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2-Cycle Gas Engine & The Start Of Open Source

by Ty Mc 7 months ago in history
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How open source existed before computers on the internet...

2-Cycle Gas Engine & The Start Of Open Source
Photo by Hoover Tung on Unsplash

One thing that many people seem to not be aware of is that the idea of open source is that it did not simply begin with computers and software programs. I anything, the history of open source technology actual began during the early years of automobile development. For those who are not in the know, open source is based around the idea that source code for certain programs can be made freely available for people to modify and redistribute to the public. As the online newspaper known as The Economic Times points out, open source software differs from closed source software in that - traditionally - the latter many cost money & even if it is offered for free, you can get into legal trouble for modifying it or trying to use the software for monetary gain. Basically, closed source programs make modifying software or using it for purposes the company who owns it does not like can lead to you paying fines or spending a fun time in prison! Meanwhile, you can use & modify open source programs to your heart's content without having to worry that there are going to be any legal consequences for doing so, even if you use said software for a commercial reason.

The history of open source goes all the way back to the 2-cycle gasoline engine. Years ago, this type of engine was patented by Georgy B. Selden and the patent gave any one who monopoly over most of the automobile industry when it came to automobiles powered by this engine. With this monopoly, car manufacturers had to pay the owner the patent & adhere to their demands on how to design 2-cycle engine vehicles. If the manufacturers did not pay or listen to said demands, they could face a heavy lawsuit that could ruin them! This was how the automobile industry was for a while until the year 1911. In that year, Henry Ford (an American industrialist and the founder of the Ford Motor Company) challenged the patent for the 2-cycle gasoline-power engine, or at least the idea that owning the patent should allow the owner to have complete control over who should be allowed to create a 2-cycle engine vehicle. Henry Ford was able to win the lawsuit, which led to the patent becoming worthless and a new association was made called the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. This association developed a cross-licensing agreement that was shared by all U.S. automobile manufacturers. This allows anyone to develop new technology based around the 2-cycle engine vehicle. This also allowed patents around 2-cycle engine vehicles to be openly shared with manufacturers and the public at large for free! This is pretty much the first example in modern recorded history of open-source technology with these events taking place before the widespread use of modern computers or software!

Long after these historic events, people are pretty much free to design gas-powered 2-cycle engine vehicles however they please without having to worry that an army of lawyers might come and drive them into bankruptcy! This also showed how open source items can be free to use for the public while also remaining profitable. Even after the 2-cycle engine vehicle and related technology became open source, Ford Motor Company was still able to turn a tidy profit and become one of the top car manufacturers in the United States. This model cross-licensing agreement designed by the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association has become the standard that helped to inspire many modern licensing agreements that exists for modern open source software & all of it started over a dispute about the rights to an engine!


About the author

Ty Mc

I love to write fictional stories, articles about history, and blog about practically any topic that pops in my head. Hopefully, you can read some of my stories and find something that interests you!

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