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mantex.co.uk: The Cathedral and the Bazaar [Book Review]

Nov 29, 1999, 17:05 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Roy Johnson)

"Forget the enigmatic title for a moment. This is essentially four long, polemical essays on the open source movement, written by one of its prime movers in the period between 1992 and summer 1999. 'Open Source' is a term used to describe the idealistic notion of freely sharing technological development - particularly the software code written by computer programmers."

"The first and earliest essay sets out the principles of the open source movement. The second inspects the attitudes and moral codes of its members (the hackers) who submit their work to peer review and what Eric Raymond claims is a 'gift culture'. The third looks at the economic conundrum of how the open source movement sustains itself without a regular income. The last essay is a smack up-to-date account of mobilising supporters for the development of a crusade - written only a few weeks before the Department of Justice's verdict on the Microsoft anti-trust case."

"Basically, it's an impassioned argument in favour of a new strategy in software development which has arisen from the decision by Linus Torvalds to release the source code of his operating system Linux. He released it not only for free use, but also invited volunteers to help him develop it further. Raymond argues that this represents - dare one say it? - a paradigm shift - a democratic sharing of ideas and repeated testing rather than the development of a product in commercial secrecy."

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