About www.mad-hacking.net

For many years Hacking Networked Solutions has been active in the world of software development producing closed-source solutions for our customers. In the early 1990s the world of Free Open Source Software was in its infancy and, whilst it was clear to the visionaries that this was the direction the software industry should head, it was still a new and daunting world to the vast majority of our corporate and governmental clients.

Gentoo Linux logo

In 1998 we decided that it was time to make the change to using Free Open Source Software internally at Hacking Networked Solutions for both development and deployment whenever possible. We investigated a number of different Linux distributions including Debian GNU/Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora, before finally discovering Gentoo Linux which immediately appealed to us as software developers due to its unique combination of a source-based distribution with the portage package manager delivering both the flexibility associated with source-based distributions and the management simplicity previously restricted to binary distributions.

At the same time as changing over to using Free Open Source Software internally we also started encouraging our customers to consider allowing us to make Free Open Source releases of parts of the software projects we developed for them, at the time using either the GNU General Public License (version 2) or the GNU Lesser General Public License (version 2.1) as appropriate. Unfortunately this initiative often met with limited success.

Since then the widespread adoption of the Linux Kernel, both in the server room and on the desktop, as well as in increasingly common mobile devices, coupled with the ceaseless work of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project, has led to an increasing awareness and acceptance of Free Open Source Software in both corporations and governments alike.

GPLv3 logoLGPLv3 logo

In June 2007 the GNU General Public License (version 3) and the GNU Lesser General Public License (version 3) were finally published after much debate. These licences addressed most of the issues which had come to light with previous versions which had become a barrier to some organisations embracing Free Open Source Software. The most significant were the measures against the incorporation of GPL licensed code into appliances, which became known as Tivoization, and patent cross-licensing protection to prevent perceived abuses of the patent system such as the controversial Microsoft-Novell patent agreement.

All these developments, coupled with the ever growing popularity of the GNU/Linux operating system, has culminated in the flourishing and diverse Free Open Source Software community that we see today. Now when we suggest to our corporate or governmental clients that they could benefit from reduced costs and improved reliability as a direct result of releasing parts of their privately developed software under a GPL compatible licence there is no longer the degree of scepticism, fear and ignorance which we were met with in the early 1990s. In fact, we are now increasingly finding such organisations are eager to become a part of the Free Open Source Software community.

FSF logo

At Hacking Networked Solutions we are proud to be a part of that community and endeavour to advance the adoption of Free Open Source Software whenever possible. To this end we established www.mad-hacking.net as the outlet for our Free Open Source Software division. Any software or documentation which we produce which can be released under such a licence will be made available here with an ongoing effort to release as much of our back-catalogue as possible as legal and other issues are resolved.