Open source software—software freely shared with the world at large—is an old idea. A guy named Richard Stallman started preaching the gospel in the early ’80s, though he called it free software. Linus Torvalds started work on Linux, the enormously successful open source operating system, in 1991, and today, it drives our daily lives—literally. The Android operating system that runs Google phones and the iOS operating system that runs the Apple iPhone are based on Linux. When you open a phone app like Twitter or Facebook and pull down all those tweets and status updates, you’re tapping into massive computer data centers filled with hundreds of Linux machines. Linux is the foundation of the Internet.
And yet 2015 was the year open source software gained new significance, thanks to Apple and Google and Elon Musk. Now more than ever, even the most powerful tech companies and entrepreneurs are freely sharing the code underlying their latest technologies. They recognize this will accelerate not only the progress of technology as a whole, but their own progress as well. It’s altruism with self-interest. And it’s how the tech world now works.
When we wear headphones, it is a signal to everyone that we’re shut off, unavailable and, much like napping adults, absolutely not to be bothered. Our ear shields are barriers against barbaric city attacks like catcalls, construction or unwanted conversation from a friendly co-worker who just has, like, a super quick question “if you just have two seconds.”
We’re commuting, running errands and running departments under the polite assumption that no one knows our secret (and apologies to anyone this is outing): the headphones are on, but nothing’s playing. Bye bye, “This American Life.” The podcasts and the music have died, and this’ll be the day that we acknowledge the lie.
When music consultant Mikiro Enomoto asked a class of Kyoto Seika University students how they listened to new music last year, he reckons 80 percent of them mentioned YouTube or YouTube-linked sites. When he asked the same question to this year’s class, almost all of them said they don’t bother looking for new music anymore.
Gremlins is the best Christmas movie ever made. No question.— CLINT ECKER (@CLINT) December 27, 2015
Thanks for reading.