Date

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Adviser

Smith, John K.

Other advisers/committee members

Cutcliffe, Stephen H.

Abstract

In the 1970s, software emerged as a distinct industry as it became unbundled from computer hardware. Corporate interests such as Microsoft commoditized software by restricting access to source code and introducing licensing agreements to limit the rights of software consumers. The Free Software Movement reacted to this by collaboratively creating software free from the restrictions of commercial license agreements. As free software, such as Linux, gained popularity, programmer Eric Raymond re-articulated the movement as Open Source, a programmer-centric software development model. This re-casting sought to supplant the movement’s consumer freedom focused ideology with a model that favored corporate approval. A schism emerged within the movement, and free software ideologues gravitated toward individual rights based activism. As the Free Software Movement splintered, its distributed collaboration model was transposed to other cultural works and its ideology informed later activist groups, such as WikiLeaks.

Available for download on Thursday, June 10, 2021

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