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Can Stephen Fry deliver open source to the UK?Matthew Aslett, February 12, 2008 @ 6:36 am ET
Having been prompted by Computerworld to return to thoughts of open source adoption in the UK, I have been pondering why open source has not been more widely adopted in the UK and what can be done about it. While re-reading a Guardian article from September last year (“all of which makes it scandalous that the open source movement has not taken off in the UK as it has in other countries”) I stumbled on this article by Stephen Fry discussing the new Asus EEE PC.
For those not familiar with Stephen Fry he is an actor, writer, director, presenter, comedian, humourist, and quite probably the greatest living Englishman (despite what he himself may say). In his latest column he also proves himself to have an in-depth understanding of the machinations of the free/open source movement, as well as enthusiasm for the future of Linux on consumer devices.
“Open Source applications make their code available to everyone. Disagreements and rabid balkanisation within the Open Source community aside, for our purposes the term might as well refer to free software whose licence allows you to share the source code, alter it, use it, do with it what you will,” he writes.
“The two great pillars of Open Source are the GNU project and Linux. I shan’t burden you with too much detail, I’ll just make the outrageous claim that your computer will be running some descendant of those two within the next five years and that your life will be better and happier as a result.”
Does his promotion of open source herald a bright new future for open source adoption in the UK? Probably not, although his comments are probably more likely to make an impact on the Guardian-reading corner of the UK than those of Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds. The UK has too few open source advocates. It’s great to see someone as erudite, respected, and well-connected as Stephen Fry spreading the word.
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