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Salon: Free PhotoShop for the People [The Berkeley XCF]

Dec 09, 2000, 16:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ed Frauheim)

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"This one woman from the Department of Energy said, 'Forgive me, but we're supposed to believe you? You're some undergraduate from Berkeley.'"

"I said to her, 'Whose computer operating system do you run?'" recalls Lapsley, "and she said, "Well, Berkeley's.' She sat down and I sat down."

"The episode neatly captures the spirit of the XCF, an organization that has directly or indirectly produced some of the most powerful and innovative open-source software of the past 15 years. The confident -- some might say cocky -- XCF undergraduates helped slay the Internet Worm, produced one of the first-ever Web browsers and developed two programs essential to the ecology of free software -- the GTK tool kit (a set of tools useful for creating graphical user interfaces) and the GIMP, a Photoshop clone. Members of the XCF have also contributed code to the Gnutella file-trading project, a software program that many observers believe will be the successor to Napster."

"It's almost like it's our duty to create cool things for the world," says Spencer Kimball, who co-wrote both the GIMP and the Unix versions of Gnutella."

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