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 Free Software Project


Read Andrew Leonard's book-in-progress, and post your comments.

.About Salon's Free Software Project

.Complete list of published chapters and discussions

Great Satan or big buddy?
"It feels really weird to be here, because I've been a hacker long enough to remember when IBM was the Great Enemy -- and now it looks like you're going to be our best friend" -- Eric Raymond recalls visiting IBM.

IBM's internal warfare
"One of the reasons [Distinguished Engineer] Jeff [Nick] met much conflict and push-back was people are scared by what they don't understand," says Mark Cathcart, a member of IBM's Academy of Technology.

Report from Ars Electronica
"Coming to you live from the Electrolobby at the Ars Electronica Festival, where I am both exhibiting the Free Software Project and reporting about the event itself," says author Andrew Leonard. Go to the video!

The intersection of the intentional and the unintentional
"Too often histories, whether written in the guise of "great men" or "great technologies," have overlooked the dimension of contingency and accident that factor decisively (though in unexpected ways) into the making of history," says Gabriella Coleman.


Did you know that algorithm comes from Abu Ja'far Mohammed Ben Musa al-Khowarazmi? You can also suggest new terms in Glossary fun.

.Free Software Project Resources

Why Unix geeks are wordsmiths and other great links. If we've missed any of your favorites, add them to Great free software resources.

.Full outline of the book

.Andrew Leonard biography

  Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005

How Big Blue fell for Linux
When open-source developers and IBM took gambles on each other, free software showed it can flourish in the heartland of corporate computing.
By Andrew Leonard 09/12/00


The kitchen is the receptionist at, a software start-up in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. No one is present to greet an inquisitive visitor walking through the open door on the fourth floor of a nondescript building -- just stacked cases of Snapple fruit juice and giant bags of pretzels; a refrigerator and a sink; a coffee machine and a water dispenser.

The ambience screams of youthful coder necessities. On top of the refrigerator, huge boxes of Trix and Cap'n Crunch line up like crates of ammunition. Next to the sink sits a large jar of Twizzlers. From the large, open room stretching beyond the kitchen, a seductive slither of spooky trance music pulses -- inviting, and yet at the same time a little intimidating. People who work in this kind of environment are almost too cool.
-- Continue

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Illustration by Richard Sala


Recent Salon Technology coverage of free software, Linux and open source

Linux in China: Not ready for prime-time Why should the masses bother with free software when stealing from Microsoft is practically patriotic?
By Jonah Greenberg [08/09/2000]

Technology Log: The Napster library Does the San Francisco Public Library's plan to lend out e-books portend the death of the publishing industry?
By Janelle Brown [07/05/00]

Courtney Love does the math The controversial singer takes on record label profits, Napster and "sucka VCs."
By Courtney Love [06/14/00]

More stories about Napster.

Complete listing of Salon's coverage of free software, Linux and open source.

Illustration by Melinda Beck


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.Free software coverage elsewhere on the Web

From Linux Weekly News
Let a hundred open-source licenses bloom -- well, actually, maybe not.

The Open-Source Development Lab -- Linux hacking goes corporate.

From Upside
The long-awaited Linux game console, Indrema.

From 2600
A (not so) friendly letter from the MPAA.

From the O'Reilly Network
Why Open Source Doesn't Suck For the Consumer.


The Free Software Project
Read Andrew Leonard's book-in-progress on Linux and open source -- and post your comments.

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