Happy birthday, Open Source - you're legal now

18 years ago today, 386BSD's version 0.1 was released, ushering in a new era in development. Tip back a pint of open source beer, why don't you?

Today is a landmark in open source history, the unofficial birthday of the movement. On this day, in 1992, version 0.1 of 386BSD (you might know it as Jolix) was released.

386BSD CD-Rom, via Lynne Jolitz

FreeBSD.open source. It can be a philosophy, a business model, a software model, a community, a license type.military. It's legal to drive in every U.S. state. It's still not allowed to drink quite yet in the U.S., but elsewhere it's legal. It could vote if it just had a permanent address. It can buy porn. It could even get a tattoo (or any other Android phone, for that matter).836BSD and William Jolitz and Lynne Jolitz today.

Now, some might say March was the true birthdate, as that was the original release of 386BSD, version 0.0. Others point to Unix as laying the true foundation for Linux, which many credit for truly launching the open source revolution.

But it wasn't until the second, more usable, 386BSD release that users began developing unofficial patchkits for to fix bugs and enhance aspects of the system. And that, more than anything else is the true core of what open source is. It still lives today, having evolved into

I've written before about the different definitions people have for

What is common to all those different definitions,  though, is the idea that people skilled enough to do so can fix things in the code themselves and contribute back to the greater community surrounding that operating system, middleware or software. Or they can take it upon themselves to enhance the product, creating apps to work with it or new features anyone can use.

The community is the major strength of open source - one that was, basically, born on this day, 18 years ago.

Hey - open source is old enough to serve in the

It's worth stepping back for a day to reflect on what today means in the history of open source. That open source software of some type or another would have evolved is highly likely. But whether it would have evolved in this manner, around a community - who knows?

In talking to anyone about open source software and systems, "community" keeps coming up over and over and over. Without this original community of developers creating and sharing patches on this freely distributed system, would community be at the root of all open source today?

Quite possibly. That doesn't mean it's not worth tipping your hat to

Image via Lynne Jolitz.

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