like the Internet Society are dedicated to ensure an open Internet continues, now and for future generations, in order to ensure that "the Internet stays open, transparent and defined by you."


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2 Comments

John Pauull

Well said, Its very true that internet continues to expand in many new ways providing major contribution for open source.

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Hunteredinburgh

People say future of software is open source.

Hunter
Junior developer
http://steelboatmanufacturers.weebly.com/

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Robin Muilwijk is Adviser/Administrator Internet, for the website TheHague.com, at the municipality / city of The Hague. He also serves as a community moderator for Opensource.com, an online publication by Red Hat, and serves on the board for the eZ Publish community. Robin writes and is active on social media to promote and advocate for open source in our businesses and lives. Follow him on Twitter @i_robin or on

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