Free software


Prof. Angelo Raffaele Meo


To describe the history of free software and Internet (mother and daughter of free software) and their most important products. To discuss the opportunities of the future of free software and Internet represented by the recent progress of all the information processing and transmission technologies. To analyze the complex question of intellectual property.


History of free software: hackers ideas, Richard Stallman, GNU project, the tower of licences, the General Public Licences’, business models of free software, Linus Torvalds and the project Linux, the free software products of today.

Internet mother and daughter of free software: Internet Engineering Task Force and the rules of cooperation, freedom of the Network, models of freedom for Internet.

National and international laws for the promotion of free software: Total Cost of Ownership, open interoperability standards, the Italian law 82/05, regional laws,free software in the world.

Technological evolution and the new world industry: bits and atoms, the progress of traditional technologies, the progress of the technologies of data processing and transmission and the related industries, the convergence of technologies.

The new applications of Internet: Internet telephony, Internet medicine and surgery, the technological and economical laws of networks, economical implications of tecnological progress.

The future of communications: wide band, computational grid, peer-to-peer, blogosphere, YouTube, Second Life, Wikipedia, social networks, broadcast and peer-to-peer communication, cloud computing, real-time and on-demand video transmission.

Free hardware: free hardware design, open source hardware, the languages for the description of hardware, open cores, embedded systems, examples (free router, free Wi.Fi. gates, etc.).

The question of intellectual property: history of copyright, Creative Common licences, digital divide and disequalities, gift and cooperation as a model of development.

The course will be taught in English.

Course page on the Politecnico di Torino PhD School webpage