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The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary Paperback – Feb 11 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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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
a must read for any hacker at heart.
Most recent customer reviews
The Open Source movement had done for Computer Science what Creationism tried to to to the field of Biology. Read morePublished on May 13 2004 by D. Mitchell
The major problem with this book is that ER NEVER really
discusses the "business model" used by the "software" industry
which is more of a form racketeering and money... Read more
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