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The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary [Paperback]

Eric S. Raymond
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 11 2001 0596001088 978-0596001087 1

Open source provides the competitive advantage in the Internet Age. According to the August Forrester Report, 56 percent of IT managers interviewed at Global 2,500 companies are already using some type of open source software in their infrastructure and another 6 percent will install it in the next two years. This revolutionary model for collaborative software development is being embraced and studied by many of the biggest players in the high-tech industry, from Sun Microsystems to IBM to Intel.The Cathedral & the Bazaar is a must for anyone who cares about the future of the computer industry or the dynamics of the information economy. Already, billions of dollars have been made and lost based on the ideas in this book. Its conclusions will be studied, debated, and implemented for years to come. According to Bob Young, "This is Eric Raymond's great contribution to the success of the open source revolution, to the adoption of Linux-based operating systems, and to the success of open source users and the companies that supply them."The interest in open source software development has grown enormously in the past year. This revised and expanded paperback edition includes new material on open source developments in 1999 and 2000. Raymond's clear and effective writing style accurately describing the benefits of open source software has been key to its success. With major vendors creating acceptance for open source within companies, independent vendors will become the open source story in 2001.



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It may be foolish to consider Eric Raymond's recent collection of essays, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, the most important computer programming thinking to follow the Internet revolution. But it would be more unfortunate to overlook the implications and long-term benefits of his fastidious description of open-source software development considering the growing dependence businesses and economies have on emerging computer technologies.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar takes its title from an essay Raymond read at the 1997 Linux Kongress. The essay documents Raymond's acquisition, re-creation, and numerous revisions of an e-mail utility known as fetchmail. Raymond engagingly narrates the fetchmail development process while elaborating on the ongoing bazaar development method he uses with the help of volunteer programmers. The essay smartly spares the reader from the technical morass that could easily detract from the text's goal of demonstrating the efficacy of the open-source, or bazaar, method in creating robust, usable software.

Once Raymond has established the components and players necessary for an optimally running open-source model, he sets out to counter the conventional wisdom of private, closed-source software development. Like superbly written code, the author's arguments systematically anticipate their rebuttals. For programmers who "worry that the transition to open source will abolish or devalue their jobs," Raymond adeptly and factually counters that "most developer's salaries don't depend on software sale value." Raymond's uncanny ability to convince is as unrestrained as his capacity for extrapolating upon the promise of open-source development.

In addition to outlining the open-source methodology and its benefits, Raymond also sets out to salvage the hacker moniker from the nefarious connotations typically associated with it in his essay, "A Brief History of Hackerdom" (not surprisingly, he is also the compiler of The New Hacker's Dictionary). Recasting hackerdom in a more positive light may be a heroic undertaking in itself, but considering the Herculean efforts and perfectionist motivations of Raymond and his fellow open-source developers, that light will shine brightly. --Ryan Kuykendall --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

The Cathedral & the Bazaar is a must for anyone who cares about the future of the computer industry or the dynamics of the information economy. This revised and expanded paperback edition includes new material on open source developments in 1999 and 2000. Raymond's clear and effective writing style accurately describing the benefits of open source software has been key to its success.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Anthropology of Hackerdom Aug. 15 2002
Format:Paperback
Eric Raymond is the Margaret Mead of the Open Source movement. His analysis of the gift culture as a model for explaining why hackers write software without recieving direct financial compensation is original, and as far as I know, unique. The economic implications are vast: if programmers write programs as a hobby, and do not stand in need of income for doing so (assume that they have day jobs), with rewards being in the form of status and reputation, then why buy the equivalent of what they're giving away?
Linux is the focus of this branch of the hacker-programming movement, which can also be seen at work in Apache and Java. The nature of the movement - everyone agreeing to play by Open Source rules, a leader (Linus Torvalds) who sets goals but does not exert formal authority, and a market (the Bazaar) where knowledge is dispersed throughout, reminds one of the Austrian Economists, who believed that a system operating as a spontaneous order would show greater productivity than a command economy, because of the exponentially greater amount of brain power in use. Raymond makes much the same point, when he argues that, "With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow."
For Microsoft, this is a deadly threat. Proprietary software and operating systems are expensive, to develop and to buy. If Open Source products are seen as being of like kind and quality, them software becomes a commodity, and branded, proprietary products, and the businesses that sell them, are facing inevitible decline in their core market.
If Raymond's thesis is correct (I believe, as a layman, that it is), then by 2010, Windows may have gone the way of the British Empire - living in memore (digital or otherwise) only.
-LLoyd A. Conway
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4.0 out of 5 stars hacker = good guy March 23 2001
Format:Paperback
this collection of eric's papers is a wonderful start for anyone intersted in the open source "revolution." i suggest visiting his website also. eric's view on software development/management will change the way anyone thinks about the process and appreciate the power of the internet. also the word "hacker" won't strike one as a criminal anymore. great book.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Classic (now) book gives a great explanation of just how come Open Source software has taken the software world by storm. Eric is an old school hacker who has been around forever and gives an real feel for what exciting times they were when OSS started to fly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, Dec 21 2001
Format:Paperback
This is a pretty awesome book. ESR shines as a master historian of unix/open src/linux and the hacker culture.
a must read for any hacker at heart.
santy
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