Christopher Tozzi


Christopher Tozzi has covered the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis since 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution, is forthcoming with MIT Press.

To Keep IT Assets Secure, Pay Attention to the Simple Things 1

What are the greatest threats facing the software industry today? Hint: They're not foreign spies or 400-pound programming prodigies. A look back at some of the biggest cybersecurity attacks of 2016 reveals that the most serious threats remain simple and unsophisticated -- even though people keep falling for them.

Five Technologies and Trends MSPs Should Embrace
How can you make the most of your managed services business? One way is to leverage the best technologies and trends. Here's a list of five technologies and practices to embrace to keep your MSP business lean and mean.
Fission and Effe are some of the first open source serverless computing framewor
Open Source Serverless Computing Frameworks, and Why They Matter

Serverless computing is fast becoming one of the hottest trends in the channel since the cloud. What is the open source ecosystem doing to keep pace with the serverless trend, and why does it matter? Here's a look.

Monitoring, analytics and log aggregation help managed service providers deliver
Why MSPs Need Monitoring, Data Analytics and Log Aggregation
As an IT managed services provider, you supply infrastructure and support services to your clients. But do you also deliver monitoring and analytics? If not, you should. Here's why.
The Linux and Windows Ecosystems are Converging. Here's Why It Matters
The Linux and Windows Ecosystems are Converging. Here's Why It Matters 1

Windows is starting to look a lot like Linux -- and vice versa. As the feature sets and use cases for these two operating systems converge, the line separating the Windows and Linux ecosystems is disappearing. Here's why, and what it means for the channel.

Open Source Software's Top Five Challenges for 2017 3

It's a new year, and open source software is more popular than ever. But the open source community is also confronting a new set of challenges. Here's what open source programmers and companies will need to do to keep thriving in 2017.

How MSPs can Deliver Managed Docker Environments with Containers-as-a-Service
How MSPs can Deliver Managed Docker Environments with Containers-as-a-Service
Containers-as-a-Service, or CaaS, is becoming one of the most popular ways for companies to use Docker. Here's what MSPs need to know about adding CaaS to the services they deliver to customers.
FOSS History in Retrospect: 3 Generations of Open Source Coders and Users 3

It's 2016, and open source is everywhere you look. The norms, forms and faces of open source have changed so much, in fact, that they seem to signal the rise of a new generation of open source programmers. Here's why.

Pragmatism in the History of GNU, Linux and Free/Open Source Software 8

If you ask a lot of people why Linus Torvalds and the Linux kernel that he wrote became one of the most prominent open source projects of all time, while Richard Stallman's GNU project has received much less attention beyond hacker circles, they'll tell you the difference has to do with Stallman's excessive commitment to an uncompromising ideology. Is that really accurate?

You (Don’t) Have to Be There: Cloud Takeaways from VMworld

VMworld 2016 is underway in Las Vegas this week. Here are the latest news and product announcements related to cloud computing that have emerged from the event  so far.

SUSE's Role in the History of Linux and Open Source

What role did SUSE play in the growth of Linux and the open source ecosystem? How did SUSE and other Linux-based operating systems evolve into the enterprise platforms they are today? Here's what SUSE employees had to say about Linux history in a recent interview.

Open Source History: Why Didn't BSD Beat Out GNU and Linux? 9

If you use a free and open source operating system, it's almost certainly based on the Linux kernel and GNU software. But these were not the first freely redistributable platforms, nor were they the most professional or widely commercialized. The Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD, beat GNU/Linux on all of these counts. So why has BSD been consigned to the margins of the open source ecosystem, while GNU/Linux distributions rose to fantastic prominence? Read on for some historical perspective.

On Its 25th Birthday, We Want to Hear About Your First Time with Linux 2

Linux turned twenty-five years old this month. Do you remember where you were when Linus Torvalds first announced his open source operating system kernel to the world in August 1991?

Maybe you were already hacking on Minix and hoping, like Torvalds, for something that suited your needs better. Perhaps you were waiting with bated breath for the release of GNU's kernel, the Hurd, and disappointed by its perennial delays. Or you were running Net/2 BSD but wishing for a Unix clone tailored to your Intel 386 computer, as Linux was.

Open Source History: Why Did Linux Succeed? 81

One of the most puzzling questions about the history of free and open source is this: Why did Linux succeed so spectacularly, whereas similar attempts to build a free or open source, Unix-like operating system kernel met with considerably less success? I don't know the answer to that question. But I have rounded up some theories, which I'd like to lay out here.

From Food to Sofas: How Open Source is Changing the World Beyond Software
February 3, 2017

"Free software" -- which a lot of people would characterize as similar to, but not quite the same thing as, "open source software" -- originated well before 1998. But the...

Open Source Software's Top Five Challenges for 2017
January 13, 2017

Personal experience :) I am remembering a wireless card I owned (some kind of D-Link -- I forget the exact chip) that only worked with ndiswrapper, and it would crash after an...

5 Ways Open Source Programmers and Companies Make Money
June 10, 2016

Good point. This was drafted a while ago, before the ownCloud kerfuffle in April.

IoT Past and Present: The History of IoT, and Where It's Headed Today
May 3, 2016

Thanks for the pointer. I am unable to find proof that the Electrolux ever actually made it to market, though. A February 1999 Wired article (

Open Source and Android: A History of Google's Linux-Based Mobile OS
April 29, 2016

Re: the GPL, there is a bigger story I want to tell about the tendency to treat the GPL as an omnipotent solution to all of open source's problems. The quotes are examples of...

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