The term open source was agreed upon at a meeting in 1998 by a number of key open source advocates. The values, development model, licenses and culture the term seeks to contain, has it’s roots from several decades before 1998. The idea of distributing the source code of a program, with permission to change and redistribute it, is an idea that have it’s root in the early history of computing.
In the technology oriented communities that cherished the idea of being able to change and improve software the term hacker arose. Unlike what many connects with this term, this people were not seeking to break into computer systems and making viruses. The term arose before there was anything called the Internet. The hacker culture was a driving force behind creating what to day is commonly called open source.
By presenting this narrative of the open source history I want to give some basic insight about the people, technologies and occurrences that have formed what is commonly called open source to day. While the practise of sharing code has been present from the birth of computing, the philosophies, theories and values forming the source sharing communities of to day, have appeared and been refined over the years. I will use the terms free software and open source interchangeably to mean the same thing, unless otherwise specified. My most important source of information for this chapter is (Weber 2004).