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"This is how we did it." —Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernelIt all started with a series of odd statistics. The leading challenger to Microsoft's stranglehold on the computer industry is an operating system called Linux, the product of thousands of volunteer programmers who collaborate over the Internet. The software behind a majority of all the world's web sites doesn't come from a big company either, but from a loosely coordinated group of volunteer programmers called the Apache Group. The Internet itself, and much of its core ...
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"This is how we did it." —Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernelIt all started with a series of odd statistics. The leading challenger to Microsoft's stranglehold on the computer industry is an operating system called Linux, the product of thousands of volunteer programmers who collaborate over the Internet. The software behind a majority of all the world's web sites doesn't come from a big company either, but from a loosely coordinated group of volunteer programmers called the Apache Group. The Internet itself, and much of its core software, was developed through a process of networked collaboration.The key to these stunning successes is a movement that has come to be called open source, because it depends on the ability of programmers to freely share their program source code so that others can improve it. In 1997, Eric S. Raymond outlined the core principles of this movement in a manifesto called "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," which was published and freely redistributed over the Internet.Mr. Raymond's thinking electrified the computer industry. He argues that the development of the Linux operating system by a loose confederation of thousands of programmers—without central project management or control—turns on its head everything we thought we knew about software project management. Internet-enabled collaboration and free information sharing, not monopolistic control, is the key to innovation and product quality.This idea was interesting to more than programmers and software project leaders. It suggested a whole new way of doing business, and the possibility of unprecedented shifts in the power structures of the computer industry.The rush to capitalize on the idea of open source started with Netscape's decision to release its flagship Netscape Navigator product under open source licensing terms in early 1998. Before long, Fortune 500 companies like Intel, IBM, and Oracle were joining the party. By August 1999, when the leading Linux distributor, Red Hat Software, made its hugely successful public stock offering, it had become clear that open source was "the next big thing" in the computer industry.This revolutionary book starts out with "A Brief History of Hackerdom"—the historical roots of the open-source movement—and details the events that led to the recognition of the power of open source. It contains the full text of "The Cathedral & the Bazaar," updated and expanded for this book, plus Mr. Raymond's other key essays on the social and economic dynamics of open source software development.Open source is the competitive advantage in the Internet Age. The Cathedral & the Bazaar is a must for anyone who cares about 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.
Subtitled "Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary", this book explores Open Source, and the billions of dollars that have been made and lost based on the ideas in this book. Its conclusions will be studied, debated, and implemented for years to come. This book is a must for anyone who cares about the future of the computer industry or the dynamics of the information economy.
Foreword by Bob Young
Why You Should Care
A Brief History of Hackerdom
The Cathedral and the Bazaar
Homesteading the Noosphere
The Magic Cauldron
The Revenge of the Hackers
Author's Afterword. Beyond Software?
Appendix. How To Become a Hacker
Appendix to The Magic Cauldron
The success of any industry is almost directly related to the degree of freedom the suppliers and the customers of that industry enjoy. just compare the innovation in the US telephone business since AT&T lost its monopoly control over American consumers, with the previously slow pace of innovation when those customers had no freedom to chose.
The world's best example of the benefits of freedom in business is a comparison of the computer hardware business and the computer software business. In computer hardware, where freedom reigns for both the suppliers and consumers alike on a global scale, the industry generates the fastest innovation in product and customer value the world has ever seen. In the computer software industry, on the other hand, change is measured in decades. The office suite, the 1980s killer application, wasn't challenged until the 1990s with the introduction of the Web browser and server.
Open source software brings to the computer software industry even greater freedom than the hardware manufacturers and consumers have enjoyed.
Computer languages are called languages because they are just that. They enable the educated members of our society (in this case programmers) to build ideas that benefit the other members of our society, including other programmers. To legally restrict access (via the proprietary binary-only software licenses our industry historically has used) to the knowledge of the infrastructure that our society increasingly relies on, has resulted in less freedom and slower innovation.
Open source represents some pretty revolutionary concepts being thrown at an industry thatthought it had all of its fundamental structures worked out. It gives customers control over the technologies they use, instead of enabling the vendors to control their customers through restricting access to the code behind the technologies. Supplying open source tools to the market will require new business models. But by delivering unique benefits to the market those companies who develop the business models will be very successful competing with companies who attempt to retain control over their customers.
There have always been two things that would be required if open source software was to materially change the world, one was for open source software to become widely used. The other; that the benefits this software development model supplied to its users had to be communicated and understood.
This is Eric's great contribution to the success of the open source software revolution, to the adoption of Linux-based operating systems, and to the success of open source users and the companies who supply them. His ability to explain clearly, effectively, and accurately the benefits of this revolutionary software development model has been central to the success of this revolution.
Chairman and CEO, Red Hat, Inc. .
Posted October 19, 2000
Several years ago I had a girlfriend who lived in a house owned by one of the 'fathers of the ARPANET,' the forerunner of the Internet. After reading this book, I now have somewhat of an idea how that got started thanks to the first essay in this book (A Brief History of Hackerdom). That same essay also gave me a much better understanding of hackers and their culture. This book's series of essays gives the reader an understanding not only of 'hacker culture,' (ie the 'rules, code of ethics, and their society'), but also of the enterprising spirit among open source products. And too how once source code is released, how so many 'hackers' will spend time analyzing it and debugging it and finding better ways to code a program. I first got to read the book's main essay almost a year ago and was fascinated by what I read. Even if I didn't understand all of it at first, the thought of creating a kind of 'cottage industry' with source code available for everyone to see and 'play with' intrigued me. And with Linux (probably the first major open-source product available) gaining popularity, it's apparent these concepts ring a resonant tone with others. After finding out this book was available, I wanted to get it so I could get a better idea of what open source meant to the computer industry. Each essay that Eric Raymond writes in this book takes on a different aspect of open source products. Ranging from the 'history of hackers,' through the main essay, through the 'growth' of this culture (the essays titled Homesteading the Noosphere and The Magic Cauldron), to where it stands today. There's even an appendix at the book of the book where Raymond gives his 'tips' on how to become one of these 'visionaries of the future (ie hackers).' Raymond states in his foreword that the book 'collects a series of essays for programmers and technical managers.' While I'm not a programmer or 'techie,' I still think this is a great book for learning more about the thoughts and ideas behind open source.
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