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A Game of Open Source

Posted by TestOut Staff on

Someday, perhaps even someday soon — pause for raucous laughter and bitterly aggrieved forehead slapping — American author George R.R. Martin will finish writing The Winds of Winter, then start and finish writing A Dream of Spring. Then A Song of Ice and Fire, the internationally famous high fantasy saga that began in 1996 with A Game of Thrones, will finally be complete. It's been eight years since publication of the preceding volume, A Dance with Dragons, so, well, let's all be patient.

For those who have washed their hands of "GRRM," but just can't quit the engaging, immersive, complicated fantasy realm he created, a different deadline will get here much sooner. This Sunday, in fact, the first episode of the final season of HBO's award-winning adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones, will hit the airwaves. HBO's not planning to drag this thing out, either. The final season has just eight episodes, and the last of them, "The Iron Throne" is set to arrive May 19.

The HBO series semi-officially diverged from the books it was adapting in Season 6. After exhausting the final material from the first five books, the show became a mixture of original content and GRRM's outline for the aforementioned, yet-to-be-completed final two volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire. So in one sense, the ending of the story will be revealed on May 19, and in another sense, well, it could be a long wait. One journey is ending, and another one has been stalled out since 2011.

Which story is the one that GRRM originally wanted to tell? He'd probably say that both are. In that sense A Song of Ice and Fire is sort of an open source saga. Open source is a concept that has flourished in the software development realm for decades, most famously with respect to the operating system Linux. The basic idea is that somebody creates something, then puts it out there for other people to tinker with, revise, rework, rejigger, and — ultimately — improve. Collaboration for the win!

We probably shouldn't expect the open source model to become widespread in fiction. Still, the cooperative storytelling effort between GRRM, who has directly written a number of episodes of Game of Thrones, and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is at least an interesting footnote to history. And speaking of Linux, if you want to immerse yourself more fully in open source, then give Linux Pro a shot. We'll have you ready to leave your own mark on Linux before you know it.


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