Jul 29, 2008
Back in Stallman’s day at the legendary Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), computer software was shared. If you created a program to perform a particular task, you offered it to practically anyone who wanted it. Alternatively, if you found an existing program wasn’t adequate or had a bug, you improved it yourself, and then made the resulting program available to others. People might use your improved version, or they might not; it was up to them. This way of sharing software was disorganized and done on an ad hoc basis, but came about of its own accord. Nobody questioned it, and it seemed the best way of doing things. There certainly wasn’t any money involved, any more than there would be money involved in one friend explaining an idea to another.