"As a native of Sheffield, England -- a traditional hotbed
of left-leaning UK politics -- Jeremy Allison has understandable
reservations when it comes to wearing the "benevolent dictator"
mantle so-often applied to open source software project
"First, there's the credit issue: As one of the two main
individuals behind Samba -- an open source system of networking
protocols that allow NT boxes, Unix workstations and Linux servers
to work together in near-perfect harmony -- Allison must give equal
leadership credit to Andrew Tridgell, the man who first coined the
name "Samba," as well as other members of the 20-programmer Samba
"Secondly, there's the paradoxical issue of assigning leadership
to something that in Allison's view is simply a grass-roots
movement similar to the working class struggles of his native
country. "When I downloaded the GCC [Gnu C Compiler] for the first
time, back in 1988, I took a moment to read through Richard
Stallman's Gnu Manifesto," Allison says, recalling his first
introduction to the notion of free software as a political
statement. "I instantly recognized it for what it was: Socialism.
Coming from Europe, where socialism isn't a dirty word, I had no
problem with it."
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