11 Jul 2001 deven   » (Journeyer)

From an advocacy perspective, I've made another contribution to free software which hasn't been realized yet, but I believe it will be. I contacted the author of the MMURTL operating system, who used it in his book, Developing Your Own 32-Bit Operating System. I tried to convince him that releasing his OS as open source would be good for the community and for sales of his book, which he is self-publishing now that SAMS has discontinued the title.

After a few weeks of lobbying between myself and another person (who prefers public domain to open source), the author said we had convinced him. He has publicly stated that he intends to release the code into the public domain once he has sold 30,000 copies of the book. He's sold about half that many so far. (I think he'd get to 30,000 faster if he releases the code now, but he picked that number as a fair return on the 5 years of his life invested into writing the operating system and the book.)

So, the code hasn't been released yet, but he wasn't even considering it until I suggested the idea, at which point he became very thoughtful about it. Later, someone else talked him into not only releasing the code, but into the public domain! Either way, it seems likely that he will release the code at some point, and he might never have made that decision if it weren't for my advocacy.

Stuff like this is hard to quantify, but I still believe that it contributes to the free software community. I've done this sort of one-on-one free-software/open-source advocacy for almost 14 years now. I don't do public speaking like Eric Raymond, but I think every little bit helps...

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