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Thursday, September 19 • 3:30pm - 3:50pm
Cygnus: COSS From the Absolute Beginning - David Henkel-Wallace, Leela.ai

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Cygnus, founded in 1989, was the original commercial open source business, developing from scratch the first viable models for business, evangelism, and organization of profitable commercial open source companies. Our slogan was “We Make Free Software Affordable”. The company grew to hundreds of employees around the world, ultimately merging with Red Hat in 2000.

In this talk I will briefly describe the software ecosystem of 1989 and what inspired me to found Cygnus, along with Michael Tiemann and John Gilmore, in my living room. I will then discuss what has changed and what has remained the same since then. Finally, I will address some risks I see for the COSS ecosystem, based on 30 years of perspective.


David Henkel-Wallace

Partner, Leela.ai
David Henkel-Wallace’s roots in commercial open source software reach back literally to the beginning of the idea of commercial OSS: he was a founder of the very first open source company, Cygnus, now Red Hat, in 1989. His research background at the MIT AI lab and other notable... Read More →

Thursday September 19, 2019 3:30pm - 3:50pm PDT
Main Stage