Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ben Franklin, the first Open Source advocate

Benjamin Franklin is known in American history as a founding father and a inventor. One interesting fact is that he did not approve of patents. Martin Streicher of IBM points out in his article of 10 tips for sensible systems administration that Benjamin Franklin would more than likely approve of Open Source software.

From the article...

"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."(Benjamin Franklin)

Franklin was a prolific inventor, yet eschewed patents. This particular quote, in fact, was a response to the Governor of Pennsylvania's offer to patent Franklin's novel stove, thereby granting Franklin a monopoly on its manufacture for several years. (Until 1790, each state had its own patent legislation and issued patents independently. The Federal Patent Act passed in 1790 made patents the purview of the Federal Government, as mandated in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution.)

Sorry Richard Stallman but it seems Ben Franklin beat you to the punch. That does make for some good company.


gate valve said...

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Ed Hird+ said...

Interesting to read BF's attitude towards patents. Benjamin Franklin had a remarkable impact in so many ways, particularly in the areas of technological inventions and science. A Benjamin Franklin article just received the ‘Top 100 Electricity Blogs’ Award