Many people newly familiar with our community seem surprised when they first hear us use the words "open source" in the parlance we commonly use referring to the working philosophy of our global community of software developers. But if anyone thinks our method has its origins with Linus Torvalds or the Gnu Foundation they're missing a huge body of contribution and work that has been gifted over the last 350 years and more.
We <strong>cannot ignore</strong> countless contributions made by Fellows of the Royal Society to the progress of human kind and in more direct ways to the creation and perfection of our "open source" philosophy.
The OSI says this:
"Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed <strong>peer review</strong> and transparency of process."
The Royal Society describes their world renowned journal, originally entitled "Philosophical Transactions" this way:
"The first volumes of what is now the world's oldest scientific journal in continuous publication were very different from today's journal, but in essence it served the same function; namely to inform the Fellows of the Society and other interested readers of the latest scientific discoveries. As such, Philosophical Transactions established the important principles of scientific priority and <strong>peer review</strong>, which have become the central foundations of scientific journals ever since."
The Royal Society may not have had an "internet" when it began in the 17th century but their Journal certainly served as a vehicle for "code" distribution, review and discussion.
The Society's library is closed to the public until June of this year (2010) when it will reopen, both on and off line, as part of the celebration of their 350th year.
Perhaps many of this site's readers are aware of the foundational contributions made by hundreds of the Royal Society's Fellows over the years but I don't think I've ever heard it mentioned directly in discussions of "open source" and since I was recently reading about their on-going celebrations of 350 years I thought I would mention it here.
Congratulations on launching what should be one of the truly important sites!