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The “free software movement” is a social and political campaign which

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 253, Date : 07-Aug-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


The “free software movement” is a social and political campaign which advocates for computer software that users may run, modify, and redistribute as they please. Since the 1990s, however, a split has existed within the movement. Advocates of the original “free software” philosophy argue that proprietary software is unethical in the sense that computers can be tools of positive social change and restricting access to such tools is against the public interest. A competing philosophy, called “open source,” does not view the issue as a moral one and does not oppose cooperation with commercial developers of proprietary software. The open source philosophy regards public, collaborative authorship of code as an efficient model of software development.

The first computers ran software that was developed through open collaboration between corporate researchers and academics. However, as computers became more complex, the costs of developing software increased, and companies began to charge license fees and prohibit users from modifying the programs. In response, some users started to develop alternatives to commercial software and openly share the source code, first through online bulletin board systems and then by other means as the Internet developed. In 1997, an essay on the free software movement titled The Cathedral and the Bazaar inspired Netscape Communications Corporation to release its web browser as free software, marking the beginning of open source collaboration between commercial developers and users. Some early proponents of free software argued against the newly formed Open Source Initiative, contending that the organization’s narrow focus on releasing the source code for software ignored the greater issue of campaigning for truly free software and threatened to obscure distinctions among wholly free, partially free, and wholly proprietary software.

The problem with the original free software philosophy is that the activist approach associated with it can alienate commercial developers, and those developers can be important allies in the creation and promotion of free software. But the open source movement, by focusing on free software not as an end but as a means (of efficient software development, for instance), has lost the original movement’s emphasis on user rights not only to study and modify software but also to run and redistribute it. If these freedoms could be pursued without compromising them, and without a hostile stance toward commercial software makers, the result could be better software, with the users’ rights more fully preserved.

1. The author implies that which of the following occurred after Netscape Corporation released its web browser as open source software?

A. Free software advocates focused increasingly on technical questions.
B. The original free software philosophy was embraced by many commercial software developers.
C. Open source advocates attempted to rally the free software movement behind a program of efficient software development.
D. The free software movement softened its criticism of commercial software corporations.
E. Not all free software advocates agreed that Netscape’s browser fit the goals of their movement.

2. According to the author, which of the following was true of software development prior to 1997?

A. Software collaborations did not exist outside of purely academic settings.
B. Corporations had collaborated with outside programmers but increasingly released proprietary software.
C. Free and restrictive licenses were equally common among software products.
D. The most common view among free software advocates was that user freedom was more important than the efficiency of software development.
E. The most common view among free software advocates was that commercial developers should adopt some principles of open source software.

3.According to the passage, one point of agreement between the original free software philosophy and the open source movement is that

A. user freedom is the primary motivation for developing free software
B. developers of proprietary software act against the public interest
C. users should boycott non-free software until it is released with less restrictive licenses
D. collaboration with any entity that wants to develop free software furthers the goals of the movement
E. there are benefits to giving users access to the source code for a piece of software


Originally posted by payalkhndlwl on 06 Aug 2019, 18:53.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 07 Aug 2019, 08:01, edited 2 times in total.
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