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First Monday: Linux: A Bazaar at the Edge of Chaos

Mar 09, 2000, 02:54 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ko Kuwabara)

[ Thanks to Nik Shafiruddin for this link. ]

Author Ko Kuwabara writes:

"This paper establishes a context for the work of Eric Raymond and his description of the Linux phenomenon, by examining the emerging science of complex adaptive systems pioneered by John Holland, Christopher Langton, Robert Axelrod, among others. Raymond's evolutionary view is given an extended and more formal treatment under the terms of chaos and complexity, and chaos and complexity under the terms of sociology. In addition, this paper presents an ethnographic account of Linux, amassed from a series of electronic mail interviews with kernel developers. These interviews examine Linux as a social phenomena, which has prompted wide interest and become a subject of heated discussion..."

(With Comments and Feedback by Eric S. Raymond and Michael Elizabeth Chastain. -- lt ed.)

"To be sure, Linux is neither the first nor the only "open-source" software... Linux nonetheless deserves a special place within the history of open-source software for several reasons. First, its stature as a first-class operating system finds Linux at the pinnacle of computer system design..."

"Second, the size of the Linux project is simply unprecedented in the history of software development. At times, thousands of programmers have volunteered their time and effort in the daily development of numerous components and functions that comprise the operating system. According to one estimate, the project has involved over 40,000 people worldwide."

"Finally, despite the complexity of the design, the size of the project, and the rate of development, Torvalds and his co-developers have successfully--to say the least--ritten an operating system as powerful as Linux is today. It is said to have surpassed Microsoft Windows in many aspects of performance, including reliability..."

Complete story.