Bitcoin Baron Keeps a Secretive Open Source OS Alive

openbsd22 Jan 2014 / Wired – One of the world’s longest-running open source software projects will live on, thanks to a Romanian bitcoin baron.

Recently, Theo de Raadt and the other engineers who oversee the OpenBSD operating system recently were hit with a $20,000 bill for the electricity that feeds the computers on which they test this venerable piece of software, and after they revealed that the bill could bring the project down, Mircea Popescu, the Romanian who runs the online bitcoin exchange MPEx, stepped in to save them.

It’s another example of the bitcoin community is working to boost the fortunes of the wider world of open source software. The software that drives bitcoin across a worldwide network of machines also is open source, and because this software shares new currency with those who help run it, the project has created a new class of very rich computer geeks. We call them the bitcoin nouveau riche, and many are sharing their money with their open source brethren.

OpenBSD isn’t as widely used or as famous as Linux — the open source operating system that runs vast swaths of the web and the world’s smartphones — but it has been a mainstay of computing for 20 years. It’s one of several open source operating systems that grew from the Unix OS in the early 1990s, and it’s always stood out thanks to its relentless — some would say paranoid — focus on security.

OpenBSD is used on servers, desktop PCs, and networking gear around the globe, but because anyone can license it for free, the nonprofit OpenBSD Foundation relies on donations to cover its significant costs, including the money needed to run test servers. Late last year, de Raadt, one of the project’s founders, warned that its electricity bills could bring it down, and “a number of logistical reasons” prevents moving to a location that might offer cheaper space and power….. Read more

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