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The past, present, and future of open source and the Internet
The Internet's 25 years and future with open source
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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.
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 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.
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.
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."