The Defenders of Free Software

ARMIJN HEMEL, 32, lives with his parents in Tiel, a town smack-dab in the middle of the Netherlands. He works as a technology consultant, but spends several hours a week on his avocation: pestering some of the world’s most powerful consumer electronics and technology companies.

Mr. Hemel serves as a volunteer watchman for free, open-source software like the Linux operating system, which competes with Microsoft’s Windows. The use of free software has exploded, particularly in gadgets as varied as exercise bikes, energy meters and smartphones. Companies like Google, TiVo and Sony often opt to piggyback on the work of others rather than going through the ordeal of building all of the software for their products from scratch.

Read more at The New York Times

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