Chronicling the open source movement - one person at a time

Ideas are nothing without people to give them life. That's why a Boston woman has set out to write about the people, not the software.

Whether open source is a license, a community or more is debatable, but what's not is that none of it would be possible without the people behind it.Linus Torvalds. Free Software? Richard Stallman. Open Source Initiative? Eric Steven Raymond.

Anyone who knows Linux knows the name

There are many, many more names. Some well-known to people in the open source community, others who toil in relative anonymity.

That's why I liked the appeal for funding for Signal Boost: A Free/Open Source Narrative, on Kickstarter.

A young woman, M.J. de Blanc, has picked up and moved to Boston to write a book. It's the story of open source, but as she notes in her explainer video, not about FLOSS - it's about FLOS, Free Libre Open Source. She left off the second S - software - for a simple reason: She wants to write about the people, not the programs.

"They care about working together, sharing and using their own ideas and abilities with the ideas and abilities of others to make something that's really great," she says in her video.

She's sharing stories on her blog as she begins the process. And, as one might expect from a narrative about open source, she's writing it under a Creative Commons license.

Though her fundraising window on Kickstarter has expired, she did garner a third of her $4,600 goal. To do it right, she'd need a digital recorder and a decent camera. Plus, she's unemployed and just moved to Boston, so she needs some cash to, you know, live.

She's even giving high fives - with optional fist bumps - to anyone who donates a dollar or more and lives in the Boston area.

Who knows? Perhaps when the "official" history of open source is written in another 50 to 100 years, "Signal Boost" will be cited. Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants.

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