Open Source Projects that Changed the World

To many, open source software isn’t just about getting something for free, it’s a statement about how the world should be. With almost religious fervor, open source evangelists have been fighting the good fight for freedom of code for nearly as long as there have been computers. Here are seven projects that have, quite literally, changed the world.

GNU: The grand-daddy of them all, and everyone’s favorite recursive acronym, the GNU project was founded in 1984 on philosophical grounds that software should respect users freedom. GNU is the founder of several other projects, but possibly the most important in sheer scope is the GNU General Public License, the GPL. The GNU project also tried for years to come up with a complete desktop system based around the Hurd kernel, but found another kernel that quickly leapfrogged GNU’s efforts, and was quickly adopted.

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