After the Software Wars

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  • Book: After the Software Wars. Keith Curtis.


Keith Curtis:

"I dropped out of the University of Michigan at age 20 to become a programmer at Microsoft, and worked there for 11 years writing software in various groups from Windows to research. After leaving, I tried out Linux, saw the potential, and studied the problems. This is the story of what I discovered…

Given currently available technology, we should all have cars that drive us around in absolute safety, leaving us to lounge in the back and sip champagne.

We have all the hardware to do this — the video cameras, motion sensors and high powered computers — and we’ve had this technology for decades. So why don’t cars drive themselves? The answer is that we don’t have the software.

This software will not be “owned” by corporations like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, who are mostly impeding technological progress. (Google supports efforts such as Linux via Android, but their AI code in Google Now, language translation and driverless cars are not built in an open way.) This software we need will be built by a global community, taking on problems too big for any one team to even understand. We should have been working together all along, but it is necessary now for the few big problems that remain.

Free software is analogous to Wikipedia, which grew from nothing into the world’s largest encyclopedia in 2.5 years. Free software is better for the free market somewhat like how free speech is better. Both Marxists and Chicago-school libertarian economists can agree that free software is the best model.

Programmers can make money and businesses can lower costs by using Linux. Software Wars is a quick read with 100 pictures explaining why this is true, what is missing, and how anyone can get involved."