Revolution OS (documentary about GNU/Linux) (Multilingual) (HQ)


I was at Agenda 2000 and one of the people who was
there, was Craig Mundie, who is some kind of high
mucky muck at Microsoft, I think vice-president of consumer
products or something like that, and I hadn’t actually
met him. I bumped in to him in an elevator,
in an elevator and I looked at his badge and said,
oh, I see you work for Microsoft, and he looked back to me and said,
oh, yeah and what do you do? And I thought he seemed
just a sort of a tad dismissive, I mean, here’s the archetypal,
you know, guy in a suit looking at
a scruffy hacker, and so I gave him the thousand
yard stare and said, I’m your
worst nightmare. For most its short,
but colorful history, the computer industry
has been dominated by the Windows
operating system, but that could
soon change, as Windows faces a strong
challenge from Linux. Silicon Valley has long
been the place to develop new
technology, start new companies and
get really rich. Now The Valley is the front
line in a revolution fighting for that most
politically incorrect of ideas. Individual freedom. Day and night,
a loose confederation of hackers and programmers
zaps bits pieces of computer code around the world
as it builds the tools to set computer users free using open information and
the free exchange of technology to achieve its goals. This revolution began
in the 1980’s with the Free Software Movement
and GNU project, and now is most commonly
associated with Linux and
the Open Source Movement. We do have one sector that
is taking off today, it is the Linux-related sector, and I thought this might be
a good opportunity to say… What is Linux? And I’ll answer this question
for you. Many of you probably
already know, but there are 12 million
users out there, a computer operating system
developed by hundreds of programmers collaborating
on the internet, a challenge to
Microsoft Windows NT, very popular for its speed and so this is
what the craze is about. To kind of explain what
Linux is you have to explain what
an operating system is, and the thing about operating
system is that you, I mean… you’re never ever
supposed to see it because… nobody really uses
an operating system, people use programs
on their computer and the only mission
in life of an operating system is
to help those programs run, so an operating system never
does anything on its own, it’s only waiting for
the programs to ask for certain
resources or, ask for a certain file
on the disk or ask for
the programs to connect them to
the outside world, and then the operating system
comes, steps in and then tries to make it easy for people
to write programs. Open source is a way for people
to collaborate on software without being encumbered by
all of the problems of intellectual property, having to negotiate contracts every
time you buy a piece of software, have a lot of
lawyers involved. In general, we just wanna
get the software to work and we want
to be able to have people contribute
fixes to that, etc… so we sort of
sacrifice some of the intellectual
property rights and just let the whole world
use the software. Before there could be Linux there was Richard Stallman
and the Free Software Movement. They think of Richard Stallman
as the… great philosopher,
right, and think of me
as the engineer. Richard Stallman is the founding father
of the Free Software Movement. Through his efforts to build
the GNU Operating System he created the legal, philosophical
and technological foundation for the Free Software Movement. Without these contributions, it’s unlikely that Linux
and open source would have evolved in to their
current forms today. I joined the MIT
Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1971, I joined a thriving
community of hackers, people who
loved programming, loved exploring what they
could do with computers, and they had developed a complete
operating system, entirely written there, and I became one
of the team, that continued to improve the operating
system, adding new capabilities. That was my job, and I loved it, we
all loved it. That’s why we were doing it. And we called our system the Incompatible Time
Sharing System which is an example
of the playful spirit which defines a hacker. Hackers are people who enjoy
playful cleverness. Well, it first started
going wrong as the outside world started
pressuring us to have passwords. We didn’t have any passwords
on our computer, and the reason was
that the hackers who’d originally
designed the system realized that passwords were a way
the administrators could control all the users, and they didn’t want
to build tools you know, locks and keys for
the administrators to control them, so they just didn’t do it,
they left that out, and we had the philosophy
that whoever sitting at the computer should be able to do
whatever he wants and somebody else who was there yesterday
shouldn’t be controlling what you do today. When they put passwords onto one
of the machines at MIT I and bunch of other hackers
didn’t like it, I decided to try
a subversive sort of hack. I figured out how to decode
the passwords, so by looking at the database
of encoded passwords I could figure out what each person
would actually type to login, and so I sent messages
to people, saying… Hello? I see that you’ve chosen
the password mumble, whatever it was,
how about if you do as I do, just type Enter for
your password, it’s much shorter,
much easier to type. And of course
with this message I was implicitly telling them
the security was really just a joke. Anyway, but in addition
I was letting them in on this hack, and eventually, a fifth of all the
users on that computer joined me in using just Enter
as their passwords. Where did the ideas that lead to what
is now called Open Source world? How did that begin?
Who began that? It actually began with the start
of computers because at that time software was just passed
around between people and I think it was only like
in the lates 70’s or early 80’s that people started really
closing up their software, and saying, no, you can never
get a look at the source code, you can’t change the software
even if it’s necessary for you to fix it,
for your own application. And you can actually blame
some of that on Microsoft, they are one of the real pioneers
of the proprietary software model. In the mid 1970’s,
a group of hackers and computer hobbyist in Silicon Valley
formed the Homebrew Computer Club. In the club January 31,
1976 newsletter, Bill Gates of the recently
formed Microsoft, wrote an open letter
to the community where he made a point by point argument for
the relatively new concept of proprietary software up to that point, the practice of computer users
had been to freely pass around software with not much thought given to
its ownership, known as An Open Letter to Hobbyists,
Bill Gates writes, to me the most critical thing
in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses,
books and software itself, without good software and an owner
who understands programming, a hobby computer
is wasted. Will quality software be written
for the hobby market? Gates goes on to write,
the feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are
using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things
are apparent however. One, most of these users
never bought BASIC, and two, the amount of royalties we have
received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on of Altair BASIC
worth less than 2 dollars an hour. Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists
must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for but
software is something to share. Who cares if the people who
worked on it get paid? Is this fair? One thing you don’t do
by stealing software is get back at MITS for some
problem you may have had, MITS doesn’t make money
selling software. One thing you do do is prevent
good software from being written. Who can afford to do
professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put
3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product
and distribute it for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested
a lot of money in hobby software. What about the guys
who resell Altair BASIC? Aren’t they making money
on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been
reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give
hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any
club meeting they show up at. I would appreciate letters from
anyone who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion
or comment. Signed Bill Gates,
General partner, Micro-Soft. In the late 70’s and early 1980’s,
Richard Stallman was doing Artificial Intelligence
research and coding at the MIT
Artificial Intelligence Lab. Richard had a number
of negative experiences during that period
which soured him on the whole idea
of commercial software. Such as? Some company wanted to work on and
wanted to fix was locked up, and he couldn’t get the company that
owned on the code to let him fix it even though it would have been
to their advantage to do so. And that put me into
a moral dilemma, you see? Because to get one of the modern computers
of the day, which was the early 80’s, you would have to get a
proprietary operating system. The developers of those systems
didn’t share with other people, instead they tried to
control the users, dominate the users,
restrict them, say, if
to get the system, you have to sign a promise you
won’t share with anybody else and to me that was essentially
a promise to be a bad person, to betray the rest
of the world, cut myself off from society
from a co-operating community. And I had already experienced what
happened when other people did that to us, when they refused
to share with us, because they had signed
these contracts, and it hurt
the whole lab, it kept us from doing
useful things before, so I just wasn’t going
to do that. I thought, this is wrong,
I am not going to live this way. And from experiences like this
he developed a profound hostility to the idea of intellectual
property and software. He eventually acted this out by
founding the Free Software Foundation. So, I looked for another alternative
and I realized… I was an operating system
developer. If I were to develop another
operating system, and then as the author,
encourage everyone to share it, say, everyone, you come and get it,
use this, form a new community, not only could I gave myself a way
to keep using computers without betraying other people, but
I’d give it to everybody else too. Everybody would have a way
out of that moral dilemma and so I realized this was
what I had to do with my life. I actually began the project
in January of 1984, that’s when I resigned
for my job at MIT to start developing
the GNU operating system. Now I should explain
the name GNU is a hack, because it’s
a recursive acronym, it stands for
GNU’s Not Unix. You see so the G in GNU
stands for GNU. And what the name
means is I was developing a system that was
like the Unix operating system, but was not the Unix
operating system. This was a
different system, we would have to write
it completely from scratch because Unix was
proprietary, we were forbidden
to share Unix, we couldn’t use Unix,
it was useless for a community, so we had to write
a replacement for it. Throughout the 1980s, as Richard Stallman
was building the GNU project, computer scientists from
the University of California at Berkeley were developing their own
free operating system, known as Berkeley Unix,
or BSD. It was based upon the Unix kernel
which had been licensed from AT&T. However, due to legal problems with AT&T
and fragmentation of the source code, hackers and other non-institutional
users were slow to adopt it. Well, Unix consisted of a large
number of separate programs that communicated
with each other, so we just had to replace
these programs one by one, so what I started doing was
writing a replacement for one program, and then another,
and then another, and then people started
joining me, because I published an announcement
inviting other people to join me to help write
these programs. And by around 1991, we had
replaced practically all of them. What were some
of the programs that you… Well, we had to
have a complete system, you need to have a kernel,
which is the program that allocates resources
to all the other programs, you need a compiler,
which translates a program from readable source code that
programmers can understand into numbers, mysterious numbers that
the computer can actually run. You need other programs that go
with the compiler to help do this job, you need a debugger, you need a text editor, you need text formatters, you need mailers, you need lots
and lots of things. There are hundreds of programs
in a Unix-like operating system. I saw Stallman’s
announcement, actually I met him
in February of 1987. He came to give a five-day tutorial
on Emacs at our company and during the day
he would explain new ways to think
about Emacs and ways to extend it, enhance it,
and to use the Emacs source code for better or worse. But in the evening, he was
busily working on this compiler, and he had not yet
released it to the public, so he was being
a little bit careful about who got to see
the source code, but I was very eager, and when
he first announced it in June, I downloaded it
immediately, I played with it, I got some pointers
from him, and when I sent the source
code back to him, he was very, actually amazed that how quickly
I was able to ramp up on his technology. Whenever we worked on something
at Stanford or in the university, we would get,
mostly at the time, we were working off machines from
Digital Equipment or Sun, mostly Sun. Whenever we would get
a Sun machine, the first thing we would do is
we would spend literally days downloading GNU free software
from the internet, building it and installing it
on that Sun machine. The crucial thing about GNU is
that it’s free software, and free software refers not
to price, but to freedom, so think of free speech,
not free beer. The freedoms that
I am talking about are the freedoms to make
changes if you want to, or hire somebody else
to make changes for you if you’re using a software
for your business, to redistribute copies,
to share with other people, and to make improvements
and publish them so that other people can
get the benefit of them too. And those are the freedoms that distinguish
free software from non-free software, these are the freedoms that
enable people to form a community. If you don’t have
all these freedoms, you’re being divided and
dominated by somebody. My first experience
contributing to free software came in late 1989,
early 1990. I was working as a graduate student
at Stanford University on Computer Aided Design tools. One of the pieces
I needed was a tool called a parser
generator. Well, the Free Software
Foundation under Richard Stallman
created a great tool called bison. I needed a tool that worked with C++.
Bison worked with C. I modified bison to create
something called bison++ and it’s a tremendous
feeling of empowerment be able to take a piece
of software that was available and create what you needed in a very
short piece of time by modifying it, I put it back
on the internet and I was amazed
at the number of people that picked it up
and started using it. In fact, I remember
going to job interviews, I, at various times, considered
just going out getting a job, and I’d gone
to a job interview, and I was talking
to one of the people, and I started asking them
about what tools they used, and they said,
gee, we used bison++ and I said,
oh, I am the author of bison++. Free software generally
does have a copyright, it does have an owner and it has a license. It is not public domain. If we put the software
in the public domain, somebody else would be able to make
a little bit of changes and turn that into
a proprietary software package, which means that the users
would be running our software, but they wouldn’t have
freedom to cooperate and share. To prevent that, we use
a technique called copyleft. The idea of copyleft is that
it’s copyright flipped over, and what we do is,
we say, this software is
copyrighted and we, the authors give you
permission to redistribute copies, we give you permission
to change, we give you permission
to add to it, but when you redistribute it, it has to be under these terms,
no more and no less, so that whoever gets it
from you also gets the freedom to cooperate
with other people, if he wants to, and then, in this way
everywhere the software goes, the freedom goes too and it becomes
an inalienable right to cooperate with other people
and form a community. And so, what is that? The license?
What was that…? Well, copyleft
being a general idea, in order to use it, you have
to have specific example. The specific example we use for
most GNU software packages is the GNU
General Public License, a particular document in legalese
which accomplishes this job. A lot of other people use
that same license, for example, Linus Torvalds uses
that license for Linux as well. Well, the license I use is the
GNU General Public License, that’s the one
Richard Stallman wrote, and I think it is really
astounding contribution, it’s one of the few software
licenses that was written from the standpoint
of the community rather than from the standpoint
of protecting a company or as is the case
with MIT and BSD license performing the goals of
a government grant program, and the GPL
is really unique in that. It’s not just a license,
it’s a whole philosophy that, I think, motivated
the open source definition. I don’t hide that a lot of what
I do came from Stallman. A crucial step in the growth of
GNU/Linux and the Free Software movement was the creation of businesses
based upon the software and philosophy. Grown zero for the beginning
of the business phase was the Electronics Research Lab
at Stanford University, known as ERL, the lab was
the place for the first GNU and Linux business
founder inspiration. So right here
was where ERL was. That would have been the entrance
over there next to the… electrical engineering
McCullough building. As you walk in, you come in,
you walk down the hallway, down here. My office would have
been about here, and then right across the hall, from
that was Michael Tiemann’s office. Michael Tiemann took and started
a company, Cygnus Software, where the idea was to sell consulting
and services around the GNU Free Software and, well, Michael’s done
very well with Cygnus. Well, I spend a lot of
time working out… how we were going
to make money and in the original
GNU manifesto, which is the last chapter
of the GNU Emacs manual, Stallman proposed
a number of different possible ways to make
money. From the beginning of the
Free Software movement I had the idea
that there’s room in it for
business to be done. One of the advantages of
Free Software is that, there’s a free market for any kind
of service or support. So if you are using software
in your business, and you want good support, you have a choice
of people to go to for it, you have a choice
of businesses that are in the business of
providing you with support. So they are going to have to
in general give you good support or you go
to somebody else. With proprietary software, support is a monopoly,
there is one company, typically, that has
the source code and only they can give
you support so typically, you are at
the mercy of a monopoly. That’s the case,
for example with Microsoft, so no wonder
the support is so bad. The benefits
of Free Software were tremendous but the cost
of supporting it internally, and made managers very
very nervous and so the fundamental idea I had
was if we can build a model that could deliver two
to four times the support and hand holding capability that an internal engineer
could provide and we could do it
at 1/2 to 1/4 of the cost that would meet the test
of whether or not people would actually buy. And by about the Fall
of that year, we had all the things
worked out about who needed on the technical
team, what the terms the sale
would be, what the key price point
were, and we actually received our
incorporation in November of 1989. One of the most difficult things
in starting our company was actually finding
a name for it. I explained this to
one of my friends we’re having difficulty and he returned an
e-mail message that basically just had a bunch
of words with the name GNU in it. And Cygnus was the one that looked
least obnoxious and least obscene. I can say very clearly
that Cygnus was the first business
that specialized in Free Software. Cygnus supported Free Software, filled a very essential niche because
we had this great software, you could get it for nothing but you
couldn’t get support, they made their money by charging for support. The GNU project started
by building a toolkit, basic development tools such as
a C compiler, a debugger, a text-editor, and other necessary
apparatus. And their intention was eventually to
develop a kernel to sit underneath those and be the center
of the operating system. By about 1990 they had successfully
developed that toolkit, and it was in wide use
on great many variants of Unix, but there was still
no free kernel. The kernel happened to be one
of the last things we started to do and we had started it
not long before and that’s when Linus
Torvalds came along. Lin-us or Line-us? What’s the exact,
do you prefer the pronunciation? When I speak Swedish
it’s Lee-nus, when I speak Finnish
it’s Leen-ous, when I speak English
it’s Line-us. And I really don’t care how
people pronounce my name but Linux is always Linux. He developed a kernel, and got it working
faster than we got ours working, and got it to work
very nicely and solidly. His kernel
is called Linux. The initial goal was
my very personal goal to be able to run a similar
environment on my computer that I had grown used to
at the university computers and I could not find anything
that suited me for that. So having been doing computers
for all my life basically, at that point I decided
that I’ll do my own. Most of the inspiration
early on came from SunOS which was what I was using
at the university at the time. Which University? University of Helsinki
in Finland. From 1991 to about 1993
was really I guess the infancy period
of Linux. That was when it was still
only alpha or beta quality, it was relatively unstable, although, even then
it was a good deal more stable than a lot of what are now called
production operating systems. Linus used the traditional tried-and-true
method of writing one program that does the job, and he got it to work quickly in fact faster than
I would have thought was possible. The term for it
is monolithic, which means that basically the OS
itself is one entity, indivisible, while in the microkernel, the operating system
kernel is actually just a collection
of servers that do different things and then
they have a common protocol for doing communication
between themselves. So why is that the GNU project that’s had
so much lead-time, that’s been doing this… Why is it that he was able to kinda
come in at the tail end so to speak? Well we actually started the GNU Hurd
not long before he started Linux and it happened though we chose a design
that’s a very advanced design in terms of the power
gives you but also turns out to be
very hard to debug. We decided to divide up the kernel
which traditionally had been one program, to divide it up into
a lot of smaller programs that would send messages to each
other asynchronously to communicate. The problem is that,
that style of programming has a great deal
of potential for bugs, which are often very hard to
figure out because they depend on… does this program send this message
before or after this one sends that message… and the result was, it took us
years to get the thing to work. What is Linux’s relationship
to the GNU project? Well there’s relationships to GNU
on kind of multiple levels. One is just the philosophical
level of thinking that making your source open
is a good idea. When Linus developed the kernel
he wasn’t doing it for the GNU project. He did it independently and he released it independently
and we didn’t know about it. But some of the people
who did know about it decided to look for
what else they could find to put together with that kernel
to make a whole system. They looked around, and lo and behold
everything they needed was already available. What good fortune,
they thought, but actually there was
no chance about it they had found all the pieces of the GNU
system which was missing just the kernel, so when they put all
that together really they were fitting Linux
into the gap in the GNU system, but they didn’t
know that. There’s a lot of
these programs done by the Free
Software Foundation, and done by other
people like Linux. And there’s a symbiosis between
Linux and the programs that the programs run on Linux
and at the same time and they take the advantage
of Linux as a platform, while Linux takes
the advantage of the programs by just being able
to use them. What programs? The main one is
actually the GNU C Compiler which, without a C compiler
it would not have been possible to make Linux or most of
the open progress available. Linux uses the GPL, and I agree with a kind
of philosophy behind the GPL. That said the GPL itself
is not a very pretty document which is probably just because
no lawyerese can ever be very pretty. I’d been playing around
with Linux for actually, late ’92 or early ’93,
for about a year, before I decided that it was to the point
where actually had everything that I needed to really replace
a Sun Workstation. And I was looking for a way to
have a Unix workstation at home at the time we used Sun Sparc Stations
in the office at Stanford. Those machines cost us
about 7,000 dollars. Now I desperately
wanted a Unix machine at home. There’s always a this thought
you get as a graduate student, gee, if I could work at home, then I would be
so much more productive, I would graduate sooner because
I would finish my thesis sooner. Well, well, is it true?
Well, you can judge. You know, most people end up
spending a lot of their time becoming more productive
so that they ever actually worked on their
thesis they’d finish it in a day. It takes a while sometimes so I decided that I wanted
a Unix machine at home and I went out there I was able to
use Linux together with the PC for about 2,000 dollars
I put together a system that was one and a half
to two times faster than that 7,000 dollars
Sun Sparc Station. It was absolutely amazing. I had one and a half
to two times the speed, at a third to fourth
the price. Light bulbs went off. I knew there was
an opportunity here. This was the chance to really do
something better than what Sun has done around open source
and Linux. I called it Linux
originally as working name and that was just
because Linus and the X has to be
there. It’s Unix.
It’s like a law. And what happened was
that… I initially thought that
I can’t call it Linux publicly, because it is just
too egotistical. And that was before
I had a big ego, right. They thought they were taking a whole bunch
of components putting them around Linux so they ended up calling the whole
thing a Linux System and somehow that term
caught on. And the result is there are now ten million
people using this variant
of the GNU system… the GNU/Linux operating
system and most of them
don’t know it. Some people advocate it
be described as GNU/Linux. I mean what’s your thought on that?
I would say, justify or… Well, I think it’s justified but it is justified
if you actually make GNU distribution of Linux. The same way that I think that Red Hat Linux
is fine or SUSE Linux, or Debian Linux because if you actually make your
own distribution of Linux you get to name the thing. But calling Linux in general GNU Linux,
I think, is just ridiculous. I got involved in Fall ’93 because I was sent a copy of the first
CD-ROM commercial Linux distribution, which was called Yggdrasi
produced by Adam Richter. And I got a copy because… I had been myself writing Free Software
for a long time since the early 80’s. I was actually one of the
early GNU contributors myself. And I was absolutely astonished, I was completely astonished, because I’ve been a software engineer
for nearly 15 years at that point and according to all the rules
I knew… about controlling complexity,
keeping a project group small, having closely managed objectives, Linux should have been a disaster,
and it wasn’t. Instead, it was
something wonderful, and I was determined to figure out
how they were getting away with that. In order for Linux to grow beyond
the world of the computer programmer it needed a use, an application
that made it a must-have technology. That threshold was crossed with the development of a program
that made complex websites possible. That program is
the Apache web server. The killer app of Linux was
undoubtedly the Apache web server. If you look at
the history of Linux, the adoption curve of Linux and
the adoption curve of the internet exactly track each other. 1993, which was when the Apache
web server project really got started, was also the beginnings
of the popular ISP explosion when the internet first became
a mass market commodity and the idea of web-based
electronic commerce and mass communication
became real. I think it was one of the first
applications that caused people to go, well, if I install Linux, I get some tangible benefit
from doing so, right. I mean, clearly there were a lot
of interesting applications on Linux at the time, this being maybe
two or three years ago, when the root thing
really started to take off but there wasn’t
a driving, you know, you could almost say
business case for someone to use
Linux versus using NT until, I think, Apache and a lot
of the things that plugged into Apache enhanced Apache. I mean, when you want to go out
and build a server farm, it was much more cost effective,
cost effective… real dollar returns to build it on Linux and
Apache than was to build it on IIS and NT, even if it meant that you have to
spend a little bit of money to train your staff to learn
how to use that or to find people
who were knowledgeable. But the good news was that that knowledge
wasn’t very expensive because there were all
those college students out there who’d been using Linux for a long time
and were very familiar with it. If you look at the trend
curves in web servers, Apache has steadily been gaining
a market share ever since it’s up to something
like 66% now. It’s steadily clobbered all
of the closed source competition and that’s because it’s more reliable,
it’s more flexible, it’s more extensible. It does what webmasters
actually need and the combination of
Apache and Linux found its way into a great
many commercial shops. Essentially, Apache became the application
that motivated internet service providers and e-commerce companies to choose
Linux over Microsoft’s Windows. It would probably run best
on Linux and on FreeBSD and the reason is the communities
around those operating systems are also the communities that
contribute the most back to Apache, right. And there were also the operating systems
that internet service providers started using very heavily
as well and internet service providers
really liked Apache because it allowed them to do a lot of different things that some
of the commercial web servers didn’t such as the ability to host more than
one web site on a single box, which clearly if you are an ISP and
you would have 40,000 users and they all want their web site, is gonna be pretty important
to you. One of the key factors
in the growth of Linux was the creation of companies that
specialized in the distribution and support of the
operating system itself. Among these companies,
Red Hat Software is the best known. Red Hat started as a product
of Marc Ewing while he was working at IBM. He wanted a little
better Linux distribution. He started playing around, found out he spent more time
maintaining his Linux distribution than he did working
on his new project. So he sort of started
the distribution himself. He met up with Bob Young, who at the time was running
company called ACC Bookstore which was a mail-order
PC Unix catalog. And Bob kind of knew
he wanted something, you know, more
his own to market, rather than reselling
other people’s products, and he was fairly good
at marketing, and… Mark knew he needed
some marketing help because he was very good at the technical
parts, so they kinda got together. I started working with Red Hat in May of 1995,
basically right out of NC State, along with Eric Troan who, me and him
combined make up employees #4 and #5. We actually reported to work in an
apartment that Mark Ewing used to live in. We took it over as kind of the
development part of Red Hat software and stayed that way till
about November of 1995 when… a toilet we had in the apartment
kind of exploded, flooded our downstairs neighbor and she got little upset and… the apartment folks found out
we were running a business there instead of actually living
there the same time. So they decided to throw us out. So at that point,
we had about a week to go find our first office,
which we did and get ourselves moved
in a hurry. We started going in again ’95 or so
to the venture capital firms, asking, saying, there’s
something happening here. There’s a great business
opportunity, to build the next Sun
for open source. Well, the venture capitalists
looked at this and said, gee, you are selling systems, the software is free,
this is kind of scary. We’re not sure that we want
to put money in and… by the way, we funded
other systems companies and it hasn’t really panned out,
we are scared. I came to the US
about 3 years ago, and the reason really was
that I’d been spending like 6 or 7 years
at Helsinki University, and decided it was time to see the real
world and not just university life. Especially this area had a lot of the
most interesting work being done. So I just decided that… let’s try to move half way
across the world, and give this a try, and it’s turned out
pretty well. You see this as temporary
or long term? Well, we saw it
as temporary at first. And I think it’s certainly looking
like it’s turning into long term. Our youngest daughter is both
US and Finnish citizen, because she was born here and the older one is speaking
both Swedish and English, so… The next major event was one
that I had a direct hand in. I wrote a paper, called
The Cathedral and The Bazaar, which was my observations,
my anthropological analysis of what it was that made
the open source world work. We didn’t call it that then. We were still
using the term Free Software primarily. So it was my observation of what
made the Free Software world work and why we were able to produce
extremely high quality software in spite of constantly violating all of
the standard rules of software engineering. In that paper, I was
setting up a contrast between two different
styles of development, two opposed styles
of development. One, which is the conventional
closed development style, which I called
the Cathedral style. In that one, you have tight
specification of objectives, small project groups which are run in
a fairly hierarchical authoritarian manner, and you have
long release intervals. On the other hand, what I identified
is happening in the Linux world was a much more peer to peer
decentralized, market or bazaar-like style, which has a very
short release intervals and constant solicitation of feedback from people
who are formally outside of the project. A very intense
peer review process. And the startling thing was
that the more I looked at this, the more it seemed that trading away
all the supposed advantages of conventional closed
development, for that one single advantage
of massive independent peer review actually seemed to win, actually
seemed to get you good results. The reason Netscape
is important is that they were the first large company
to participate in open source. We had Cygnus providing support, but we didn’t really have
much business. And Netscape went open source essentially
as a way to fight Microsoft, which was giving away
Internet Explorer, but not letting anyone else have the source
code, not letting companies collaborate. Working as part of the sales force,
I got a bit of, I got a good idea of why people
bought our software and what it took to make our software successful
in the marketplace against competitive products. However, the problem was, we were seeing, as that,
as time went on, our software was… being competed against by other people’s
software, particularly Microsoft’s, and as time went on, the price
of our software had to drop because other people were giving
their software away at no charge or at little charge. Now the real problem was
that they feared Microsoft would achieve a monopoly
lock on the browser market and they would then use
that monopoly lock to pervert actually, the HTTP and HTML standards
that the web depends on and once they had turned those
standards in to lock in devices, they could then use that control to drive
Netscape out of the server market, which was where it was making
its real money. My concern was that
as time went on, Netscape’s business would be
threatened, by the fact that we didn’t have enough people
to do what we needed to do as a company in order to keep our software
viable in the marketplace. The Netscape release
happened in early 1998 and I was told later,
I had no idea at the time, that it came about
as a direct result of the right people having read
The Cathedral and The Bazaar. The Cathedral and The Bazaar,
the paper by Eric Raymond, was a significant influence on
Netscape’s decision to release source code. It came as a complete shock to me. I wasn’t really ready for the thought that I was changing the world
even by accident. However he was not by any means
the only influence on that decision and not necessarily the most
important one, when all is said and done. As I said, Netscape, Netscape had already been talking about
releasing source code for quite some time before anyone ever heard of Eric’s paper. Linux Congress in early 1997, which was the first place
that I gave that paper. And one of the people who heard it was
Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly and Associates. And he thought it was
pretty intriguing and he asked me to give it at
his first PERL conference, which was… later that year, in Fall of 97. And apparently what happened,
I was told later, although I had no idea that
this was happening at the time, is that some people from Netscape actually
heard the paper at the PERL conference and took those ideas back to Netscape
and they kind of lit a fire there. The role of my paper was essentially
to make the internal case at Netscape… to make the business case for why
Netscape should release its source code. The paper was called
Netscape Source Code as Netscape Product. A strange title, essentially what
the title meant was that, in my opinion we needed to think of source code not just as something
that was used in creating our products, but as something that was a product
in its own right. Something that customers might use,
other people might use. I then looked at what the business
models might be if we released source code
for our products. How would we license them? How do we sell products
in this environment? Then I looked at the competition,
particularly Microsoft. What would they be likely to do
if we released source code? Was there some way they could
use our source code against us? I used Eric’s paper as an example of
how distributed development could work, how a company could develop software
not just using their own people, but also working with people
on the internet. And that’s why I included a reference
to Eric’s paper in my paper. Once my paper was circulated, the people who read my paper
would naturally enough find a reference to Eric’s paper
and read that as well. And who was involved in making
that happen at Netscape? Primarily the person who made the
actual decision was Jim Barksdale. And this turned out to be
important later, that our big win, the big score that gave us mainstream visibility
and credibility with investors came not because of bottom up evangelism
from a bunch of engineers, but because one strategist
at the top saw the potential power
of this method and then essentially imposed that vision
on everyone underneath him. When I completed the paper,
I first gave a copy to Mark Andreessen, who was co-founder of Netscape and
was at the time one of, on the senior management
team at Netscape. Mark then gave a copy of the paper to several
other people within Netscape management, including Jim Barksdale. I’m not sure exactly when Jim and
the other senior managers made the actual decision. I believe it was
in early January sometime. Netscape actually announced that it was
gonna release the source code on January 22nd, the same time it was going to give
Communicator away for free. When Netscape decided to release
the source code, people sort of got a wake up
notice and said hey, maybe there is something to
this idea of releasing source code and doing development with people
outside your company. So Netscape’s decision brought a lot of
public attention to the idea of Free Software, what became known as Open Source, and brought a lot of attention to
the Linux operating system, which was one of the most prominent examples
of open source software at that time. This is our first office,
Mountain View, California. We moved here in early 1995. This is 4,000 square feet. It was an incredible leap of faith for us to
move out and take the company to our own office. Now what’s really important
about this place is that this is the office where
the term Open Source was invented. If you walk in to an executive’s office
and say Free Software… OK, if you’re lucky, the response
you’ll get is something like, Free Software must be
cheap, shoddy, worthless. And if you’re not lucky,
it has associations with… with the Free Software Foundation’s
wholesale attack on intellectual property rights, which regardless of what
you think about the ethics of that, it’s lousy marketing, it’s not something
that businesses want to hear. So Eric Raymond knew
there was a problem. We’d been calling this
Free Software, but people took the term free
and associated with free of charge, they thought they couldn’t make money
or couldn’t sell, which is exactly the wrong concept. We wanted to get across the idea the software
was open and that the source code was available. Very important pieces. We had this meeting at the VA offices
in Mountain View, where Eric, myself, and Christine Peterson from Foresight Institute
joined us as well as some other people. Christine Peterson was there
by phone… Jon “Mad dog” Hall was also there
by phone… and then Todd Anderson, who later worked
for SUSE for a while, was there. Sam Ockman, who now runs
Penguin Computing, was there. He was an employee of VA
at the time. Well, we came up with
the concept of Open Source, we called Linus in fact
and asked Linus if he liked it. He was interested, he liked it. Eventually we came up with something
that replaced Free Software. That was the beginning
of open source. How did you chose
the words open source? You know, I think Christine Peterson was
the person who really came up with the idea. We wanted, again, the idea that the source
code was out there and it was open. There weren’t many choices. Well, since the fist three recipients have
spoken for the Open Source movement, I think I should speak about
the Free Software movement. The Open Source movement
focuses on practical advantages that you can get by having
a community of users who can cooperate on interchanging
and improving software. I agree completely with the points
they make about that. The reason why my views are different,
while I am in the Free Software movement rather than the
Open Source movement, is that I believe there’s something
more important at stake. That freedom to cooperate with other
people, freedom to have a community… is important for
our quality of life. It’s important for having a good
society that we can live in. And that is in my view, even more important
than having powerful and reliable software. But I think some of the people in
the Free Software camp… are a little scared
by the commercialization. And you know, of course a rebel
is put off by success. I think that commercialization
is very important. We want to mainstream
this software, and I work with Richard Stallman
who’s the gray haired man of Free Software, on a regular basis,
and I don’t feel I have any philosophical
differences, me as author of
The Open Source Definition and he as originator of
Free Software as an organized thing. Except for one thing, Richard thinks
that all software should be free, and I think that free software and
non-free software should coexist. That’s the only difference
we have. We decided early on that
what we needed, a definition, we needed a kind of meta-license
to define the term open source. And what we came up with is a document
called The Open Source Definition. It’s derived from the Debian Free Software guidelines
that were originally written by Bruce Parens. I’d written the original draft
of that, discussed it for a month with
the Debian developers, Debian is a Linux distribution, and made it their project policy. And Eric and I decided to relabel what we’d written for Debian as The Open Source Definition and to say open source is software that gives you a list of nine rights which is in The Open Source Definition. The first right is free redistribution. This doesn’t mean free as in no price. It means liberty, you have to be free to redistribute your software to someone else and actually no price is a side effect. You can charge for that redistribution
or not. It has to come with source code so that someone can maintain
a program. If they go from a PC to a Mac
for example, they can change the software. Derived works have to be possible. If someone has to improve
your program, they should be able to distribute
the result. There is a provision about integrity of the author’s source code which says that the author can
sort of maintain their honor and if you make a change you might have to change the name
of the program or mark out your change
very clearly so that your change doesn’t reflect
on the author. There is no discrimination against
people or groups. The example I usually use is you can’t stop an abortion clinic or an anti-abortion activist
from using the software. There is no discrimination against
fields of endeavor and that means the software
has to be usable in a business as well as in a school. The license has to be distributable. In other words, I have to be able to give
that license to someone and that license then should work if that someone gives it
to yet a third person. The license can’t be specific
to a product. In other words, if I distribute my software
on a Red Hat system, the license can’t say you can’t distribute this
on a SUSE or Debian system. The license can’t contaminate
other software. So if I distribute this on a CD
with another program, it can’t say that other program
must be free, otherwise you can’t distribute
my software. And then the only other part of The Open Source Definition is a list of licenses
that were accepted and the ones that we started with
were the GPL which was actually the example
for a lot of what’s in The Open Source Definition
in the BSD license because software for BSD system
pre-existed Linux. I think the next moment that I thought
was really pivotal was when the database vendors
flipped over which happened about
three months sooner than I expected to and actually happened in
late July early August. Commitments to do tier one ports
from Oracle and Sybase and the other key
database vendors. And why was that critical? Because we knew that in order for the open source story to be credible and especially in order for the Linux
story to be credible, we’d have to get commitments from
independent software vendors to do ports of their applications
to these platforms. And I was actually kind of worried. I thought that we were in a window
of vulnerability between the time that we announced
the open source campaign and the database vendors
flipped over. That was the point at which
hostile action by Microsoft or other
close-source software companies, that was the point in which a serious marketing blitz
might have sunk us. But once the big database vendors
flipped over, that opened the way for other ISVs that started
the snow ball effect going. Every six months or so I would come back
to the venture capitalists. I would show them the new numbers, showing more and more people
adopting Linux and new people porting,
new users and I’d show them our
customer list. And our customer list was getting
much more impressive. It was people like Cisco that were
beginning to appear, people like, you know, those
dot-com companies were starting to show up
on our customer list and eventually the venture
capitalists, you know, they kept looking at it, they kept saying,
oh, we can’t quite do it. Finally, Linus appeared on the cover
of Fortune. There was something happening
with open source. Well, at that point, the venture
capitalists couldn’t ignore it. They just got sick of hearing
about Linux everywhere and they got tired of me,
just, you know, showing it to them every,
at that point it was almost every week. So they decided
it was time to invest, that there was
something happening. I announced open source to the world
on the internet. I did a lot of the early
administrative work of starting the Open Source Initiative and I think six months later I was reading the words open source in the news all the time and was totally astounded. And a year later, I believe Microsoft was talking about releasing
some source code and someone in the press
asked Steve Ballmer if they were going to open source
their code and Steve Ballmer said, well, open source means more than
just releasing the source code. And I realized that he had read
my document and understood it and was now
telling the press about this. Now if you are like just a guy
on the net who’s not doing this
for a job at all and you sort of write
a manifesto and it spreads out through
the world and a year later the vice president of Microsoft
is talking about that… you’d think you were on drugs,
wouldn’t you? But that’s what really happened. The Local Users Groups
tend to be more an issue of building a social network, especially getting people familiarized
with the issues, also just acting as a kind
of supporting network for people who, who do not, for example,
have the ability to pay for commercial support network. So one thing they’re doing
in this area, for example, is they’re making these, I think it’s once a month, they’re having install fests,
which means that people who have problems getting Linux
installed on their machines or have some issue, I mean, maybe they’ve installed Linux but want to set up the network
in a specific way can actually bring in their machines to this users group meeting and there’s a lot of people there
willing to help who may have seen
the same problem before. Well, actually things aren’t so well. I tried it earlier myself.
I had problems. And so I came to
this install fest where all the gurus abound. Hopefully I’ll have better luck
getting it in. Instead of having,
sending e-mails or writing to news groups
on the internet and waiting several days for
the answers sometimes, it’s easy to come here
and find other people who might know about your problem and may be able to help you. And hopefully within a few hours you have your machine installed. Originally I wanted to install
it on my larger laptop and so I just did a search
on the net and found where there were
resources to get help. And I’m here today cause I’m trying to put Linux on
this little guy right here. Just a Toshiba Libretto. It’s not the easiest thing
in the world to do because it’s a weird piece
of hardware, so… Any chairs around here? I think that
Department of Justice case has made people aware
of the fact that you should at least look
for alternatives to Microsoft. And maybe Microsoft isn’t
the American dream after all, and that kind of shifting perception you can very clearly see that people just took Microsoft
for granted and maybe they’re still buying
Microsoft but at least they’re kind of more aware
of the issue these days. Microsoft actually uses Linux
as defense. They used Linux to ground
a claim that they don’t have a monopoly because Linux could essentially push them off their catbird seat
at any time. It was a very ingenious argument,
totally specious because it didn’t do anything to answer
the charge that they had previously
engaged in bullying and various
anti-competitive practices. But it was clever of them, and, in an event,
the judge didn’t buy it. While ordinarily we in the Linux community
are rather worried about letting Microsoft become the issue, but there was a Slashdot article
about December of ’98 where a fellow named Matt at the noodle
had pointed out that… a gentleman in Australia had managed
to receive a refund for the unused copy of Windows that
came with his computer. So he declared the 19th of January,
was it January? – No, it was February.
– It was February. I’m sorry, the 19th of February. He declared 19th of February
Windows Refund Day and he encouraged everyone to go
to the computer manufacturers, and return their unused copies
of Windows… as it was specified in the
Windows End-User License Agreement. It’s important to remember that
in the license itself, it says that you can receive a refund
if you don’t use the software, and that the manufacture
is bound by law to do this… or it was bond by contract. And we found if you called up
these manufactures, they basically said… stop bothering me kid, and hung up on you. We didn’t really wanna
sort of giving out our location, or where we were going to meet,
until… you know, the very last seconds. What we did is, we have people meet
at the place where we could control in the different towns around here. So I was the San Jose marshal,
and I believe Nick you were… I was… Rick Moen and I
did San Francisco. Right. And so we had maps there and we handed
them off to everybody who was coming. Well, we actually met at a Denny’s
that’s just outside the Foster City limits… Foster City city limits, which meant also just outside of
Foster City Police jurisdiction, which meant that any incidents
that happened at the meeting point happened in the jurisdiction
of San Mateo, and if they told us to get lost, we’d say,
fine, we are going to Foster City. Bye. It’s sort of the Dukes of Hazzard method
of avoiding the cops, so… Well, actually, originally we marched
on the other side of this building. We marched around and up onto
the parking structure that’s up there, and that’s where Microsoft had
a reception laid out for us with drinks and a big sign that said… Microsoft welcomes
the Open Source Community. And the local news cameras got shots of
Eric Raymond and Microsoft representatives. Microsoft’s story seems to mostly be that… this was not an issue for Microsoft,
rather from the OEMs. So we all needed to go back to our
computer manufacturers and try yet again to try and get refund from them. We responded to them saying, you know, that we tried that and it’s not possible,
we need Microsoft to take action at this point. And they just repeated the tag line
over and over again… You need to go to the OEMs and manufacturers
and get your refunds there. We had about 150 people, probably half
of which had signs and such, so… Well, we ended up actually right
in this courtyard here. Basically we originally met,
gathered outside, various people sent groups in, people
from FreeBSD camp sent a couple of folks in. We had Eric Raymond and Chris
actually tried to go up eventually. They had blocked the elevator off to us. Where are the offices? The offices are right up here
on the 9th floor. We got some really nice press
out of it. And we think as a result Toshiba made it possible for you to buy
laptops without the operating system on it. So, it’s a small victory, but… Well, even now, companies
such as IBM and… a lot of other computer manufacturers
are allowing you… now to buy machines that don’t have
Windows on them. When I was a kid and I went to school, the teachers were trying
to teach us to share. They said if you bring some candy, you can’t eat it all yourself,
you gotta share with other kids. But now the administration says teachers
should be teaching kids to say yes to licensing. If you bring some software to school,
oh, no, don’t share it… Sharing means you’re pirate,
sharing means you’ll be put in jail. That’s not the way society should work.
We need the good will. The willingness to help other people
at least when it’s not too hard, because that’s the basis of society, that’s the fundamental resource, that gives us a society instead of
a dog-eat-dog jungle. So what about people say that if you have rampant piracy and eliminate
the profit motive… and creative works, software
will not… Well, they were wrong on both counts.
For one thing, people are making a profit from
developing Free Software, but for another, the freedom to
have a community is more important. People that look at, casually look at
Open Source Free Software and think… well, because you are supposed to share
and do it for people’s good will… Doesn’t that seem someone communist?
What’s your response? Absolutely nonsense, it makes
me really angry when people do that. Well, back in, back in 1989, actually
communism would have been a compliment. The word people were using at that time
was crazy, and I want them to use capitalism. Communism is an ideology
that forces people to share. If you don’t share,
you get thrown in jail or killed. In 1990, we got a visit from a director
of an institute in Moscow University, and actually I saw him in Helsinki
just 2 weeks ago, but in any event, he came by, and Richard Stallman had suggested
that he visit Cygnus, because he was interested in
understanding how the Free Software model… might apply to stimulating entrepreneurial
innovation in Russia of all places, and we had been kind of secretive
about our business plan, because you know, we weren’t really
sure that it was gonna work, we didn’t want to look too stupid
if it failed. But I was very very open with him. The more I told him, the more he started
to shake his head like this, and I finally said,
you know, what’s wrong? And he said, this sounds to much like
communism to be successful in Russia. You got to go a Gulag and end up in a mass grave
with a bullet in the back of your head. Open Source is not communism
because it doesn’t force people. Karl Marx did not invent helping
your neighbor. It’s not communist to have a commons. A commons existed long before communism
as a philosophy of government. There are many commons in our lives. For example, we drive on the highway, something that is maintained
for our common good. Actually labeling our business model… means that it misses the point
a little bit. Whether it’s communist,
or whether it’s capitalist, the label doesn’t matter,
the real question is, how much value can you deliver,
how scalable is the business, what kind of problems, what kind
of rate of innovation can you sustain. And then, however you want to label that,
it’s really up to you. A lot of people described, that August LinuxWorld
as Linux’s coming-out party. Linus Torvalds was very funny about this,
he said, what, was Linux gay? But some people said,
yeah, that was our debutante ball. That was when the… Linux Gods, and the hardware hackers
really got it together with the suits. At 3 p.m. on August 10th 1999, Linus Torvalds delivered the keynote
address at LinuxWorld. The crowds of 6000 people began
lining up at 12 noon. Ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome Larry Augustin… LinuxWorld Conference Chair and President
and CEO of VA Linux Systems. These guys have to clap, I pay them. Thank you all for being here,
looks like it’s been a great show so far. If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’m going to
try to avoid the glare of the lights. I still think there’s lots of people,
even though this is the 2nd show, I still think there’s lots of people
who don’t quite get… what it is that’s so exciting
about Linux. So there is a great show going
on next door, there’s huge exhibits and everything, but it’s the people out here that are
real contributors, not those companies. The person on next
I know you all know, so I don’t have to give anything
in the way as introduction. Ladies and gentlemen,
I give you, Linus Torvalds. Thanks. Calm down. Calm down. Say ooooo… Yes. I don’t want to just give one
of my normal talks, because I find them boring, probably by now most of you find them boring
too because you’ve heard them like 10 times. But after the technical updates,
we will actually try… whether we can do a question and answer
session with 5,000 people, or how many of you
there are there. And it may not actually work out, because one of the 5,000 people
is really loud. The one thing I will do, which I always do in all my talks
is the gratitude thing. I want to kind of acknowledge
the fact that… I’m obviously not been alone
in doing Linux. Red Hat, up 228%. This is the IPO that everybody
was waiting for. They of course are behind
the Linux operating software. – R-H-A-T.
– I know… All I’ve gotten today, are comments about what
the stock price is, all morning, you know it was at 41,
it was at 42, it was at 47, it was at 53, it was at 51… Every machine as far as I can tell
on the show floor is pointed to their e-trade accounts or their
broker accounts, they know the Red Hat’s price. – I can’t believe this.
– 47… I just heard 53. Oh, boy. Hang on, I didn’t buy it. You didn’t buy? No, no, I didn’t buy. I should’ve bought, but… No, no, that’s great. If it’s… If it’s… You guys don’t know? Well, you know Red Hat being successful,
just means that it legitimizes Linux, so
it’s much easier for us to go out. It’s kind of been a little bit
divided. You’ve got a lot of people that are pretty hardcore and they’re kind of offended by that, you know, cause they work really hard,
they are not really getting… maybe their fair share out of that. Some people do get ticked, and you know the thing that you see that on a lot of mailing lists
or on Slashdot, you’ll read, you know… this guy is really mad because he didn’t get
a chance to, he didn’t get a chance to do… to get stock from Red Hat, he didn’t get a chance to get a job
from this other company, you know. But the kind of the shocking secret
there is that, most of the really hardcore guys,
you know, they don’t care so much. The guys that are kind of really down
in the trenches. They’re writing this code because
they need this code. If we could invite Richard Stallman who’s the founder
of the Free Software Association and Tim Ney,
who’s the managing director. There we go. Ah, here it is. Now, Richard, I saw you playing your recorder
in Paris at that Linux conference but I didn’t have audio tracks. So would you get them to add
audio to their… video downstream next time. I don’t have any control over that unfortunately those things can
only be done with non-free software. We’ll give you the award,
and before you say a word, we’ll have Tim and yourself hold up
a little representation of the contribution towards the Free Software Association. So, very ironic things have happened, but nothing to match this giving the Linus Tovarlds award
to the Free Software Foundation is sort of like giving the
Han Solo award to the rebel fleet. You see, some of you may not realize
how far that analogy goes. But actually let me tell you how this,
how we got here. See, what happened is, 15 years ago,
if you wanted to use a computer, the only way you could do it was to,
was with proprietary software. Software that divides and subjugates
the users. And most people just… a lot of people didn’t like it but they saw no alternative. But some of us were determined
to make an alternative and we said we’re gonna develop
a free operating system, a free software operating system that will give users the chance to have
freedom while they use their computers. Now a lot of people said,
well, it’s a nice idea but it’s so hard,
you’ll never get it done, so I don’t wanna participate,
I don’t believe you can ever get it done. But luckily not everybody said that. And clearly, we knew we would
eventually get the kernel done. But as it happens… somebody else did a better kernel
before we did. Now in the old days,
we had an overall strategy from calling people’s attention
to the importance of freedom to the freedom they can have, or not have,
when they use a computer. Well what can we do about it?
As far as I can tell, the only workable way of trying to change
this make that strategy work again is to spread the word that the operating system
you’re using is actually the GNU system. Somewhat modified of course. And when people know this, they’ll take a look at the reasons
we developed this system. They’ll think about these issues and some of them will decide
they agree. So I ask people, please tell
the people this is the GNU system. It’s the combination of GNU and Linux,
so we can call it GNU/Linux. So Larry, when you were at Stanford
8, 9 years ago during your PhD. Did you ever think you’d be
in this position? No. All kidding aside. No, I had no idea honestly. What did you think you would be
when you were finished up with your PhD? You know that’s a good question, I really didn’t have a good idea.
I mean… here we are,
on this huge show floor. There are people just going crazy
about Linux. We had 6,200 people crammed
into a room to see Linux, Linus, speak last night. Here we are with, you know, all of these huge venders
all over the show. It’s, just, you have no idea that
this is gonna happen. I mean this is just this little operating
system that we’re happy with, that a few people cared about,
you know, I thought I’d have a nice little
consulting business. And here I am suddenly, with all of this huge show
going on. It’s just incredible. I mean, a year ago, you could look and say,
you know, this is gonna be big and everyone standing
at the show going… You know the show was big last year, is it gonna, is it gonna be as big
this year? Then you remind them… You know, last year
was only 6 months ago. And then they go, oh, Linux time. So leading up to the IPO… we had arrived actually in San Diego
on Tuesday night. We spent Wednesday morning meeting
investors in San Diego. We flew up to San Francisco, spent Wednesday afternoon meeting
investment firms in San Francisco. Then on Thursday morning
of the IPO is when our stock would be traded
publicly. So it was nice we had ended
the tour in San Francisco because we could go to the Credit
Suisse trading desk the next morning to watch the public offering. And in San Francisco being close
enough to the company, and to our families, we could invite people up to
actually join us in the first trade. So I invited my wife and
we invited Linus and Tove, and a number of other friends and people
who worked in the company to join us. Whenever we invite Linus and Tove, they have two young children, and I have a daughter, Andrea, and we always bring the kids along, so we went in to the Credit Suisse
trading floor with all these traders and there are
these 3 year old kids running around and chasing each other
around the show floor, around the trading floor. So Linus and I walked in and
we walked up in to the trading floor and everyone was very excited, and we kept asking them, well,
how’s it going? Are things going ok? And they said, oh, it’s…
we’re really excited, I think things are going well. We don’t wanna, we don’t wanna say,
we don’t wanna jinx anything. We walked in and it was a
big screen TV showing CNBC. And it was amazing to us, but
the theme for the day was Linux. Now we have an IPO
that’s gonna go today, and when I mean go,
it is going to go. The estimates I’m hearing
are staggering. But watch VA Linux Systems.
It goes at 12:40 today. The symbol is L-N-U-X. A provider of large scale computer
servers and workstations, specially designed for the Linux
operating system. The original range on this IPO was
11 to 13 dollars, then 21 to 23, then 28 to 30, priced at 30, and the estimates I’m hearing
I don’t wanna repeat because I don’t have a confirmation. But if they’re true, they will blow your mind
when this stock takes off at 12:40. I turned to Linus and I said,
gee, did you ever think, you know, you’d walk in here some day and
Linux would be the theme on CNBC? And Linus said in his joking way,
said, oh, absolutely! So we walk in and they show us
the buy and sell orders coming in… and it’s incredible. We’re seeing numbers like
320 dollars, 340 dollars a share. And I’m just in complete shock. You know, this is over 10 times where
we priced the offering. It was incredible. And I remember Linus just kind of,
sort of patting me on the back and saying, you know, relax, and it was pretty
exciting to see that. We were, it was just amazing.
We were stunned. We were lucky that we were able to
get back to the offices, we’d been in San Francisco, so
we could come back to VA’s offices to see everyone in the office
for the IPO. When we got back, we had,
everyone was obviously very excited. The IPO had done
just tremendously well. We had a little party
that we put together. It was interesting,
while we were celebrating, there were plenty of people that
were still trying to work. I recall cries of be quiet!
We’re on the phone! We’re working! As we went in to the offices one of the things I did was
I gave the road show presentation for the employees back at the office, so they could have an idea of
what we’d been telling investors, and understand exactly what we’d
put together for them. But again the story of the day is VA Linux,
now up 766% to 235 dollars to 265. Sue, the best performing IPO ever. Here it goes, Sycamore Networks was priced
at 38 dollars, surged to $270. This has just beat it and by the way… How do you feel about potentially billions
of dollars of wealth being created from your creation,
that you’re not directly cashing out? So, if I hadn’t made Linux available,
I mean, I wouldn’t have gotten any money
that way either. So, I mean, it’s a win-win situation. Just the fact that there are
a lot of commercial companies means that there are a lot of Linux people
who used to work on Linux kind of on the side. And now they get paid for doing
what they wanted to do. And that helps me in the sense that
I wanted them to work on Linux anyway. The whole GNU project is really
one big hack. It’s one big act of subversive
playful cleverness, to change society for the better, because I’m
only interested in changing it for the better, but in a clever way. Hi, we’re the GNU/Stallmans, and this is
the Free Software song.Join us now and share the softwareYou’ll be free, hackers, you’ll be freeYou’ll be free, hackers, you’ll be freeHoarders may get piles of moneyThat is true, hackers, that is trueBut they cannot help their neighborsThat’s ain’t good, hackers, that’s ain’t goodWhen we have enough free softwareAt our call, hackers, at our callWe’ll throw out those dirty licensesEver more, hackers, ever moreJoin us now and share the softwareYou’ll be free, hackers, you’ll be freeJoin us now and share the softwareYou’ll be free, hackers, you’ll be freeOh, you’ll be freeI let you knowThat you’ll be freeI let you knowThat you’ll be freeThat you’ll be free

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