|The History of Free Software: From 1300 AD until present day
Abstract: Most people think that free software is new. In reality there have been events throughout history that have molded the path of free software until the current time. Mostly serious, but with elements of jest, this talk shows some of these events and their effect on the thinking of free and open source software.
Jon 'maddog' Hall was born in a humble abode in the United States. Since that
time he has studied electrical engineering and computer science, culminating
in a bachelor's degree in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University and
a Masters in computer science from RPI of Troy, New York.
Having the good luck to stumble onto a series of far-thinking managers, he
worked as a systems programmer for Aetna Life and Casualty on large (for their
day) IBM mainframes, was Department head for Computer Science at Hartford
State Technical College, a systems administrator at Bell Laboratories,
and spent sixteen years as an engineer/product manager/technical marketing
manager at Digital Equipment Corporation before it was purchased by HP (nee
Compaq). It was during this time at Digital that maddog (as his students named
him and as he prefers to be known) met Linus Torvalds and helped to instigate
the port of Linux to the Alpha processor, the first mainstream 64-bit port of
While working at Digital, maddog was elected to be the Executive Director of
Linux International, and in 1999 left Compaq to pursue the cause of Linux
Maddog has traveled around the world more times than his spine likes to think
about, speaking on a range of topics from technical aspects of Linux and
Unix to why Linux reminds him of a player piano. By bringing the cause of
Linux and freely available software to terms with which business, government and
educators can relate, he hopes to spread the use of this software everyplace.